Today's Story Line

Can a democracy go the distance in a long war? That's the test for NATO's European parliamentary governments, where a shift in public opinion can push one coalition partner to pull the parachute cord and oppose the bombing campaign.

A June 7 election will turn Indonesia into the world's third-largest democracy. It's the latest turn against strict authoritarian rule in Asia: Philippines (1986), Taiwan and South Korea (1987), Thailand (1991), Cambodia (1992). Indonesia also plans to let the half-island of East Timor vote for freedom, a move that may inspire other regions of Indonesia to split.

China supports its tobacco industry while it tries to curb smoking. Some 320 million Chinese now smoke.

Cambodia's Khmer Rouge are largely a spent lot, but their remnants rule in a "zone" visited by our reporter.

- Clayton Jones World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

*HARD MAN TO FIND: Cambodia-based Chris Seper reports today on the evolution of the city of Pailin from a communist Khmer Rouge stronghold to an autonomous, capitalist zone. In tracking down Khmer Rouge sources, he got a glimpse of how deeply burrowed they have become since their rule in the 1970s. Following a tip, Chris and his translator went by truck to Malai, some 40 miles from Pailin, to find Khieu Samphan, an intellectual considered the Khmer's "nominal leader." Khieu was said to be living there with his daughter. Once there, Chris found no one would say where Khieu lived, even after Chris learned the leader's alias, "Mong." One official finally took him to a house, but it turned out be the home of a different leader - who said Mong was "at his sister's." Chris couldn't be taken just then, he was told, because the sister was "out farming." When Chris asked local motorcycle-taxi drivers in a central market about the sister's address, they gave different answers. One simply said: "I dare not take you now." Another refused to go because the sister had "big dogs."

AN EVENT WORTHY OF NOTE

*GOLD DEEDS: Buddhist monk Pra Maha Bau (r.) gave a ton of gold bars to Thailand's central bank governor

Chutumongol Sonakul (l.) on Tuesday to help ease the country's financial crisis. The gold was donated by the monk's followers.

Let us hear from you.

Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail: world@csmonitor.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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