Today's Story Line
At press time, there were signs of progress on the Middle East peace front. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators were close to ironing out the details of implementing the Wye Accord. But perhaps harder than reaching a deal is sticking to it. In the Gaza Strip, one man is trying to enforce his interpretation of the 1993 Oslo accords.
Batten the hatches. Accusations of corruption in Russian political circles are starting to fly as election campaigning begins. Meanwhile, the investigations into offshore money laundering are widening.
- David Clark Scott, World editor
REPORTERS ON THE JOB *RESPONDING TO ETHNIC CLEANSING: The Monitor's Scott Peterson was struck by the difference in the quality of the investigations into ethnic cleansing in Kosovo compared with Rwanda. Scott witnessed the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda where some 800,000 people were killed over three months in 1994. "The handful of UN investigators in Rwanda had no money to even buy a cassette tape to record radio broadcasts that were inciting people to 'fill the graves' with more Tutsis." By comparison, the world's top forensic experts are working in Kosovo with the latest equipment, and suspected massacre sites are protected by KFOR troops. Scott recognizes that there's a political motivation for proving genocide in Kosovo. Still, he says, "The response is real progress for mankind."
*IN DOLLARS WE TRUST: Reporter Fred Weir says that even in the Soviet era, the dollar was often the preferred currency. But today, it's a rare Russian who keeps rubles (page 7). His Russian wife's elderly aunt is typical. Her ruble savings, kept in a Russian bank account, became nearly worthless after a currency collapse in 1992. Now she immediately converts rubles to dollars - and stashes them in a jar buried in her backyard orchard. "This is her savings account. Any time she gets some money, she digs up the jar to make a deposit," says Fred, who keeps his funds in an offshore bank account.
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