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NEWS LITE : NAMES IN THE NEWS WHITE HOUSE TRULY IN HOT WATER NOW.

There are already long lines for White House tours. Will the public now queue up for a turn in the White House hot tub?

``It's a gift to the people of the United States because the people of the United States own this,'' White House spokesman Mike McCurry said Friday.

The $8,000 seven-seater was selected by President Clinton and installed near the White House swimming pool on the West Lawn in March. It was a gift, via the National Park Service, from Watkins Manufacturing, a California company.

Why the party-size tub?

The president, his wife and daughter don't need all seven seats, McCurry admitted. ``But we don't rule out the prospect that sometime in the near future, there will be larger families that occupy the White House. Let's see - how many children does Al Gore have?''

Director Lucas falls for Italian palazzo

Director George Lucas might be known for his futuristic ``Star Wars'' scenes, but when it comes to picking a dream house for himself, he likes the past.

Lucas came to Caserta, Italy, 20 miles north of Naples, to use the Royal Palace as a backdrop for the opening scene of a new film in the ``Star Wars'' series.

Lucas' fourth film in the series tells the story of the childhood of Anakin Skywalker, father of Luke Skywalker, before he turns to his dark side and becomes Darth Vader.

The palace, known as the Versailles of Naples for its splendor, was built by Bourbon ruler Charles III in the 18th century.

Asked Friday by RAI, Italian state TV, what kind of place Lucas would like to live in, the director indicated the palace - with its sumptuous entrance staircase, four courtyards, marble decorations and enchanting gardens studded with statues and fountains.

``It's like being in paradise,'' he said.

Queen's his grammy, but he uses shammy

To paraphrase Rose Royce, ``He might not ever get rich, but lemme tell you it's better than diggin' a ditch.'' Yes, the British royal family is teaching its future king how to connect with the unwashed masses by washing cars.

Prince William, 15, is picking up a bit of spare change by hosing down vehicles at Kensington Palace. He earns a bit over $8 a wash. According to the prince, his mum, Princess Di, was first to hire him to do the job. Staff members followed, an observer said, realizing ``it's not everyone who can say they had their car washed by the future king.''

Whitney says hubby didn't slash her face

Whitney Houston, back in the States from a tour of the isle of Capri, where she was stitched up after a nasty facial gash, said she did get it aboard the yacht as a crew member said - but that it's not what you think.

``I feel like a klutz,'' said the singer. Her publicist explained that she, hubby Bobby Brown, her brother and his wife were ``having lunch on the ship and she slipped in the dining room.''

OFFBEAT

Mining town's politics gone to the dogs

The mayor offers everything the historic mining town of Guffey, Colo., wants in a leader: She listens, doesn't talk back and she demurs to her advisers.

Yes, it seems that Shanda, a golden retriever, has collared political popularity.

Shanda has been top dog of this 35-person community 74 miles southwest of Denver since 1993. She gained new fame this month after appearing on the ``Oprah Winfrey Show,'' allowing owner Bruce Buffington to interpret.

When outsiders ask residents why a dog is mayor, the answer inevitably is, ``Why not?'' The other answer is, ``Because the cat left.''

Paisley the cat, the first mayor, was elected in 1988 to get the county's attention in a plea for a new road. After her death of natural causes, residents elected two more cats: Smudge le Plume, whose death was blamed on an owl, and Whiffey le Gone, who moved to a ranch.

Shanda followed in the cats' paw prints after Buffington bought the General Store, the mayor's official quarters.

``She really does listen to you, unlike real politicians who only act like they listen,'' her owner said.

Cousteau son starts

institute

Jean-Michel Cousteau, eldest son of the late ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, announced the launch of a new institute aimed at halting marine devastation worldwide.

``Pollution, coastal development and overfishing are destroying the diversity of marine life at an alarming rate,'' Cousteau said Friday. ``We are poisoning our planet's very lifeblood.''

Cousteau's father, who died last month in Paris at age 87, was known throughout the world for his popular television series ``The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.''

``My father taught us how to understand and appreciate marine life. We have learned well. Now we must act to protect what we have learned to love,'' Cousteau said.

The Jean-Michel Cousteau Institute, based in Santa Barbara, will serve as an environmental organization comprising partnerships between those interested in mobilizing public action and developing solutions to ecological challenges, Cousteau said.

Cousteau, himself an ocean explorer, urged all parties interested to contact the institute, a nonprofit corporation funded by donations, grants and contracts.

``Humanity has run out of time,'' Cousteau said. ``Cooperation must replace confrontation if we are to provide future generations with a fighting chance for survival.''

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

Photo: (1) LUCAS

(2) Fragrant but funny, he's no dim bulb

Gerry Foisy, decked out in the Mr. Garlic costume he has worn to the Gilroy Garlic Festival for nine years, jokes with Earl Kinney of Red Bluff, Calif., and Gayle Chase of Las Vegas.

Associated Press
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 27, 1997
Words:926
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