Today's Story Line

By , World Editor of The Christian Science Monitor

Bluff and bluster or the prelude to a another civil war? It's been 50 years since Taiwan was well and truly united with mainland China. Both sides appear to be marking the anniversary with renewed saber rattling . If shots are fired, will the US be drawn into the conflict?

The Dagestan rebellion will be over in two weeks. So Russia's prime minister vowed. But to no one's surprise, this uprising could go the way of Chechnya. Or not. There are marked differences . Quote of note: "There was some euphoria ... when Chechnya defeated Russia. But today Chechnya is a crime-ridden economic basket case." - a Caucasus expert.

Russian and Italian mafiosi know her well. The US Drug Enforcement Administration is a big fan. So, beware, war criminals of Yugoslavia. There's a new UN prosecutor moving to The Hague next month: Carla del Ponte.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Colombia's FARC rebels staged a propaganda picnic in the jungle last week. It invited hundreds of mothers to the jungle to plead for their sons' release. The aim: to put pressure on the government to release captured rebels.

- David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *A BAD HAIR DAY, PERHAPS? It's not just those furtive, deep-background sources who turn out to be camera shy. Mexico City correspondent Howard LaFranchi asked two "public writers" interviewed for today's story on the continuing use of typewriters if he could return the next day to snap their photos. Both men said yes. "I've been here every day for 35 years, I guess I'll be here tomorrow," said one. But when Howard returned the next morning at the appointed hour with camera in hand, both were nowhere to be found. Howard waited. And waited. Finally, one of the evangelistas arrived but waved him away on two separate occasions, telling him to return "later."

*HOSTAGE HIGHWAY: Reporter Martin Hodgson was trying to get from Bogot to San Vicente without becoming a hostage like those he was writing about. Some 600 relatives of government soldiers captured by Colombian rebels were going to San Vicente to plead their cases before the guerrillas. But Martin found all flights booked. He got as far as Neiva, and planned to take a bus the rest of the way. But then he asked a couple of locals about the journey. "The bandits will just stop the bus and take your money," one told him. "El Seor is a Colombian citizen?"the second asked. "No," said Martin. "Unless you want to be a permanent guest of la guerrilla, you should find another way." Martin waited until he got a seat on a flight.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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