HOW'S THAT AGAIN? Retired South African President Nelson Mandela is finding a great reservoir of affection on his world tour. But he failed to win over as many people as he might have in a speech to the Palestinian Legislative Assembly last week. The problem wasn't that it ran twice as long as planned. But his listeners just didn't understand as he invoked a metaphor from Scrabble, a game with which they are not familiar. "Twenty-two points, plus a triple word score," Mandela grinned. "Plus 50 points for using up all my letters: Game over. I'm out of here." Then, with a flourish, he ended, "Shalom" - the Hebrew word for "peace" and "good-bye." The same sentiment in Arabic: "Ma salameh."
MAYBE HANDGUNS WOULD DO In time for the opening of the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens, planners are proposing to rebuild the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. But a new source of material may be needed. The original was made of melted weapons.
AmeriCorps exists to serve, but survival hasn't been easy AmeriCorps last week observed its fifth anniversary as a kind of domestic Peace Corps. The corps, a Clinton administration initiative, so far has attracted 150,000 volunteers who build houses for the poor, help police cope with gangs, and teach reading. Participation is rewarded with $4,725 for educational expenses. Although political support has been shaky - the House voted to ax the corps next year - it survived via a Senate compromise that will allot $439 million of the $546 million in funding that President Clinton sought. Since the program began, participants have:
* Built 11,000 homes
* Provided essentials and services to 5 million homeless people
* Helped 550,000 people receive job or career counseling
* Taught, tutored, or mentored 4.4 million children
* Provided after-school programs for 1 million at-risk youths
* Recruited, trained, or supervised more than 2.5 million volunteers for nonprofit groups - Associated Press
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