The lady's not for turning back

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The Independent Online
In Hong Kong, they are calling the political retirement of Lydia Dunn the end of an era. The baroness and her husband, Michael Thomas, are moving to Britain. Despite the leaving of Hong Kong, where she was born and helped to shape the accord returning the colony to China, Baroness Dunn insists her faith in Hong Kong's future after 30 June, 1997, is unchanged.

"I continue to believe what I have said over and over again, publicly and privately - that I have every confidence in the future of Hong Kong as part of China," she said yesterday in announcing her decision to leave.

Hong Kong's uncertain future may be open to debate, but much of the baroness's seems assured. She has her seat for life in the House of Lords (the first given to a Chinese), and will remain as an executive director of John Swire and Sons, one of Hong Kong's oldest and wealthiest trading houses, and of Hongkong Bank. Baroness Dunn also has been invited to join Swire's parent board in London.

If she accepts, she can commute to meetings from the new home that she and Mr Thomas, a former Hong Kong attorney-general, have recently purchased in Gloucestershire.

Gamal Abdel Nasser is back - and in his old role as President of Egypt. Mr Nasser, an actor, will play his namesake's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, in an Egyptian film about King Farouk. The movie, The Woman Who Shook the Throne of Egypt, is based on the story of Nahed Rashad, who is portrayed as being in love with Egypt's last monarch and manipulating the throne.

While Nasser, who died in 1970, is not really ruling Egypt today, Kim Il Sung, the North Korean leader who died a year ago, is still issuing credentials to Pyongyang's diplomats. At least six countries have received such documents from North Korean envoys, according to the South Korean news agency, Yonhap. King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia was reportedly embarrassed when Pyongyang's new ambassador, Song Ho Gyong, presented his accreditation last month - endorsed by the late Great Leader.

North Korea's media still refer to Kim as "the Great Leader and President" as Kim Jong Il, his son and successor, nears the end of a year of mourning.

Summer is a popular season for weddings, and vows often set the stage for rows. Consider the marriage of Paul, son of the deposed King Constantine of Greece, and Marie-Chantal Miller, a US businessman's daughter.

The wedding is not scheduled to take place until 1 July, but the occasion has been marred by squabbling among some of the guests. Several MPs of the conservative New Democracy party accepted invitations to the festivities in London, to the fury of the Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou, who accused them of supporting the constitutional monarchy abolished in 1974. The MPs, Mr Papandreou said, should be ''relieved of their duties'' for violating the constitution.

One MP, Athanassios Davakis, acknowledged his support for the monarchy, but insisted he was not trying to undermine the republic.

The Sultan of Brunei, meanwhile, has chartered a jumbo jet to bring guests to the festivities. Paul reportedly has invited about 2,000 people - bluebloods, industrialists, shipowners - and 40 New Democracy members.

MARYANN BIRD

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