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Over the past decade or so, we have noticed the US trying to bring peace to world trouble spots, not only with guns but with butter. Money can buy many solutions. We asked our financial sleuth, David Francis, to tally up the costs of peace.

One of Africa's slow tragedies has been military rule in Nigeria, a giant of a nation and a potential regional leader. Now there's hope for democracy next year.

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Remember Alexander Lebed, a potential successor to Boris Yeltsin? He and his brother are governors now in Siberia. The two are worth watching.

- Clayton Jones

World Editor


* on the wide niger: While covering the turmoil in Nigeria (this page), Africa writer Lara Santoro found a moment of stillness along the Niger River, the third longest on the continent. She visited a tranquil village and watched the river's wide waters flow by, sometimes muddy, rusty, or clear. Narrow wooden boats carried people to markets along walls of deep tropical jungle. She felt she was in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" (although that's on the Congo River). Hovering over the river's edge were rest houses on stilts. She was told only men could enter. She watched them, through open windows, shooting the breeze while catching the breeze on a mighty African river.

top stories in 1998..

* events that mattered: Associated Press has asked editors to rank the top 10 international stories for 1998. Here are 20 of its suggested stories:

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* Asia's economic turmoil, and its effects on world stock markets.

* President Clinton's fling with an intern explodes into an impeachment threat.

* Hurricane Mitch hits Central America.

* Nuclear tests by India and Pakistan.

* Israeli-Palestinian land-for-peace deal.

* Bombings of US Embassies in Africa provokes US airstrikes in Sudan and Afghanistan.

* Indonesian unrest forces Suharto out.

* Northern Ireland accord recognized with Nobel Peace Prize.

* Helmut Kohl ousted as German chancellor after 16 years.

* Kosovo conflict draws NATO threat.

* Iraq-UN standoffs over inspections.

* Chile's ex-dictator, Augusto Pinochet, arrested in Britain.

* Russia's economic and political woes.

* South Africa's Truth Commission gives amnesty for apartheid-era crimes.

* Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot dies.

* Congo war draws other African countries.

* Preparations for euro currency in 1999.

* Swiss banks agree on restitution payments to Holocaust victims.

* Pope's Cuba trip spotlights human rights.

John Glenn returns to space.

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