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Reporters on the Job

WE ARE NOT COMBATANTS: As a rule, journalists believe in being conspicuous in war zones. As the Monitor's Cameron Barr reported earlier this month, many journalists in northern Iraq have marked their cars with the initials "TV" - on the roof, sides, back, and hood - to let people know they are not combatants.

The problem is that in the eastern portion of northern Iraq, journalists may well be targets of a militant Islamist group called Ansar al-Islam (page 1). Following a car-bombing Saturday, which killed Australian journalist Paul Moran and injured his colleague Eric Campbell, Kurdish officials have advised foreign correspondents in the area to remove or cover up the TV markings.

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"Sometimes you just can't win," says Cameron. "We might well be safer covering the war in southern Iraq, rather than waiting here for the chance to do so."

DINNER IN A DUST STORM: Reporter Philip Smucker and photographer Andy Nelson were rocked to sleep last night in their SUV on Route 80 in Iraq (page 7). Their four-wheel drive vehicle was buffeted by an intense sandstorm that stopped US troops, grounded aircraft, and turned the afternoon into night. "It's like sitting in a boat on an ocean. We're getting heat flashes too," says Philip. Located in the middle of a US Marine convoy, the two have been swapping their provisions (canned smoked mackerel) for US military MREs (meals ready to eat). "Andy had chicken breast with pasta for lunch. I had a turkey patty with mixed vegetables," says Philip. Like the troops, the two haven't showered for days. "Our faces, at least, are clean. We use the moist towelettes that come with the MREs."

David Clark Scott
World editor

CORRECTION

MONTREAL IS NOT PARIS: A photo illustration in the Tuesday, March 25 edition misidentified La Presse. It is a daily newspaper published in Montreal.

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