Today's Story Line:

Fifty years after China's communist revolution, proposed changes to the Constitution pay more attention to "rights and interests" than ever before. The effect: Eager reformers are already craving more - and they want such touchy areas as human rights to get the same warm attention as free enterprise.

In traditionally freewheeling Hong Kong, meanwhile, a promised 50 years of "high autonomy" from China is being put to the test by a new assertion of judicial independence. Backlash from Beijing?

North Korea may be tolerating shades of a free-market system in order to avert a worsening of its food crisis (this page). Its missile capabilities have the region deeply concerned. And America still wavers over a course of action. Quote of note: "The line of the US is that North Korea is unpredictable ... I don't think so. They are very logical and clear." - A professor of international relations at Japan's Saitama University.

Clarity has sometimes been lacking on the subject of Kosovo, the breakaway province of Yugoslavia nestled deep in (and held closely by) Serbia, the country's dominant republic. Justin Brown's primer on the conflict may provide useful background as the bid for peace continues.

- Clayton Collins Deputy World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *BUT WAS HE SPEAKING 'JAMT'?: Back at her Baltimore base after reporting in Scandinavia on what she calls the world's "most polite autonomy struggle", correspondent Elaine Weiss made a follow-up call to a Jamtland Republican Army officer (Jamtland being the tiny entity in the mouse-that-roared role versus Sweden). At the end of the chat, the officer asked Elaine to be sure to send him a copy of today's article. Then he gave his mailing address - in "Jamtland." Then he paused. "Better add Sweden in parentheses," he said. "Just in case."

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK *FINDING SYMPATHY: Tokyo-based writer Nicole Gaouette tackled a tough topic in the controversial schooling methods being advanced by Hiroshi Totsuka. Reporting the piece also shed light on another side of Japanese society. Begging is extremely rare in Japan. A strong cultural division between those within the family circle and those "outside" means many Japanese are reluctant to give money to strangers who ask for it. But in the small city of Kowa, people appear to willingly help teens who say they've run away from Mr. Totsuka's school, as several have. All the students know, Nicole says, that at Kowa train station, people will help them out if they say they've come from the school. In the past though, runaways have gotten home only to be brought back to the school by parents.

Let us hear from you. Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail: world@csmonitor.com

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