Today's Story Line

Like small-town diners, Internet cafes are becoming global meeting places for all strata of society. The Monitor drops in on five cafes - from England to China - to sample the atmosphere.

A decade ago, they lived in Iraq. These Kurds haven't moved. But for the first time, they are tasting life in an unofficial state of their own).

Quote of note: "When Kurdistan was controlled by Saddam I was a child. Now I appreciate this freedom and it's like food to me...." - a Kurdish college student.

Taiwan tries to become a one-stop factory for computermakers.

David Clark Scott World editor


* RELIGIOUS SPRING: As he has for years, Moscow correspondent Fred Weir and his Russian wife spent Easter in the countryside. Although, it's been nearly a decade since the breakup of the Soviet Union when the ban on religion was lifted, "Up to about six years ago, it didn't seem like religion was filling the void ... but now the whole community turns out for the holiday services," says Fred. "It's amazing how this thing has exploded - young people, old people, I'm sure the whole village was there this weekend." He likens the revival of Easter traditions to the social events in America's frontier days, when "everyone showed up for the square dance."

* CAFE ANONYMOUS: The Monitor's Scott Peterson did not expect to have trouble getting an interview for today's story about Internet cafes. But when he approached the employees at a cafe in Tehran, Iran, they refused to talk to him. They'd been interviewed before. "As positive as these stories were, the owner had taken political heat for them. Management ordered that no further interviews were to be given. So I had to persuade them that I would not use their names or give any indication of who they were. I didn't want to risk putting them out of business."

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