Today's Story Line:

NATO forces may be required to help UN war-crimes investigators quickly uncover Serb atrocities in Kosovo. Such evidence could further isolate Serb leaders.

Central power in Russia has eroded, leaving the regions with more autonomy and ability to influence reforms in Moscow. Quote of note: "Attempts to reform Russia from the top have not worked." - St. Petersburg's governor.

Young democracies such as Indonesia still keep one eye on the military. Armed forces chief Wiranto, an enigmatic figure, has a chance of being chosen as the next president in November, but many people fear he might just become another Suharto, a former general.


*FLIP-FLOPS IN JAKARTA: This past year has seen Indonesia's powerful military put on an impressive show of neutrality, going to great efforts to redeem itself, says Jakarta correspondent Sander Thoenes. Soldiers kept a relatively low profile in the capital on election day, so as not to be seen to influence the vote. In contrast, last year, Sander and his camera witnessed the police shooting demonstrators - an event that led to former President Suharto's downfall. The police broke Sander's camera - but the film survived.

*OTHER RUSSIAS: Moscow bureau chief Judith Matloff finds the Soviet Union's attempt to instill uniformity didn't always work. The capital of Kalmykia, Elista, feels like an enclave of Mongolia or Tibet. Colorful pagodas, giant buddhas, and sculptures with dragons are scattered along the main avenue. The capital of Tatarstan, a region settled by the descendants of Genghis Khan, is marked by carved decorations and graceful spires of mosques. Judith was disappointed, however, to find Russian food in restaurants and Russian pop music on the radio in Kazan.


*NEW WORDS: For the first time, one-fifth of the new words in the latest edition of the Oxford Concise Dictionary originate from outside Britain. Many come from America: pointy-headed (too intellectual); hissy fit (temper tantrum); plus-size (outside clothing); five alarm (large fire or an exceptionally spicy dish); klatch (social gathering); rock-ribbed (uncompromising). Other new words: mindshare (consumer awareness of a product); 24-7 (24 hours a day, seven days a week); blokeish (stereotypically male behavior); heartsink patients (who frequently complain to a doctor of persistent but mysterious ailments); ohnosecond (for the moment you realize you've just pressed the wrong button on your computer).

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