Today's Story Line

A 10-day international tussle over elephant's tusks begins in Nairobi, Kenya, today. Should the ban on ivory trade be lifted to provide some income for developing nations with abundant elephant populations ?

The new head of Germany's troubled conservative CDU party - an easterner and a woman - tries to put the past behind .

The debate over Australia's mandatory sentencing laws echoes arguments in the US about tougher laws discriminating against minorities .

If Turkey is to become a European Union member, some say a gap between Muslim and Christian values may have to be bridged .

David Clark Scott World editor


*UNEASY RIDER: As a matter of disclosure, Rome-based reporter Richard Wentworth says that he does not own or ride a motorcycle or scooter. Perhaps that has something to do with his first experience in Italy on a Vespa. After church on Sunday, a friend took him to a deserted stretch of road for his maiden voyage. Richard shot off like a pro - until he tried to stop. "There was no brake pedal, and I didn't remember that I should squeeze the thing on the handle," he says. He managed to stop by "connecting with a wall and a parked car and applying his knee to the ground." He has not since soloed, although Richard gladly accepts rides from more experienced riders.

*MIDDLE EAST OR EUROPE? The Monitor's Scott Peterson is in Turkey for a story about integration with Europe. But he was lectured twice when he offered his business card. The card identifies him as the "Middle East correspondent." "Why is the Middle East correspondent covering Turkey? This is a European country. The US State Department now puts us under the Europe desk; it's high time the Monitor followed suit." Scott somewhat sheepishly explained that he covers the Arab and Islamic world and that he had consulted with our European bureau chief before going to Turkey.

*PACHYDERM PASSIONS: Reporter Farah Stockman remembers the first time she saw an African elephant up close. She was in Kenya as an exchange student in 1994. "It was in the Masai Mara, and it blew me away." So-to speak. She adds that "it's said here that if you blow into an elephant's trunk, he will remember you for life." She says that the personal "charisma" of elephants makes the ban on ivory trade very emotional. "This is an issue that will be decided based on emotions more than facts," Farah says.

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