Today's Story Line

By , World Editor of The Christian Science Monitor

Russian generals appear determined to lay siege to Grozny and the rest of Chechnya. Is an opportunity for a peace deal being squandered?

If the US is worried about rogue nuclear nations, it ought to look in the mirror, says China's top arms negotiator.

The Yanacano Indians have persuaded Colombia to stop spraying herbicides to kill heroin plants on their lands. - David Clark Scott, World editor

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REPORTERS ON THE JOB *THE LANGUAGE OF DIPLOMACY: The Monitor's Kevin Platt speaks Mandarin but often uses a translator to ensure accuracy. He didn't bring a translator to interview China's top arms negotiator, assuming that the former diplomatic envoy to Britain, Sha Zukang, spoke English. But when Kevin arrived, Sha had a translator and a notetaker with him. Sha seemed surprised and a little disappointed that Kevin came alone. It reminded Kevin of that sort of universal measure - the number of people in one's entourage reflects your importance. But when Kevin explained his assumption, they agreed to speak English, and Sha graciously said that had he known that Kevin would be unaccompanied, he would have come alone as well.

*ROYAL SOCCER FANS: A passion for soccer is helping Jordan's King Abdullah's populist touch (page 1). The Monitor's Scott Peterson was in Libya last month when Jordan's national soccer team won the Pan-Arab Games. But his wife called from their home in Amman, saying "Scott, you've got to hear this." She stuck the phone out the window so he could hear the celebratory mortar rounds, gunfire, and cheering. King Abdullah is a soccer fan and Jordanians recognize it. For years, official portraits of his father, King Hussein in military uniform bedecked with medals, were standard decor in the back windows of cars. Since the soccer win, a new image has appeared: Abdullah and Queen Rania, cheering wildly for their team.

FOLLOW-UP ON MONITOR STORY *DEPLETED URANIUM: On Oct. 5 the Monitor reported on the health dangers of DU weapons used by US forces in Kosovo. The use of DU was debated Tuesday in New York by the United Nations-accredited NGO Committee on Disarmament. Until now, no US official has formally warned returning Kosovar refugees about these armor-piercing bullets made of nuclear waste. But Col. Eric Daxon, the US Army's top radiological expert, said: "The best thing I can tell anybody about entering a contaminated vehicle or damaged vehicle is: 'Don't do it. It is a dangerous place to be.' "

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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