Today's Story Line

By , World Editor of The Christian Science Monitor

Clad in Nike headbands, Dacron winter suits, and supplied with German fruit juice, the guerrillas on the Pakistan side have haute couture, haute cuisine, and the haute ground in Kashmir. But the Indians are steadily gaining back lost territory. And Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is pledging to withdraw troops to the Pakistani side of the cease-fire line.

A pact between Nicaragua's two longtime political foes sounds like good news. So why is a big march planned this week in opposition to the union?.

One deadline on the Northern Ireland peace process has passed. The clock has been reset and British Prime Minister Tony Blair is busy persuading Ulster Unionists to go along with his plan.

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- David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB.. *PRAYER OPENS THE WAY: To get to the front line in Kashmir, South Asia correspondent Bob Marquand spent 12 hours to travel just 120 teeth-rattling miles on National Highway 1A between Srinagar and Kargil. The Himalayan road is washed out every spring. Each May, Indian bulldozers carve anew a narrow mountainside passage. At one point in the journey, Bob could hear Indian and Pakistani artillery shells whistle by overhead. On the way back, the ride was a mere nine hours. But to be safe, the timing must be precise. Leave Kargil at 4 a.m. because one must arrive at the Zodijla pass, near guerrilla-held territory, at exactly 5:30 a.m. Why? That's when the Muslim guerrillas take a break from battle to pray.

*BETTER THAN DISNEY WORLD? Latin America correspondent Howard LaFranchi has witnessed a slow but undeniable progress in Nicaragua since his first visit in 1996. Take the escalators - the nation's first - at the new Taiwanese-built mall in Managua. "The stores are pretty much empty, but the escalators are full of people out for the new ride," Howard says.

SPORTS SPOTLIGHT..

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