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by RAY FLEMING
JOKES and gifts are tricky diplomatic territory. In Brussels this week Hillary Clinton presented her Russian opposite number, Sergey Lavrov, with a red plastic button marked “peregruzka”. It was intended as a humorous reference to Vice President Joseph Biden's suggestion this year that Russia and America should “reset” their relationship. But, apparently “peregruzka” means “overcharge” not “reset”! The two foreign ministers laughed it off but one wonders how many hours of State Department time were wasted thinking up this complicated instance of “lost in translation”. Mrs Clinton had earlier had problems with her Spanish, calling the EU foreign policy chief “Solano” instead of Solana. (Perhaps Clinton was not well; on TV on Thursday she looked like a ghost.) The British press think that the Obamas' gifts to the Browns last week were a bit downmarket. Mr Brown got a set of classic American movies from the President and his wife was given a toy model of the presidential helicopter for their son from Michelle. But were the Browns' choices any better? A handmade pen holder created from the timbers of a British anti-slave ship must have seemed like a classy idea - but could anything provoking a reminder of Britain's slave trade have been the right thing to give the first black American to reach the White House? Sarah's gift was attractive clothes for the Obama children from Britain's Top Shop - but is it the done thing to give clothes to children you've never met and whose style and taste you don't know?