Today's Story Line:

A young romance across Kosovo's deep ethnic divide can quickly show a path to peace. Writer Justin Brown found a Serb and ethnic Albanian twosome in love. His story shows what their relationship reveals about a land torn by hatred. Quote of note: "If they really wanted peace, it wouldn't be too hard." - Zoran, the young man, speaking of political leaders.

Russia's woes are so well known, we were pleasantly surprised to find three stories showing the other side.

- Clayton Jones

World Editor


* A LIGHT UNDER A BUSHEL: Cuba's announcement on Tuesday that it would now allow people to always celebrate Christmas reminded Latin American writer Howard LaFranchi of what happened last year when he was in Cuba. The pope's visit had compelled the government to allow a one-time-only Christmas celebration. Within an hour, people brought out their Christmas trees and decorations. For decades, they had celebrated only inside.

* SERVICE WITH STYLE OR A SMILE: One of our correspondents in Tokyo observes that his deepest insights into the differences between America and Japan come during border crossings. "The flight crews of a certain large US airline," says Cameron Barr, "have come to epitomize the virtues of American society. I won't mention the airline's name, but its transpacific flight attendants are multilingual, multiethnic, multi-everything. They handle passengers with an all-business style. Sometimes I imagine that Japanese travelers must find them brusque or even rude, since people in service positions in Japan are so deferential. But I think anyone must admire how these flight attendants work with their stressed-out, international clientele with candor and efficiency. During a crowded, 14-hour flight, the point is to get the job done. Arriving in Tokyo, the gentleness and consideration of many Japanese often hits me over the head. One time in the airport I stepped up to a cashier to pay to have one of my suitcases brought to my house. While my back was turned, another employee quietly turned my luggage cart around, so I could push off without delay. Only in Japan."


* FROM THE BRITISH PRESS: After Augusto Pinochet moved to a big house in Surrey, a neighbor said: "It's a bit like being told Adolf Hitler is moving next door. There are supposed to be Russian underworld figures and members of the Hong Kong triads living around us, so a former Chilean dictator who is supposed to be responsible for the disappearance of hundreds of people is not exactly big news."

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.