Today's Story Line

Many of the Pakistanis in the Kashmir conflict with India are young Muslim militants trained for a jihad. Just last week, the former president of Chechnya visited one training camp, seeking recruits.

In Chechnya, a town touted as a model of Russian-Chechen relations appears to have a way to go.

Waters in North Dakota are rising, but a plan to drain a lake into Canada is raising the temperatures of Canadian officials.

David Clark Scott World editor


*MUSLIM RULES: The driver for the Monitor's Robert Marquand leapt from the car as they approached Zakir Iqbal, a commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic militant group in Pakistan. "He ran 50 yards to prostrate himself in front of Zakir Iqbal, that's how revered and feared he is among some Pakistanis," says Bob. It was hot, so Mr. Iqbal ordered two bottles of Pepsi for their interview. But as Bob began writing and sipping his soft drink, Iqbal insisted Bob drink with his right hand. Eating food with the left hand is considered impure under Islamic law. "I'm right handed, so for about 10 minutes I couldn't take notes," says Bob, who reluctantly complied.

*THE ACCORDIoN JOURNALIST: The Aboriginal grandmothers were initially leery of allowing reporter Shawn Donnan to write about their night patrols. "The conditions in Yuendumu are abysmal, and the people are very sensitive to the way they are portrayed. Journalists must sign a contract promising they won't take photos of the squalid living conditions without permission," he says. But he clinched the deal with an offer to drive them around - none of the women knew how to drive. But when the time came, another driver had been found and Shawn, all 6-foot 4-inches of him, found himself folded into the back seat. The night patrol ladies found that quite humorous.

*DRUNK ON THE FRONT: The Russian military boasts of its ability to crush Chechen rebels, but a flat tire is another story. The Monitor's Judith Matloff was traveling with Russian troops near Chechnya when the van's tire burst. The military escorts (who had been drinking heavily all afternoon) couldn't find a jack. Attempts to lift the van, using a log as a lever, failed. The colonel set off to look for help, stumbling down the road with the vehicle's only automatic rifle. After about an hour's wait in the cold rain, one of the (sober) civilians suggested that the seven able-bodied men remaining could lift the car themselves. The tire was easily changed, and in five minutes the group was on its way.

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