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The Independent Online
WHEN they unveiled the artist's view of the Millennium Dome's interior, Pandora immediately thought, "Hold on, haven't I seen this before?" It looked amazingly like the interior of the black glass pyramid Luxor Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, one of Pandora's favourite leisure spots. Indeed there is a black glass pyramid in the Dome. And a huge Sphinx-like statue dominating the scene, as in the Luxor. What about the floating "dreamscape" rides? They're not a million miles from the Luxor's own "River Nile" floating boats that cruise around the craps tables and poker room. We called the New Millennium Exhibition Company and asked spokesman Terrence Gibbons if anyone from Nevada had been involved in the design of the Dome planning. "No, all the designers are from London," he insisted. And was there going to be any gambling in the Dome? "No, this is going to be a wholesome exhibition, aimed at children." Not even a single betting shop or any Lottery scratchcards for sale. "No." How strange to build a Vegas casino in Docklands, hailed by Tony Blair as "the most exciting place in the world", but exclude gambling.

And particularly unfair to the nation's punters who, after all, have contributed pounds 399m to the Dome via their lottery bets.

One of the principal corporate sponsors of the Dome, Manpower, the UK's largest employment agency, has pledged pounds 12m to launch the enticingly-named "Work Zone" and the equally fascinating-sounding "Skills Olympics". This generous act of altruism may have something to do with the fact that one of Manpower's fiercest competitors, Reed Employment enjoys a very friendly relationship with the Government. It's chairman Alec Reed (who donated pounds 100,000 the Labour Party election war-chest) is now a valued consultant to the Government on employment and educational issues. Moreover, Reed Employment is a lead organization in the "New Deal for the Unemployed". When you think about it, pounds 100,000 looks remarkably cheap compared to pounds 12m.

When Special Branch investigators looking at the infiltration of NF fascists into football hooliganism reported that one of the worst trouble spots appeared to be Brighton and Hove Albion, eyebrows were raised. Apparently entire terraces at Brighton's grounds had been chanting, "Seig Heil! Seig Heil!" Since when had the most famous of all genteel English seaside towns become home to a legion of jackboot-wearing, skin-head racist thugs? Another investigator, this one presumably less acoustically impaired, was dispatched. to the scene. His report: the crowd was actually chanting the Brighton team's nickname: "Seagulls! Seagulls!"

"Sally Emerson writes like a dangerous angel" reads the dust-jacket puff on the back of her most recent novel, `Heat'. Who contributed this edgy acclaim to a book described elsewhere on its cover as "a magnificent, ensnaring, erotic novel" by the wife of Peter Stothard, editor of `The Times'? None other than Douglas Adams, the bestselling New Age guru and intergalactic hitchhiker. Now why should he feel endangered by Emerson's passionate prose?

On the bright side of Zippergate, Clinton has just received the Kennedy seal of approval. John Kennedy Jr. says that he believes Clinton when he denies having improper sex in the White House, particularly under the desk in the Oval Office. "I was under that desk a lot 35 years ago and I can tell you there is barely room for a three year old."