People: Table talk leaves Keating furious

AUSTRALIA'S Prime Minister, Paul Keating, who prides himself on both his republicanism and his knowledge of antiques, is acutely embarrassed over his choice of a dining table for The Lodge, his official residence in Canberra. On the advice of a friend in Sydney's antiques world, Mr Keating commissioned a dining table to seat 24. The teak table was made in Thailand to a classic English Regency design.

When it was delivered, the table was rejected by the Australiana Fund, which organises and pays for furniture and art works for Australia's official residences: it wasn't Australian enough. Mr Keating was furious, but had to send the table back to his Sydney antique dealer where it is now up for sale at 20,000 Australian dollars (pounds 9,000).

Perhaps Mr Keating will be consoled by his planned visit to his family's ancestral farmhouse in Ireland, now an ivy-clad ruin, that his great-great-grandather, John Keating, quit in 1855. Six months' research in parish records in the Galway village of Tynagh showed that John and Mary Keating left with their eight children and arrived in Australia aboard the ship Mangerton, probably to escape the potato famine.

In somewhat vindictive mood, the film star Burt Reynolds has challenged his estranged wife Loni Anderson to take competing truth-drug tests to determine who started sleeping around first during their four-year marriage. Reynolds, who is having an affair with a waitress from Florida, is so confident of the result that he has staked the dollars 13m (pounds 6.5m) that Anderson wants in a divorce settlement, and custody of their adopted son Quinton, 5, on the outcome. He also promised to hand over his ranch, his house and 'a lot of western art she doesn't want'. He said the purpose of the test would be to determine how many affairs each had and who started first.

Never one to be discreet, the fat French model Anne Zamberlan, whose generous curves adorn French advertising hoardings, is furious that Air Inter, the domestic airline, refused to sell her a ticket for a single seat. Being asked to pay double was, she said, 'an attack on human dignity'. So she took the train instead. Air Inter is unmoved: it confirmed that its policy was to charge two tickets for anyone taking up two seats, 'whether they be injured or voluminous'.

There were high hopes for royal matchmaking at the party King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway threw to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Fourteen unattached princes and princesses milled around Oslo's royal palace at the start of a five-day bash. But amid the ranks of limousines, Per Gunnar Haugen, a 23-year-old windsurfer, rolled up in his tiny green Fiat to join his girlfriend, Norway's Princess Martha Louise, 21, thus scotching expectations that she might be paired up with other royal guests, including Prince Edward.

The Japanese press meanwhile are getting excited about a potential royal romance nearer home. Princess Nori of Japan, 24, the only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Emperor Michiko, is heading to Europe for what the papers call a love tryst. While on holiday in a Belgian chateau as a guest of Queen Fabiola, the princess is to have a discreet rendezvous with a possible fiance, Toshinaru Bojo, a 31-year-old of good family who is studying gothic architecture in France. Arranged marriages are common in Japan, but if a prospective partner doesn't please, either one can call it off.

Winner of the Nobel prize for literature, the poet and playwright Derek Walcott returned home to St Lucia to receive its highest honour, the St Lucia Cross, in recognition of his achievement in putting the little Caribbean island 'before the eyes of the world through his works', as the Governor-General, Stanislaus James, put it. The island's largest park, Columbus Park, was also renamed in Walcott's honour.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe
art
Sport
Robin van Persie leaves the field at the King Power Stadium last Sunday
football
Arts and Entertainment
tvPresenter back after daughter's Halloween accident
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock
tv

Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year

News
people

London 'needs affordable housing'

News
In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion.
news

Arts and Entertainment
Timeshift: The Ladybird Books Story (9pm BBC4 Sun 22 Dec)
BooksLadybird drops branding books for boys and girls
Arts and Entertainment
music Band accidentally drops four-letter description at concert
Life and Style
tech
News
peopleIan Thorpe addresses Ricky Martin rumours
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines