Today's Story Line

Croatia voted this week for a new president and a break from their nationalist past. It could be a change that reduces tensions in the region.

Thailand's handling of its second hostage crisis in four months shows a toughening of its attitude toward Burmese refugees in the country.

Ecuador's Indians have returned to the countryside, but not to lick post-coup wounds. They're sounding more like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator: "I'll be back".

With billions not yet served, McDonald's takes a risk by opening a store in Brazil's slums.

David Clark Scott World editor


*QUICK, FOLLOW THAT STORY: Reporter Justin Pritchard dashed out of his office in Bangkok as the news broke about a hostage crisis in Ratchaburi. But he was immediately confronted with a roadblock. A bus ride to Ratchaburi costs 30 baht (or about 81 cents). But that would take too long. The first taxi driver wanted to charge him $30 each way for the 65-mile trip. An exorbitant sum, in local terms. The next driver refused to take him because the radio was reporting (falsely) that there were shoot-outs in the streets of Ratchaburi. Finally, a third cabby agreed to take him and charge him the meter rate. The journey cost $30 round trip. "He was thrilled," says Justin. "He told me that I was his biggest one-day fare ever."

*A CELLULAR MOVEMENT: Reporter Catherine Elton found out about last-minute press conferences and set up interviews with Ecuador's indigenous leaders via cell phones. In fact, all but one of her sources was contacted by cell phone. But it's not a luxury item. "If you want a telephone, it's expensive to install, and customers can wait months or years for a line," says Catherine. By comparison, cell phones are available and cheap. "You only pay for outgoing calls," she notes. "I see more cell phones in Quito than in New York."

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