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The Mideast peace process is most often focused on land - who lives where. But the release of Palestinian prisoners, especially those who have killed Israelis, is one of the most difficult tasks negotiators now confront (this page).

Turkey's earthquake illustrates how diplomatic openings are sometimes created in unusual circumstances. Rock-hard political differences between Turkey and Europe are now easing (page 1). Will leaders in the region seize this opportunity?

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Is it a materialistic sect or simply a form of Buddhism more in tune with the times? Thailand arrests the leader of an unorthodox temple (page 7)

- David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *THE FORECAST - LEAD RAIN: Jerusalem-based reporter Ilene Prusher went to meet Hashram Shirabati at his office alongside his home in Hebron. He handles press liaison for the Palestinian Prisoners Club. Mr. Shirabati greeted Ilene by saying, "You're fortunate to catch me in." There was a wedding in the neighborhood, and Shirabati was leaving to spend the night at a friend's house. Not much of a romantic? "Palestinians often fire guns into the air to celebrate a wedding," says Ilene. "Shirabati said he didn't want to get hit by the falling bullets."

*NO BUDDHIST BIAS? Reporter Yvan Cohen in Bangkok found that he got better access to the unorthodox Dhammakaya temple than most local journalists. The temple leaders felt they've been treated unfairly by local media. "They assume the international press are coming to it from a less emotional viewpoint, because most are not Buddhist, at least not yet," says Yvan. But he didn't have free run of the temple. He had to register and was assigned a guide who had a Secret Service type radio earpiece.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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