Today's Story Line

If politics is the art of compromise, then the same must be said of peacemaking. And the closer Israeli and Palestinian negotiators get to a deal, the more the hard-liners on both sides will complain (see story page1). At press time, each side was still waffling but President Clinton's proposals may form the broad framework for another push for a pact. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat are expected to meet in Egypt. If that goes well, expect more talks in Washington.

David Clark Scott World editor


NO EASY ESCAPE ROUTE: Beijing reporter Noah Smith understands the nature of the fire-safety problem in China. He used to live in an apartment building of 15 stories. There were plenty of exit doors but all were locked, except one.

"The building closed at 11:30 p.m., so if you wanted to get in or out, you had to butter up the guard and sometimes get him out of bed," says Noah. "And he wanted bribes." Now Noah lives in a refurbished hutong, a courtyard apartment. The more recent housing developments have done away with the guards, since they usually have doors that lock from the outside.

JUST SAYING NO: To get a look at the Vancouver drug scene, the Monitor's Ruth Walker took a walk along Hastings Street near Main. Selling was not limited to the shadows. Even at midday it was busy and out in the open. "Most of the people on the street were addicts or dealers, except for the police and social workers," she says. Several times she was approached by pushers.

Ruth says she was also touched by "the humanity" of social workers of the Carnegie Community Centre, a group which sets up a yellow tent on the street and provides music, art, or a game of chess for the locals.

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