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Reporters on the Job

• GRIM WALK: To reach the site near St. Petersburg where the human rights group Memorial believes thousands of Stalin-era victims are buried (story, page 1), correspondent Fred Weir trudged eight miles. The one access road to the property, which belongs to the Russian Army, had been ripped apart. While walking, Fred recalled a similar place he had visited two years ago, in Kiev, Ukraine. "There, Memorial was allowed to build a monument, which they did in the form of hundreds of large and small steel crosses planted among the trees and brambles." Fred says he doubts any monument will be allowed in Russia. "It will be interesting to see if Memorial is even allowed to continue excavating the site."

• UNDER ARREST?: Nicole Itano, reporting from the Ivory Coast (story, page 7), isn't sure whether she was arrested last week while covering instability there. Stopped by the Ivorian military on the way to the contested city of Bouaké, Nicole and some journalist colleagues were held for several hours – first at the local military headquarters and later at the local government offices. Ultimately, the group was turned back for not having a newly required accreditation letter from the government. "We debated afterwards whether we had been arrested or detained," said Nicole. "I was holding out for detained, but the authorities did make it clear that we couldn't leave until they said so."

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• SADDAM IN THE STAIRWELL: Correspondent Scott Peterson, who writes today about Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's appeal in Jordan (page 9), will never forget his surprise when he moved with his family to Amman in 1996. At the bottom of a stairwell shared with their new neighbors was a poster of the Iraqi leader. "Our kindly neighbors made it clear that it was nothing personal, and used to laugh at the irony of an American living with a poster of Saddam practically on his doorstep," Scott says.

Margaret Henry
Europe editor

Cultural snapshot

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