Politicians are used to being called by labels – conservative, liberal, maverick – usually without complaint. But apparently referring to one's lack of height crosses the line of political correctness, as a Manila newspaper found to its sorrow. The Daily Inquirer, in a headline, called Philippines' President Gloria Arroyo, who's less than five feet tall, "undersized." And, in a cartoon, she's admonished to stand up for herself. (Her reply: "I am standing up.") Those drew a blistering letter of complaint to the editor from Arroyo's husband. Said the Inquirer: "Shame on us. Our apologies."


Perhaps you recall an item in this space June 11 about the police department in Junin, Argentina, borrowing cars from residents because its funds had run out and there was no money to buy fuel. Well, the judges on Greece's Supreme Administrative Court have been taking up a collection to buy needed supplies for the same reason. Among those asked to kick in: their own staffs.

Big winner in first post-9/11 US visa lottery was ... Ghana

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, background checks for applicants for visas to the US have taken far longer than in previous years, the State Department reported. That was especially true in the cases of applicants from Islamic countries. Egypt, for example, fell from 2,046 visa-lottery winners last year to 1,551. Afghanistan, which had 208 a year ago, dropped to 45. In all, 8.7 million foreign nationals applied in the period beginning last Oct. 1 for 50,000 visas. The countries with the most successful applicants, and the number in each case:

1. Ghana 6,333
2. Nigeria 5,989
3. Ethiopia 5,562
4. Bangladesh 4,935
5. Poland 3,855
6. Kenya 3,194
7. Sierra Leone 3,096
8. Morocco 3,083
9. Bulgaria 2,843
10. Russia 2,695
– Associated Press

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