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Today's Story Line:

Whose laws govern the globe-girdling Internet? Two stories today indicate that Europe is now setting worldwide standards. Pushed by a French court ruling, Yahoo! is banning the sale of Nazi items on all of its sites (page 1). And Canada, prodded by European rules, now has a Net privacy law that keeps users informed of who's collecting information about them (page 11).

Faye Bowers Deputy world editor

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REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

LAWS OF THE LAND: Peter Ford says that in the pressroom at the Lockerbie trial, beneath the "no smoking" and "no photography" signs, is a notice warning reporters that "the contempt of court act is active in these proceedings," and that "it is your responsibility to acquaint yourself with its meaning and seek your own legal advice, if required."

"Few journalists here," Peter says, "other than British court reporters, have any detailed understanding of the British law, which essentially bars comment on an ongoing case."

But he says it can be summed up in the journalists' traditional dictum: "Just the facts, ma'am."

WARMER RELATIONS: When Lucian Kim phoned the Baltic Fleet for an interview, he was prepared for the worst. He has memories of unpleasant encounters with the Russian military in Tajikistan and Kosovo. But he was in for a big surprise. The spokesman warmly invited him to come by the next day. When Lucian got delayed, an officer picked him up at the hotel. Lucian apologized profusely, keeping military punctuality in mind. The officer graciously brushed it off.

At the spokesman's office, a young officer who spoke impeccable English assisted in the interview. No questions were too uncomfortable. When Lucian left, he was told that the commander of the fleet, Vladimir Yegorov, would gladly have talked to him too, but was away on a trip to Moscow.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society


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