Squiggle ties the knot with his Mayte

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The Independent Online
Squiggle got married on St Valentine's Day. Better known as ''The Artist Formerly Known As Prince'', Squig was back in his hometown, Minneapolis, to marry his back-up dancer, an artist known simply as Mayte.

The former Prince - who prefers to be known by a sign that merges the symbols for male and female - reverted to his original name, Prince Rogers Nelson, to marry Mayte Jannell Garcia on Wednesday.

Mayte, from Puerto Rico, joined Prince's band, the New Power Generation, four years ago, and is now legally known as Mayte Garcia-Nelson. Her husband obviously has nothing against working wives. He's whisking Mrs Squiggle off to a Hawaiian honeymoon - but the band will be doing a few shows in Honolulu next week as well.

Nicaragua's Contra rebels always had a fairly dicey reputation. Now a political group founded by some of the former guerrillas has expelled its own presidential candidate, Enrique Quinonez, saying he won its nomination by fraud.

The Nicaraguan Resistance Party also suspended two other leaders for complicity in the alleged deception. Mr Quinonez won the nomination at the party's 14 January congress by a reported 179 to 176 votes, with six abstentions. But some party officials quickly questioned the tally and demanded an inquiry. Another congress, and another candidate for the 20 October election, are due shortly.

Tina Turner has joined the cluster of foreign-born performers who have received the Chevalier of Arts and Letters award, France's highest arts honour. Philippe Douste-Blazy, the culture minister, pinned the medal to Ms Turner's lapel on Monday night, welcoming her to the ranks of artists considered to have contributed greatly towards popular culture in France (among them Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood and Sharon Stone).

''I've wanted this medal for so long,'' Ms Turner said. ''Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be given such a great honour by the French government.'' Or as her publicist put it: ''She's won a Grammy, but she's never had anything like this before, never anything as posh and prestigious.''

Ms Turner, 56, lives in Cap Ferrat on the Riviera and has not lived in the US for about 15 years.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko says he's a bad teacher. ''I forgot to fill the list of attendees'', he confessed after teaching his first class at Queens College in New York.

The immigrant students in his Russian-language classes, who come from all over the former Soviet Union, don't quite see it that way. ''It's like having Shakespeare come back to teach you,'' said one. ''It's like studying physics with Einstein.''

They have no time for criticism of Yevtushenko for never crossing the line into dissidence during the Soviet era, despite his daring poetry at the time. His most famous work, Babi Yar, was an indictment of the Soviet regime's indifference to the Jewish victims of Nazism.

In his Queens classes - on the 19th-century poet Alexander Pushkin, and on 20th-century Russian poetry - Yevtushenko recites long verses from memory. Hoarse after one recent lesson, he proclaimed a need for a ''big glass of vodka with a beer chaser''.

And the poet has found inspiration from his students: ''The Soviet Union has fallen apart [at home] ... and here it has come back together again,'' Yevtushenko said.

''I want to write a poem about it.''

Maryann Bird