Today's Story Line:

After months of Russian airstrikes and ground fighting, Chechen rebels are apparently relinquishing the prized capital of Grozny. But few observers expect this to be the end of the Chechen war.

The political influence of key Indonesian military leaders is waning. A human rights investigation lays blame for last year's violence in East Timor at their feet.

A six-year ban on child executions in Yemen goes further than US law. But it's an uneasy adjustment.

Europeans object not only to the death penalty but, increasingly, to any form of corporal punishment for children.

- David Clark Scott World editor


*SPARE THE ROD: As a boy, the Monitor's Peter Ford was "regularly" subjected to "six of the best" (six raps with a cane) for minor infractions of the rules at his private school in England. But Peter says that his young boys aren't getting similar "instruction" from the end of a stick. "We don't use corporal punishment in our home. My own experience turned me against it. I don't think it does any good," he says. "I couldn't tell you now what it was that I did to deserve the smacking."


*PLUG PULLED ON INTERNET CAFES: The government in Shanghai, China, ordered 127 Internet cafes to close and seized their computers, The Shanghai News reported on Feb. 1. As reported in the Nov. 17 Monitor, some of China's party leaders are concerned about the spread of internet use and potential threats to the party. Antigovernment and pro-democracy activists have used the internet to share information and organize protests. "Unlicensed Internet cafes avoid paying taxes and disseminate pornographic CDs, which corrupt the minds of young people," the newspaper quoted a city official as saying.


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