Today's Story Line

You might call it the era of mea culpa diplomacy. In a break from the past, a more and more world leaders are apologizing for the sins of their states.

The Clinton visit to India is less about nuclear weapons and trade, and more about updating the intangibles in a relationship.

Six out of every 10 cut flowers sold in the US come from Colombia. Will the US give Colombia better trade terms as a way to encourage Colombian farmers to grow more roses instead of coca?

Australian officials target the NRA for misleading ads about gun control. Quote of note: "There are many things that Australia can learn from the United States. How to manage firearm ownership is not one of them." - Daryl Williams, Australia's attorney general.

Europe's leaders are casting envying looks at the US dotcom boom. A summit in Lisbon today tries to find a strategy that fuels economic growth as well as protects the traditional social safety net.

David Clark Scott World editor


*PACHYDERM POLO: The Monitor's Robert Marquand witnessed one of the more bizarre events organized for President Clinton's visit to India: The White House press corps playing elephant polo. "It's a rather slow-moving game," deadpanned Bob via cellphone from the raucous sidelines. "Eight painted elephants lumbering down field with three or four correspondents on each. Every player wears a turban, and it appears to be the orange, red, and green turbans versus the purple, red, and green turbans. They're swinging 15-foot wooden mallets at a soccer ball. The elephants have gold and silver bangles and pink toenails," said Bob. Just before the line went dead, a collective groan and laughter was heard. "Did you here that explosion? An elephant just stepped on the soccer ball and it blew up!"

*ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS: More journalists were jailed for their work in China (19) and Turkey (18) than in any other countries last year, according to the just released 1999 report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Worldwide, 87 journalists were jailed last year, down from 118 in 1998. The number of journalists murdered in the line of duty rose to 34, up from 24 the year before. The tally included Monitor contributor Sander Thoenes, who was shot in East Timor. The most dangerous 1999 assignment: Sierra Leone, where 10 journalists were killed trying to bear witness to rebel atrocities there. The CPJ report ( lists another 19 journalists killed, but investigations continue into the motives for their deaths.

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