Today's Story Line

Subtle changes don't often make news - at least not front-page news. But a series of relatively minor moves and apparently unrelated events, taken together, indicate that Japan is becoming more assertive, even nationalistic. If fact, these changes are enough to be the subject of a CIA analysis.

No doubt the CIA, among others, is also keeping an eye on the rising number of anti-Milosevic demonstrators filling Yugoslavia's city squares in a series of protests.

It's an odd sight for locals: Turks, whose Ottoman Empire once ruled the region, are now welcomed back to Kosovo as peacekeepers.

While some US towns have banned ice-cream trucks as noise polluters, in Britain, the vendors are changing their tunes. But will recordings by Vanilla Ice really sell more scoops?

- David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB .. *RESERVED ABOUT ASSERTIVENESS: During his five years in Tokyo, correspondent Cameron Barr has had few difficulties in arranging interviews with Japan's political leaders. But in reporting today's story on the emergence of a more assertive Japanese government, politicos played unusually hard-to-get. A retired gray eminence of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, an outspoken independent politician, and a top figure in an opposition party all said they were "too busy" or offered interview dates in the distant future. Cameron's conclusion: "Whether they are for it or against it, some people here are just not interested in talking to the foreign press about a stronger Japan."

SAY WHAT? *SERBO-CROAT PRIMER: Most English speakers have heard it enough times in the broadcast media to know that the capital of Kosovo, Pristina, is pronounced PREESH-tee-nah. But if you're looking to impress your neighbor with your Serbo-Croat linguistic skills (or simply want to mutter the proper pronunciation to yourself), we will occasionally provide a cheat sheet on names and places in the news. The following were lifted from today's story about unrest in Yugoslavia by Alex Todorovic:

The city of Uzice (OO-zhit-seh) Democratic Party President Zoran Djindjic (ZOR-ran JIN-jich) Cacak's mayor Velimir Ilic (Vel-eh-mere EEL-ich) Cacak (CHAH-chahk) Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic (Moe-mere BOO-la-toe-vich) The city of Leskovac (LES-ko-vatz)

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