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The West blinked on Saturday. That was the deadline for a peace deal on Kosovo. But a reluctance by the United States and its partners to bomb Serbia led them to reset the deadline to Tuesday. Quote of note: "Milosevic will let NATO come, or, more probably, let them strike for a day or two, then surrender." - Nejbosa Spaic, head of the independent Media Center in Belgrade.

Inflation-fearing financial bureaucrats in Japan have also blinked. After rejecting US requests to pump money into a shrinking economy, they moved last week to put more yen in the hands of investors and consumers.

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After South Africa, Nigeria is the leader of Africa on many fronts. On Saturday, this giant West African nation held an election that marks the first step toward civilian rule after years of military dictatorships. The next step is a vote for president on Feb. 27.

Low wages and an increasing ability to speak English have made Mexicans an attractive work force for US companies that do data processing. Another big draw: a good work ethic.

- Clayton Jones World editor

PRESS CLIPS * MUCKRAKING IN CHINA: An investigative report by the Chinese TV show "Focus" recently uncovered this startling case: Local tax officials in Anhui province claimed that someone named Bill Clinton had paid taxes. The officials had faked tax receipts from world-famous personages in an attempt to impress superiors. Such graft is not new in China but, as a Feb. 21 article in the Los Angeles Times points out, investigative reporting is. Communist officials welcome the new anticorruption muckraking as long as journalists don't delve into such matters as military policy.

UPDATE ON A MONITOR STORY * US TROOPS IN NICARAGUA: The last members of a team of US military engineers left Nicaragua on Saturday after helping rebuild 75 miles of roads and 23 sewer systems that had been destroyed by hurricane Mitch. Some 1,800 service personnel had worked in Nicaragua since Dec. 9.

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