Malcolm Beith

Down Home With Dubya

Attention, White House press corps. Vacationing with the president can be fun. Remember Lyndon Johnson's wild parties on his ranch? Or those trips to Maine with Daddy Bush?

Neck And Neck--But Way Behind

Wim Duisenberg, head of the European Central Bank, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi may be more than 5,000 miles apart as the crow flies. But in the race for a dubious distinction, "Minister for the Destruction of the World Economy," they're neck and neck.Alan Greenspan has cut U.S. interest rates six times since January.


Gen. Michael Ryan, the U.S. Air Force chief of staff, last week stressed the need for space-based weapons to defend the 250 American satellites in space. But don't expect to see any X-Wing fighters.

God's Puppet

If God usually speaks through a medium, why shouldn't the rest of us? Doug Nearpass, an evangelical Christian and spare-time ventriloquist from New Jersey, uses his dummy, DigDag, to preach the Lord's word.

Better Halves

She soared into power in January, vowing to stamp out corruption. Now Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo faces a tough choice. Her husband, Miguel, is accused of taking bribes of $2.5 million to court his wife into influencing a major telecom deal.

You Can't Be Too Clean

We Brits still abide by the five-second rule. If food has been lying on the floor less than that, go ahead and eat it--regardless of surface conditions. Which explains the shocked faces clustered around my barbecue in Brooklyn the other day.

Change That Tune

Several Canadian women's groups want to change their national anthem. No more "true patriot love in all thy sons command," they protest. How about "all of us" or "all our hearts" instead?

Cyberscope; Do-Good Hackers

For as long as there have been computer networks, there have been hackers ready to break into them and cause trouble. So it is surprising that the biggest story to emerge from this year's Def Con hackers' convention (yes, even hackers have conventions) is that members of one of the most notorious hack collectives are doing something constructive.

Flying Right

Kevin Carlyon, the high priest of British White Witches, made the news last week when he criticized Warner Brothers after seeing a TV promo for the upcoming Harry Potter film.

Moi The Miser

Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi has a skewed take on the AIDS crisis. Last month he declared that HIV-positive Kenyans who knowingly infect others should be executed.

Party' S Over, Time To Get To Work

Beijing's bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics was a success, but the world won't stop watching now. Especially if China keeps its pledge to "give the media complete freedom"--just one of the many promises China will have to keep to stay squeaky clean.From now on, no crushing the Falun Gong or Tibetan "opposition." And no invasions of Taiwan.

Who Gets To Keep The Phone?

Mobile-phone text messaging has gotten out of hand. A storm is brewing in Malaysia after a senior Muslim cleric declared it acceptable for a husband to divorce his wife simply by sending a text message saying I DIVORCE YOU three times.

Her Personality's The Pits!

With summer (and airy blouses) finally here, deodorant-and soap makers Dove recently surveyed 1,000 British gals to see how they sport their armpit hair, sending the results to psychologist Malcolm Hatfield to determine the ladies' personality types.

Will Kim Win?

When International Olympic Committee delegates convene in Moscow next week, they face two huge decisions: whether to entrust the 2008 Games to Beijing, and even more critical, who should succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as the IOC's president.Since the Salt Lake City bribery scandal, the IOC has pushed hard for reforms.

Talking Time's Over

Negotiations with the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines have gone on long enough, with little result. Twenty hostages--including three Americans--have been abducted since May 27, though some have been released.


Television often hits politicians where it hurts. And President Fernando de la Rua of Argentina is no exception. Twice a week, a presidential impersonator stars in "Big Brother-in-Law," Argentina's TV spoof of the global reality hit "Big Brother." But now the president's men have devised a plan to make TV their friend--and to prove their boss isn't doing such a bad job.

Setting Sail Again Soon?

The U.S. Federal Reserve took another step to fight off a recession last week, slashing rates by a quarter point. This brings total cuts this year to an astounding 2.75 percent--the steepest in 19 years.

Mario Rules

Europe's top monopoly cop, (Super) Mario Monti, risks sparking a transatlantic war with his preliminary veto of the merger of General Electric and Honeywell.

Next: Supreme Leader?

As he heads into his first summit meeting in India, Pakistan's leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, decided he needed a boost. So he cast aside his olive green Army uniform last week and donned a black sherwani, or long coat, appointing himself president.

Reality Bites

On China's version of "Survivor," airing in July, contestants will battle high altitudes and fatigue in Shangri-La. (Yes, the Chinese claim to have found the tiny Himalayan valley near the border of the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan.) If other versions of the show are any guide, the lives of China's survivors will be changed forever.

The Lion King

Japan's prime minister Junichiro Koizumi is making all the right moves. He's soaring in the polls--his latest disapproval rate was only 6 percent. (Take that, Yoshiro Mori, Koizumi's predecessor, disapproved by 66 percent just last year.) More than a million Japanese citizens have subscribed to Koizumi's weekly e-mail newsletter.

Calling Slobo

The Yugoslav government put it plainly last week: Slobodan Milosevic now can be sent to face justice. Slobo and "all of these indicted individuals will go to The Hague," said the deputy prime minister. "There is no doubt about that." But when?


Tony Blair brought "babes" to his last election--the 101 women M.P.s elected to Parliament in Labour's landslide victory. But this year they just haven't been as prominent. "Whatever happened to the women in this campaign?" wrote one columnist last week, echoing a national question.Has the Labour Party let its women down in 2001?

It's All The Rage

Can't you just get mad anymore? It's not just road rage and air rage any longer; the media race to rage-ify every angry incident it can. Take "yard rage," of which an Illinois man was recently accused.

Pop Goes The Answer

Teens have always been far more interested in the likes of Britney Spears than, say, learning about the intricacies of quantum physics. So how to get 'em excited about learning?

Back To The Future

Just last month, news magazine Itogi was the topical, free-speaking voice of a new Russia. Then came a hostile boardroom takeover by a state-owned company, and a total turnover of the staff.

Gifts For Gold

Bejing's not the only city pulling out all the stops for Olympic victory. U.S. Olympic Committee employees have been promised bonuses if the U.S. team wins 20 gold medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.