Today's Story Line

Little is private in Russia. The release of 600 surveillance dossiers on a Web site reveals the extent of continued spying in post-Soviet Russia.

Women in Afghanistan, outside Taliban territory, are pushing for the right to an education.

Mexico's Green Party won an unprecedented political victory. So why are environmentalists grousing?

China adopts Western media "spin" methods to improve its image.

Iran's leading diva sings in public for the first time in 20 years.

David Clark Scott World editor


*AN ISLAMIC NATION: Reporter Lucian Kim wasn't in the Taliban-controlled section of Afghanistan. But conservative Muslim standards were still in evidence. "The only time I saw unveiled adult women during my two-week stay in Afghanistan was during my visit to the the girls' school in Taloqan. The rest of the time I circulated in an all-male world where women are almost invisible," he says. " 'Teaboys' serve the food - and do a pretty lousy job at cleaning the dishes. Commanders only have male secretaries. And even at a wedding I attended, men and women celebrated separately." Some of his interpreters seemed a bit embarrassed by the traditional roles assigned to women. One, who had gone to school abroad, told Lucian that he would not want to marry a woman who wears the burqa.

*RECYCLING ON A BICYCLE: Today's story on the Greens prompted the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi in Mexico to contemplate how he and his family are affecting the environment in their host country. And that's when the local paper recycler showed up. What Mexico City lacks in a municipal curbside recycling program is made up for by small-time recyclers who ride around collecting materials in their modified bicycle-carts. Says Howard, "After Mexico's recent elections I had a mountain of newspapers, faxes, reports, and campaign materials in my office, so my friend's visit was fortuitous."

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