Today's Story Line:

Leave it to Boris Yeltsin to go out with a bang - on New Year's Eve . His heir apparent, Vladimir Putin, will have his hands full with completing one of the most important transitions to market reforms in the world .

Monitor reporters from around the world wrap up New Year's .

Faye Bowers Deputy world editor


*NEW YEAR'S IN RED SQUARE: Moscow correspondent Judith Matloff rang in the New Year in Red Square, the heart of the Russian capital, and was struck by a change in ambiance. "The crowd seemed younger and friendlier, more lighthearted than in previous years," Judith says. At one point, a phalanx of soldiers held back revelers so a woman with a stroller could enter the crowded square.

Some celebrants told Judith the change in president was a nice present, while others said they wouldn't think about politics until after the festivities.

*Late Friday evening, Tokyo correspondent Cameron W. Barr visited a Buddhist temple near his home, which is what many people in Tokyo do to ring in the new year. As the clock rolled over, Cameron awaited a pre-arranged call from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, intending to contribute the local sights and sounds to the CBC's millennium coverage. Strangely, the call didn't come. Ever on the alert for Y2K glitches, our reporter checked the Monitor's newly acquired latest-technology cell phone. Not working. He then resorted to a pay phone and got through to Canada without a hitch. The CBC got their interview, and the cell phone returned to life the next day.


*LITTLE-COVERED COUNTRY: Moldova has become one of Europe's poorest countries. Its capital, Chisinau, is pronounced KEE-she-nyow.

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