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In Arab countries, the most optimistic view of Israel's new prime minster follows the Nixon-to-China logic. That is, only a hard-liner like Ariel Sharon could persuade conservative Israelis to accept a peace deal with the Palestinians or Syria. But the prevailing Arab view is that Sharon embodies the "true extremist" feelings of the Israeli public.

David Clark Scott World editor


IT's NOT ABOUT CORRUPTION: Reporter Dan Murphy thought it would be difficult to get Indonesian legislators to confirm his thesis for today's article: that the corruption allegations against President Wahid aren't as relevant as the general dissatisfaction with the erratic leader's performance. "Instead, everyone was quite candid about it. The attitude was: 'Of course this isn't about corruption.' '' Dan says the best line came from Amien Rais, Speaker of the upper house of parliament. Rais said most of Indonesia's politicians are tainted by Suharto's New Order regime. "We are all Orba [New Order], in some way or another.'' Then Rais pointed out that both Wahid and his vice president had voted for Suharto in his stage-managed elections.

OFFICIAL TRANSLATION: One of the challenges of reporting in Vietnam, says the Monitor's Ilene Prusher, is that you have to use government-provided interpreters during certain interviews. In her case, she was given two. "They had extras, and I got two rather giggly college grads," says Ilene. For most topics, she felt she was getting straight answers. But when she tossed in questions about freedom of religion, they would nudge each other and seemed concerned that she was getting the "right" answers. "I asked one official if he felt free to go to church. He said, 'yes,' and the interpreters chimed in, 'Yes, that's right! Absolutely right!' "

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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