Malcolm Beith

Can You Top This One?

Sorry says it best. But only if you really mean it. Everyone from popes to presidents is offering up apologies these days, some gritting their teeth or mumble-mouthing more than others.

Oh, That Unsinkable Dollar!

While most international currencies have been buffeted about by the world's choppy economic waters, the unsinkable U.S. dollar has just kept on sailing. Oddly enough, finance ministers at the annual IMF-World Bank meeting in Washington this week are likely to view that as something of an embarrassment.

Myth-And-Mouth Disease

Britain's tourist industry has been hit hard by foot-and-mouth disease. But fears could well be rooted in wild misunderstandings. Peri stomps on some common foot-and-mouth myths: Myth: No trespassing!

When Life Bowls You A Googly...

The snail-paced tea drinker's game of cricket wilts the will to live. That's the word from David Frith, author of a new book on the sport, who finds that the suicide rate among professional British cricketers is 70 percent higher than for the average British male.

Reality Tv?

TV isn't real life. But couldn't shows try to present life in all its multi-ethnic diversity? PERI looked at some of the most popular English-language shows.

East Meets West

Sports can soothe even the stormiest of tiffs between the United States and China; in the 1970s table tennis opened the doors for the then President Nixon.

Under The Desk, Kids!

The end of the Cold War doesn't mean the 1950s "duck and cover" drills are out of style. In the post-Columbine era, U.S. schools are adopting similar precautionary measures--not against Russian nukes, though.

Killing Time

In a bold new economy experiment last week, AOL's London staff surrendered their watches, and promised not to peek at wall clocks; computer timekeepers and mobile phones were covered over for the day.


They called him Teflon Tony four years ago, and he still fits the bill. Britain is a mess these days, but somehow Prime Minister Tony Blair heads into the next election looking remarkably strong.


AIRSTRIKES The Tattered Gulf Alliance Remember the gulf-war coalition of 1991? Forget about it. Last week's U.S.-British airstrikes on Iraq did more than infuriate the enemy; they angered friends who were not consulted, including Egypt, Jordan and NATO ally Turkey.

Abortion Battle

After a brief lull, America's battle over abortion is set to heat up once again. This week the government will release details of international abortion restrictions recently put back in place by President George W.

Can't Name That Tune?

Got a ditty creepin' and crawlin' around inside your head and just can't place it? Your troubles will soon be over. A Norwegian company, Fast Search and Transfer, has developed a computer-software program that picks up the notes you hum, whistle or sing, and then finds your tune from a database of 10,000 songs.

Saddam: The Sequel

The Bush administration announced last week that it would fund opposition activities inside Iraq, signaling its first move against Saddam Hussein. But Saddam's opponents are looking for more than money--they want better support from U.S. warplanes. "What we need to do is change the rules of engagement for American forces," says Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, the anti-Saddam coalition.

Out Of Africa

Congo's new president, Joseph Kabila, brought his campaign for international legitimacy to Washington last week and won the first round. He held his own in meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell--and even with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, one of Congo's "worst enemies," according to a Congolese diplomat.

A New Anna

What do Tolstoy and "Titanic" have in common? They cross paths in a new comic-book version of "Anna Karenina" just published in Moscow. Here, Anna is a New Russian with a mobile phone, a cocaine habit and a penchant for fast cars and skimpy lingerie.

Days Of Hope

Why are Burma's military leaders easing up on their opposition, the National League for Democracy (NLD)? Since the new year, they have ceased press attacks, released 84 activists, and even held talks with NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi-- "the most interesting development since 1990," says one EU spokesman.

The Shadow Of The Clinton Years

It was a belated bid to wipe the slate clean. Last week Bill and Hillary Clinton offered to pay for nearly half the $190,000 in gifts they took with them and agreed to pick up a large part of the rent for Bill's high-priced Manhattan office.

Lots Of Bull

Bullfighting, Spain's fiesta nacional, is suffering on the horns of the ongoing BSE crisis. Each year some 40,000 bulls are fought and killed, and almost all are butchered ringside.

Flying Low

The U.S. Marine Corps V-22 Osprey aircraft program has weathered two fatal crashes in the last year. But will it survive its latest scandal? An anonymous tipster revealed recently that Osprey maintenance records had been doctored in an effort to preserve the $30 billion-plus program.But Pentagon insiders say even this is unlikely to sink the project.

Filling Dad's Big Shoes

Sworn in: last Friday Joseph Kabila was sworn in as president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Succeeding his father, who was assassinated just the week before, Kabila guaranteed "the independence, unity and cohesion of the Congolese people."Retired: Kalusha Bwalya, one of Africa's greatest soccer players, hung up his boots last week after a 21-year career.

Virtual Theology

These are modern times, even for the ancient Hindu celebration of Kumbh Mela. Every 12 years millions flock to Allahabad, India, to bathe in the Ganges, an act believed to lead to salvation.

Military's In, Economy's Out

Bill Clinton bowed out last week with an effort to secure U.S.-Israeli relations, as the two nations signed an agreement to phase out U.S. economic aid to Israel while boosting military assistance to $2.4 billion a year by 2008.


One of America's most recent reality-TV hits is "Temptation Island," where unmarried couples are tested by being introduced to sexy singles. Recently, one couple was kicked off the show for not having disclosed that they had a child together.