Macedonia: Milosevic is on his way to the Hague to face a war crimes tribunal - a good thing too, even if it takes American economic pressure to make it happen. A pity that Franjo Tudjman of Croatia died too soon to join him in the dock. It all seems a long time ago now. Today's problems in Macedonia are described as if they had no link with what went on two years ago in Kosovo. There, Nato leaders gave no support to those Albanians who tried to solve their problems in non-violent ways. On the contrary, Nato fanned Albanian nationalism, and armed and trained the Kosovo Liberation Army. Then Nato seemed almost surprised at the reverse ethnic cleansing of Serbs and others, which is still proceeding apace.
The Boys: the reaction of a vocal minority ("let them get what they deserve") to the possible release of the two boys who killed James Bulger fills me with disgust. Even more disgusting is the spokesman for the News of the World, who exudes hypocrisy, only too willing to play to the worst and not the best of human nature. Is vengeance to be the norm? Have we got two more Myra Hindleys on our hands, never to be forgiven, never to be rehabilitated, never to live what might still be useful lives? Let the bitter mother and relations of that murdered toddler go and talk to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu about living with the past without letting it ruin your life.
The Boat: last week it was my birthday. No need now to send cards. We spent most of a stunningly hot day chugging up the Thames from Westminster to Hampton Court. The boat was evidently vintage, with bits of brass here and there. It was called the Princess Freda. Who she? A framed MoD letter in the saloon said that she had been to Dunkirk in 1940. Freda should be in an honoured location at Greenwich when she eventually retires. What did strike me was how underused - apart from tourist traffic - the river is. Where are the vaporettos, Venice-style, nipping up and down with regular stops at frequent intervals from Hammersmith down to Canary Wharf? If it came to choosing between the Underground and a river ride, there wouldn't be much of a contest.
Star Wars: despite the hype, it is not about the threat of rogue states deciding to lob a nuclear missile at the US. Not only are there no rogue states with such capability, but there are no leaders of such states so suicidal that they are willing to ignore the inevitable and huge retaliatory strike that would most certainly follow. Rogue states, if there are such, are much more likely to use unidentifiable suitcases left in a locker at Grand Central Station. Two real motivations drive Star Wars forward. The first is greed. The large corporations that helped to put Bush in power know that it's payback time. They want to get their slice of the more than $100bn involved. The second is the national ambition to gain total global military dominance. Star Wars is the first step in constructing the military arm of global economic dominance.
You don't believe me? Read what they say themselves. The American Space Command is perfectly open about all this. Its role is to dominate "the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment - integrating Space Forces into war-fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict". It even carries a homage at www.spacecom.af.mil/usspace: "Just as Europe expanded war and its power to the global oceans, the United States is expanding war and its power into space and to the planets." So says the 2001 report of Donald Rumsfeld's "Space Commission". So there you are. It's really our fault in the first place.
Cardinal Winning: perhaps I could just try to balance Peter Tatchell's tirade about Cardinal Winning last week. Whatever his failures, no church leader has been as scathing about the widening gap between the rich and poor. He knew plenty about poverty. His father, an unemployed miner, sold home-made sweets to get the family through the Depression. In 1976, Winning scrapped a £1.5m improvement scheme for his cathedral and gave the money to combat urban poverty. Opposed to nuclear weapons, he had no time for Britain's recent military antics. Hopefully, St Peter will remember such matters when it comes to totting up the balance sheet.
Cancer: prostate cancer could be the number-one male cancer by 2020, I learnt from the radio this morning. Trust me to get on a bandwagon. Is this nuclear atmospheric testing in the past, or too much of the wrong type of soy sauce? Who knows? Like the Ancient Mariner, all I can do is wag my finger and urge a regular medical check-up. It starts with a blood test, which is painless. It may proceed to a biopsy, which is embarrassing. If cancer is discovered, then the most definitive and radical thing to do is to have the prostate gland chopped out, which can mean temporary incontinence and impotence. Neither is fun, but both problems can be dealt with. Better alive with the problems than dead without them. But don't waste time. I was lucky. Once the little beast gets out of its prostate container and starts to run around, it is not easily reined in.