Today's Story Line:

A trade deal inked yesterday by China and the US will give American businesses a vast opening in the East.

Quote of note: The pact "will provide the world with an additional element of stability."

- US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky.

On the same side of the world, Down Under, Australian officials are looking into a sort of "funny" business. Talk-show hosts have allegedly accepted money from corporations and special interests to promote their goods on the air.

- Faye Bowers Deputy world editor


*I FLY: Visitors to the Dubai 2000 Air Show get to check out the latest jet technology. The world's most important manufacturers of civil and military airplanes have gathered at the Arab emirate in a bid to capture a share of the lucrative Middle East market. Official civilian and military aviation delegations from more than 50 countries - including royalty and ministers - will visit the five-day show. Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the United Arab Emirate's defense minister, hopes to close an $8 billion aircraft deal between the UAE and the US. The UAE is hoping to buy 80 F-16 fighter jets.


*AT THE GATE: The Monitor's Kevin Platt received a phone call from a friend at the US Embassy yesterday afternoon, telling him the deal between the Chinese and Americans was about to close. Kevin beat it down to Beijing's Foreign Trade Ministry for the WTO signing ceremony. But when he arrived, the friend from the US Embassy wasn't there to greet him and let him in. Kevin had to do a lot of fast talking to the police and ministry folks. He told them how ironic it was that just as China was about to open up its markets to the West, a Western reporter couldn't even get into the ministry to cover the event. The gatekeeper made one phone call, and Kevin's friend came out to meet him and escorted him to the signing ceremony.

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