Today's Story Line

Expectations for an global economic upturn are rising. European nations are looking at a 1.5 to 3 percent growth rate. Japan, Mexico, and Brazil also foresee a better year. But it will take several years of continuous growth to begin to trim the jobless rate and raise the living standard in many nations.

While work of the international peacekeepers in Kosovo has largely disappeared from the headlines, the dangerous police duties continue. A day spent with members of the US 1st Infantry Division reveals a task filled with frustration, confusion, and occasional warmth. Quote of note: "I know this has been going on for about 600 years. But in the US we've struggled with similar problems [of racism] in the past - and we're still struggling." - a US soldier.

Equatorial Guinea is Africa's newest oil producing nation. In the past year, the economy grew 53 percent. But why hasn't this surge in wealth begun to improve the lives of most residents?

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

*MMMM, US ARMY CUISINE: While on the road with American peacekeepers in Kosovo, reporter Lucian Kim had his first encounter with MREs - meals ready to eat. He downed quite a few of them, noting that they "tasted great because I was hungry." MREs are military food rations that come in sealed plastic bags. They have all the makings of a meal - including such things as cheese spread, dessert ("sometimes even M&Ms," says Lucian), powder for a fruit drink, and a little napkin. But the best feature, says Lucian, is the MRE's "heater": a little plastic bag, which contains a chemical that, when combined with water, immediately produces boiling water and heats up the food. Lucian says the pork and rice was pretty bland ("I use Tabasco sauce on everything"), but it sounded far better than the freeze-dried scrambled eggs that the mess hall served for breakfast one morning.

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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