Today's Story Line

The global economy has become acutely lopsided, post-Asia crisis. The rich are richer, the poor are poorer, concluded financial leaders who met last week in Washington. Quote of note: "The crisis has abated. But ... profound challenges remain." - Lawrence Summers, deputy US Treasury secretary. In the nations of the former Soviet Union, 1 person in 3 lives on less than $4 a day. Reducing the global income gap has taken on a new urgency.

One reason Russia has tempered its rage against the Yugoslav war is that it's on the West's dole. A prime example: its space program, which is behind schedule in its contribution to the international space station.

The world's second-largest metropolis, Mexico City, is suffering a flight of its middle-class. Some leaders are trying to stem the exodus by adopting lessons from other big cities.

- Clayton Jones World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

* REMEMBER SPUTNIK? Korolyov, the space research town on Moscow's outskirts, was once a top-secret site closed to all but those who worked there. It was here that the Soviet Union designed its pioneering work in space. When Moscow bureau chief Judith Matloff visited the place, she found it drab. It had obviously seen better days. Even security seemed to have gone downhill - reporters appearing for a press conference were simply waved into the complex without a second glance. Once inside, they toured the facilities in white lab coats, which seemed more geared to protecting clothes from paint peeling off the walls than industrial waste. Visitors interested in Russia's past space splendor were directed to the museum. On display were portraits of the first space travelers (including a dog). The museum itself was not immune to the modern emphasis on money. Prominently displayed is a polished glass case - with the first dollar bill paid by NASA to the space company Energiya. The US money arrived a year after the Soviet empire collapsed.

* MOMS ON THE RUN: In reporting today's story on the accelerating flight of Mexico City's upper-income families, Latin America correspondent Howard LaFranchi says he interviewed Liliana Espinosa at a Burger King while her children played with classmates. As word got around to other mothers present of Mrs. Espinosa's plans to move, the group offered an avalanche of examples of family members and friends who have left the city - and most of them congratulated Espinosa for her decision. "Ten years ago they would have taken pity on me," says Espinosa, "but now everyone says, 'How great!'"

Let us hear from you.

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