• Here Comes the Bride: After the election lull, Iraq's security situation for foreigners has taken a turn for the worse.
At least five foreigners have been kidnapped in central Baghdad in the past few days, including an Italian journalist who was kidnapped in the middle of day after visiting a refugee camp for Fallujahns near Baghdad University. Staff writers Dan Murphy and Scott Peterson have visited the same camp during the past few weeks.
Dan also notes that volleys of gunfire between insurgents and Iraqi security forces have pierced the night for the past few evenings near the Baghdad hotel where he's staying. Dan says he still feels he can move about the city with caution, but is definitely more on edge.
Just as he was finishing today's story about Shiite political muscle-flexing (page 1), he heard what he thought was a barrage of gunfire right outside his window. He turned the radio down and went to peer out.
No gunfight. Rather, he saw men banging on drums for an Iraqi wedding. "Since our compound is so secure, the seedy hotel across the street has become popular for Iraqi weddings," says Dan. "It's actually a relief to be able to go the window and instead of seeing the war, to see a bridal party in their finest, walking into the hotel."
• Angels of Mercy: Staff writer Dan Wood says he has never encountered a more impressive collection of motivated, energetic, and warmly generous people than aid workers in Banda Aceh (page 1).
"By any measure of what they do and how they behave, these people are angels," says Dan. "They sleep with rats or on the ground, and I never saw a hint of discontent or need for ego massage."
David Clark Scott