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Semipostal benefits refugees

A semipostal has been issued by Germany with proceeds of the surcharge headed for Kosovo refugees. The design shows a dove in flight superimposed on a pair of human eyes and the inscription Kosovo-Hilfe 1999 (Kosovo Aid).

The denomination is 110+100 pfennigs; the first numeral is the postage fee and the second is the fee earmarked for the refugees.

The design is based on a special stamp that was issued in November commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Check with a stamp dealer for availability.

Record balloon journey

A special 90-centime stamp has been issued by Switzerland to salute the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a balloon.

Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland and Brian Jones of England completed the 26,755-mile flight in 20 days. They took off from Chateau d'Oex in Switzerland on March 1 and landed in the Egyptian desert, earning a $1-millon prize from a beer company.

The design shows their balloon hovering over mountains, perhaps the Alps.

Check with a stamp dealer for availability.

Cocos Islands

Comprising 27 islands and two coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands have issued a sheet of 20 stamps with an aerial view of the main atoll and a melange of marine life, wildlife, plant life and boats. The values are 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents and 45 cents.

The Cocos' most famous visitor was Charles Darwin, who stopped off there in 1866. Once a thriving coaling station and situated 1,330 miles northwest of Australia, its population is less than 600.

Check with a stamp dealer for availability.

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