BOSTON — Lenin once said the capitalist West would sell Russia the rope that will be used to hang the West. Even though communism has hit the ash heap, Lenin's prediction now has a gagging ring of truth to it.
The West, in the form of the International Monetary Fund, has been gypped out of billions of dollars by the Yeltsin government. The IMF money, given to create a capitalist state out of Russia, has instead taken wing in massive capital flight. And the IMF is being held to account. For now, the West views Russia as a financial black hole, unworthy of more loans until it curbs its mafia-like ways.
Quote of note: "There was a deluge of Russian scandals over the past few years, but this is the most astonishing." - Ed Dolan, president of American Institute of Business in Moscow.
In a tale worthy of a Hollywood legal drama, a small tribe of Amazon Indians has taken on Big Oil. The Secoya tribe is taking Texaco to court for allegedly spilling oil on its land. And it has rejected an offer of money from Occidental Petroleum, which wants to drill on tribal lands. One reason for the rejection: New roads might bring in settlers. Quote of note: "Fifty settlers could move in overnight, begin to mix and marry with Secoya ... our culture could disappear." - Colon Piaguaje, a community representative.
Some of the finest Islamic architecture in the world is crumbling in Cairo. To preserve the medieval monuments, the government must first move families out.
Berlin, meanwhile, debates the future of the old East German parliament building. Some want to rebuild a kaiser-like Baroque castle that once stood on the site.
Turkey's hard line against those Kurds seeking a homeland also has a soft side. An internationally acclaimed film that depicts Kurdish conditions - banned in Turkey since 1982 - has been allowed to be shown in cinemas.
- Clayton Jones World editor
REPORTERS ON THE JOB *WELL VERSED: While visiting an Egyptian architect in Cairo at his office one evening, staff writer Susan Llewelyn Leach was about to give him a business card when she realized she only had one left - and it was one with a Bible verse scribbled on the back that she always kept in her wallet. She offered it to her host rather hesitantly, explaining the notation on the back and asking if he'd mind. Graciously, he took the card and without a moment's delay handed her two of his own in return: The extra one, he said, was to copy the verse onto, so she could always have it with her. In a different milieu, this would have been a courteous exchange. In Islamic Cairo, at the office of a Sufi architect, it was also a warm-hearted sign of religious respect.
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