John Walsh: btw

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The Independent Online

* Nicely timed to coincide with the birth, three days hence, of a global celebrity baby, Forbes has published a list of Hollywood's most influential infants. The business magazine analysed the "web presence" and press clippings of 50 famous under-fives, then got a Californian market research company to work out the public's "awareness data" and the babies' "consumer appeal rankings". Unsurprisingly, the list is stiff with Jolie-Pitts. Brad and Angelina's adopted sprogs are in fifth place (Pax) and third place (Zahara) while their biological daughter Shiloh is in first place. Suri Cruise is elbowed into second place, while in fourth is tug-of-love sproglet Sean Preston Federline, son of Britney Spears. After Tiger Woods's daughter Sam Alexis, Madonna's adopted son David Banda and the late Anna Nicole Smith's baby Dannielynn, tying for place at No 9 are two British Hollywood kids called Cruz and Romeo.

* Once, participants in beauty contests wanted only to work for world peace, and, if someone else won the crown, they'd wish them well. Things have changed. At the Miss Puerto Rico Universe contest in LA, the lovely Ingrid Marie Rivera has claimed that a rival doused her costume with itchy pepper spray. Only by superhuman composure did she stop herself writhing and scratching in front of the judges, and afterwards, she reported, her lissom frame (36-24-36) was covered in a disfiguring rash. But nobody thought to photograph it, and some believe Ingrid (who won the title) made the whole thing up. I can already visualise the movie, starring a brunette Paris Hilton.

* Hungary has no beaches, so it was ambitious of a holiday company to construct a sandy riverside leisure park outside the town of Mindszentas. They shipped in tons of sand to make a 6,000-cubic-metre beach, brought in fairground rides, beach huts, sun loungers and little wooden shops. In September, the owners covered the rides with tarpaulin and closed the place for winter. One of them drove past the site this week and saw it had disappeared. Someone had stolen the beach, the rides, the shops, the lilos, even the sand. "It has probably been shipped over the border now without any checks being made, where it is easier to get rid of," said the council boss. But who ever heard of anyone smuggling a beach before?

* I've never been a huge fan of Fidel Castro, of his army fatigues, his collectivist policies or his interminable speeches, but I'm beginning to feel a twinge of sympathy for the guy. Naomi Campbell is threatening to spend Christmas with him. Signed by GQ magazine as a roving interviewer, she's managed to effect a tête-à-tête with Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, and now she has the Cuban dictator in her sights. She's in Havana and, says GQ editor Dylan Jones, will spend Christmas there until she nails her man. One pictures Castro unhappily confined to his palace, while the divine Ms Campbell camps on his doorstep, singing "Adeste Fidelis".

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