Today's Story Line:

Next week will mark 10 years since the US and its allies drew a line in Iraqi sand, and told Saddam Hussein: "Thus far, and no farther." It will also mark the return of the "Gulf War crew" to the helm of US foreign policy. How is US policy on Iraq, oil, and peacekeeping likely to change under George W. Bush (page 1)?

- David Clark Scott World editor


SNIPPETS FROM BURMA: Getting direct access to Burma is difficult for journalists, says Simon Ingram. But reporters often get snippets from visitors. The other day, a Burmese friend of Simon's, who'd just returned from a New Year's visit to Rangoon, came for lunch. After exchanging small talk, she launched, unbidden, into a story about how her uncle (a Rangoon businessman) had been taken aside by a well-placed Army colonel and - to his great surprise - found himself listening to a tirade directed at Burma's military junta. The colonel complained about how his superiors mismanaged the economy, were corrupt and ignorant, and how political change was desperately needed. "Although tales of splits within the military leadership are nothing new, I'd never heard direct evidence of this, nor heard my friend [not an opposition activist] talk in so agitated a manner on the subject," says Simon. "It made me think that something must really be going on behind Burma's impassive exterior."

A MUST-SEE SUSPECT: The gallery was packed when Biljana Plavsic appeared before the Bosnia war-crimes tribunal in The Hague yesterday, says Peter Ford. And not because locals are avid fans of the tribunal's work. Rather, along with journalists, many tribunal staff members crowded into the seats reserved for the public, eager to see their highest-profile suspect to date. From the other side of a bullet-proof glass wall, Ms. Plavsic lived up to her reputation as the "Iron Lady of Bosnia," listening to the horrific charges of genocide, extermination, and murder, with an expression of disdain.

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