Today's Story Line

Several grass-roots movements are making inroads within their countries. In France, truckers, taxi drivers, and others have won government concessions by basically shutting down the country to protest gasoline taxes. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia, which have been known for centuries for blending Islam with "Asian" values, are facing an Islamic orthodoxy that is trying to further impose sharia, Islamic law. In the Middle East, Palestinians are most likely extending their date for declaring statehood, but not giving up the fight.

Faye Bowers Deputy world editor


*SOMETIMES IT'S GOOD TO WORK AT HOME: Working from home in Paris, as Peter Ford does, can get a bit claustrophobic, he says. But the arrangement has its advantages when 80 percent of gas stations have hung "empty" signs over their pumps because of a refinery blockade by protesting truckers. Peter heard about the blockades for the first time as he drove home from the long Labor Day weekend on Monday evening: He needed gas anyway, so he filled his tank.

Since then, his car has sat in the garage, unused, while commuters have sat in endless lines at the few stations still working.

*STONE-RESISTANT CARS: The Monitor's Cameron Barr and Nicole Gaouette have been adapting themselves to the requirements of Middle East coverage. The other day the Foreign Press Association sent them their windshield cards, which boldly proclaim "foreign press" in English and Arabic. The idea is to convince people not to stone the car in a time of hostility. An Australian colleague showed them one better, tapping on the windows of his car to demonstrate they were plastic, not glass. He said rental agencies will gladly replace glass with plastic upon a customer's request.

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