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Are UNIFIL Forces Safe in the Mideast?

Here’s some information I found interesting:

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says Israel deliberately targeted the UNIFIL members who were killed in a strike on Tuesday. Everyone is reporting the deaths, but not how deadly this UNIFIL mission has always been. UNIFIL facts and figures show 257 fatalities since the force went into southern Lebanon in 1978. In fact, in a U.N. status report UNIFIL implores the Lebanese government to better protect the personnel. With a mission as dangerous as this one, is it surprising that few countries are offering personnel for a new international mission?

Further, since there is clearly nothing the UNIFIL force can possibly do now during this military conflict, why aren’t the forces being withdrawn for their own safety? Keep in mind, the Israelis are apprehensive of UNIFIL and the U.N. in general. Several years ago UNIFIL forces actually videotaped members of Hezbollah kidnapping several Israeli soldiers. U.N. peacekeeping chief, Undersecretary-General Jean Marie Guehenno, denied the existence of the videotape, but was forced to apologize when the evidence surfaced.

Here is the crime news. In Boardman, Ohio, 28-year-old Joseph Colella is charged with gross sexual imposition. He allegedly went to the library, told a woman he was working on a sociology project and asked to kiss her toes. When she refused, he reportedly crawled under the table and kissed and sucked a toe. She claims that when he asked for her reaction she told him she was freaked out! If convicted, he faces a year and a half in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Have a wonderful and safe day. See you on “FOX & Friends” tomorrow!

E.D.

Now for the other side of the pond — check out Neil Sean's celebrity news report:

— What a week! I caught up with singing diva Janet Jackson who was in town this week to promote her comeback album. Thing is, all we cared about in the office was how she lost all that weight! Funny thing is she had her “people” arrive at the studios two hours in advance to make sure that she had her own water in the fridge, see what view she would be looking at and check out the studio to make sure that all was set for a P.R. return. I have to point out at this stage that it was a radio studio. Still when she arrived she was swell and had a good spirit. She seemed less than keen to talk about her marriage. Her family was off-limits, but what else could be talked about? She confessed the food that she loves to eat and, while she loves been healthy and slim, she hates all the hard work that goes with it.

Janet also let slip that she wants a crack at stage musical too: “I need to develop as an actress and that is simply the best way.” Taut skin, great fun and a smashing album. She is normal and a great girl, which is a miracle when you think about from where she came.

— Had a lunchtime drink with Oscar-winning star Gwyneth Paltrow this week as she filmed a new ad in the exclusive area of Mayfair. Mrs. Chris Martin was making the ad for charity clothing store Bean Pole. The still-stunning star arrived with baby Moses and was keen to keep the nanny out of the picture (remember she blasted working mums who leave their kids alone). She was nicer than nice, told me of her forthcoming roles and basked in the hottest day of the year while she was dressed in full tweed coat and full-length dress.

She did reveal though that she has “relaxed” her diet now and is not so obsessed about what she is eats: “I simply don’t have the time. I have two children.” She let slip that she will be having a night off getting on down to Madonna, who is in concert this coming week in London. “I work out to 'Hung Up.' She is amazing truly and her energy leaves me breathless.”

— One-time teen idol George Michael has sent his career into meltdown again after being caught with a man in the notorious gay cruising area near Hampstead. Poor George was planning to marry his boyfriend — à la Elton John — later this year but now it’s all over. Kenny Goss, the partner, told me, “We’re working through these problems.” It’s come at a bad time though as George has a sold-out tour and new album on the way. But fans so far seem to be sticking by him. George told me earlier this year that he hoped to release again in the U.S. despite being a laughing stock after been caught in Hollywood years ago. “I still have my U.S. home and love the lifestyle. It’s always been a dream to return.” George now has pulled out of planned P.R. stuff for the album but I will keep you posted on the latest as it breaks.

— Remember '90s boy band “New Kids on the Block?” Well, Danny Wood, the hunk who stood at the back, is starring in a new U.K.-based reality TV show called “Boy Band” for MTV. “I thought the idea looked cool and, to be honest, I missed being in the limelight after the band split. We had hoped to get back together at some point but it never happened.”

The idea for the show is that stars of yester-year get together to make a new boy band and release a single. But honest Danny, who co-stars with other U.K. boy band members told me, “I have never heard of these guys, but they all seem friendly so I am keeping my fingers crossed it all works out well.”

— Over at Sky News we have been gripped by the events of war and you may have seen our team out in the thick of it. However, one man out there, reporter Colin Brazier, found the time to check out this site on the epic E.D. Hill page and told me, “It’s great, informative, and I trust you Neil to keep the gossip flowing.” I promised I would pass it all onto E.D.

— The new Jane Fonda ads for L’Oreal in which she claims that her 68-years-old skin was in great condition — but never mentions the face lift — has not gone down well here in the U.K. The company defends her, saying she is an icon of our times and that the lure of the ad is not about any surgery she may have had. Fergie too has been blasted with the same words after looking refreshed in new pictures. Also, Camilla Windsor is in the press due to the fact she costs a lot of money security-wise. The press has gone nuts over the high costs of policing at her homes even though she is not in residence. As one firm royalist I can’t see the fuss. She is far more effective at tourism than Tony Blair.

— Ex “Sex & the City” star Kim Cattrell had drinks with me at the Savoy Hotel last week and is furious at been dumped from a new car deal ad for being “too sexy.” She purrs over the soundtrack for the Japanese ad that “its big and roomy” just like her character in “Sex & The City.” Kim told me, “It’s what they booked and I am shocked!” Now she is gearing up for another return to the West End stage after being dumped from a planned Sir Elton John sitcom that never got past the idea stage.

— Are things not going to plan for David Hasslehoff and the great Simon Cowell? We have reports that David is unhappy with his role in the new show “America’s Got Talent.” Simon Cowell told me, “It’s all P.R. It would seem that Piers Morgan is the star of the show and David likes to be the star, too. He will be back for the second series though.” Not according to The Hoff…

— I caught up with Colin Farrell for his movie premiere of “Miami Vice.” Colin needs to work on that cigarette habit. He smoked throughout the meeting and stinks of nicotine. Even the girls thought it was a shame that this good looking man smoked so much. Colin is nothing but a cookie and said some great things — sadly, too rude for this family report.

— Finally, Paris Hilton calls on the phone to tell me she did in fact have a romance with James Blunt. He denies it, but she claims that they dated once or twice after the Brit awards here in the U.K. Now, I am not one to gossip but let’s just remind ourselves that Paris has a new single out in the U.K. and no one — and I mean no one — is interested in it at all. So why not attach yourself to the U.K.’s hottest male star? As Paris sings, “Stars Are Blind.” They are, dear, but not stupid!

Until next week,
Neil

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