The stellar explosion is the closest to be spotted since 1987 and will provide a 'galactic yardstick' for astronomers judging distances across the universe

Games: Backgammon

THE PROPHYLACTIC Pole (PP) was considering doubling as black in the position above. His team-mate was Quentin Quickcube (QQ) and they were playing against the Tempestuous Turk (TT).

Secretarial: The pussycat who mewed

The Temp

Restaurants: Bar Fly

The Library Bar, The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, London SW1 (0171-259 5599)

Win a grand dram and a fine cigar

Scotch Whisky supremos Chivas Brothers' have got together with Hunters & Frankau (purveyors of fine cigars) and come up with the perfect flavour match for their `Triple Century Promotion' now running in a select number of stylish London venues. The promotion was created to celebrate three landmark centurions: The Century of Malts by Chivas Brothers - a skilful vatting of 100 of Scotland's finest single malts; the Cuaba cigar which was the height of fashion 100 years ago; and 100 years of Cuban Independence. During the Triple Century promotion, any customer ordering a double measure of Century will immediately be offered a Cuaba cigar at a special-offer price.

Crisis in Washington: People show that they are feeling Clinton's pain

NOTHING THAT President Clinton has ever said produced more groans of cynicism nationwide than his "I feel your pain" declaration back in 1992. A politician pretending to feel empathy for Everyman? Tell us another one.

Our man in Havana

At pounds 695 for a box of 25, Montecristo A cigars cost more than the flight to Cuba itself; n IS IT WORTH IT? n

On Location: Miracle of the cigar and the wing mirrors

ARRANGING TO spend a day with eco warriors involves a different set of problems from your average appointment. There's no receptionist to say "Hang on a moment while I check Mr Earthworm's diary... ah yes he's free at 10.40 on Monday the ninth. When you arrive, just go through the revolving doors and he's up the third tree on the left." So I just asked the first person I saw, who said: "Yeah, like, just, yeah, whatever, hey, like, whenever, I mean, it's your park. Or you could ring Animal."

Leading Article: PC or not PC?

PERHAPS IT was a bit politically correct of the SS Great Britain Project to remove the cigar from the mouth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the photograph they use of him in their promotional material. But the reaction of the smoking rights people to this minor, if tiresome, example of historical revisionism can scarcely be described as politically measured. Marjorie Nicholson, director of the pressure group Forest, said on the Today programme on Friday that the decision to remove the cigar "brings to mind the behaviour of Stalin when he started deleting Trotsky from photographs". To equate the paranoid spite of the century's most accomplished mass-murderer with an over-fastidious concern for the physical well-being of others is political hysteria. There is a lot of it around, thanks to the anti-PC police. You see it in the blazered bores who whine into their beer about the loss of the word "gay" - a word they never used in the first place.

Evasive he may have been, but he beat the Inquisition

It's almost yumorous. It'd a have to be an exhibitionist not to include everyone at those moments

Tall story

For readers of 'The Independent on Sunday' only, here are selected highlights from Kenneth Starr's 37 boxes of corroborating evidence, some of which may never be available elsewhere:

Clinton In Crisis: Have you heard about the cigar?


Up in smoke

Head to head Are cigars the ultimate pleasure or a noxious evil? Sir Jimmy Savile is still puffing away a year after his heart bypass; Edwina Currie continues to fume at the filthy weed

Radio: Passive smoking? Being active's more fun

EVER SINCE Hillary Clinton declared the White House a smoke-free zone, no vice can touch smoking - particularly, come to think of it, in the White House. Tobacco is the last great occasion of sin. But fear not you beleaguered addicts, nipping outside for a quick gasp before the boss comes back, it won't go away. One Lawrence Spooner gave up: "I have no shame (as I had had before)" he boasted, "because my neighbours saw me out of door, defiling of the wholesome precious air with foreign fumes ..." And that was in 1703. It's not easy to stub it out.

Film: A studio boss to believe in

At 91, it's already too late for Lew Grade to retire. Geoffrey Macnab met up with the showman with the spiel that would put even Don King to shame

Governor Bush blocks lawyers' payments in Texan tobacco lawsuit

The Governor of the state of Texas, George Bush, has asked the US federal courts to block the payment to the lawyers involved in the lawsuit against the tobacco industry - estimated at more than $100,000 an hour.
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