Today's Story Line

The landscape of Zimbabwean politics was dramatically altered this week. In a victory for the democratic process, a new opposition force was born. And it is a force that President Mugabe must reckon with.

Indonesian officials are finally moving to stop the religious conflict in the Maluku Islands. But will the military cooperate ?

The Netherlands has long been known as a laboratory for liberal ideas. Prostitution. Drugs. And now, it's poised to make euthanasia legal, even for children as young as 12. Some might be tempted to say, "Ah, it's just the Netherlands." But Europe and the US are also looking at ways to ease restrictions.

As the Mexican elections approach, some voters worry that Vicente Fox, a divorced father with four adopted children, embodies the breakdown of the traditional Mexican family.

David Clark Scott World editor


*DINNER AND A LANGUAGE LESSON: While dining out in Ukraine, Monitor reporter Fred Weir observed what he calls the country's "language gap." His companions spoke the most correct Ukrainian when ordering. The waitress spoke only Russian. "Nobody blinked," says Fred, a Canadian of Ukrainian descent. "Most people are living by a well-developed convention. Each speaks their own language and nobody takes notice. It's the essence of social stability" -stability that may be threatened by the political push to require use of Ukrainian.

*A LIVE ISSUE: While in the Netherlands reporting on the proposed legalization of euthanasia, the Monitor's Marilyn Gardner found the Dutch very open to discussing the issue. And she found herself "sympathetic to the challenges people face in confronting this difficult decision. Mrs. Dumee (whose mother chose assisted suicide) was so articulate and certain of the rightness of her mother's decision, that I couldn't judge her." Working on this story, "made me aware of the complexities of the issue and how much thoughtful attention we need to give it. But it certainly has become a dinner table topic," says Marilyn.


*AND THE WINNER IS... Vladimir Putin. Some readers wondered who won the arm-wrestling contest between the Russian president and a Tatar woman, shown on June 26. Associated Press reports he won, then kissed her hand. But she got the last laugh - she watched Putin plunging his face in buttermilk, in another contest at the Tatar festival.

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