Today's Story Line

Last week's uprising in Yugoslavia offers a vivid example of raw people power. But within relatively established democracies, individuals, who aren't wealthy, may feel frustrated by an inability to influence the political process. In Europe, as in the US, money buys influence. The European example may offer some lessons for the US in what does - or doesn't - work in reforming political-party financing.

In Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf's plan to relinquish power includes rebuilding his nation's democracy by devolving politcal power to local governments. It's an experiment worth watching.

David Clark Scott World editor


WELL GUARDED IN MOSCOW: Today's story about Russian veterans was prompted by the Monitor's Scott Peterson wondering about a monthly $100 fee for security at the Moscow office. His initial suspicion was that it was an illegal protection racket. But as he worked on the story, he found that the local municipality and major American companies used the same security firm, run by vets of the Afghan war. "It didn't make me much happier about the cost. But I look at it now like a building and grounds maintenance fee," says Scott.

NO BYLINE FOR THEIR CAR: Journalists in war zones often put a sign on their vehicle identifying themselves as "Press," so as not to be targeted as combatants. Until yesterday, the Monitor's Middle East correspondents Cameron Barr and Nicole Gaouette had such a sign in English and Arabic on their car. But they've noticed that their sign seems to be provoking hostility. An ultra-Orthodox Jew pointed at them as they drove by, following with his finger and pulling the "trigger" as if it were a gun. "I don't know if it was the Arabic or his view of the media which prompted the response," says Cameron. Yesterday, they awoke to find a tire punctured with a nail. They removed the sign. "Anonymity may be safer," he says.

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