Bill and Monica's Fast Track

Bill and Monica's Fast Track

Bill and Monica's Fast Track

What the foreign papers are saying.
Oct. 28 1998 3:30 AM

Bill and Monica's Fast Track

Bill and Monica's Fast Track

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For Tuesday and Saturday morning delivery of this column, plus "Today's Papers" (daily), "Pundit Central" (Monday morning), and "Summary Judgment" (Wednesday morning), click here. And if you missed the most recent installments of this column, here they are: posted Friday, Oct. 23, and Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The Times of London reported on its front page Monday that mere hours after being introduced to Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton was having "a sexual encounter" with her: "Those who worked in the White House were later astounded to learn the speed at which the President first had sexual contact with Monica Lewinsky." In a preview of a TV profile titled The Full Monica to be shown on Britain's Channel 5 next Sunday, the Times said she made eyes at him on the second day of the November 1995 government shutdown, when interns were given extra duties, and that they met later the same day at a staff birthday party. "At eight that evening Mr. Clinton beckoned her into a private office and asked if he could kiss her," the paper went on. "She agreed. Two hours later, he again asked her to join him, and this time she performed a sexual act."

The Times said that it was given access to material in a documentary by an award-winning British TV producer, Anthony Geffen, whose team spent months interviewing people close to Lewinsky. It quoted Dick Morris, the president's former special adviser, as saying the White House strategy in dealing with the Monica crisis was one of "deceit, denial and delay. ... The poor woman was like a ping-pong ball being battered back and forth between these two heavyweights [Clinton and Kenneth Starr], and I feel nothing but compassion for her. If she gets three million dollars, she deserves ten for what she's been through."

Morris reportedly said he doesn't believe Congress will impeach the president for lying under oath about his relationship with Monica, "but they might well impeach him if evidence comes forward from woman after woman after woman, of private detectives scurrilously, sometimes illegally, perhaps under physical intimidation, working on stopping these women from telling the truth. That could really revolt the American people as, frankly, it does me, and that might cause him more serious trouble than sex ever did."

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The Israeli press was split over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chances of getting the support of his government colleagues on the Wye agreement. The liberal Ha'aretz led its front page Monday with the headline "PM Facing Tougher Fight Than Expected." Having spoken with several ministers on the phone, Netanyahu has discovered that the opposition to the agreement is much broader than he thought it would be. The conservative Jerusalem Post, on the other hand, reported that Netanyahu was confident he could sell the agreement to his right-wing critics.

In an editorial titled "Time Out for Trust," Ha'aretz said the Israeli government "deserves, at this stage, a certain grace period to demonstrate to the world that it is capable both of meeting its commitments and [of] effectively dealing with the radical right over this highly problematic issue." For the time being, it added, "[t]he opposition would be well advised to hold off its support for elections." In an article titled "Inexcusable" in the Jerusalem Post, columnist Aaron Lerner condemned the Wye agreement as forfeiting Israel's right to determine independently whether the Palestinians are keeping their part of the bargain.

In an editorial Sunday, Le Monde of Paris said that Netanyahu's readiness to sabotage the negotiations by demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard "augurs badly for the application" of the Wye agreement. But the paper said that the progress made was "still better than the status quo, which every day seemed more and more to resemble a war in disguise."

Bangkok's Nation reported last Friday that the Thai film board has recommended that Anna and the King, a new version of The King and I starring Jodie Foster, not be filmed in Thailand because it would violate the country's lèse-majesté law. This law can result in prison sentences of up to seven years for people who commit acts injurious to the reputation of the Thai monarchy. The paper said Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox could face another controversy over its application to film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, on Phi Phi Island. "It has told the Royal Forestry Department that it would plant some 100 coconut trees on the national park island for the filming," the Nation said.

In Germany, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel revealed that unpublished films of Adolf Hitler have surfaced in the United States. It said that color films of Hitler shot by his chief pilot, Hans Baur, who buried them in a garden in Munich toward the end of World War II, were found by an American sergeant, who has kept them in his house for the past 50 years.