Today's Story Line

Call it cultural nationalism. Or the fundamentalist identity movement. But profound change is under way. The Indian subcontinent that President Bill Clinton will visit next week is a far cry from the one last visited by Presidents Carter and Nixon.

On the eve of Taiwan's second presidential elections, China's threats of war are loud and repeated. Its plans to beef up the military could drive Taiwan's voters toward the political party with the most pro-independence position.

International forces in Kosovo are taking steps to stop another conflict between Serbs and ethnic Albanians. This week, US troops seized 22 crates of weapons and munitions found near the Presevo Valley.

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David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

OFFICERS AND GENTLEMEN: When the Monitor's Cameron Barr sat down to dinner with Battalion 745 commander Lt. Col. Yacob Sarosa and another Indonesian officer to discuss the unit's exit from East Timor, the two men couldn't have been more affable. Early in the meal, a fly landed in Cameron's lemon squash, and the two officers asked the restaurant to replace the drink. Cameron insisted it wasn't necessary, but they prevailed.

The two men were unfazed by Cameron's questions about accounts of the battalion killing civilians and its alleged role in the death of Monitor contributor Sander Thoenes. Working through an interpreter in Kupang, West Timor, where the two men are based, Cameron recently contacted them again to check for any reaction to new information he had obtained. They sent back brief replies to his questions and - polite to the last - passed along warm congratulations on the birth of Cameron's new daughter.

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