Today's Story Line

For Middle East peace watchers, glimmers of hope are appearing. As the intifada enters its 12th week, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators plan to meet in Washington tomorrow to resume peace talks. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak desperately needs a deal to stay in power. Another sign of easing tensions: Thousands of Palestinian workers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip were allowed into Israel to work yesterday.

This intifada is morally different, say a few Israeli reservists, who refuse to serve (page 1).

David Clark Scott World editor


LOOKING FOR FREE SPEECh in LIMA's STREETS: The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi says Lima, Peru, is not always the easiest place to find an address. "I've missed a couple of appointments because institutes, think tanks, and civil society groups often hide their presence. The offices are behind high walls, and they keep their name - and sometimes even the address - off that wall," Howard says. After prowling the block of one street where he had an interview recently, Howard asked various pedestrians, but everyone insisted there was no such office on the street. "I thought I had such clear directions that I left behind the phone number." He called information from a pay phone. No listing. It turned out the office was right where he'd been - just a little hidden. One cab driver theorized that the shyness stems from terrorism in the 1980s and early 1990s, when bombs were going off and people were being kidnapped," Howard says. He'll be watching for street numbers and office signs to pop up as an indicator of Peru's democratic progress.


EL POPO PERCOLATES: An estimated 40,000 people in 17 towns around Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano were asked to evacuate this past week. As reported on Nov. 22, the volcano is forming a magma dome and spewing ash and smoke. Despite the new level of activity, many residents ignored the evacuation calls.

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