Today's Story Line

How might humanity react to the passing of the millennium? We should get a good idea as the moon's shadow passes across Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia today. Depending on the observer's viewpoint, an eclipse is an opportunity for prayers, parties, or scientific peeping.

Can warfare be fair? One doesn't have to look any farther than Kosovo or Sierra Leone to wonder. Fifty years after the Geneva Conventions gave humanity a set of battle rules, there's a fresh push to educate the world's warriors .

Chechnya Part II? Russian troops are heading to Dagestan as it attempts to quell another uprising on the republic's southern flank (this page).Quote of note: "These peoples are not Russian.... [They] identify more with outside forces, with the ideology of Islam and the countries of the Muslim world." - a Russian security analyst.

- David Clark Scott, World editor


*SALES ARE LOOKING UP: The Monitor's Middle East correspondent Scott Peterson checked in with a local Amman optometrist yesterday to see about buying another two pairs of eclipse glasses for his little boy and girl. Jordan's Astronomical Society imported 3,000 pairs. Several shops in Amman placed an initial order for 500 pairs. Those flew out the door. Another 4,000 were ordered. Two days ago, Scott bought two pairs of the metallic shades for $3.50 each. But yesterday the optometrist told Scott: "We don't have a single pair left. We had no idea they would be so popular." It looks as if the Petersons won't be taking one of those family portraits with every face gazing skyward.


*GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN: It's an image that perhaps only Claude Monet would love: Wheat stacks piling up in China. Its grain exports dropped 41 percent in the first half of this year. The problem: Back-to-back years of surplus wheat supplies worldwide have pushed prices down. But this week, prices started to climb as the US drought took its toll on harvest expectations.

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