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Islanders, and nature, rain gifts on departing Queen

Government ministers grappled with islanders bearing gifts for Britain's Queen Elizabeth Wednesday night at the end of a royal visit to this South Sea island.

The Queen burst out laughing as Tuvalu's finance minister, staging a mock battle, tackled an islander bearing a roll of matting. It is bad manners in Tuvalu to accept a gift directly.

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The Queen braved a tropical rainstorm to be carried though the streets of Funafuti in a ceremonial gold-and-turquoise dugout canoe.

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