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By , World Editor of The Christian Science Monitor

The just-concluded Pan American Games were overwhelmingly about great athletic achievement. Only eight out of 2,500 competitors tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs. But it wasn't the number of violators that was troubling. Rather, it was the growing contradiction expressed by a Canadian hockey player: Professional athletes are allowed to use stimulants and steroids; why should the rules be different when the same athletes compete in Olympic-style events? These really are no longer "amateur" competitions . Quote of note: "In 'sport,' what you do doesn't make sense if it's not fair. In 'entertainment,' winning is one of the products you sell. How you win is a whole lot less important." - a sports ethicist.

In Japan, the new ethic has to do with customer service. In a society that prizes harmony and egalitarianism, it's rare to see one company touted as being better than another. But there's a grudging cultural shift under way.

Germans are also wrestling with a cultural shift: Sunday shopping. Will it be a godsend or will it produce, as one critic said, "an orgy of consumerism?"

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In Israel, your address is frequently a political statement. Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, about 3,000 Palestinians had their Jerusalem residence cards revoked. The new government plans to back away from enforcing the controversial practice.

Pakistan and India again are trading fire. The downing of a Pakistani plane now threatens to increase tensions between the two nations.

The latest abuse of the Internet can be found in Britain. Soccer hooligans and political protesters have used the Web in recent weeks to coordinate violent attacks.

- David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB BIASED ON SUNDAYS? Berlin-based reporter Guy Raz found that the perception of locals was that the US was more stringent on Sunday shopping rules than Germany.

"Don't shops close on Sunday in the Protestant [US] Midwest?" asked a colleague. "Um, no," he replied. "People shop after church."

"Shouldn't workers have their day of rest as well?" Guy was asked during an exchange at a cafe. "Yes," Guy answered, "But what about the people who use Sundays to buy basic household items?"

Guy says US journalists are trained to strive for unbiased and fair reporting. But as an American with a Sunday shopping, habit, he admits that there are times in Germany that he finds it frustrating when he can't pick up a last-minute gift or a carton of milk.

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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