Today's Story Line:

Venezuelans train to observe the polls Saturday, to make sure the presidential elections are open and fair.

Despite growing criticism of Indonesia's first democratically elected president, many still believe he has a "divine right to rule".

The UN is trying to resolve several conflicts in Africa, but experts question if this really can be done without US and European support.

In a Europe where national boundaries are becoming more and more blurred, little-known regional cultures and languages are enjoying a revival).

- Faye BowersDeputy world editor


* MUSSELS IN BRUSSELS: One of the things that the Monitor's Peter Ford had most looked forward to about reporting his series on the rise of Europe's regions was sampling the different regional cuisines. As it turned out, he found himself on a mainly seafood diet. "I had salmon in Scotland, squid in Spain, oysters in Brittany, and mussels in Brussels," Peter says. "Not that I'm complaining." His editors in Boston believe a fact-finding trip may be in order.

* BALI HI: The Monitor's Cameron Barr has been in Indonesia reporting on the progress of democratic reforms, but is now taking a final week of paternity leave in Indonesia's vacation paradise, Bali. He was last on the island just before widespread protests in Indonesia precipitated the downfall of President Suharto two years ago this week. At the time, Bali was calm. Today, "there has been a bit of concern here because of rioting in neighboring Lombok in January," Cameron says. "Some people are staying away. There are fewer tourists." But that's not all bad news for those vacationing.


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