Today's Story Line

In America, Europe, and Japan, the people who control money supply and interest rates have been elevated into financial deities, wielding more power over people's welfare than most elected officials. In other words, the hand that rocks the central bank rules the world. Quote of note: Monetary policy is "the most important stabilizing or destabilizing policy that exists." - Paul Kasriel, Northern Trust Co. economist.

If book readers want it, then a book-grading system planned by British librarians may work, despite the difficulty of judging the amount of sex, violence, and misery in a book. Quote of note: "We want ... to make reading itself more attractive." - Rachel Van Riel, director of the Society of Chief Librarians.

In Bosnia and South Korea, art sometimes speaks louder than bullets. While in Russia cries against corruption aren't what they seem.

In Japan, gender politics has become bitter with the government's quick approval of Viagra for men while the birth-control pill for women has yet to be approved.

- Clayton Jones World editor

PRESS CLIPPINGS *WHAT CHILDREN READ: The librarians who will be ranking books under a new British grading system may want to consult a new book, Children's Reading Choices. The authors, Christine Hall and Martin Coles of Nottingham University, surveyed nearly 8,000 children in Britain and found children are reading more than they were a generation ago but have abandoned 19th-century classics, according to The Independent newspaper. In the 1970s, the favorite books for 12-year-olds were "Little Women," "Black Beauty," "Treasure Island," and "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe." These days, boys prefer the author Roald Dahl ("The BFG," "The Twits," and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") while girls read the Point Horror series, Sweet Valley series, and the Baby Sitters Club. The only authors who ranked highly in both decades were Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis.

*PILL FOR TEENS? Japan may be lagging behind other countries in approving the birth-control pill (page 8), but Britain could become a leader in pushing the "morning after" pill on girls. In a battle to prevent teenage pregnancies, the Royal College of Nursing recommended Monday that school nurses should be allowed to hand out emergency contraception to girls at Monday morning drop-in clinics at every school, The Guardian newspaper reports. One critic, family campaigner Victoria Gillick, said the proposal makes it "seems that the adult world has given up completely on the young." Britain ranks second to America in the rate of teenage pregnancy in the developed world.

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

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