Today's Story Line

nato airstrikes have hit home in Serbia by knocking out electric power. Now the public mood has shifted from defiance to one that could push Slobodan Milosevic to seek a peace deal. His latest moves hint of desperation - or perhaps just an attempt to buy time while the war wears down public support in Europe and the US. The bombing has also knocked out enough bridges to leave the heaviest concentration of the Yugoslav Army in Kosovo.

South Africa's rapid rise in crime since full democracy began in 1994 has created a society eager for police to do anything necessary to catch criminals. But experts warn that unjust police practices will not solve the problem.

With the Welsh and Scots voting May 6 to set up their own parliaments, the English are asking if the British Parliament should make way for an English Parliament.

Hip-hop - an umbrella term for the music, dress, and attitude that spun out of America's inner-city rap music movement - has cropped up as the central component of a worldwide youth culture. A report from several fronts shows how the movement has been adopted, and adapted, from Israel to Japan to South Africa. Quote of note: "The US still sets the standards, but we're doing something that is very much our own." - Specter SQF, a German graphic artist.

- Clayton Jones

World editor


*CYBERLIMITS: Balkans correspondent Justin Brown has been making do in Belgrade with a computer he says is of "mainframe" proportions - thanks to the "Chernobyl" computer virus that wiped out his brand-new spiffy laptop. The computer is so big, he says, that it would be the "ultimate humiliation" to take it anywhere - which may be necessary these days because working electrical power outlets are at a premium in Belgrade. Justin says the next time he's in a war zone, he'll follow the example of a senior British correspondent there, who is prepared to the hilt: He came armed with a Macintosh laptop, a Toshiba laptop, and a Tandy laptop - plus a trusty typewriter if all else fails.


*HIP-HOP GOES TO HARVARD: Here's one reminder that hip-hop music's global spread (page 1) has its roots in America: Two African-American students at Harvard University organized a conference in Cambridge, Mass., April 30 and May 1 to explore hip-hop's "connections to black youth culture," reports The Boston Globe. The event looked at the mainstreaming of hip-hop, its appeal compared with hard-core "gangsta rap," feminism, and the music's role in social change.

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