Today's Story Line

A historic treaty to fight global crime syndicates made its debut in Italy yesterday. The pact aims to eliminate hiding places for illicit money and crime bosses. It sets an international standard, like the global convention on human rights, that nations agree to meet. And it's got funding. Italy promises to donate a portion of the money it seizes from mafia enterprises (page 1).

The investigation of Peru's former spy chief underscores the need for the convention. It's alleged that Vladimiro Montesinos skimmed millions of dollars from international arms sales and stashed it in Swiss bank accounts (this page).

David Clark Scott World editor


FORTRESS PALERMO: Security for the anti-mafia conference in Palermo is so tight that almost every street in the city center has been closed to everything except official traffic. That means no taxis and no buses, which meant the Monitor's Peter Ford had to walk 40 minutes to get to the restaurant where he ate Monday evening. But on Tuesday morning, says Peter, there was compensation. He was whisked from his hotel to the conference in a police minibus with a tax-police car as an escort to clear the way with blue roof lights flashing and sirens blaring. "It put driving in Italy in a whole new light," he says.

NEBRASKA IS FOR PERUVIANS: The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi says he has a message for fellow Monitor writer and Nebraskan Kim Campbell, who wrote a piece last week on her home state's inferiority complex: Take heart, Kim, Nebraska has fans in Peru. Howard, on assignment in Peru, says a Lima cabbie gave high marks to the Cornhusker State. "When I revealed I'm American, this guy started telling me how later in the day he had to take his aunt to the airport to return to Nebraska, where she's lived for 10 years. He said all his cousins, now in Nebraska, talk about the good education and job opportunities open to them there - feeding his dream of moving some day to Nebraska."

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