Today's Story Line

The clouds of war have yet to dissipate over the Middle East. But there may be some clearing as Arab leaders meet this weekend in Egypt, one of the two Arab nations to have signed a peace pact with Israel. Jordan is the other. And Jordan is a crucial player (page 1). A large percentage of its population is of Palestinian origin. The King of Jordan is the guardian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem (although Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has also reportedly sought the role). This weekend Jordan and Egypt are likely to try to craft a position that condemns the recent deaths of Palestinians but does not give way to the battle cry coming from the streets or from the more anti-Israel Arab leaders.

Quote of note: "A declaration of war is not a game. The concept of war is an ancient one. Issues are only resolved through negotiations and international pressure."

- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

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David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

NEARLY SEDUCED BY SHAHTOOSH: Sarah Macdonald began today's story about shahtoosh shawls with a healthy dose of skepticism. "I couldn't understand why anyone would pay thousands of dollars for a piece of clothing and risk imprisonment just to get the 'in look.' I managed to maintain my disdainful anti-fashion perspective until a deep plum shawl with pink flowers was strung from my shoulders and a stunning naturally colored wrap was held against my face. The shahtoosh is divinely soft. It caresses the skin and the conscience. For a brief moment I considered a $700 sale - still legal in Srinagar, India, and a real bargain. I had fleeting fantasies of myself finally looking funky and of selling it for a 1,000 percent profit in New York. But images of dead animals, myself wearing denim overalls in a jail cell, and an already overloaded credit card kept me sane and law abiding."

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