Today's Story Line

America's trade disputes with Europe may receive different treatment now that the entire European Commission was forced to resign after a report on corruption. The powerful and secretive body could become more open and democratic.

From around the world, advocates of no-smoking for kids are meeting in Washington to share success stories.

Russian politics may boil if President Boris Yeltsin is impeached.

Hit by low oil prices, Libya's on the move to end the UN sanctions.

- Clayton Jones, World editor

FOLLOWUP ON A MONITOR STORY *INDIA-PAKISTAN CONNECTOR: The first commercial bus service between India and Pakistan in half-a-century started March 16 in what many hope will erode the distrust between the two hostile neighbors. Three weeks ago, India's prime minister rode a bus across the border for peace talks with his Pakistani counterpart. Train and plane service is already available.

WORLD ECONOMY *CANCELING DEBT: At a meeting with top African government officials March 16, President Clinton proposed expanding a program run by international financial institutions to help poor countries staggering under great foreign debt. The existing plan, called the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, allowed for about $30 billion in debt to be forgiven under certain conditions. Mr. Clinton's plan would increase that by $70 billion. It stops short of other international proposals - some of which call for full and unconditional debt forgiveness.

Here are Africa's top debtor nations, expressed as a percent of the cost of debt repayments to a country's export earnings (1996 World Bank figures):

Burundi 54%

Sierra Leone 53%

Ethiopia 42%

Guinea-Bissau 42%

Mozambique 32%

Zambia 29%

Kenya 28%

Algeria 28%

Morocco 28%

Ivory Coast 27%

Ghana 27%

So Tom and Prncipe 26%

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

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