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Today's Story Line:

Chechens going toe-to-toe with Chechens. That's the latest Russian battle plan as the siege of Grozny continues.

After a brief Shas Party scare, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak emerges with his coalition - and peace plans - intact.

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More Taliban girls are hitting the books. Restrictions on women in Afghanistan are easing slightly.

As Americans discover ancient Nubian culture, the Nubians in Egypt today are struggling to survive.

David Clark Scott World editor


*IT'S DEFINITELY YOU, MR. PETERSON: Mideast correspondent Scott Peterson had spent several days working on today's story about women and schooling in Afghanistan. Of course, all the Taliban women he saw were required to wear a burqa, a shroud that covers head and face. Scott was curious, eager to see the world through their eyes. So, when he was alone one day, he ducked into a market stall where burqas are sold. In the shadows, out of sight, he quickly slipped one on. "It was difficult to see normally through the tight mesh that covers the eyes. Breathing is not easy, either," says Scott.


* MUSLIM VIGILANTES IN S. AFRICA: South African police arrested the leader and two adherents of an Islamic-inspired vigilante gang in raids yesterday. As reported on Dec. 8, the group calling itself People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) is suspected of two recent bombings in Cape Town. PAGAD has consistently denied involvement in the bombings. But police told Associated Press that cellular phones, used to detonate the explosions, were linked to two members of PAGAD. The arrests appeared to be a breakthrough in the investigation of a series of bombings targeting police, restaurants, and other businesses.

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