Today's Story Line

The effort to find a diplomatic solution to the violence between Palestinians and Israelis is taking on fresh urgency. The fighting - and fatalities - continue. And a sense of trust between leaders and their followers may be added to the casualty list (page 1).

Sympathetic protests are erupting in other parts of the Mideast, too. In Syria, the US Embassy in Damascus was pelted yesterday by rocks thrown by some 1,000 university students. In Egypt, about 3,000 students from Alexandria University objected to a planned visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to their country today.

David Clark Scott World editor


EUROPE'S NEWEST PEDESTRIAN CITY: Reporter Alex Todorovic's job now requires at least five miles of walking per day. Central Belgrade, where he lives, has been blockaded. To get out of the city, he walks about two miles and finds a cab. Even so, there are no direct routes because groups of 100 to 500 people block key intersections. "The entire city is like a maze," he says. The police are friendly, but "there's a complete breakdown of the law. Cars drive the wrong way down streets littered with campaign posters and uncollected garbage. There are rolling black outs and most shops are closed by noon."

MIDDLE EAST ON THE SEINE: Covering the peace talks in Paris between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israel's Ehud Barak takes the Monitor's Peter Ford back to his days of covering the Middle East: "Endless hanging about waiting for a promised press conference," says Peter. Unable to talk to the principal players meeting yesterday in the US ambassador's residence, Peter and other reporters resorted to calling around to the Israeli Embassy, the Palestinian office in Paris, and Washington to find out what was happening two doors away. And when he wasn't able to get a clear cellphone signal, Peter went outside to the US Embassy courtyard. "I'm squatting in the rain now, next to a statue of Ben Franklin."

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