Today's Story Line

Time is running out on the year 2000. Few leaders are more aware of that than Israel's Ehud Barak and President Clinton. Both feel an urgency to cut a Middle East peace deal soon (page 1). Barak is facing an election. Clinton is moving out of the White House soon. If Clinton can make this work, there's speculation in the British press that he will be offered a job as George W. Bush's peace envoy to Northern Ireland.

The World Bank and IMF gave the 22 most indebted nations a year-end gift - forgiving about half of their debts (page 7).

David Clark Scott World editor


JOURNALISTS AS NATIVES: The Monitor's Nicole Gaouette says that despite a major ebb in Israeli tourism because of the recent violence between Palestinians and Israelis, there are bargains to be had and some people are making the trip. She knows that because tour buses stop regularly in her Jerusalem neighborhood. In fact, the other morning Nicole looked up from her kitchen table where she was having breakfast with her daughter to see a family snapping pictures - of them. "They probably think they're catching the natives in their local habitat, not a Canadian recently landed," she says.

SPROUTS AN ACQUIRED TASTE: Brussels sprouts are now more popular in Britain than the traditional plum pudding for Christmas celebrations, a survey carried out by a large supermarket chain revealed. Around 70 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed by the Asda chain admit they could not have a Christmas meal without them. Brussels sprouts are especially popular among the elderly, but nearly half of those age 16 to 24 admitted to being fans of the green orbs. "Sprouts are like strong cheese, they are an acquired taste," Asda spokesman Mark James told Agence France Presse.

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