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Compassion and courage don't often make headlines in the Middle East. The more familiar portrait is that of a region riven by hatred between Jews and Arabs, of families shattered by wars and terrorist bombs and fundamentalist zeal. But there's a hunger there, too, for something better. The outpouring of support for the family of a Palestinian man who drowned while saving an Israeli child is one manifestation of that desire (page 1).

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

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ALEX AND HIS 10 FEMALE COHORTS:

Ahead of this Sunday's elections, Yugoslavia is watching foreign journalists more closely. Every three days, reporter Alex Todorovic must check in at the local police station. When he did earlier this week, the officer discovered that Alex's visa had expired. Alex was told he must wait to be escorted to the judge. Several hours later, "someone called my name and told me to stand against the wall. Then 10 Moldavian women emerged from a room and stood behind me. The women, probably prostitutes, had paid someone to transport them to Italy, but their dreams ended in a Belgrade police station."

Alex and the women walked single file outside and into a van to the amusement of the police and the jeers of passersby. At the courthouse,"I paid my 1,000 dinar fine [$86] and went back to my life," says Alex. But the women were driven to the Romanian border and left with no money."

BOOTLEG BLOCKBUSTER: A film backed by the Chinese government for its anti-corruption message (reported on Sept. 18) has itself become the center of an illegal copying scandal. The film's producers say illegal prints of the movie, "Fatal Decision," are being shown in cinemas around central and southern China, the BBC reports. Experts say the illegal prints were of high quality and appear to have been made in official developing studios.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society