President Bush’s Civility Wins Over Democrats.

He said he was going to be a conciliator and not a divider. After eight years of divided, contentious government under President Clinton America was skeptical. But President Bush meant what he said and has selected policies and programs that have appeal to both parties as the first phase of his agenda.

But the big change has been in the tone and manners of the new President and his administration. President Bush calls it the return to civility. His calm, cool manner has been the curve ball the Democrats were not expecting. It has been President Bush’s quiet talk, politeness and calmness that have disarmed the Democrats.

Increasingly the talk is of issues and not of personalities. More and more the talk is of the return to civility in Washington and less of slash and burn. Even the most strident Democrats have muted their attacks. This will be a major change in Washington if it can be sustained. If successful it will probably be carried over into international relations and issues.

Sharon Struggles With Palestine Issue

Sharon may be one of Israel’s toughest soldiers but the issues confronting him may take more than brute force to resolve. In world affairs soldiers are the solution of last resort. When all else has fails, the military takes over and behind tanks, rockets and military personnel it concentrates brute force on an issue. It is usually a successful course of action. However, as Ghandi first showed in India and Martin Luther King later in the United States there are other strategies that bring results in the face of force. The question for Israel is whether or not the military mind-set has the sophistication to address and effectively resolve the complex issues that separate Israel and the Palestinians.

There is no question that brute force and power bring resolution, usually quickly, and to the satisfaction of the most powerful of the antagonists. But time and guerrilla actions can eat away at even the powerful adversary as the Soviet Union learned in Afghanistan. It will not be Sharon’s power that brings peace to Israel but his long-term strategy for peaceful coexistence in a very small space.

International Space Station Working According To Plan

The International Space Station is becoming permanent residency it was designed to be and very few are taking notice. That’s the good news. There is no bad news unless one considers the lack an awe-inspiring attention a negative. It’s not quite old hat yet, but it has definitely moved to the back pages of the local paper and the concluding segments of the national news.

For scientists, astronauts and cosmonauts that’s okay. It allows them to concentrate on their work and experiments. But for those who worry about the funding of the Space Station the lack of attention makes them nervous. Funding follows headlines not only in Washington and Moscow but also in every political capital in the world. NASA wants attention to assure the funding it needs, but attention is becoming increasingly harder to get.

The space station is stocked with nearly three-thousand kilograms of new hardware and supplies the first long-duration crew will need to survive four months starting in November. Several maintenance tasks to improve station function are complete.

The Russian Progress cargo ship on which many of the goods arrived is filled with the packing material they came in and other trash. It will be destroyed later when Russian ground controllers detach the rocket from the Zvezda command module and send it to burn up during a fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

France is optimistic about China, the WTO and Human Rights

French President Jacques Chirac says China may be able to enter the World Trade Organization by year end. Mr. Chirac is heading an EU delegation in Beijing for a summit with Chinese leaders. Mr. Chirac also expects China to ratify a U.N. treaty on human rights by the end of the year.

President Chirac says that one of key goals of the EU-China summit was to wrap up the negotiations in China's 14-year bid to join the World Trade Organization.

Mr. Chirac told reporters in Beijing that he believes China's accession to the WTO could take place before the end of the year.

The European Union leaders came to Beijing concerned that China might renege on a number of commitments it made to open its markets to foreign competition - a precondition to entering the WTO. Seven-weeks of multilateral negotiations in Geneva have failed to finalize China's WTO entry. Sticking points have included granting insurance licenses for European firms, access to China's distribution system, protection of intellectual property rights, and judicial review of Chinese trade laws.

But Mr. Chirac says he has been assured by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji that China would not retreat from any commitments it had made to the European Union or other WTO members.

Mr. Chirac says he also received a pledge that China would soon ratify a U.N. Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which China signed in 1997. EU nations have been pushing China to ratify that and another human-rights treaty, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998.

China's official Xinhua News Agency says China's legislature is considering ratifying the first human-rights treaty during its current nine-day session. But Xinhua says that legislators are not yet ready to ratify the second treaty, which is considered more politically sensitive.

Renewed Congo Violence Creates Human Crisis

Renewed fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo has displaced thousands of civilians, raising humanitarian need as prospects for peace fade.

The collapse of Congo's cease-fire has refocused international donors on humanitarian need, as their efforts to negotiate a political end to the war show less and less chance of success.

Fighting between government troops and northern rebels over the last three months has displaced thousands of civilians, many of them crossing the Ubangi River into neighboring Congo-Brazzaville. With both sides of this front prepared for more fighting, relief officials say humanitarian needs here will only grow.

Charles Petrie is the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Congo. He said the aid community must be prepared to act regardless of the success or failure of the Lusaka peace plan.

Humanitarian need, the suffering of the people will continue whether Lusaka works or not. If Lusaka works, then we work in a dynamic of, ah, of appeasement, or in an environment of, of appeasement and reduced conflict, which makes it a lot easier to work. If, ah, if Lusaka, the different clauses of Lusaka aren't respected, then it does make it more difficult, because we were, were into a, a logic of greater conflict,” said Petrie.

Mr. Petrie said that means negotiating for access to civilians in need instead of operating freely across the lines. It also means being able to respond quickly to changing situations, where combat puts a particular group of civilians at risk overnight.

The last months of fighting drove many people from their farms before the harvest. So there are expected to be some food shortfalls along the Ubangi River. But relief officials say the greatest need here is medical.

At the hospital in the northern town of Gbadolite, women and children wait in line at the pharmacy. Dr. Alexis Bulnker said the hospital functions but just barely, each day trying to meet the minimum needs of its patients.

Dr. Bulnker said "we have only the minimum supplies of drugs at the hospital here. It's enough to keep working, but not enough to deal with an unexpected influx of civilians or war wounded."

The hospital does get some support from the aid group Medecins sans Frontieres, or Doctors without Borders. Sonja Vanosch works with the Belgian chapter of the medical relief group. She said there's a shortage of both drugs and trained local medical staff. There are already more people who need help than there is help available in Congo.

Ms. Vanosch said the number of needy is expected to rise as aid groups carry out more assessment missions along the Ubangi River, where many people are still afraid to go home.

“Is difficult because the people, they don't know what to expect. They are afraid, as you see here, people go to the bush, they don't have to come back, if they hear a plane they don't think that it's humanitarian aid, but they think about another bombing. So the access to people makes life difficult, for them and, and for us.,” said Vanosch.

Relief officials say there's been a dramatic increase in the number of displaced civilians and areas of insecurity in Congo. In north Kivu province, for example, the number of displaced a year ago was a hundred and 20-thousand. Now, it's estimated to be more than seven-hundred and 50-thousand. That means more people in need of more help at a time when there's more fighting and less of a chance for peace.

Tensions High in Basque Country

In Spain's Basque country, security agents are on a maximum alert after the arrest on Friday of the separatist organization ETA's "maximum leader" in France. Tension was especially high as the King and Queen of Spain inaugurated a museum in the heartland of Basque separatism.

Less than 24 hours after the suspected leader of the pro-independence terrorist organization ETA was arrested in France, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia inaugurated a museum in the Basque separatist stronghold of Hernani, near San Sebastian. The town council is controlled by ETA's political wing, Euskal Herritarok, whose leaders had warned that the monarchs would not be welcome.

Basque regional police cordoned off an area within one kilometer of the new museum dedicated to the sculptures of artist Eduardo Chillida to prevent access to pro-ETA demonstrators.

Shortly before the Spanish monarchs arrived by helicopter, security agents found eight grenades within five-hundred yards of the museum compound. Police said they had limited explosive potential and were meant to go off for propaganda purposes during the royal visit.

The high-profile museum inauguration was reinforced when Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar arrived with visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for a luncheon. The chancellor came to receive a sculpture from Mr. Chillida to grace the parliament building in Berlin. Outside the town regional police clashed with pro-ETA demonstrators.

Tension is especially high in the Basque country after French police working in collaboration with Spanish security agents arrested Ignacio Gracia Arregui, believed to be ETA's "maximum leader" since 1992. This followed the arrest earlier in the week of 20 suspected members of ETA's political infrastructure.

Mr. Arregui, apprehended along with his wife in the town of Bidart, 20 kilometers from the Spanish border, is wanted in Spain on three charges, including an assassination attempt on King Juan Carlos in 1995. Agents said they had had him under surveillance for some time in the hope of catching other ETA leaders.

Clashes erupted Friday night between pro- and anti-ETA demonstrators in downtown San Sebastian. The troubles lasted four hours as regional police tried to separate the two sides. The pro-ETA demonstrators were protesting against the arrest of Mr. Arregui, while the Anti-ETA faction was protesting the shooting on Thursday of Jose Ramon Rekalde, a university professor and former justice minister in the regional government. Mr. Rekalde survived the attack.