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Official's affairs an amusing distraction

UPI News Service, 04/09/2006 

Philippe Douste-Blazy, 53, a dapper former cardiologist appointed French foreign minister, has provided a few moments of levity to protest-weary Parisians.

The minister's most recent embarrassment involves events on New Year's Eve when he was staying with Dominique Cantien at La Mamounia, a luxury hotel in Marrakesh.

Yazid Sabeg, a French businessman, had expected to dine with Douste-Blazy and Cantien, a television producer.

"We went to collect them," said Sabeg, "but they were in the middle of a dispute."

Witnesses said hostilities erupted early in the evening and raged until 1 a.m. At one point, a scantily clad Douste-Blazy was spotted hiding in the hallway, The Sunday Times of London reported.

Le Canard EnchaƮne, a satirical but generally reliable newspaper, reported that the hotel room sustained $35,000 worth of damage.

Douste-Blazy denied the damage report and dismissed the disagreement as "a simple domestic quarrel of the kind all passionate couples go through."

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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