Today's Story Line

Russia's President Putin seems fully focused on following through with his campaign promises to bring the former superpower into the 21st century. He's tackled much of the unfinished business of the Yeltsin era - a bloated central-government bureaucracy and regional disintegration. Now, it's the military.

Speaking of tackling systems, one man in England has become a poster boy for those dissatisfied with the push toward the metric system.

And Uganda's President Museveni does not believe in a multiparty system; the best approach, he says, is a "no-party democracy".

Faye Bowers Deputy world editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

*DACHA DISPATCHES: The Monitor's Fred Weir says he weekly sees evidence that Russia's military is up against a crunch. A barracks is located near the village where Fred spends weekends at his family dacha. Fred says he regularly encounters soldiers - in greasy uniforms and patched boots - begging for money and cigarettes. Fred says they tell him that they can't get enough to eat in their mess, and "that's easy enough to believe."

*KAMPALA CALLING: This country now has more mobile phones than land lines, thanks to stiff competition and the long wait to get a fixed line. Mike Crawley rented one on his arrival in Kampala for just $8 a day. "I saw precisely how popular they are when I attended a Museveni rally on a abandoned soccer field in the city," Mike says. "Everyone had to go through a metal detector set up at the field's entrance, where soldiers confiscated mobile phones. I pleaded for a journalist's exception, as they also wanted to take my camera. It meant that I could take photos, and as a fringe benefit, I avoided the long line at the end of the rally where cellphones were returned."

Let us hear from you.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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