• Temblor Fallout: Iran's earthquake-stricken city of Bam feels like Iran has already entered the nuclear age, says staff writer Scott Peterson. "When you are standing in the rubble of Bam, you get the feeling that no amount of bombing could have so efficiently destroyed nearly every building," he says. Recovery operations continue apace (this page). Even so, he was surprised to hear the rumor making the rounds in this city renowned for dates and oranges.
"Some people here really believe that Bam was leveled by a secret test of an Iranian nuclear device," says Scott. Iran has publicly disavowed nuclear weapons, and signed up to no-notice inspections permitted under the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
One of those sharing the rumor with Scott said that "if this [earthquake] was an act of God, no problem. But if it was them [referring to the rulers in Tehran]..."
• Stuck in Fallujah: These days, the Iraqi town of Fallujah is a tense place for a foreign correspondent to visit. The interviews went without incident (page 1), says reporter Nicholas Blanford. As Nick, his interpreter, and their driver left Fallujah, they found themselves stuck in traffic. "A young boy came up to the driver's window selling bananas and chewing gum," he says. "When he saw me, he asked in Arabic if I was an American.
"The driver said, 'No.' But the boy was unconvinced. He yelled to his friends that there was an American in the car, and curious eyes turned to look. The boy continued to hound us as we inched down the road. All of us in the car blew a collective sigh of relief once the road cleared and we were able to speed away."
David Clark Scott