JAPAN: Gypsy Trick

A familiar gypsy trick is to enter a grocery store, wait until proprietor and clerks are occupied with important customers, then tuck turnips, garlic, apples, other staples under the ample gypsy blouse. Japan, adept at this gypsy technique, last week took advantage of France's and England's busy dickerings with Italy and Germany to slip seven small potatoes—the Spratly Islands—under her kimono.

In 1867, while charting the South China Sea, Britain's map-making ship Rifleman found a circle of sandy coral reefs, each about 500 yards by 300 and rising only eight feet above sea level. The British...

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