Today's Story Line

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

The Harakat ul-Mujahideen, which hijacked an Indian Airlines plane on Friday and was still holding 159 on board at press time, is fighting a worldwide holy war with help from Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

America's half-forgotten Trust Territory of Pacific Islands wants to renegotiate US payments to attach strings.

Tens of thousands set out early yesterday to watch the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Faye Bowers, Deputy world editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB . .

*THE KING AND HE: Today's story on the "Anna and The King" film (page 1) reminded the Monitor's former Southeast Asia correspondent Clayton Jones of a knee-bending day he spent traveling with the current and much-revered king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, back in the early 1980s. Clay, now chief editorial writer, was told by courtiers to keep his head - at six-foot-three - below the king's whenever he was within hailing distance.

At one point, as an entourage of a dozen jeeps traversed the northern jungle hills, the benevolent monarch bent down to talk to a peasant, who had been kneeling patiently face-down on a dusty roadside. The king-worshipping farmer was trembling but eager to make a complaint about some local matter.

Clay threw himself down in the dirt, scribbling notes, with one eye watching to see when the king might rise again. He then took out his camera and snapped a few frames when, suddenly, the king - who carries a long-lens Canon around his neck - whipped around and starting taking photos of our horizontal correspondent. What to do? Smile? Stand? Take a picture of the king taking a picture of him? The peasants must have silently gasped when they heard the whiz of dueling motor drives as each camera advanced film. Clay and the king smiled at each other, then rose up (king first), and moved on to the next event. Clay still wonders if a photo of his dusty, prone self lies in a box in Thailand's palace.

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT . .

RIDING HIGH: Egyptian soldiers patrol the Giza pyramids. Security for New Year's has been been beefed up due to terror threats.

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