Today's Story Line:

There's an unprecedented sense of history and movement as the Golan Heights peace talks begin this week in Washington. Syria's position is unambiguous: It wants the land back. Israel is preparing for a handover, but will negotiate for military security and water rights.

Venezuelans are likely to approve a new constitution that will extend President Hugo Chvez's powers. Is this the emergence of a democratic dictatorship or the vanquishing of a corrupt ruling class?

Martial law has been declared in Sudan, where two leaders are vying for control. The outcome will have a ripple effect throughout neighboring states.

David Clark Scott World editor


* CONSTITUTION CORRESPONDENT: Latin America correspondent Howard LaFranchi, in Venezuela to cover the vote on a new constitution, played a small role in the country's democratic process. As Howard was working in his hotel room Sunday, there was a knock at the door. It was the room maid, who pointed to two copies of the proposed constitution Howard had acquired in an interview. "I noticed you had two copies, and I wondered if I might have one?" the maid asked, "I feel I should read it before I make up my mind." She left with one copy and a commitment to "see for myself what it says" before today's vote.

* INVOLUNTARY BILLBOARD: A large crowd, estimated at 10,000 people, gathered outside Israel's Knesset yesterday. Jerusalem-based Ilene Prusher arrived and began to interview folks, most of whom were there to protest the potential return of the Golan Heights to Syria. "As I started to leave, I put my notebook in a leather saddlebag and found my journalistic integrity had been compromised," says Ilene. "Two bumper stickers, in Hebrew, had been stuck on my bag. One said, 'Don't move from the Golan,' and the other said 'The people are with the Golan."


ROMANCE NOVEL? A couple in the Netherlands reads while competing for the Guiness record for the longest kiss. Winning time: 34 hours.

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