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Today's Story Line

Gasoline prices are starting to ebb, in some parts of the US. International crude prices are also dipping in anticipation of the meeting of OPEC oil ministers today. That's good news, particularly for Asia. Oil dependency is rising sharply among developing nations.

Osama bin Laden is not in Kashmir, argues a Pakistani general. In the wake of President Clinton's visit to the region, Pakistani officials express frustration that the American lens of terrorism is distorting issues.

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Factory workers in Thailand are getting a taste of the dotcom stock boom. Some employees making $190 a month at Lucent Technologies cashed in stock options for as much as $21,000.

Rwanda's president, prime minister, and Speaker of the Parliament have quit in recent months. A destabilizing Hutu-Tutsi power struggle continues.

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

* BRING YOUR OWN INTERPRETER: After President Clinton left Pakistan, military officials there wanted journalists to get "their" side of the Kashmir story. Normally it's a two-day, bone-rattling ride to the "Line of Control." But this time, a Russian-made CI-17 helicopter was made available to ferry journalists to the mountain front. The Monitor's Robert Marquand asked to bring an interpreter, who speaks Kashmiri. No, he was told, the military would provide one. Undeterred, Bob called his interpreter friend and asked him to come to the hotel. Bob would try to get him on the flight. But he never showed. Just as the helicopter was about to lift off, the interpreter dashed across the field and jumped into the helicopter. "There was a lot of tension on the flight," says Bob. "Our escorts weren't pleased that he'd slipped aboard." But once on the ground, the interpreter proved extremely valuable to all of the reporters. "By the end of the trip, the military officials themselves were referring to him as 'our interpreter,' " says Bob.

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