THE MALDIVES: Newest Republic

The familiar strains of Auld Lang Syne swelled up from a sprawling cluster of tiny coral islands in the Indian Ocean last week, but the singers were not celebrating the New Year; they were merely singing their own national anthem. After years of autocratic rule under Sultans known as the Golden Feet,* the Maldive (rhymes with small hive) Islands had just become the world's newest republic. Queen Elizabeth herself sent the Moslem islanders a message from another island, wishing them "good luck, fair winds and calm waters." A British cruiser stood by to fire a salute, and thousands of...