Today's Story Line

'Tis the season of holiday stories. The rare confluence of Ramadan, Christmas, and Hanakkuh on Dec. 25 might be a harbinger, of sorts. The Indians and Pakistanis cited the Muslim holiday as the initial rationale for a cease-fire. Now both sides have agreed to extend it (page 7). A case of inching toward peace on Earth?

In Russia, the mayor of Moscow is trying to hold back the Western commercial tide epitomized by Santa Claus. He's reviving a Soviet-era New Year's figure: Ded Moroz, or Grandfather Frost (page 7).

Our correspondents have offered a sampling of holiday tales, Christmas postcards of living abroad (page 1).

David Clark Scott World editor


BICULTURAL HOLIDAY: Moscow-based reporter Fred Weir can bear witness to the seasonal cultural tug of war he writes about today in his own home. "My daughter grew up going to the Canadian Embassy Christmas parties, where Santa Claus inevitably showed up. And she's used to Russia's Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) appearing at New Year's. She writes letters to both, requesting different gifts from each. Kids will latch on to anything at all if there are presents involved," he sighs.

EASY COME, EASY GO: Within an hour of arriving in Manila for the first time, Ilene Prusher had an interview with a member of Congress. "I had just reached the hotel and called him to set up an interview later in the week. He told me he wasn't far from the hotel and would swing by and pick me up. We talked on in his van on the way to the legislature." On the other hand, Ilene got a call two days before her interview with Vice President Gloria Arroyo, saying it was suddenly cancelled. No explanation. But the next night, she got another call, saying a terrible mistake had been made. The interview was back on for the following morning at 8 a.m.

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