15 September 2011

DSK/DESK:

There must be something about a desk that sexually excites some men; they just feel the urge there and then rather than wait, say, for a comfortable bed in a discreet room. The mother of a French young woman who is suing Dominique Strauss-Kahn in French courts on rape charges (which he vehemently denied) said that she herself (a fellow "socialist") had had a consensual sexual encounter pointing out that she was turned off by a dominating crude desire to take rather than give. That, of course, is their affair. It reportedly happened at the offices of OECD (French for the Organization of European Economic and Social Development). Several other claims also mentioned office encounters in France and elsewhere, including the case of the IMF women whom he would urgently call to discuss "Ghanian matters."

ULKUMEN'S DESK:

Desks, however, are not limited to DSK. A famous U.N. case in the early nineties involved a Geneva protocol official, a thuggish character by the name of Ulkumen who (in addition to offering Omega watches to certain officials) was reported by U.N. Security at the Palais des Nations to being found taking "sexual positions" with a female secretary on (or around) his office desk. Why the rush when he could have gone to any of Geneva's available hotels remained a mystery. A couple of years later, the women involved protested against sexual harassment. Anyway, emboldened by a mere slap on the wrist, the fellow (whose wife, by the way, was a wonderfully gracious lady), demanded a promotion and almost got it were it not for a bold decision to block it by the best Personnel Chief the U.N. had -- Kofi Annan. What happened later, years later, is another story.

FOUR "C"S:

Newly-appointed Executive Director of IMF Christine Lagarde endured the 100 degree New York heat end July to advocate her approach to an enthusiastic audience of retired and aspiring diplomats at the Council on Foreign Relations on Park Avenue and 68th Street. She mentioned four "C"s: "credible, comprehensive, client-focused, and connections (within and among countries)." There was a fifth "C" which was not mentioned, though impressively seen and heard: "Christine."

QATAR'S NEW PERM REP:

A new Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations, Sheikh Meshal Hamad Mohamed Jabr Al-Thani presented his credentials to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 2 August. Before that, he had served seven years at the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Brussels, Belgium, where he has served as Ambassador since 2007. Since beginning his diplomatic career in 1997, Sheikh Meshal has worked for the Department of European and American Affairs, a branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar (1997-1998) and the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations (1998-2000). He also worked at Qatar's Embassy to the United States in Washington, D.C. (2000-2004). Also, since 1997, he received a Master of Arts degree in international relations from American University, in 2004, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from Huron University USA in London, in 1996. He is fluent in Arabic and English. Born in Qatar on 7 September 1975, Sheikh Meshal is married with three children.

DEJA VOUX:

Those with institutional memory were perplexed when it was announced that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Albanian official Enver Hoxha. For decades, the same name was linked with the most closed Communist region in the world where "Hoxha" ruled with not a whisper of dissent permitted. Now, his namesake is the "foreign minister" of Kosovo, officially described by the U.N. as "representing the Kosovo authorities." We assume he is more open-minded than his former namesake in Tirana.

PAUSE:

"Stability is a very relative term."
-- A New York Times sub-title

YOUR "ENVOY":

There is no running away from the pushy Angelina Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt. Non-stop bragging about being "U.N. Envoy." Her presumed help of refugees around the world sounds like hot air as clearly demonstrated by her spending most time in fashionable spots, parading her colourful adopted kids instead of being in Africa, for example, where about 12 million people were threatened with starvation, according to latest U.N. figures. In her persistent public relations campaign, she was offered an award at Sarajevo Film Festival end July for "highlighting the plight of refugees." Angelina's award was named "The Heart of Sarajevo." Pitt's pompous appearance earned him a different award entitled: "The Fart of Sarajevo."

CELSO'S RETURN:

One of the most effective Permanent Representatives at the U.N. at a certain period, Celso Amorim, became Brazil's Minister of Foreign Affairs throughout the years of President Lula. While he was not part of a new cabinet under the new Presidency, Amorim, who was a vital member of a once influential "coffee club" at U.N. Headquarters, has just returned to his country's government as its new Minister of Defense.

HUMA:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will certainly miss the outstanding talented service of her closest aide Huma Abedin. Whether as New York Congresswoman or candidate for President or Secretary of State, the former First Lady found in Huma, who came from a Pakistani-Saudi-American background, a loyal, dependable, and gracious work companion. Regrettably, the embarrassing affairs of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who had to resign, caused Huma, who had married him a year earlier, to take time off from her political activity in order to sort out her own life. It is indeed a pity that such a decent and considerate person had to be subjected to such a humiliating experience inflicted by an inconsiderate foolish husband, particularly when she is expecting a baby. May God grant her the strength and patience to endure undeserved pain.

ALL CLAIRE:

There are so many Claires but we don't seem to locate the one we're looking for. Where's Claire Kane? Those who worked with Secretary Generals de Ceullar, Boutros-Ghali, and initially (very initially) with Annan, will recall the effective pleasant British woman who mostly handled appointments. She then moved to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Emergency Relief, and left on a mission to Sudan. We haven't heard her news since. Hope all is well.

PAUSE:

"If I am to speak for ten minutes, I need a week of preparation; if 15 minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I'm ready now."
-- U.S. President Woodrow Wilson

JESSICA'S PROGRESS:

Press Officer and novelist Jessica Jiji, who is now working at the Secretary General's office, always managed to combine her professional talent with a warm human touch. As part of the speechwriting team, she gives her best effort to serve the Secretary General discreetly and effectively, without show or pretense. She has earned the respect and affection of her colleagues at the top office. Her friends who checked her whereabouts during the slow (and hot) month of August discovered that she was travelling with Ban Ki-moon to Japan and Korea. A welcome choice.

EFFENDIM:

As millions of Arabs, especially Egyptians, watched the opening of former President Hosni Mubarak's first appearance in court, his response to the judge's call: "Present, Effendim" became a cellphone sound. Effendim is a popular term, inherited from Turkish, in addressing an official. It is recalled that when Dr. Boutros-Ghali was Secretary-General, U.S. Under-Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger sought to address him in what he had been told would be a flattering Egyptian way. Upon being addressed as "Effendi," BBG, whose grandfather (a Prime Minister) and family were royally titled, responded with his wry smile: "Regarding titles, Effendum, I am a Pasha."

BUSSES TOO:

The Crosstown Bus that started and ended near the Secretariat entrance on 42nd Street and First Avenue, has just been cancelled. No more stops at the U.N. As of 3 July, the bus started shifting on 2nd Avenue from 50th Street to 48th Street on to First Avenue then 49th Street crosstown. Perhaps it's the dispersal of the staff around Manhattan that depleted the passengers or a synchronized move to accompany the reconstruction process. But those living around the U.N. neighbourhood who also have used that route for years felt a sense of loss of something that was part of their daily life. At least the First Avenue bus still stops there. So does the 42nd Street bus if you ran quick enough to catch it between 1st and 2nd. It isn't just a loss for bus riders but an indication of changing times.

HERR TODAY:

Those who knew Maher Nasser in his meek days are astonished at his newly acquired arrogance not only towards his staff but also others who had wished him well. Apparently, he behaves as if he personally owns the Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information, presenting public information to certain addresses while feigning over those whom he believes are important for his (futile) advancement. Some colleagues are now recalling earlier symptoms, like complaints by staff when he was director of UNIC Cairo and his dismissive remarks about "You Egyptians." As if to add personal appearance to a newly acquired bully image, "Herr Maher" has shaved his head to a zero circle. He sulks on the spot as if to give the impression that he has lasting power. "Herr" today; gone tomorrow!

CARLOS TIMES:

News that billionaire Carlos Slim had ownership designs on the New York Times turned out to be exaggerated. The $250 million that the Sulzberger family, real owners of the Gray Lady, borrowed from the Mexican-Lebanese tycoon was returned to him on 15 August, about half a year before its due time. Either the Times is doing very well, or Don Carlos wanted to clear the deck for other ventures. Either way, everyone is happy -- except, perhaps, Rupert Murdoch.

"GOODWILL" ENVOYS:

A one hour show at Abu Dhabi about "U.N. Goodwill Envoy" displayed total ignorance of what the project was initiated for, and a wide disappointment at the performance of those envoys from the Arab region. The moderator, Fadila Souissi, a straightforward Tunisian interviewer, gave ample opportunity to a skeptical reporter, an intellectual analyst, and one of those envoys to express their views. The envoy, a Tunisian singer mostly unknown outside his country who bragged about his services to humanity, went off on poetic exhibitions irrelevant to the issue; he bored and bothered everyone else, including his amenable compatriot, by ramblings on politics, poetry and his own identity. Briefly, it was obvious that a very useful U.N. venture had already gone out of control with no one in the U.N. system willing or capable to reign it in.

INSIDE AL-JAZEERA:

One of the six women who resigned from Al-Jazeera TV last year. Lina Zahriddin, published a book about her experience, particularly harassment by some male executives about her manner of presentation and her dress code. More substantively, she pointed out in a press conference in Beirut launching the book that the Doha-based station is now mainly using Youtube and unsubstantiated cellphone photos to suit its political objectives while for years it had refused that approach, insisting -- in the past -- on substantiated coverage by its own reporters or by documented facts. She felt that her former TV station has lost its professional credibility through its recent politicized coverage. Ms. Zahriddin, an attractive and capable announcer, was born in South Lebanon.

GOOD RHYTHM:

The national day of Venezuela in July of this year turned out to be its bicentennial. Guests were treated to a three row orchestra conducted by the great Oscar de Leon. While most diplomats exchanged greetings and good wishes, gorgeous Latinas were not inhibited in displaying their rhythmic talent with or without dancing partners. They've got rhythm and the aura to flaunt it. Kudos to them.

PAUSE:

"Older age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long."

TITICACA:

It's a lake between Bolivia and Peru. High up in the Andes, the highest used lake in the world. Over half a million people on both sides make their living from it. Like everywhere in these climate change times, fishermen and farmers nearby are worried about pollution. Once blue water is turning "dark, gelatinous and full of oxide residues," according to Bolivian laboratories. Peruvian studies similarly detected fecal waste with a high presence of the E. coli bacterium. A report quoted residents as saying that the decline in fish stocks has been dramatic. Yet, nothing is heard from U.N. bodies directly concerned. Perhaps they are very busy, preparing for another conference in Bali.

PLANKING:

It's a new fad. Characters, including a great number of male and female celebrities, take photos of their form while laying face down then upload it on the Internet. Facebook, Twitter, and other electronic media accomodated fervant displays of "bottoms up." Some claimed it dated back to slavery days when transported victims were tied upside down in ships. Others claimed it actually originated in New Zealand. Whatever. Wherever. While some produced impressive results, most plankers, especially men, looked pathetic. Why insist on looking ridiculous is a chronic celebrity puzzle.

DE MESS

Don't worry about Afghanistan. Disregard whatever you read in the newspapers, watch on TV, or glean through the interest about fighting, engulfing Pakistan beyond Afghanistan, or clashes between various regions. Don't believe reports emanating from Kandahar about Taliban practical takeover or total lawlessness in Helmand. Forget about a reported attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in the centre of the capital Kabul. The Security Council was briefed early July by U.N. "Special Represenatives" Steffan Demistura, former Greeting Cards Meeter/Greeter (who became infamous for arranging the recruitment of Annan's Chef de Cabinet Riza's son to get a self-promotion). It was days after the audacious Kabul attack by Taliban. Yet "De Mess" assured members that the "transition was on track" according to an official communique, adding that "the process must not be just about security but it shoudl be tied to social, economic and human rights aspects." How original!

TREE MAGIC:

A Libyan insider who recently sought refuge in Europe mentioned to friends in Vienna that Colonel Qaddafi has resorted to using special sorcerers as part of his assault team. Magicians imported from Mauritania devised a lethal plan called "cutting trees." They would write the name of a prominent rebel leader on a tree, then cut it. Eventually, the individual will fall. But, as Abdul Ilah, the Nowhere Envoy, would attest, there is still a lot of time to find out.

CHOI'S CHOICE:

Perfume. Elegant perfume. The same as that selected by Kathy, Duchess of Cambridge, for her wedding to Prince William. French Blossom, created by a British firm, has a refreshing safe yet inviting aroma. The young Korean woman seemed so thrilled. Someone should tell her she looks gorgeous when she smiles. Knowing how busy she would be with her constantly ringing cellphone, we did some homework for her. If she wishes to complete the Katie look, she would need to get a handbag from Jimmy Choo's ("Ubai of Glitter") enhanced by "Vamp Platform" sandals. Forget about the Republic.

WADA YADA:

France's President initiated his administration with three predominant women: Rachida Dati, daughter of a North African emigrant who became Minister of Justice; Rama Yada of Senegalese descent who also was given a prominent cabinet post; and Cecelia, Madame Sarkozy at the time. Ms. Dati is now somewhere between Brussels and a mayoral attempt in a Parisian suburb; Ms. Yada was placed as France's Representative to UNESCO, and Cecelia married her P.R. boyfriend in New York. Once upon a time, Ms. Yada had such an impact that during an official visit to Senegal, the President of France addressed his host, President Wada, as President Yada. In June, Ms. Yada left her post to UNESCO in order to support a candidate running against her former boss in th presidential elections, The only woman around Mr. Sarkozy now is his current wife, Carla, who, according to Parisian whispers, is pregnant!

NO STANDING:

On a slow slow New York July day, a peacock, apparently fed up with the heat at the New York Zoo, flew across Fifth Avenue to a third floor window on 65th Street. Crosstown and downtown traffic halted. Neighbourhood residents and passersby assembled. The bird did not seem bothered with supporters urging it to fly further away or detractors yelling at it to retrun to its shed. An expert announced that peacocks didn't like noise. With more honking, it flew two floors higher. Then, as usual, New Yorkers went about their business. Busses passed by normally. No more attention except by some media photographers who eventually got enough of the one and only pause by the moody bird. The following morning, just before rush hour, the peacock flew back across the street, casually joining the others in its reserve. A photo taken from the window still showed the peacock just on top of a street sign that read: "No Standing."

NETAN-YAHOO:

Protesters marching during August in Israel drew lively comments from Egyptian youth who had excelled in using Facebook and Twitter to overturn the regime. In addition to suggesting technical help -- like carrying wet towels in case of gas bullets -- there were jokes about whether the Israelis were ready for Democracy, in reference to a statement by Ehud Barak after meeting outgoing Egyptian Intelligence Chief that Egyptians may not be ready yet for Democracy. There were sarcastic suggestions of involvement by Kentucky Fried Chicken. Col. Saunders also is referenced in a claim by Mubarak's regime that protest leaders were buying off demonstrators in Tahrir Square by offering them chicken meals. As most of the youth leaders were Internet experts, they started referring to Israeli's Prime Minister as Neten Yahoo.

CHAIRMAN TOMMO:

Any practical diplomat will tell you that the most crucial General Assembly subsidiary is what is known as the Fifth Committee. It deals with Budgetary and Financial matters. Neither the U.N. Secretariat nor its Peacekeeping, Political, Public Information or Economic and Social work could be accomplished without its approval. Its new Chairman, elected in July, is one of the most experienced and informed practitioners. Long before his appointment three years ago as Permanent Represenative of Cameroon to the U.N., Michel Tommo Monthe had cut his teeth in Budgetary and Financial and Managerial issues since his earlier days as a member of that mission. In the mid-Eighties he was a pillar of ACABQ (Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions) that scans all budgetary submissions before clearing them to the wider scrutiny. Besides a discreet approach and alert inspection of issues, Ambassador Tommo is one of the most informed diplomats in the current circle of those accredited to the U.N. His election as Chairman of the Fifth Committee will certainly raise its bar of evaluation and regain some -- if not all -- of its prestigious impact.

CONSULTANTS:

-- From the New Yorker

FAKE APPEAL:

A case of email address piracy of a popular female colleague who also happens to be the wife of the current Ambassador of Cameroon to the U.N. in New York. A number of their mutual friends received an "urgent besoin d'aide" claiming to be sent by Therese Tommo from Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire and requesting sending money because she had lost her purse. The fake appeal in French states:

"j'espere que tu vas bien car moi je suis presentement a ABIDJAN mais je t'ecris ce mail non seulement pour prendre de tes mouvelles et solliciter de ton aide car je suis presentement dans un probleme urgene je me suis fait voler ma valise a l'aeroport j'avais dans la valise l'enveloppe contenant l'argent de mon sejour ainsi que mon telephone portable et mes papiers que j'avais range dans une poche de la valise et voila que le malheur m'arrive je me retrouve sans liquidite. Alors une agence des service de Douane Ivoirienne a voulu bien me venir en aide elle me garde en ce moment chez elle je viens par la suite te demande ton aide en m'envoyant de l'argent en mon nom a cette adresse que je te donne. j'aimerais te demander de bien vouloir me faire parvenir la somme de 500 euros par Western Union en mon Nom/Tommo/Prenom/Therese Adresse: PAYS: Cote d'ivoire / VILLE: Abidjan Et si tu fait le mandat envoie les references par email dans ma boite. Mais surtout ne t'inquiete pas une fois rentre je te rembourserai. Merci d'avance et que Dieu te benisse passe une bonne et agreable journee."

After the scam was swiftly exposed by Michel and Therese Tommo, her email address had to be changed.

JOY'S ADDRESS TOO

Apropos email larceny, another colleague, Joyce Sulahian, also had to change her email address for a similar reason. Her friend, who had received a fake appeal, was swiftly communicated with by the alert Joyce, who lives in Florida and occasionally still does interim U.N. work during the General Assembly session. A former staffer of General Assembly affairs, she regularly communicated with colleagues and was able to discover the scam right away.

SIGHTINGS:

A distinguished diplomat in a seafood restaurant asking outloud for the table that had been occupied by Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his daughter during lunch after the infamous event with the hotel room maid...Gorgeous actress singer Jennifer Lopez in a New York outdoor space in Lincoln Centre area one July evening with (then) husband and fellow Puerto Rican crooner Mark Anthony; no holding hands; no "touchy feely" show of affection; grapevine whispers that she was fed up with his jealously fits were confirmed later with the announcement of their divorce...TV diva Christina Amanpour and her husband James Rubin, former member of U.S. mission during Mrs. Albright's tenure, hanging around a corner French takeout "epicerie" at Broadway and 64th...A dozen Asian-looking young men and women enduring New York's scorching July sun holding an umbrella while marching in a one-on-one line towards the U.N. building.

TOUGH:

-- From Private Eye

ANALYZE THIS:

"In 1952, we had a coup that turned into a revolution. This time we seem to have a revolution that turned into a coup."
-- Posted by As'ad Abu Khalil at Angry Arab blogspot

ONE MORE THING:

A shabby looking private detective habitually looked like a total loser until toward the end he would pounce with simple utterance: "One more thing," he would interject, mentioning the crucial evidence that would land his initially shrewd criminal to a doomed cell. That was Peter Falk in a television series, Colombo, which fascinated New Yorkers in the eighties. Its success surprised the veteran actor who had thought he'd be doing only one or two episodes. His unassuming style and worn-out raincoat became an imitated trademark. Peter Falk passed away end June in his favourite city.

DAN SINGH:

Those who love New York in summer count the joyous free events at Lincoln Centre, South Street Seaport, Central Park, Columbus Circle's expanded fountain, and the Staten Island Ferry as welcome examples. Outdoor cafes have become a popular newcomer to the open air scene, particularly across from Lincoln Centre where at least five varied food restaurants have been mostly crowded -- in addition to a couple of counter refreshment shops and a movie house showing a selection of foreign movies. One breezy mid-August evening someone from the U.N. thought he spotted the Security Council chairman, Ambassador Singh of India, dancing joyfully at Damrosh Park, beyond the circular fountain. Upon double-checking, it turned out to be another -- yet similarly friendly -- man who introduced himself as Dan.

ENVOY TO JERSEY:

In addition to his obvious diplomatic talents, Prince Zeid, who returned as Jordan's Permanent Representative after four years in Washington, D.C., is known for his effusive politeness (His Highness usually addresses you as "Sir") and his understated sense of humour. Within weeks of his re-assignment to New York, he appeared on Jon Stewart's popular satirical political show. The announced purpose was to promote a new book by a most distinguished member of the Royal family, none other than King Abdullah II. After a valiant effort to exhort the usefulness of the book and the leadership qualities of its author, His Highness paused for impact. Asked tongue-in-cheek by Stewart what would happen if he didn't do his best to draw attention to His Majesty's literary work, Prince Zeid smiled modestly as he explained he could then prepare himself to become a special envoy to the state of New Jersey.

PIZZA CONTENDER:

Now that the field of contenders for the French Socialist Presidential candidate is wide open, a number of politicians are offering their services, including Francois Hollande, known to have the charisma of a freight train. In a recent "photo opportunity," he tried to display his populist credentials by driving a motorcycle. Unfortunately, with his cranky demeanor he looked more like a pizza delivery man than a Socialist activist.

BLAND BLIND:

To Shaaben Shaaben Abdallah Abdallah, add Muhammad Muhammad. Case of the bland leading the blind. Only the last one lasted less than a year. He was brought in from Buffalo, New York to become Prime Minister of Somalia, no less. His recruiter -- whoever that may mean -- may have decided that speaking understandable English was good enough to run a wild, destitute and conflicting country. The U.N. Special Envoy immediately agreed. That's why the Envoy got the job; to immediately agree. Muhammad, apparently a decent straightforward fellow, with no real political experience or party following, realized upon arrival that matters were more complicated, and definitely more risky than he had thought. Meanwhile, he was treated by accomodating U.N. and their officials dealing with Somali affairs as the next best hope for democracy as we know it. A perceptive survivor, Muhammad Muhammad slipped back to New York state to resume his safer job at the Transportation Department of the city of Buffalo. He has a one room office -- instead of a guarded palace and a window he can actually open.

IN MEMORIUM: HARRI HOLKERI:

The former Prime Minister of Finland, Harri Holkeri, was elected President of the U.N. General Assembly at the crucial year of 2000, the beginning of a new Millenium, the launching of Millenium Development Goals. He was later appointed U.N. Special Representative for Kosovo where he made a valiant -- almost successful -- effort to bridge the gap between ethnic Albanians and other components of the Former Yugoslavia. Earlier he played a pivotal role as a member of three international statesmen selected jointly by the British and Irish governments to work on the power-sharing Belfast agreement. Mr. Holkeri was born in 1937 in Oripaa, Finland, and earned a Master's degree from Helsinki University before charting his political career. May his soul rest in peace.

"WHITENED":

Hurried politicians often have no sense or sensibility. French Socialist Party Chief Martine Aubry, whose father Jacques Delors was an outstanding European leader, was trying to defend her evasive position regarding the accusations in New York about her colleague and friend Dominique Strauss-Kahn. On a popular TV show, questioned by young females angry at her statements, she responded by saying that now DSK was "whitened" -- using the French term "blanchi" meaning perhaps cleared by N.Y. Attorney General. The contender for France's presidency on behalf of liberals, Socialists and down-trodden minorities did not realize that she was making an obvious political error, particularly that DSK's accuser was a black working woman from Africa. Incidentally, after retiring to France, as DSK's future was being contemplated, a spokesman suggested -- rightly -- that he needed time with his friends and family, "to rediscover France and to reconstruct himself." As to the future, he "will be useful to his country, useful to the left" (or what's left of it). His "recognized skills will find a new use"! Why not -- as long as he keeps his hands to himself. Incidentally, there are at least two black jokes making the rounds in Paris. One is that Nafissatou Diallo may wish to join the French Socialist Party, now that she managed to reshape its leadership. The other is that DSK, in recognition of his wife's steadfast support in this incident, has pledged never again...to set foot in a Sofitel Hotel.

IL MARCHE:

While the world media was devoting its main headlines to the sudden fall of Tripoli and the whereabouts of Qaddafi on August 23, French main television station TFI not only led its main news bulletin with the release of Dominique Strauss-Kahn but it devoted hours to repeating the same photos of DSK hearing the court's sentence surrounded by his lawyers, escorted by his wife, and meeting with the press. Between 8pm to 11pm, three hours, it was the same story, same sources. A suppposedly ace reporter who had been dispatched from Paris was brought in to repeat with a dazzled demeanor the same story. The same reporter had gone to great lengths to describe every DSK move since his incident. There was a point during the initial hearing when the visiting media "vedette" -- a knowingly grinning man -- had nothing else to describe except what was very obviously seen by the viewer. At a certain point, he was thrilled to announce that DSK had stepped out of the car and was actually walking. "Il Marche," he yelled triumphantly, "Il marche!"

LOYAL ROYAL:

King Carl Gustav of Sweden maintained in August a tradition visit by a member of the Royal family to the small elegant French Riviera town of Saint-Maxime. A boutique house bought by his uncle, the late Prince Bertil in 1950, is well kept and upgraded in a neighbourhood that now carries his name. It lies right on the water and the King, together with Queen Silvia, took the marooned boat in daily trips between nearby St. Tropez and St. Raphael -- with a special outing on All Saints Day. The town residents respect the privacy of their distinguished visitor and particularly value his royal loyalty; they reciprocate almost as if they were amongst his loyal subjects.

PAUSE:

"I'm liberal. You, you aristocrat
Won't know exactly what I mean by that
I mean so altruistically moral
I never take my own side in a quarrel."
-- Robert Frost

HIS EXCELLENCY:

His Excellency never arrived at a bridge he did not wish to double-cross.

OLIVE CHAIR:

Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas will be bringing with him to New York a chair made out of Olive trees from Ramallah, Jerusalem, Nablus and Jenin as he presents his case for a Palestinian Statehood. Although it is not yet definite whether he'll approach the Security Council first or go to the General Assembly, he is certain to offer that olive chair to Secretary General Ban upon arrival 20 September. It is shaped like members chairs at the U.N.General Assembly, with a blue leather seat. Palestinian delegations visiting several countries to promote statehood will be handing over similar symbolic chairs. Palestinian territory has been blessed thoughout history with Olive trees, symbols of peace.