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Pope John Paul II's visit to India today was meant to bolster the Christian minority. But right-wing Hindus, with little official opposition, are using it as a occasion to whip up anti-Christian sentiments.

No bombs, but no food either. Conditions in the Ingushetia refugee camps are not much better than in Chechnya. And neither Moscow nor international aid agencies are providing help yet.

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There's nothing glacial about the pace of melting in the Himalayas.

Most Australians say they prefer to stay with the known monarchy, rather than choose an unknown republic.

- David Clark Scott World editor


*INTERVIEW ME! The Monitor's Fred Weir was interviewing refugees near the entrance to the Sputnik (which means "co-traveler") camp on the Chechen border Wednesday. But he was interrupted by a very agitated woman, Koku Akhmedeva, who rushed into the tent and grabbed him by the arm. "You're not seeing the real conditions here," she said. "These people have been here for two weeks; they're settled in." She dragged Fred across the camp. Fred was stopped by other refugees too, but Ms. Akhmedeva kept tugging him to her tent. Inside most tents he saw, including hers, were dirt floors. Some had cots - just the steel springs. "These people are frantic. They're worried no one cares," says Fred.


*ELECTRIC-BILL COUP: Soldiers in western Siberia seized a power plant last month when electric officials threatened to pull the plug, reports The Moscow Times. The Sibrisky military facility hasn't paid its $2.7 million electric bill. The Sibrisky commander justified the "coup" by citing a 1997 law that bans cutting power to strategic facilities. Analysts called it a dangerous precedent.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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