Today's Story Line:

Clara Zetkin would be proud - and, probably concerned by the work left to do.

Started in 1910, to honor a German Marxist who campaigned on behalf of women factory workers, International Women's Day now comes in as many forms as there are nationalities.

In Bogota, Colombia, city officials are planning a "Women's Night Out" - with men asked to stay home and do the dishes. In Venezuela, the first Women's Bank is being set up. In Russia, women want more than the token $25 rose. And the United Nations is honoring six women and organizations with a new award: the Millennium Peace Prize for Women.

Amnesty International issued a global report on violence against women yesterday, saying an estimated 40 percent of Indian women had been beaten by their husbands. Quote of note: "It is difficult to say whether violence and discrimination against women [in India] have gone up or down. What has happened is the space for them to talk about it has definitely increased," activist Kalpana Vishwanath told Agence France Presse. "More of them are now coming out in the open and saying 'I don't have to accept it.' "

- David Clark Scott

World Editor


LA CUCARACHA: The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi says he doesn't have to worry about the influence of "narco-ballads," as profiled in today's story, in his family. "None of us has really taken to norteno music," he says. But Howard says reporting the story reminded him of the unsettled feeling he got when his young daughter came home from school one day gleefully singing "La Cucaracha," about the cockroach that "no tiene marijuana que fumar!" (has no marijuana to smoke). Says Howard, "We got through three kids learning that famous song, but none has ever shown any ill effects from singing it."

AGENTS ON PARADE: Reporter Phil Gunson was struck by how little Venezuelan authorities knew about the new ranchers' self-defense force in today's story (page 1). "While waiting to speak to the head of the cattlemen's association, a parade of military, police and other intelligence agents went through the office, seeking basic info about what was happening. The US Embassy called, too, looking for the facts," says Phil. But the difficulty in getting information was brought home the next morning. His visit to one ranch was canceled. An intermediary - a go-between for the Colombian guerrillas, Venezuelan military, or ranchers - had been executed the night before. The rancher told Phil that it was "too hot" (too risky) now to travel to his property. Let us hear from you.

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