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Today's Story Line:

Several of today's stories show how communities and countries attempt to balance valid yet competing interests.

In Canada, there's a high-profile case that pits school safety against the value of free speech (page 1).

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In Egypt, authorities are trying to protect the tombs of Pharaohs without trampling on the rights of Bedouins, who have lived over the tombs for centuries (page 7).

And in Britain and the United States, the transatlantic tug of war over a pair of twins put up for adoption on the Internet is charting new legal and ethical territory (this page).

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

DOES THe TANK HAVE A WARRANTY? Today's story on Russian arm sales to Iran reminded the Monitor's Scott Peterson of an international military trade show in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, a few years ago. The Russians were showing off their hardware on an obstacle course built for tanks. Picture a monster truck rally. "The crowd was cheering as this new Russian tank began racing around the course, launching itself over hills, catching air, and making tight turns," says Scott. He wondered if they might allow a curious journalist to take a ride. But alas, as it prepared to make a final pass in front of the reviewing stand, the tank suddenly veered off course and started belching smoke. "It stalled in the mud, and its crew burst out of the hatch with a cloud of smoke and ran from the stricken vehicle," says Scott. Apparently, the driver had pushed the engine too hard.

Remember BETTY LA FEA? Tim Pratt on Jan. 25, 2000, wrote for the Monitor about this ugly duckling soap star stealing the hearts of Colombians. Now, "Yo Soy Betty La Fea" - the No. 1 rated Spanish-language program in the US - is coming to an end. Unlike US soaps, Spanish novelas don't continue for years on end. But the soap is going to adopt a US-like denouement: Betty won't end up with the man of her dreams, reports yesterday's Boston Globe.

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