Today's Story Line

Croatia voted this week for a new president and a break from their nationalist past. It could be a change that reduces tensions in the region.

Thailand's handling of its second hostage crisis in four months shows a toughening of its attitude toward Burmese refugees in the country.

Ecuador's Indians have returned to the countryside, but not to lick post-coup wounds. They're sounding more like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator: "I'll be back".

With billions not yet served, McDonald's takes a risk by opening a store in Brazil's slums.

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

*QUICK, FOLLOW THAT STORY: Reporter Justin Pritchard dashed out of his office in Bangkok as the news broke about a hostage crisis in Ratchaburi. But he was immediately confronted with a roadblock. A bus ride to Ratchaburi costs 30 baht (or about 81 cents). But that would take too long. The first taxi driver wanted to charge him $30 each way for the 65-mile trip. An exorbitant sum, in local terms. The next driver refused to take him because the radio was reporting (falsely) that there were shoot-outs in the streets of Ratchaburi. Finally, a third cabby agreed to take him and charge him the meter rate. The journey cost $30 round trip. "He was thrilled," says Justin. "He told me that I was his biggest one-day fare ever."

*A CELLULAR MOVEMENT: Reporter Catherine Elton found out about last-minute press conferences and set up interviews with Ecuador's indigenous leaders via cell phones. In fact, all but one of her sources was contacted by cell phone. But it's not a luxury item. "If you want a telephone, it's expensive to install, and customers can wait months or years for a line," says Catherine. By comparison, cell phones are available and cheap. "You only pay for outgoing calls," she notes. "I see more cell phones in Quito than in New York."

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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