"At first I just ignored the letters," says the Rev. Karl Terhorst of the increasingly sharp reminders from Germany's television license agency that a "Frau Walburga St." listed at his Roman Catholic Church in Ramsdorf hadn't paid her monthly $16 fee. Then came a note threatening legal action and a $1,000 fine. "I figured it was time to write back," Terhorst says. He informed the agency that the person it accused of being a TV scofflaw was in fact an 8th century abbess and saint. "This was quite embarrassing," says Eckhard Ohliger, at fee-collection headquarters in Cologne. "But unfortunately, mistakes happen."
There are inept robbers, and then there's the suspect in a heist that patrolman Jerry Lung calls "a classic." After breaking into a bank in Marked Tree, Ark., a community located 135 miles northeast of Little Rock, the alleged bandit was unable to get into the vault, so he took a clock radio and fistfuls of candy. A trail of wrappers led police to a home in a nearby trailer park. Oh, the name on those wrappers? Dum-Dums.
'People who claim there were gaps, I could tell you right away, they have not read it.'
- Amir al-Saadi, science adviser to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, after chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix said questions remain as to whether Iraq's 12,000-page weapons declaration was complete.
For a second straight year, Ireland topped Foreign Policy magazine's annual globalization index of 62 nations. In fact, all of the main finishers are the same, although some changed places in the rankings, which are based on participation in international organizations, trade and investment, Internet use, travel, and tourism, among other criteria. The US placed 11th in the index this year. The magazine's top 10 most-global nations in 2002 (with their 2001 rating in parentheses):
1. Ireland (1)
2. Switzerland (2)
3. Sweden (5)
4. Singapore (3)
5. Netherlands (4)
6. Denmark (8)
7. Canada (7)
8. Austria (9)
9. Britain (10)
10. Finland (6)