Today's Story Line

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

The attorney general is the point man in Indonesia's effort to establish a rule of law in this nascent democracy. He's starting to make headway on corruption and human-rights cases.

Quote of note: "Human rights trials are vital to the state of our democracy, vital ultimately to the survival of this government." - Marzuki Darusman

Never underestimate the power of symbols. In Japan, the revival of the rising-sun flag and national anthem is triggering student protests at high-school graduations). In the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority plans to mint its own currency. Will it be accepted?

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International efforts to save minority cultures in China may be hastening their demise.

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

*WHO's INTERVIEWING WHOM? Jakarta-based reporter Dan Murphy doggedly pursued an interview with Indonesia's hard-charging attorney general, Marzuki Darusman. Dan says that he has a good relationship with him, but the interview was rescheduled several times. "He works 18-hour days and has so many balls in the air. You have to be willing to camp out at his office," says Dan. During the 1-1/2-hour interview, an assistant answered a constantly ringing cellphone, occasionally interrupting with particularly urgent calls. But during the last half hour, the attorney general turned the tables. "He grilled me about a shrimp farm I've done some reporting on. It was sold to the government for $1 billion, but it may be a scam." He gave Dan the number of his private phone line and told him to call him.

Marzuki also seemed eager to learn more about Cameron Barr's four-part investigation (www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/specials/ timor/index.html) of Indonesian Battalion 745 in East Timor. He considers the murder of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes one of his key cases against the military. "He wants a copy of the series, because it could be useful to his case," says Dan.

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