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US Post misplaces the Grand Canyon

AMERICA IS not a nation of geographers. After the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was hit by missiles because intelligence staff used out-of- date maps, we now learn that the US Postal Service cannot locate the Grand Canyon.

A new series of 60-cent stamps - 100 million of them - have just left the presses. They show the world's largest and most famous hole in the ground alongside three words, printed in the lower right hand corner, "Grand Canyon, Colorado".

As almost any American schoolchild will tell you, the Canyon, though carved by the Colorado river, is in Arizona.

In Colorado, at least, they are amused. The Governor of the state, Bill Owens, remarked through a spokesman: "Colorado already has so many national treasures that we would not want to steal the only one Arizona has to offer."

The cost of printing the stamps, now likely to be ditched, is put at $500,000 (pounds 310,000).