Today's Story Line

Unrest in China isn't limited to the headline-grabbing Falun Gong. Farmers, laid-off workers, and peasants have held more than 60,000 protests this year. And China's leaders are a bit anxious.

The Marshall Islands are at the receiving end of the world's longest (5,000 miles) target range. What's that worth to the US as it develops a $10.5 billion missile defense system?

Thanks to budget cuts and welfare reform, churches and other US civic organizations are taking on more of the load for caring for the hungry and needy. Germany is moving in a similar direction. The government wants to cut taxes and curtail social services. But there's little tradition of charitable giving.

Narcotics Anonymous in Tehran, Iran, is a US import now filling a treatment gap in a society where public admission of a drug addiction is especially difficult.

David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

*OFFICIAL HIDE-AND-SEEK: In a tiny Pacific island nation like the Marshall Islands, tracking down senior government officials requires some local knowledge, as reporter Colin Woodard found while reporting from the capital, Majuro. "The last place you find anyone is in their office," Colin says. President Imata Kabua holds court in the bar of the Outrigger Hotel, the opposition gathers at another hotel restaurant in town, and all the important business of state is negotiated on half-day tuna fishing expeditions. But when Foreign Minister Phillip Muller failed to show up for a scheduled 9 a.m. appointment with Colin, even Muller's secretary was stumped. She called the Outrigger, the restaurant, Muller's cell phone, the finance minister's cell phone (they're often out together), and Muller's home number. "Strange," the surprised secretary said. "I can't imagine where he could be."

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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