Today's Story Line:

To keep illegal immigrants out, the United States has built steel walls and fences, and beefed up security along its southern border. Europe now finds itself struggling with a similar, and rising, tide of political and economic refugees on its southern flank. Kurds, Albanians, Chinese, Serbs, and others are now using Italy as a major gateway into prosperous nations of the European Union. And Albania's speedboat smugglers are the principal ferrymen across the Adriatic (page 1).

- David Clark Scott World editor


TO SMUGGLE MYSELF, OR NOT: Reporter Mario Kaiser wanted to experience the speedboat run from Albania to Italy, just like the immigrants he writes about in today's edition. "I felt that it was important to see from up close how they're being treated by the smugglers," he says. With dark hair and eyes, a few days growth of whiskers, "I could easily pass myself off as Albanian - as long as I kept my mouth shut." One of the smugglers agreed to make the arrangements but told Mario he was "crazy" and would charge him $600.

But there was a problem. "I needed to take my German passport so I could identify myself in case we were arrested by the Italian police," he says. "In the end it was the smuggler who convinced me not to go. He said that a German passport was worth about $2,000 and that the other smugglers would steal the passport and push me overboard if they discovered it." Eventually, Mario opted for the regular ferry to Brindisi, Italy.


HIGH COURT IGNORED: Zimbabwe's Supreme Court ruled Friday that the government's fast-track land-reform plan was unconstitutional. As reported on Nov. 8, white farmers challenged President Robert Mugabe's call for black peasants to seize more than 2,300 farms without giving compensation to property owners. But Zimbabwean officials seemed unwilling to heed the court's decision. "The order does not stop the fast-track program because land reform is unstoppable," Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper.

''LOST BOYS' OF SUDAN: Several readers have offered to open their homes or provide financial support for Sudanese teenagers. As reported on Nov. 7, some 4,300 children are migrating to the US from refugee camps in Kenya. For more information, contact Nikki Massie at the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, 700 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230. Tel: (410) 230-2757. E-mail:

Let us hear from you. Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail:

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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