WORTH NOTING ON TV

* THURSDAY

OLYMPICS

CBS:

7-9 a.m.: Alpine skiing: women's giant slalom. Free-style skiing: finals of men's and women's aerials.

8-11 p.m.: Alpine skiing: women's gaint slalom. Speed-skating: men's and women's short track.

TNT:

1-6 p.m.: Hockey. Short-track speed-skating. Free-style skiing: aerials. Skiing: women's giant slalom; Nordic combined.

Pirates (The Discovery Channel, 8:30-9 p.m.): Watch out for that Mrs. Ling - she swings a mean cutlass. She also heads the worst bunch of pirates in Chinese waters. That's the word that went out in 16th-century China, as explained in ``Pirates of the South China Seas.'' Her husband, Chen-Chi-Ling, was the most notorious pirate of his time. At his death she took on his role and achieved even greater fame. These and other colorful but bloody byways of history are explored in this edition of the series. * FRIDAY

CNN Presents...The Decline of Civilization (CNN, 9-10 p.m.): The show isn't biting off quite as much as the title may suggest. The ``civilization'' it's referring to is ``civility,'' a tradition of courtesy and respect for strangers that the program finds fading fast in our increasingly uncouth and fast-paced society.

It's an apt subject for correspondent Bruce Morton in his first major project since joining CNN last October. His report notes that examples are rife in the media these days, but they are really a reflection of the crassness and dearth of cordialty so noticeable in daily life.

The program samples the roughness of modern political life in the form of ``search and destroy missions'' aimed at opponents, and in the junkyard-dog journalism that supports it. Abusive language and acts by sports figures - especially coaches - are also cited, along with the real jungle of incivility: the open road, where incivility can have tragic results. The program links lack of driver courtesy to fatal accidents.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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