Today's Story Line:

It's not exactly D-Day, but NATO this week is expected to approve the stationing of 50,000 troops in the Balkans. Will they be peacekeepers in Kosovo after a settlement? Or are they really warriors who could invade Kosovo to force a deal? Either way, a decision to send them now is influenced by the weather: The troops need to be in place by August before cold weather makes its difficult to return refugees. At the least, they put more pressure on Slobodan Milosevic.

US efforts to curb drug flows from Mexico have suffered setbacks in Mexican courtrooms. High-level Mexican suspects are being let go.

A man who spent 23 years in a Canadian prison for a crime he didn't commit has received a record amount in compensation from the government. The case of David Milgaard has spurred a rethink in Canada of wrongful convictions.

- Clayton Jones, World editor

PRESS CLIPPINGS *YOUR TURN TO GET UP: The Japanese government's alarm over the nation's low birthrate has compelled it to come up with ways to foster family life in the past decade. The latest move is a TV and poster campaign that shows a baby in the arms of a doting dad. The ad proclaims: "A man who does not help in child-rearing can't be called a father." The ads have created outrage among overworked men. Statistics show fathers spend seven minutes a day caring for their children.

*OUT OF BOUNDS: In a land where soccer reigns as king, it is the unthinkable: a city law curtailing street games of the national sport. But that's what Mexico City authorities have decided - to the hue and cry of amateur soccer players, some barely old enough yet to walk. City officials say their new law doesn't actually ban street soccer, but is an attempt to foster neighborhood harmony in cases where soccer players and their neighbors are at odds. Some neighbors say they fear walking the streets with soccer balls flying through the air. Others say their cars and gardens are damaged by the players or that gangs use street soccer games as a ruse for stopping drivers and robbing them. Many of Mexico's professional players have chimed in to support what is called Mexican soccer's "street university," but at least one poll shows most residents want the street games banned, pure and simple.

*A KISS IS JUST KISS: Lovers in Caracas have been told they can kiss in public without being arrested. Two years ago, Irene Saez, the former Miss Universe, turned local mayor, banned smooching in public parks. Her successor has told police to focus instead on serious crime.

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

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