Today's Story Line:

A number of nations are watching Canada's experiment to let common folk have a say in foreign policy. These "citizen policymakers" can "add value" to diplomacy, Canadian officials say.

Britain's tradition of being hawkish in war continues with Prime Minister Tony Blair's call for NATO to be more aggressive with Yugoslavia.

The chaotic violence that American troops encountered in Somalia in 1993 lives on. The tale of one professional bandit reveals what ails this African nation. Quote of note: "I hope in the future that I will leave my bad habits on the ground, and be a very good man ... but now I'm not studying anything, except for the gun that I'm holding." - Malaay.

With peace almost secured in Northern Ireland, former foes who once tried to kill each other are working out their differences.


*HIRED FRIEND: Not every young Somali gunman is a bandit. During four years of covering Somalia, Scott Peterson found that several whom he hired for "security" became good, trusted friends. Among the most memorable was Hersi. "He spoke no English, but maneuvered his white Toyota Cressida through the Mogadishu traffic with admirable precision and belligerence," Scott says. "In dangerous situations Hersi would escort me, assault rifle ready at full automatic. He would lead me by the hand. But trying to find him during my recent visit proved fruitless. He had survived the worst of the Somali wars, and the American intervention. But sadly he had been killed last year in a dispute."


*US TROOPS: Being a superpower requires the US to use delicate diplomacy to put US troops abroad. On May 25, Japanese lawmakers approved a law giving the US access to air- and seaports in Japan. On May 26, NATO is expected to approve more troops - including 7,000 Americans - for the Yugoslav war. And the Philippines, after booting out US bases in 1992, is expected to pass a law in coming days allowing US forces to visit.

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