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Today's Story Line

By Special to The Christian Science Monitor / March 29, 2000



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.

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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?

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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