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The United Nations is preparing to take over the administration and defense of East Timor. Based on past experiences, what will the operation look like?

Former US Sen. George Mitchell is trying to break the impasse on peace in Northern Ireland. The man in charge of decommissioning talks about the sticky issue of paramilitaries handing over their weapons. Quote of note: "I don't think that there would be a return to the horrors of the past. The people would not accept it." John de Chastelain.

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Iran's ayatollahs are accusing her of undermining the 1979 revolution. The Monitor profiles Shirin Ebadi, the first female judge before the revolution and outspoken human rights activist.

- Faye Bowers, Deputy world editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *BEWARE BARBER CHAIR POLITICS: Mexico City correspondent Howard LaFranchi says he has always enjoyed listening to the political analysis of his barbers. But he recently got a lesson in healthy skepticism - and in accuracy issues that pollsters face. On a visit to "Charlie's" one-chair shop, Howard noticed a stack of campaign pamphlets for ruling-party presidential candidate Francisco Labastida sitting on a counter. Charlie insisted he had taken the pamphlets only to please another customer and protested in true Mexican style that "all politicians are thieves." But later that day, Howard met another correspondent who also sits in Charlie's chair. The other correspondent said he, too, had remarked about the pamphlets, but that Charlie had told him he is a true Labastida believer.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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