Today's Story Line:

Three times in this century, America has defended Europe from aggression (in World War I, II, and the cold war). Soon, for the first time, European troops will act together without the US - and with the Germans - to quell a trouble spot on the Continent (story, page 1). Quote of note: "It is abnormal that Europe ... should be the biggest financial contributor to international efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo but all the strategic decisions are made by the Americans." - a French analyst

The day that Kenneth Starr made his case against President Clinton before Congress, the US president was in a love fest in Japan on a televised "town hall" meeting. Traveling with the president, Francine Kiefer reveals how a down-home style of talking can impress an Asian nation (story, page 1).

One of the themes we're watching around the world is the clash between the rise of political Islam and authoritarian governments. In Central Asia, as in the Middle East, that clash is often behind the scenes and brutal. Berlin-based writer Lucian Kim traveled through the region recently, and his story (this page) gives a slice of that great struggle.

- Clayton Jones

World Editor


* PITCHING IN AFTER HURRICANE MITCH: In an amazing response, the world continues to provide relief and aid to a devastated Central America (story next week).


* CALLING THE MARX BROTHERS: Our writer Lucian Kim went to the police station in one Uzbek town to check figures on imprisoned Muslims. Coming to a big locked gate, he looked for somebody to open it. An officer emerged and said, "Help me, I can't get out!" The man had locked himself in. He tossed the keys over the fence to Lucian, who opened the gate. When Lucian then tried to enter, he said, "Sorry, this is a restricted entrance."


* BECAUSE HE WAS THERE: Sir Edmund Hillary, speaking to The Boston Globe 45 years after his historic climb of Mt. Everest: "When I hear someone say he's setting off on an adventure with great confidence ... I ask, why on earth is he going at all? Why not try something he's not so confident about?"

* Now they tell us: Russian magazine Vlast (Power) reports that many of the monstrous missiles displayed in Red Square parades during the 1960s were dummies. "Foreign military attachs were scared to death, triggering panic in NATO," it said. By the time the Soviet Union reached nuclear power parity with the US in 1991, it collapsed.

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