Today's Story Line

russia's bold move to make the first footprints in the wet cement of postwar Kosovo, barging in ahead of NATO, made for a tense weekend on the global geopolitical stage. For strategic thinkers, Moscow's move may recall - on some level - Russia's successful bid for a sphere of influence in Germany after World War II.

More broadly, geostrategists are eyeing a precedent set by the Kosovo intervention: Human rights outweighed state sovereignty. What does that mean for minorities with gripes - and for the states that rule them? Quote of note: "No governments want an avalanche of minority claims, and they are going to keep the lid on." - a senior Austrian official.

North and South Korea have been fanning their smoldering rivalry in recent days. Washington has been vexed in its long-running bid to help ease the Communist North into the international community. An analysis of possible progress.

As the case for school uniforms unfolds in the US, word of a sartorial skirmish across the pond. One school holds that keeping girls in skirts helps to maintain excellence in British schools.

- Clayton Collins, Deputy World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *DRESSED FOR DURESS: For our London-based correspondent Alexander MacLeod, writing his story on school uniforms stirred old memories. Alex spent five years at a New Zealand boys' secondary school where the dress code was modeled on that of a public (that is, private) school in England. Alex recalls charcoal-gray suits with long pants, and shirts with stiff, detachable collars that had to be sent out to the laundry every week. "If you were a first-year pupil, all three jacket buttons had to be done up, but in each following year a button could be unfastened," he says. "By year four you could not only wear your jacket completely unbuttoned - you were actually allowed to put your hands in your pants pockets." Alex says says the dress code was enforced by cane-wielding prefects. Crueler still were pupils at a rival school whose dress code was more relaxed. They made a practice, Alex says, of snatching the straw "boater" hats also required of Alex and his mates, and tossing them into a nearby river.

PRESS CLIPPING *GOING, GOING.... Two uninhabited islands in the Pacific Ocean - Tebua Tarawa and Abanuea - have been submerged in seas made to rise by global warming, says a report in the (London) Sunday Independent. Two others are set to go under. The paper's source was the official environmental body of the governments of the South Pacific. The news suggests that a predicted disappearance of such coral atolls is happening faster than expected.

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