Today's Story Line

Human rights is the prevailing theme in today's international news pages.

A British judge is expected to rule today on whether to extradite Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet to Spain to face charges of torture and murder. Our page 1 story looks at how centuries-old laws for dealing with pirates are translating to "universal jurisdiction" in today's international law.

Quote of note: "In an increasingly interdependent world, we cannot allow people who commit heinous crimes in one country to find safe haven in another." - Reed Brody, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

After a month-long election process, some 360 million weary voters in India appear to have chosen a Hindu-nationalist coalition government much like the one brought down by a single vote last April.

Quote of note: "The big change underlying this untidy, boisterous, violent scene is democracy taking root, maturing, and that is best shown in the rise of the castes." - B.G. Verghese of the Center for Policy Research in Delhi.

Burma's (Myanmar's) pro-democracy dissidents maintained a civil disobedience stance for a decade - until last weekend when five gunmen took hostages at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. Dissidents are grappling with what the raid means to their movement.

- Faye Bowers, Deputy world editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *REBEL GROUCHOS: Monitor contributor Martin Hodgson saw quite a presentation at the Tolemaida military base for his story on the Colombian Army. A sign in somewhat mangled English welcomed reporters to the base, where movie-style sets consisting of little houses and shops were constructed for role-playing scenes on humane treatment in the line of duty. Martin says the scriptwriter got into his job more as the narratives progressed. At first the action was pretty dry, he says, but by the end there was spicy dialogue among the soldiers, rebels, and peasants. Perhaps the best touch: penciled-in, thick mustaches on those playing the rebels.

*A FAREWELL TO ARMS? Gen. Augusto Pinochet could scarcely have foreseen his predicament the last time European correspondent Peter Ford saw him. That was on a foggy morning in October 1990, in the Chilean port town of Valparaiso when Pinochet handed over power to newly elected civilian President Patricio Aylwin. Peter remembers Aylwin's sober gray suit: It seemed almost out of place on a Chilean leader after 17 years of uniformed military juntas. Peter still has a small white flag with "Adios General" printed on it that he picked up at a rally to celebrate the return to democracy.

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