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Reporters on the Job

A Call from India's PM: Indians go to the polls Tuesday, and the campaigning has been a blend of high tech and Bollywood (this page). Staff writer Scott Baldauf says that his wife, Kashmira, got a taste of the ruling party's campaign gimmick, receiving not one, not two, but four separate recorded voice mails on her cellphone from none other than India's Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The first time she picked up the phone, she heard the familiar politician's low rumbling voice in Hindi: "Yeh Atal Bihari Vajpayee..." She listened for a moment, curious. The second time he called, she hung up before he had a chance to continue. She wasn't trying to be rude. She knew it was a recording. "Do you think he's stalking me?" she joked.

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Baghdad Cafe: Food supplies are getting tighter inside the Green Zone, the headquarters of the Coalition Provincial Authority in Baghdad. The surge of violence has caused a dwindling of convoys from Jordan that used to provide fresh produce to the US military and civilian headquarters. But the situation can be entirely different for foreign correspondents, who shop in the local markets, says Scott Peterson.

A fellow correspondent recently threw a dinner party - a weekly affair - that included copious quantities of chicken wings, sloppy joes, and "the best Philadelphia cheese steaks this side of the Jordan River," says Scott.

It was all capped off with huge fresh strawberries ("Not the scrawny ones from Syria") dipped in melted chocolate. The colleague, Scott says, is on the short list for a new award: "Most likely to serve smoked salmon in a war zone."

David Clark Scott
World editor


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