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The Jurez drug cartel brings to mind the crime syndicates that once held sway in Chicago and New York. A massive police hunt for bodies near Ciudad Jurez continues, prompting a fresh look at the most powerful of four Mexican cartels.

The UN claims child soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan. But children can't grow beards, and aid workers say no beardless Taliban soldiers have been seen.

Why Russia's candidates for parliament aren't talking about Chechnya.

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

*PACK A LONG EXTENSION CORD: Getting into Afghanistan for a Western journalist is not easy, but on arrival in Kabul, Mideast correspondent Scott Peterson found how hard it can be to get a story out. Working in countries with an unreliable phone system is nothing new, so Scott travels with a satellite phone. But the once-posh hotel where he was staying, had neither a clear line of sight to an orbiting satellite, nor readily available electricity. Rooms with a southern face had all been damaged by rocket attacks during 20 years of fighting. But the hotel staff found a window (paneless) facing the right direction at the end of a hallway and provided an extension cord that was plugged into an outlet in a distant room. Donning a hat and scarf to ward off the cold, Scott set up his sat phone. The staff capped off their assistance by sending up hot tea and eventually another cord, for a light.

*NOT LEAVING ON A JET PLANE: In his story on the Jurez graves last week, the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi reported that Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo would be taking up drug issues during a White House visit Dec. 9. "Readers will think I got my facts wrong when Mr. Zedillo doesn't show up," says Howard. Mexican presidents require congressional permission to leave the country, and by the end of last week Zedillo had failed to get permission from a Congress locked in a budget battle, and one opposition party decided to hold his trip hostage. Embarrassed, Zedillo decided to postpone the trip.

MILESTONE . . .

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society


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