Where: the Secret Service training center near Washington. When: late last week. What: demonstrations of some of the defensive techniques used to protect the president of the US should he become the object of a terrorist attack. Specifically, the "J" turn, a maneuver in which the presidential limousine is shoved into reverse gear, spun 180 degrees, and driven away in the opposite direction at high speed. So, honored visitor George W. Bush was asked, would you like to climb behind the wheel and try it yourself? He would. And? "It was," he reported, "pretty exciting."


Communist regimes are known for their "reeducation" camps, right? Yes, and normally, they're rerserved for political dissidents. But in Chengdu, China, there also is one for parrots and mynah birds. It's at a public aviary and is needed because – somewhere along the line in learning to speak – the feathered critters have picked up an extensive vocabulary of swear words. So many, in fact, that they're being kept away from visitors while they're retaught, using audio tapes of polite language. If they relapse, their food rations are reduced until they get with the program.

Only a few places are left to shield cash from tax man

Only seven countries – out of an original 35 – were cited as uncooperative tax havens this year by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Paris-based group is pressing for greater financial openness and exchanges of tax information – an issue that gained urgency after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the US. The OECD's tax havens (with locations in parentheses): Andorra (French-Spanish border)Liechtenstein (Austrian-Swiss border)Liberia (West Africa)Marshall Islands (North Pacific)Monaco (French Mediterranean coast)Nauru (South Pacific)Vanuatu (South Pacific) – Associated Press

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