April 08, 2002 01:00 PM

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey was in the news for a couple reasons this weekend. On Tuesday, she and Hearst Magazines are scheduled to announce the introduction of the first international edition of O: The Oprah Magazine, at South Africa’s Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, where Nelson Mandela first lived after his release from prison, reports Monday’s New York Times. The magazine will be published every other month (it’s monthly at home). But, according to the Sunday Times of London, Winfrey, 48, herself will not appear at the launch. “My instinct says things aren’t right in parts of the world,” she told the paper. Asked if she was referring exclusively to South Africa or, rather, to other parts of the world, Winfrey replied: “All parts — and to get from my part to your part, I’d have to travel over other parts. I’m equally disappointed . . . but my instinct says no. It’s postponement only.” Winfrey will, however, be seen at the launch via a satellite video link, says The New York Times. “I was watching a documentary about Africa on PBS, and I saw these African women sitting in a beauty parlor reading Hello! and True Love (magazines),” Winfrey told the paper in an e-mail message. “I felt they need to be offered something more. Our magazine is smart, geared to help women become more of who they are.” Meanwhile, on Friday Winfrey said she is scaling back on her book club, which since 1996 had been a monthly feature on her TV show. “It has become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel compelled to share,” she said. The move is considered a major blow to the already-suffering publishing industry, as Oprah’s endorsements helped propel book sales into the stratosphere.

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