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)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Senior Application Support -Fidessa, Charles River, Oracle, FIX

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Application Support - Fide...

Product Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Product Specialist - (Application...

Technical Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Specialist - (Applicati...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home