18/2/2003 -

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says Ireland made a significant contribution to the shaping of the Agreement reached by the European Union on Iraq.

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French President Jacques Chirac’s biting attack on eastern European countries backing the Anglo-American position on Iraq today threatened to undermine an EU summit seeking broader unity.
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England prop Phil Vickery is to have his back injury re-assessed by a specialist next week in the hope he can return for the latter stages of the RBS 6 Nations.

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Magazine boss denies role in plotting to deceive court
18/02/2003 - 4:20:52 pm

A magazine executive today denied that he was involved in a plot to deceive the Court of Appeal into lifting a ban on selling the Catherine Zeta Jones wedding pictures edition of Hello!

Javier Riera had been accused by his own celebrity fixer, the Marquesa De Varela, of pressuring her into signing untrue statements about the origins of paparazzi photographs.

Mr Riera, managing director of Hello!’s Spanish counterpart, Hola!, was in the witness box at the High Court helping to defend his magazine against lawsuits totalling £2.25m (€3.35m).

Miss Zeta Jones and husband Michael Douglas have brought the action with OK! magazine which signed a £1m (€1.49m) deal with the stars for exclusive coverage of their wedding in New York in November 2000.

The Marquesa had accused Mr Riera of being the prime force behind untrue statements that she had been directly involved in buying the pictures used by Hello! to spoil OK!’s exclusive coverage.

These statements were put before the Court of Appeal which lifted injunctions won by the Douglases a few days after their wedding.

Mr Riera, through an interpreter, today told Mr Justice Lindsay that he had sent a fax to the Marquesa to sign, stating that she had agreed the final price for the pictures, because of a misunderstanding.

But he said the Marquesa did not correct the statement sent from Madrid when she saw it at her London offices.

The Marquesa also said that he never replied to any of her communications expressing her misgivings over the matter.

He explained: “It has been my preference for many years now not to answer them, as they are full of subjective interpretations, far from reality, they are normally confused and almost always offensive to someone, so that they disqualify themselves.”

Mr Riera said he believed that if the feature on the Douglas wedding had not been the subject of court proceedings, the Marquesa would not have protested about her involvement as intermediary in securing the paparazzi photographs.



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