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A freshman female politician in Japan is starting the new year by taking on the centuries-old law that a woman must take her husband's name (page 1).

Faye Bowers Deputy world editor

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REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

THINGS THEY CARRY: For today's story on Kenya's guns trade-in program (this page), Mike Crawley traveled to Garissa with a group of people attending a conference in Nairobi about curbing the demand for light weapons. Mike says he's become more comfortable around guns since he began to work in Africa, but he found out these folks were even more at ease. "When we were taken to see the weapons the police had collected," Mike says, "the conference-goers started picking them up, hoisting them to their shoulders and looking through the sights, all the while casually discussing makes and calibers. Someone suggested I pick one up, but I declined."

PRESS CLIPPING..

YEAR ENDER: Britain's $1 billion Millennium Dome, ushered in a year ago with huge expectations, shut down as a major disappointment on New Year's Eve.

Located on the River Thames at Greenwich, east London, the Dome began experiencing problems on its opening night. Hundreds of dignitaries - top national newspaper editors among them - missed the celebrations because they were held up in the cold by security checks.

The negative publicity started right away, and didn't stop - even though 9 out of 10 visitors said they enjoyed their day at the Dome. The Sunday Express said that in 12 traumatic months, the Dome "went from being Britain's great white hope to its great white elephant." The Sunday Telegraph called it a "grotesque symbol" of Labour Party hubris.

The property will be sold to an Irish-English company that plans to build a high-tech business park and luxury homes.

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