Today's Story Line

Ending wars is often as messy as the war itself. Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic apparently bowed to NATO's demands to exit Kosovo yesterday, but he can still cause trouble in the transition.

Will South Africa become a one-party state? The large victory for the African National Congress gives it authority to reshape the Constitution and curb opposition. Quote of note: "This will destroy the competitive spirit that is needed, especially in a newly emerged democracy in Africa." - Thamba Sono, president of the Race Relations Institute of South Africa.

Africa's persistent poverty is caused in part by persistent corruption. Nigeria's new president, Olusegun Obasanjo, may set an example as a graft-buster. Quote of note: "His main test will be how he handles his sponsors." - Gbile Oshadipe, editor of Integrity newsletter.

Europe took another step toward unity by designating one person to speak for it on international policy. He's a former Spanish leftist, Javier Solana, now head of NATO. The European Union also moved to have its own military force that could be used when the US opts out of a crisis. "The Europeans found that they could not conduct hard-nosed negotiations at [the Kosovo talks] because they did not have any forces even in theory to back them up." - Guido Lenzi, head of the Paris-based Institute for Security Studies.

Much of the world gets its news from BBC radio, but British Conservatives say the broadcaster's neutrality will be threatened if a financial supporter of Labour is appointed as director-general.

- Clayton Jones, World editor


*CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MANDELA: South Africa reporter Corinna Schuler was in the crush of reporters Wednesday when Nelson Mandela voted at a sports club. His bodyguards were working hard to keep the journalists at bay. One voter was watching and yelled out, "So, that's why they're called leeches." Mandela escaped the mob of hacks - and his bodyguards - and began shaking the hands of voters. When he tried to kiss a baby boy, the child turned away, says Corinna. "Oh, I guess he doesn't want me," he said. The boy's mother shot back: "Oh he wants you. We all want you, madiba [Mandela's nickname]."

*MR. WHO? European leaders could not work out a name for the new foreign policy supremo, says Paris-based reporter Peter Ford. The British call it "Mr. CFSP," which means Mr. Common Foreign and Security Policy; the French call it "Monsieur PESC" (Politique Etrangre et de Scurit Commune); the Germans say "Mr. Gemeinsammer Aussen-und Sicherheitspolitik," or, for short, Mr. GASP.

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