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On Wednesday, Feb. 8, former Monitor editor John Hughes returns to this newspaper as a twice-weekly columnist. It is a particular delight to welcome him back after a six-year absence. Even our newest readers will be familiar with former State Department spokesman John Hughes, who has been regularly seen on television news shows and quoted in newspapers. He resigned his position as assistant secretary of state for public affairs in December.

Mr. Hughes's column, to appear on the Opinion Page each Wednesday and Friday, will cover a broad range of foreign and domestic subjects. ``I'm going to try to strike a balance between straight-forward analysis of the news and a more reflective -- and sometimes lighter -- look at events,'' Hughes says.

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``One of my twice-weekly columns will provide commentary on current news about significant foreign and domestic topics. The other will be more discursive, a broader look at elements of society, or indeed the evolving global society. Of course, I won't achieve that balance every week, but that's what I'm aiming for.''

John Hughes's activities during his six-year absence from the Monitor have included publishing his own group of Cape Cod weekly newspapers, and positions as director of the Voice of America and associate director of the US Information Agency.

While he was working for the government, his wife, Libby, ran the Hughes family weekly newspapers on Cape Cod.

During John's 25 years at the Monitor, from 1954 to 1979, he was Far East correspondent based in Hong Kong, assistant overseas news editor, and Africa correspondent, before becoming managing editor and then editor from 1970 to '79. He has won a Pulitzer Prize for his international reporting for the Monitor, an Overseas Press Club Award, a Yankee Quill Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorary doctorate from Colby College. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

John Hughes's distinquished career as government official and journalist makes him ideally suited to bring Monitor readers still another dimension of insight into domestic and foreign issues.

Although he and his wife will live on Cape Cod and continue to operate their weekly newspapers, John will travel regularly to Washington and elsewhere to pursue information for his column.

The addition of the Hughes column, which will be syndicated by The Christian Science Monitor News Service through the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, is another step in the Monitor editors' effort to bring our readers an ever better Monitor.

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