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Reporters on the Job

WHAT DID HE REALLY SAY? Working through interpreters is always difficult, but Lucian Kim found it particularly exasperating in Bonn, Germany, while covering the talks for a new Afghanistan government (page 7). "The Afghan delegation chief gave long, long answers, and then his interpreter would give one-sentence translations. "It's frustrating when the interpreter sums up or explains rather than give an exact translation." The delegation is now working with its third translator.

NO TRUNK SPACE: As the United Nations Security Council voted yesterday to renew economic sanctions against Iraq (page 1), the Monitor's Peter Ford was reminded of one trip he made to Baghdad in 1992, driving 14 hours from Amman, Jordan, (since international flights were banned by sanctions) with his luggage on his knees.

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When he asked why he couldn't put his bags in the trunk, his Iraqi taxi driver opened the lid and showed him. The entire space was taken up by an extra (empty) gas tank. "The driver had filled up with cheap Iraqi gas, driven into Jordan, sold his smuggled gasoline for a handsome profit, and picked up me and a couple of colleagues - making another handsome profit on the return."

STREET TALK: For the story on Taiwan's elections (this page), Bob Marquand traveled throughout the small island with four different candidates. And he interviewed many voters at each stop - from a mid-level sugar cane executive at a retired soldiers home in the suburbs to a motel owner in the center of the state to a physics teacher in the south.

But Bob's favorite comment came from a taxi driver who said he is voting for the DPP. "Just as he was telling me this, a car pulled out in front of us," Bob says. The driver said, "See, the KMT has been in power for 50 years, and people still can't drive!"

Cultural snapshot

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