Today's Story Line:

There's progress to report on several seemingly intractable problems confronting quests for peace: In southeast Europe, neighbors Turkey and Greece are moving closer to resolving old differences.

And leaders in Northern Ireland made concessions moving the opposing pro-British and pro-Irish communities a step closer to peace.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who took over Pakistan in a military coup last month, has imposed a Nov. 16 deadline for elites to pay up on bad bank loans (he seems to be telling them that they can send their cakes but he won't eat them too). What happens is sure to telegraph his regime's longer-term intentions.

But, one rural Russian textile town - cut off from Uzbekistan, its cotton supplier before the collapse of the USSR - struggles to make it in the throes of a market-reform economy.

- Faye Bowers Deputy world editor


* HOW ABOUT TIN CANS AND STRING? When he has a human rights question, Beijing-based Monitor correspondent Kevin Platt often calls on Frank Lu in Hong Kong at the Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China.

Over the past few months though, those conversations have become increasingly tough. There's typically a lot of static and blank spaces in the sound over the phone line.

Mr. Lu says that the police in mainland China have increased their surveillance and harassment: Computer-generated calls come in more than 1,000 times per day, he estimates, a 10-fold increase since Lu began issuing press releases about the Falun Gong movement.

Lu says China's police also jam his fax line and send his pager fake phone numbers to call back. Kevin himself has yet to successfully send Lu an e-mail. Despite the interruptions, Kevin says the tactics resemble a Chinese cyber-version of the Keystone Kops, and sometimes the results are almost comical. "It's hard not to laugh at how much trouble China goes to to make trouble for Frank Lu."

* GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL: When Paris-based Monitor correspondent Peter Ford took a few days off earlier this month, he went to Istanbul in order to taste the Orient and to get away from Europe.

But he found that despite the city's spice bazaars and the muezzins' calls to prayer, Turks regard themselves as thoroughly European. Even if Kosovo has reminded Europeans that there are indigenous Muslims on their continent, however, Peter thinks it will be quite a while before the European Union digests the prospect of becoming more than a "Christian club."

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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