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Reporters on the Job

Too Close for Comfort: Yesterday's suicide bombing in Moscow (page 1) was a little too close to home for reporter Fred Weir. "My wife Masha drove right by the National Hotel just five minutes before the explosion - which she heard going off as she was getting out of her car at her office, just a block away," he says.

And it wasn't the Weir family's first brush with terrorist attacks.

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"In July, my teenage daughter wanted to go to the Russian rock festival in Tushino, a very popular annual event. We didn't object, but in the end she stayed home that weekend because we had houseguests," Fred says. Two suicide bombers struck at the entrance to that concert, killing themselves and 15 other people.

"Those may not be described as really close calls, but it's enough to make one really aware of the new dangers here," he adds.

Filling up in Baghdad: Today's story about the gasoline shortage in Iraq (this page) is one that affects the lives and pocketbooks of everyone working there. The regular driver employed by reporter Nick Blanford has been getting up before dawn to wait in line to fill up. Often, during the course of the day, when Nick is on a tight deadline, the only option is to pay 10 times the normal price to black-market vendors on the roadside. As a result, his driver's profit margins are shrinking. Nick just raised his driver's daily rate to cover the added expense and inconvenience.

David Clark Scott
World editor


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