Today's Story Line

Faced with winter weather and the coming exodus of experienced soldiers, Russian generals look ready to make a final assault on the Chechen capital of Grozny.

Nowhere on earth is the AIDS epidemic worse than in sub-Saharan Africa. But there are signs of some progress in fighting it in one community.

The new Indonesian government appears serious about cracking down on human rights abuses.

- David Clark Scott, World editor


*WHAt'S IN VOGUE DOWN UNDER: On her first visit to Australia in 1984, the Monitor's Ruth Walker got a hint of the famed gender gap when she checked in at the Sydney Hilton. "The arrival of a solo female guest seemed to present a challenge," Ruth says. But the staff recovered quickly. "The head of housekeeping showed up at my door to deliver a hair dryer, a skirt hanger, and the Australian edition of Vogue." Fifteen years later, hair dryers are ubiquitous in hotels, skirt hangers are more common, but still no fashion magazines. "Not that I miss them," she hastens to add.

*NO CONTACT IS GOOD NEWS: Journalists aren't normally pleased when their sources are unreachable. But that's how Dan Murphy in Jakarta felt. One human rights source was in Australia interviewing East Timorese refugees about mass graves. Another was working in the province of Aceh. "The popular perception when these new organizations were set up was that they were shams, created to placate international opinion. I was glad I couldn't reach them - it's a sign that they're really working," says Dan.


*NAZARETH LOCKOUT: Christian churches in the Holy Land were closed two days this week, as church leaders continued to protest plans to build a mosque next to the Basilica of the Annunciation. The local dispute, reported in the Monitor on Oct. 20, is widening into a regional.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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