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News Briefs 1

Too Much Expected from Troops

Los Angeles Times
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Children line the once-treacherous Mount Igman road that snakes into this capital. They wave and throw flowers at the British and French armored personnel carriers and the U.N. trucks that pass by in a mile-long convoy.

This scene has the feel of a people welcoming an army that has come to liberate them, and there is an element of truth to that. Ever since NATO and the U.N. Rapid Reaction Force launched their current air and artillery campaign against Bosnian Serb positions, many people here have been transported from the depths of desperation to optimism that their 41-month war ordeal could soon be relieved.

NATO has promised to eliminate the threat Serbs pose to Sarajevo, to stop the random shelling that has claimed thousands of lives. But the danger now is that the expectations growing among the people of Sarajevo are unrealistically high.

The NATO operation is more limited in scope than many Sarajevans would like to think, and it is having only nominal success in destroying the Bosnian Serb war machine.

Still, there is a new sense of hopeful relief and safety, however temporary it may be. On Thursday, despite ever-present fears of Serb retaliation, children roller-skated down a sidewalk near U.N. headquarters, a frequent target of artillery attacks, and large numbers of people ventured openly into the streets.

Mrs. Clinton Visits Mongolia

The Washington Post
TOV, Mongolia

Sitting Thursday at the hearth of a Mongolian hut and sipping mare's milk below a two-stringed horse fiddle, Hillary Rodham Clinton turned to the Zanabaatar family, her nomadic hosts, and asked them if they had had a good summer.

They replied, as the American first lady nodded her head, that it depended on whether you were talking about the cattle and the sheep, which had done quite well, or the horses, which could use a bit more fattening up. The conversation turned to snuff boxes and the Zanabaatars' impending move to warmer pastures.

Mongolia is a nation of just 2 million people, whose president once said that his favorite pastime is sleeping. A former communist country, wedged between Russia and China, Mongolia became a democracy in 1989 and has begun opening and reforming its floundering economy. After years of prohibiting the open practice of religion, the government has allowed people to openly practice the Tibetan Buddhist Lamaism once popular here.

Economics Spawn Crime in Mexico

The Washington Post

Law enforcement officials who feared that economic austerity measures enacted here would spawn crime and social unrest say that the "long, hot summer" they feared has landed on Mexico with a furor.

Even though President Ernesto Zedillo asserted in his State of the Nation speech last week that the worst of Mexico's nine-month economic crisis is over, top administration officials acknowledge that they now are paying the price for sharp government cutbacks adopted as part of a national recovery plan. Over the past two weeks, riot police have clashed daily with protesters in the streets of Mexico City, while crime figures are skyrocketing nationwide.

According to the Mexico City attorney general's office, the overall crime rate in the hemisphere's most populous city has increased 26 percent since the collapse of the peso last December, with the majority of crimes consisting of burglaries, car thefts, muggings and robberies of business places.

The Mexican Association of Insurance Agencies reported that the number of violent car thefts in Mexico City has doubled over the past year. Daylight carjackings are common, even in such high-security areas as the capital's Lomas de Chapultepec mansion district, where a woman was shot dead after refusing to give up her luxury sedan.