Today's Story Line

The Russian military's standoff with NATO forces at the Kosovo airport shows how little the former communist giant has come to terms with the West eight years after the cold war ended.

American jeans may have conquered the world, but their historic manufacturer, Levi's, feels vanquished. A visit to its El Paso factory shows the company now won't let anything come between it and its customers. Quote of note: "It used to be that 200,000 [pants] was a small run for us. But now we'll produce 2,000 of something, see how that sells, and go from there." - Ernie Lopez, plant manager.

Europe's economic integration is racing ahead of its political union. Despite a single currency and the world's largest market, the European Union's election of a new Parliament aroused little interest among voters this past weekend, although domestic issues did.

America still isolates Libya for its alleged support of terrorists, even though the two bombers of Pan Am flight 103 have been turned over for trial. Europe, however, is warming up its Libyan ties.

Prospects are brightening for Israel and Syria to resolve ownership of the Golan Heights, the severest divide in the Mideast. Behind the diplomacy lie deep emotions of Syrians affected by Israel's hold on the plateau. Quote of note: "The [Israelis] are people like us, and they have good soldiers. But to deal with them is so difficult. They want us to be Israelis." - Farah Farhat, a student from Golan Heights.

- Clayton Jones, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB * YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR: Mexico correspondent Howard LaFranchi says he almost lost his tour of a Levi's factory in El Paso for today's story about how the company is shifting jobs offshore. The reason: He didn't pass the dress code. "Before I stepped onto the factory floor they wanted to know if my khakis were Dockers," a Levi's brand, Howard says. When his Gap khakis didn't pass muster, Howard quickly pointed out to mock-serious plant manager Ernie Lopez that his own shirt had a logo advertising a competitor's product. Howard got his tour, but later bought a pair of Levi's as penance.

* IS IT CHERRY GARCIA? For his story on the Druze in Syria, Mideast correspondent Scott Peterson interviewed three students in their Damascus apartment. In typical Arab hospitality, they offered him a smoke of a traditional water pipe. Scott politely declined. Then they offered various drinks, from water to juice. After the interview, when Scott got up to leave, thanking all concerned, one of the students burst in the door. He had run up more than 100 steps, despite the heat, and asked Scott to sit back down - for ice cream.

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