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Congo's wealth of natural resources seems to be the driving the war there and preventing the uneasy cease-fire signed last month from taking hold. In fact, two countries that were allies turned on each other this weekend over the control of the airport at Kisangani. Both countries are reportedly flying out millions worth of diamonds and other loot every day.

As prospects for peace between Israel and Syria hover on the horizon, flare-ups between the Syrian-backed Hizbullah and the Israeli forces in southern Lebanon are becoming more frequent. Both sides want to stake out positions for a security zone once hostilities have ceased.

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Japan's new assertiveness - including an attempt to take control of a World War II shrine - are causing tensions to rise in Asia as well.

- Faye Bowers, Deputy world editor


*FOLLOWING THE MONEY: The Monitor's Lara Santoro was detained for four hours while looking into a company that buys diamonds, gold, and palm oil. She received a summons to appear at the secret-police headquarters in Kisangani. Upon arriving, she was accused of being a spy and told her press card wasn't adequate identification. She was informed she would be taken to Goma, several hundred miles away and put in jail until her "status" was verified. The Rwandan commander got wind of what happened to her, and came to collect her in his pickup truck. He vouched for Lara, saying she was a journalist and should not be "intimidated." "That he was able to whisk me away from the Congolese secret police without a peep of protest is an indication of who's really in control of Kisangani," Lara says.


*A FAREWELL TO ARMS: Steffi Graf retired her racket this weekend. After 22 Grand Slam singles titles, $22 million, and a record 377 weeks as the No. 1 tennis player in the world, Graf, the German Wunderkind said, "I'm not having fun anymore," and it's time to leave tennis.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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