People: Widower keeps up Elgin fight

SHE IS gone, but Melina Mercouri's dream that the Parthenon (or Elgin) Marbles be returned to Greece is being kept alive by her husband. Jules Dassin, the film director, was appointed president of the Melina Mercouri Foundation, established by the Greek government a week after the actress and politician died on 6 March. Its goal is the return of the marbles on display at the British Museum and the promotion of a new Acropolis museum to house them in Athens.

'To this foundation and to Melina's greatest wish, this museum, I will dedicate all my energy and devotion,' Dassin said. 'She first got the idea for the campaign way back in 1962 when I was refused permission to film them. It enraged her that they were not in Greece.'

Mercouri restarted her long campaign when she was appointed culture minister for a third term following the Socialists' return to power last October. Dassin quoted her as saying: 'I hope to see the marbles back home before I die, but if they come back later I shall be reborn.'

NOT QUITE reborn, Domenico Longo, nearly won a seat in the Italian parliament despite his death. Silvio Berlusconi, who stormed to victory after promising a 'new Italian miracle', almost delivered the goods: Longo, a candidate for Berlusconi's alliance, died last week but still polled more than 18,000 votes to come second in Corigliano in southern Italy.

And in a classic Italian irony, while the Berlusconi revolution has banished a generation of tainted politicians, Giulio Andreotti, one of the most reviled members of the old guard, will take a seat in the new parliament. Mr Andreotti, prime minister seven times, is one of 11 life senators.

REVILED by some for not wearing knickers when she hugged President Itamar Franco at the Rio Carnival, Lilian Ramos is seeking a seat as a federal deputy from her home state of Ceara in north-eastern Brazil. The model interrupted a photo session for the Italian edition of Playboy to announce her candidacy.

NOT AS big a fan of women as Mr Franco, Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, has cancelled a speech at Texas Southern University rather than admit them. He advertised his address as a man-to-man discussion of issues involving black men, but the university said the speech could not be held if women were barred.

Since January, Mr Farrakhan has kept women out, saying violence is a more pressing issue among black men. 'The morgues of America are not filled with black women,' he said.