And now the most captivating two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
Not Earned Over-Knight
The British government has made former CENTCOM commander Tommy Franks -- who led coalition forces into Iraq -- an honorary knight, saying -- "General Franks has been a sterling friend to the UK during a period of extreme turbulence in world affairs" and "this is ... to recognize his exceptional and inspirational leadership of British forces."
Specifically, Franks has been named Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. But those on the British left say honoring Franks is -- "the ultimate in bad taste." Labor MP Alice Mahon insists -- "this is [no] time to be honoring American military figures when we are being confronted almost daily with the most sickening images of abuse of Iraqis."
Makes A Call To Make Up
Two weeks after he condemned President Bush for invading and occupying Iraq against the will of the United Nations, and accused U.S. forces of committing -- "terrible abuses against the dignity of human beings" in Iraq, former South African President Nelson Mandela has now called President Bush to make up... but he's not taking back anything he said.
Rather, he says he made the call because -- "The United States is the most powerful state in the world and it is not good to remain in tension with the most powerful state."
Female Refugees Forced Into Sex?
A new report in the reliably liberal British newspaper the Independent says UN peacekeepers sent to war-torn Congo are exploiting female refugees there, forcing girls as young as thirteen to have sex in exchange for food.
According to the paper, at least 15 girls at a refugee camp in Bunia have admitted to selling their bodies for such items as a banana or a cake, and one private aid worker said -- "there is nothing to stop [the UN peacekeepers], and the girls need food." The UN has reportedly opened an investigation into the allegations.
The American Civil Liberties Union in Southern California is threatening to sue Los Angeles County unless it removes a tiny cross from its 47-year-old, official seal. The ACLU insists the cross -- highlighted there on the right -- is a -- "impermissible endorsement of Christianity" and therefore unconstitutional.
But LA county officials, quoted by the LA Daily News, say the cross reflects an important part of their county's heritage. And, the county says, it would cost -- "untold thousands and thousands of dollars" to remove the current seal from the county's 5,000 buildings, and from thousands of vehicles, stationary, business cards, flags and Internet sites.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report