Today's Story Line

Safe to sow and sell? Scientists and diplomats from around the world are in Montreal this week discussing what limits to place on trade in genetically modified seeds, foods, and animals.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators say they'll miss the February deadline for a peace-pact outline. But behind the scenes, there is some progress on how to share Jerusalem - one of the major stumbling blocks.

More blue helmets, please? African leaders are at the UN headquarters this week to bolster peacekeeping forces under the teetering Congo accord.

In China, 1 in 3 products is a knockoffs. But a young entrepreneur has turned consumer activism into a profit-making crusade. And he's won the admiration of Chinese consumers.

Quote of note: "I'm not ashamed of making money. People think if you work for the public interest, you have to sacrifice yourself. I think that's wrong." - Wang Hai, consumer advocate.

David Clark Scott World editor

Reporters on the job

DIAL W FOR WANG: Reporter Shai Oster in Beijing started with what he thought was a logical, if not promising, place when trying to track down China's best-known consumer advocate - he called the local version of the telephone company's 411. "Wang is the most common name in China, and I didn't really think I'd find him this way," Shai says. "It would be like saying, could I have John Smith's number, please?" But the operator Shai spoke with immediately knew who he was seeking out. "Oh, you mean Wang Hai, the fake-fighting hero?" the operator asked. When Shai dropped off film of Mr. Wang, even the people at the photo-finishing store made comments about what a hero Wang Hai is to them.

THE POWER OF BETTY: Reporter Timothy Pratt says he's never been a big fan of telenovelas, or soap operas. But like many in Colombia, he's getting sucked in. Between the recent media attention and his Colombian wife's dedication, he now finds himself arranging his life to watch Betty la Fea nightly at 9 p.m. "I can't talk to my wife during the show. So I end up joining her on the couch." And he notes, that "our three-year-old son has been staying up later. If by 8:30 p.m, he's not asleep, there's a new tension in the household over whether we'll be able to watch Betty," says Tim. Apparently he's not alone. Recent guerrilla attacks on power lines have left some Colombian cities without electricity when the show airs. Angry viewers have prompted television stations to rebroadcast "Betty" later in the evening.

Let us hear from you.

Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail: world@csmonitor.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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