Today's Story Line

Colombian President Andres Pastrana is in Washington this week lobbying for a $1.6 billion antidrug program. He would like to duplicate the 66-percent drop in coca production in Peru and Bolivia. But can that model be replicated ?

South Koreans vote for a new (and perhaps cleaner) parliament.

Sledding with Serbs. A Bosnian Muslim family enjoys an afternoon of peaceful downhill coexistence with Serbs.

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

* HORSE-TRADING FOR AN INTERVIEW: The Monitor's Scott Peterson found the Dagestani pilgrims traveling through Jordan were reluctant to talk to a journalist. They had stopped in Amman to sell carpets to pay for their journey home from Mecca. While pleading for an interview with Mohamed Amin, Peterson's mobile phone rang. After the call, Mr. Amin asked if the phone could call abroad. "You can call anywhere in the world for five minutes," Peterson promised, "if we can talk." Deal. Gently handling the 3-inch phone, Amin called his wife in Dagestan, and shouted with joy when she answered. "They will talk of nothing else the entire way back home," said Peterson's Russian-speaking interpreter. "That made his day!"

* WHERE'S MY FLAK JACKET?: In Peru, coca crop eradication is done by soldiers descending into fields detected by satellites and chopping up and burning the plants. In Colombia, eradication is accomplished by chemical spraying. One reason Peru can do on-the-ground eradication is that, unlike Colombia, it doesn't have to worry about guerrilla troops. That's what the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi was told. But during a visit to a coca-growing region with the Peruvian military, Howard found himself aboard a helicopter armed and ready for a fight. "I was right next to the gunner on this doorless helicopter, his mean-looking machine gun loaded with a long belt of four-inch bullets," Howard says. "He had on a helmet and other protective gear. All I had was a 49ers cap and khaki cotton pants."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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