Here is what newspapers around the nation are saying:
LOS ANGELES TIMES
IRISH PEACE: For 25 years the prospect of peace in Northern Ireland has seemed as implausible as the quaint notion of multiracial democracy in South Africa. But if there is any constant in world events, it is change. And change may finally be coming even to Northern Ireland.
The Irish Republican Army announcement of a cease-fire in return for participation in the British-Irish peace process is a huge step . . .
The news must also please Washington. Candidate Bill Clinton stuck his foot into the Northern Ireland problem during the 1992 presidential campaign when he raised the possibility that American mediation might help . . .
The worrisome question now is whether the Protestant loyalists will honor the IRA offer or launch their own campaign of violence hoping to bait the IRA into a new round of retaliation. But at least for now the guns are silent. And that in itself is a noteworthy accomplishment.
THE WASHINGTON POST
RUSSIANS GO HOME: With the departure of the last Russian troops from Germany and the Baltic countries, the great army that once confronted NATO across Europe is now entirely dismantled . . . The German withdrawals were completed exactly on the schedule agreed on two years ago to carry out a commitment made in 1990 by a state - the Soviet Union - that no longer exists . . .
The last Russian army units pulled out of Latvia and Estonia during the day, except for one small detachment to decommission two reactors at a naval base and another to operate a radar station. (The Russians had evacuated the third Baltic country, Lithuania, last year) . . .
There had been moments in the Baltics when it seemed that the Russians might change their minds. But in the end, recognizing that the world saw it as a test of Russia's good faith and reliability, (the Russians) pulled out their troops, punctual to the day.
DETROIT FREE PRESS
CUBA TALKS: Cuban and U.S. officials met at a relatively low level, to discuss Fidel Castro's most recent efforts to forestall the failure of his regime by encouraging the exodus of tens of thousands of refugees to this country . . .
The Clinton administration has sought to intercept as many of the Cuban boat people as it could and intern them indefinitely at the U.S. naval station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Yet the flotilla of rickety craft bound for south Florida has continued to grow. So the White House now suggests it is prepared to increase the number of legal visas it issues to Cubans each year, if Havana will curb the refugee flow.
Critics argue that President Clinton is doing what he insisted he would not do: Allow Cuba to set our immigration policy. But no better options appear at the moment . . .
SPECIAL CRIME: In Rosa Parks' adopted hometown of Detroit, her decades-old act of defiance in refusing to yield a seat to a white man aboard a Montgomery, Ala., bus is still the subject of classroom discussions, skits and artists' handiwork. The city even named a boulevard and a school after her.
But this past week, Parks was just another mugging victim. At 81, the woman known as the mother of the civil-rights movement was robbed of about $50 and punched in the mouth by a black man reeking of alcohol who'd burst into her home . . .
The mugging of an elderly black woman, though, is an everyday event. Had this victim not been Rosa Parks, it wouldn't have made the papers. But since it "was" Rosa Parks, there's at least the hope it may galvanize people to action the way her act of civil disobedience once did . . .