Today's Story Line

Democrat or dictator? Russians voted Sunday to put Vladimir Putin at their nation's helm. Now, they will see what kind of ruler the former spy will make (page 1).

President Clinton will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today in Washington in another attempt to reignite the Mideast peace talks. Clinton's historic talk with Syria's leader on Sunday produced no discernable progress (this page).

Tired of war, Serbian men in one province of Yugoslavia are balking at the draft. Many have already served in three wars and have had enough (page 7).

David Clark Scott World editor


* SWEETENING THE VOTE: During the Soviet era, election day in Russia was often a festive holiday. At the polling stations, rare foods were sold to increase participation. During this past Sunday's presidential vote, reporter Fred Weir noticed that the tradition continues. "It looks more like a bazaar than a voting station," he says. There were cookies, hard candies with syrup inside, and even rarer, Red October chocolate bars. "The stores here are awash in imported chocolate bars. But the thicker, darker Russian-made bars are the most prized," says Fred. Unfortunately, though, the traditional atmosphere of conviviality hasn't continued. "Despite all the goodies, the mood was morose. There was no enthusiasm."

*A GRAIN OF TRUTH? While working on today's story about the Kuwait economy, the Monitor's Ilene Prusher discovered that spring is sand-storm season. On the afternoon she had planned to do "man-on-the-street" interviews, the streets were empty. The capital, Kuwait City, was plunged into a peach-hued haze so thick that "I couldn't see the other side of the street," she says. She ventured out for interviews after the desert blow subsided.

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