Today's Story Line

Demonstrations, aimed at civil disobedience but becoming more emotional and violent, are taking place in both Belgrade and Jerusalem. The protesters in both cities are angry at perceived injustices. In Jerusalem, the rallies were sparked by the provocative visit of Israeli hard-liner Ariel Sharon to the city's holiest site for both Arabs and Jews (page 1). And in Yugoslavia, demonstrators are protesting Slobodan Milosevic's handling of last week's election.

Faye Bowers Deputy world editor

HAVE YOU HEARD?

Separating rumor from fact has become a full-time job for Alex Todorovic in Belgrade. The moment you bump into someone, he says, they start with: "Have you heard?" Rumors abound, Alex says, some quite fanciful. Some probably include shades of truth. "Who can sort them out?" Alex asks.

Here's how some of them go:

"Have you heard that [Milosevic] has a plane filled with gold that's parked on the tarmac right now? As soon as things get too hot, he'll just fly away with our gold."

"Have you heard that [the first couple's] kids have left the country?"

"Have you heard that [the first couple] doesn't dare show up in their home town of Pozarevac for fear they'll be lynched?"

"Have you heard that the general and all his staff have resigned?"

"Have you heard that [Milosevic] threw an ashtray at his closest adviser's head when he heard about the election results?"

"Have you heard that [the first couple] has put everything up for sale and are moving to (a) China, (b) Russia, (c) South America?"

Alex's response is always, "You don't say!" And the response he invariably gets is: "I swear!"

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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