Today's Story Line

The world's largest democracy exhibition begins Sunday in India. Some 600 million voters face a choice between Hindu nationalism and a secular "big tent".

At press time, negotiations on the Wye accord were stalled again. Yes, this sounds like the last three years. But there are important differences in the Israeli leadership now.

- David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *HONESTY CALLS: The Monitor's Bob Marquand was out on the campaign trail in west Delhi. When he got back, Bob realized he'd lost his cell phone. This is a crucial tool for a reporter often away from the office. Typically, Bob was told, people will use a lost phone to rack up huge long-distance bills. But a servant found the phone and brought it to his boss. She, in turn, called the cell-phone company but they wouldn't tell her who owned it. She spent half a day tracking Bob down herself. In a country of great poverty, says Bob, "It's an example of two very honest and diligent people. She refused any money for her effort."

*PRISTINA'S LAWNMOWER MAN: In reporting his story about ethnic Albanians still missing since the war, Scott Peterson wanted to go beyond politics and statistics and feature a family's personal story. His translator remembered a young ethnic Albanian who was going door to door offering to cut people's grass in the neighborhood. The translator took him up on the offer and afterward asked him inside for some refreshment. They swapped tales about the war, and the young man spilled the story about his father. The translator tracked down the young man, and Scott had his story.

Follow-up on a Monitor story. *BUDGET CUTS & HAIRCUTS: Last September, Howard LaFranchi interviewed Caracas haircutter Marina Lugo for a story about middle-class people who have fallen on hard times. This week Howard found Mrs. Lugo's financial slide continues. Some of her best customers have left the the country. Lugo says she's no more a fan of President Hugo Chvez today than last year. "But I understand why people support him; he's the last hope."

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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