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Conflict between those with deeply held beliefs is as old as human history. Today, religious differences are the tinder in more than 100 global flashpoints. But since the pursuit of harmony is fundamental to all major faiths, it is fitting that thousands of religious leaders are meeting this week under the auspices of an organization founded to promote world peace and security - the United Nations. Those gathered will examine their current efforts at conflict resolution in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and South Africa. And they'll look for ways to sow such initiatives elsewhere .

The Israeli Army isn't waiting for a peace initiative. On Saturday, it raided a West Bank village in search of leaders of the Hamas Islamic militant movement, which vows it will ignore peace efforts and destroy the Jewish state .

David Clark Scott World editor


*BUNKING WITH RATS, NO THANKS. Reporting on today's story about Kosovo meant that Richard Mertens spent a few days last week with soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division. While the troops grumbled about the food, Dick rather enjoyed it. One day, dinner arrived in big plastic green vats filled with stir-fry vegetables, rice, some very travel-worn iceberg lettuce, and a choice of fried ribs or steak. "I didn't mind," says Dick, "After living on Balkan fare (spicy meat patties plus tomato, cucumber, and cabbage salad) for more than a year, I found the chance to eat food so familiar more than compensated for its shortcomings."

But Dick declined the offer to bunk down with the troops at an unfinished concrete house known as "The Palace." "I was interested until they began talking about the rats." They described waking up to see them climbing the walls. They showed him a rat tally on the wall: 16 check marks. "I told them my wife was expecting me at home [in Macedonia]."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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