Etc...

Now you've gone too far

If you missed it, a new crackdown on pirated films, CDs, computer software, and other media has been announced by the government of China. Analysts pointed out that the word came as the nation organizes to stage the 2008 Olympics. OK. But then there's this: Police, acting on a tip, raided a bookseller in the city of Xian last week and seized 14,000 pirated copies of ... the Communist Party's two manuals. It seems the volumes are in demand - and therefore are profitable - because they're required reading for the party's 68 million members. Oh, the tipster? The party's own printer.

Are you sure this is yours?

In Berlin, police raced to a convenience mart and arrested a suspected credit-card thief who had tried to charge $90 worth of merchandise. How did they know had the right guy? Because the clerk to whom the card was presented ... recognized it as his own. "It's not a common name, so there was no chance of coincidence," a spokesman for the force said.

Nations once under the Kremlin's thumb join NATO

Earlier this week, in a ceremony at the White House, President Bush welcomed seven eastern European nations, formerly from the Soviet orbit, into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They will take part in their first meeting as members Friday at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels. NATO began in 1949, grouping the US, Canada, Iceland, Britain, and eight continental European countries and over the years has expanded to 26 members. Its goal is to safeguard the freedom and security of the members by political and - when necessary - by military means. It also has become more involved in recent years in crisis management and peacekeeping. The new NATO members :

Bulgaria
Estonia
Lithuania
Latvia
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
- Associated Press

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