Small hand for a clapped-out power

MANY absurd and bizarre things were said and done in the South Pacific last week. One of the high points came just moments after the nuclear test at Mururoa when a French general went on television to address the world. "Thus," he said - as the atoll still seethed and shuddered behind him - "France contributes to world stability."

In the background, meanwhile, technicians and soldiers patted their palms together and drank champagne, drawing this rebuke from a Norwegian observer. "Clapping, after you've let off an atom bomb which destroys the environment and perhaps the health of people for thousands of years, is unbelievable."