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Reporters on the Job

Internet Access as Water Cooler: Staff writer Danna Harman was about to contact the headquarters of the African Union peacekeepers in Sudan, when she stumbled across two soldiers in the offices of the US Agency of International Development. "Like me, they were hanging around the office trying to make friends with the people there so as to use their Internet line. But they were less prepared than I was: They needed to borrow a laptop as well." Danna was happy to oblige.

Later, she bumped into the soldiers again as they were standing the chow line at Save the Children, a US-based aid agency. "As unprepared and underfinanced I may feel as a journalist here, the African Union soldiers have it worse (this page)," she wryly notes.

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Peter Sellers Sells in Iraq: Staff writer Scott Baldauf arranged to meet a Mahdi Army fighter in a Baghdad hotel room to talk about rebel Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's plans to form a political party (this page). "After the interview, I made some cellphone calls, and he turned on the TV. He started watching "The Pink Panther," a Peter Sellers movie, in English with Arabic subtitles. He was quickly giggling himself silly. I look over to see what had set him off. Inspector Clouseau was receiving a round bomb with a sizzling fuse, special delivery.

"I asked him to keep it down. So much for the clash of civilizations - comedy must be one of those universal values."

David Clark Scott
World editor


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