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Reporters on the Job

• DANGER ZONE: For the Monitor's Cameron Barr, today's story on the survivor of a suicide bombing (page 1) strikes close to home. Many journalists who work in Jerusalem long ago adopted Talia Sapir's rules for living – no cafes, no restaurants, no unwarranted downtown visits. "For many reporters and photographers," Cameron says, "the trick is to get to the scene of a bombing as soon as possible – and not a moment sooner."

• BITTEN BY A COP: While reporting on efforts to stop shakedowns of motorists by Mexican cops – a practice described in Spanish as taking a bite, or "mordida," (page 10) Gretchen Peters remembered her recent brush with the law. She was headed out of town one early morning, during the 5:30 to 6 a.m. window before her "no circulate" period kicked in. All drivers in Mexico City are assigned a day when their car cannot be on the road, as part of an effort to reduce auto emissions. "We were stopped just before the deadline, about 5 minutes inside the city limits," Gretchen recalls. "Now look here," said the policeman who had drawn up alongside on his motorcycle. He thrust a book through Gretchen's car window and told her: "It says right here that you are in the wrong." "Of course, the book was written in minuscule script – who could see a thing?" Gretchen says. "But what the book said or didn't say really wasn't the point anyway."

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"Perhaps we can come to an arrangement?" the cop inquired. "I can even escort you to the edge of the city," he added. About 200 pesos – the equivalent of $21 – was exchanged, after which the patrolman bowed. But apparently the lawman had not read his own fine print very carefully. Says Gretchen: "When he pulled away, ahead of us, lights flashing, to escort us to the city limits, we noticed his motorcycle had no license plates."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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