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The Independent Online
THOSE old roots grow deep in the Daily Express garden, according to Pandora's sources. As the paper's editor, Rosie Boycott, and her deputy, Chris Blackhurst, labour to re-landscape the tabloid, they continually find new outbreaks of stubborn, politically incorrect attitudes.

In his wanderings through the sub- editors' patch, Blackhurst just managed to prune one offensive headline - "Two Wongs Don't Make A White" - before it went to press. Later he came across a veteran Express sub using the word "pervert" in relation to homosexuality. Gently, Blackhurst nipped this in the bud, explaining that "pervert" was not a word that would sit comfortably in the new green Express beds. "But," protested the old sub, "the guy is a pervert."

Fashion victim?

IS STELLA McCARTNEY in danger of letting her idealism damage her career as a fashion designer. Apparently Stella has done the narration for an anti-fur protest video that is being sent out to leaders of the New York fashion industry this week.

The video has been produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

However, Anna Wintour, the powerful editor of American Vogue, is not just staunchly pro-fur but the victim of anti-fur terrorists who covered her in red fluid outside a glittering Gotham reception last year. Pandora salutes Sir Paul's daughter for the courage of her convictions and trusts Wintour will continue to feature Stella's frocks in her mag.

Kiwi dons

WHERE are men's swimming briefs called "hippies"? And an "egg shell blonde" what you call a bald man? Where else but in the Oxford University Press Dictionary of New Zealand English. With tomes like this being produced in Great Clarendon Street, Pandora can understand why recent reports give Cambridge a clear lead over Oxford in the scholarship rankings.

Defence threat

NOT all Labour backbenchers have succumbed to the iron bleeper discipline of 10 Downing Street. Witness Bruce George, MP for Walsall South and chairman of the Select Committee on Defence, who is very cross about the delays to the Government's Strategic Defence Review. Due to go before his committee at the end of June, the review, it now appears, will not be available until the middle of July.

This would give George and his colleagues only two weeks to tackle a document he believes merits far more consideration. Hence George is threatening to hold 12 hearings to cross-examine ministers during the months of August and September while the House is in adjournment. How will George Robertson, Secretary of State for Defence, defend himself against this threat to his hols? Pandora expects to hear the Defence Review will be ready in a flash.

Mr Moneypenny?

THE actor Rupert Everett, who starred opposite Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding will be speaking frankly about his homosexuality on American television tonight. He tells the lisping TV harpie Barbara Walters that "I figure that it's better to tell them ... you're not forced to be in a defensive position when they find out about it."

Pandora couldn't agree more, although perhaps a bit more reticence would have been wise before Rupert described his dream film project. He wants to play a gay James Bond and has already written the script. Although the traditional glamorous Bond girls would appear, says Rupert, "I end up with Dennis Rodman." Shaken or stirred, this sounds like a rather potent recipe for box-office disaster.