Today's Story Line:

A credible mediator and a willingness to give up something dear. These two basic ingredients of the Northern Ireland peace process are not yet present in Spain's Basque region.

Indonesia's generals face a rare public challenge to their authority - and their methods.

Where in the Pacific must you be, if you want to be among the first to greet the dawn of the year 2000?

David Clark Scott, World editor


FREE TRADE, FREE MOVIES: Writing today's story on Argentine agriculture and international trade negotiations, prompted the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi to recall an international trade meeting he covered in Brussels in 1990. The issue was again European farm subsidies. The Europeans arrived with no consensus, and the whole meeting was held hostage while then-German chancellor Helmut Kohl went to Paris to talk with then-French president Francois Mitterrand. "Fortunately Europe's largest multi-cinema complex was across from the negotiation site, and journalists were given carte blanche to the cinemas, says Howard. "Kohl couldn't get Mitterrand to budge on farm subsidies," says Howard, "but many of the journalists saw a couple of free movies."

SOUTH PACIFIC SARTORIAL: Today's story on South Pacific nations vying to be first to witness the year 2000 sunrise, reminded the Monitor's David Clark Scott of a trip to Kiribati (pronounced Kiribass) in 1989. He asked the president's secretary what would be appropriate to wear to an interview. "Whatever you're wearing now. We are very relaxed here," she said. The equatorial heat demanded casual garb. David went in shorts and flip flops, but it quickly became apparent that he was overdressed. President Tabai, a graduate of Victoria University in New Zealand, met David in his presidential office wearing a short-sleeve shirt, shorts, and bare feet.


A last hurrah? Kuwaiti men cheer their National Assembly that rejected a bill to grant Kuwaiti women the right to vote and hold public office.

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