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Today's Story Line

The state of democracy figures prominently in today's coverage. Many world leaders have had the US's scolding finger wagged at them for their democratic shortcomings. So, as the foibles of the US democratic system are exposed, folks abroad are offering to "help" the US in its hour of need (see story, page 1).

Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan in particular, is another region where democratic principles are at issue (see story, page 7).

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Quote of note: "Kyrgyzstan used to be an island of democracy, then it became an atoll, and now it's just a reef."

- a Western observer.

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

ELECTION LESSONS: Mexicans accustomed to receiving lessons from the United States are amused by the turn of electoral events in the US, as the Monitor's Howard Lafranchi reports. But even Howard's American friends are struck by the cross-border role reversal. "The other day we received an e-mail from American friends who recently moved from Mexico back to Atlanta. They poked a little fun of their own, saying they were glad they had stayed in Mexico long enough to see an election 'that wasn't under a cloud of doubt and where the people's will was respected.' And they concluded that the negative connotations Americans usually associate with a 'Latin American election' now seemed to fit the US better than Mexico."

SURVEY SAYS.....

BEST CITY FOR A HOLIDAY: Sydney, Australia, topped the annual Conde Nast Traveler magazine survey of the best foreign city for the sixth consecutive year, scoring ahead of Florence, Italy, Rome, Paris, Venice, Italy, Salzburg, Austria, Vienna, London, Vancouver, Canada, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Some 26,000 readers also voted on the best airlines on international routes, ranking in order: Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, Qantas, and Swissair.

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