Today's Story Line

What kind of leader steals from a nation of poor people? What kind of bank helps him or her hide the money?

Those are the questions underlying a new set of ethical guidelines for financial institutions promoted by Transparency International, an anticorruption group. Its banking principles complement law-enforcement efforts to spotlight places that profit from money laundering (this page).

Thailand is also struggling with corruption in high places. And it's trying to find a balance between keeping its doors open to tourists and closing them to spreading organized crime syndicates (See story).

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

SHARING THE EXPENSE: The most common form of organized crime in Thailand, notes Joshua Kurlantzick, is the bribe-collecting done by police. His landlady pays "tea money" to the local cops. And about two weeks ago, a policeman pulled Josuha's motorcycle taxi over for "driving outside the lane." "Given the chaos of Bangkok traffic, such a citation is absurd. People drive on the sidewalks here," says Josh. The cop threatened to confiscate the taxi driver's license and, to underscore his intentions, said he might then "lose" it. The cop settled for a 120 bhat (US$2.85) bribe - the equivalent of a half-day's wage. The driver then added the bribe to Josh's bill. Josh protested and negotiated a slightly lower fee.

SURVEY SAYS .....

LENIN IS MAN OF THE CENTURY: Russians gave Communist leader Vladimir Lenin the most votes in a survey that asked 1,500 people to name the "man of the century" for their country. Many older Russians still revere Lenin as the father of their country's modern state, reports The Associated Press. Dictator Josef Stalin finished second. Nobel Prize-winner and nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov placed third. The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, and Soviet reformer Mikhail Gorbachev came in fourth and fifth, respectively.

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