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Monday, 7 February, 2000, 06:46 GMT
Bomb blast and hijack dominates headlines




The arrival at Stansted of the hijacked jet and the bomb blast in County Fermanagh have kept newsrooms and printing plants busy through the night.

In the early editions, the Afghan plane was in Moscow, though the The Independent and The Daily Telegraph said it might be bound for London. A single paragraph in the Sun had the plane heading for Moscow.

He's been hailed as the man who turned Euro Disney around and now, says the Daily Mail, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau arrives from the Magic Kingdom to take over the troubled Millennium Dome in Greenwich.

"Strangely," it says, "for a man credited with so much business acumen, virtually no one on either side of the English Channel had ever heard of Monsieur Gerbeau."

'Monsieur Nobody'

Beneath the headline, "Mysterious rise of Monsieur Nobody", the paper concludes that "his much-vaunted credentials for the job were heavy on hype and short on facts".

A source at Disney claims three or four people could be credited with transforming the Paris theme park, adding "he is not one of them".

The Times says it has discovered that the Frenchman, who is 34, specialised in "supervising repairs of broken rides". It says his first job will be to get a man with a screwdriver to fix the multitude of broken exhibits inside the Dome. The paper helpfully provides a list.

A Disney insider tells the Financial Times that Monsieur Gerbeau's key value to the Dome was his availability - he's been on leave studying for a business degree for the past 18 months.

The Telegraph says the new boss will be told by the Millennium Commission that he must not turn the Dome into a "Mickey Mouse operation".

The Independent says the Commission - which has provided hundreds of millions of pounds in lottery grants - will seek guarantees that the half-and-half mixture of entertainment and education will be preserved.

Extremist views

The new Austrian chancellor, Wolfgang Schussel, assures the Financial Times that he'll tame Jorg Haider, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party who has sparked widespread condemnation for his extremist views.

Mr Haider's party has joined a governing coalition. Mr Schussel says: "I am the guarantee that nothing can happen here in the cabinet against my will."

Peter Hitchens in The Express describes Mr Haider as "a pretty repellent piece of work", but says the pompous disapproval of the European Union "threatens to make him an Austrian hero".

The Mirror is among several papers to tell the story of Julia Moore, who left behind her 1954 Fiat 1100 when she and her husband returned to Britain in December after living in India for several years.

'Old banger'

She says she's pining for what she calls her "old banger" and next week she'll fly to Bangalore for a reunion before driving back to her home in Leicestershire.

The Daily Telegraph says the 10,000-mile journey "will surely be a test of Italian engineering and British doggedness".

The Daily Mail says The Flowerpot Men, last broadcast by the BBC as part of Watch With Mother almost 30 years ago, is being recreated.

The Independent says Bill and Ben will still converse in gobbledygook, but Little Weed is to be reinvented as a more assertive and feminist companion for the two boys.

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