• Bread and Stone Faces: Contributor Daria Vaisman was at the opposition rally just outside of Baku, Azerbaijan Wednesday. She was concerned that it might turn violent, because in the past the riot police have used force to break up public protests. But this time their behavior mirrored the iron discipline displayed by the guards outside of Britain's Buckingham Palace.
"At one point, I was inside a grassy circle with protesters and the perimeter was circled by riot police. I spotted a vendor selling bread. Between the cold and the activity, I was kind of hungry. In fact, a bunch of us had been discussing what to do about dinner," says Daria.
"So I called out to the vender, and to my surprise he responded. He squeezed between two riot police and handed me the bread, and I handed him 2,000 manat or about 40 cents. The police didn't budge. They didn't acknowledge us at all."
• Signs of More Tourists: With or without a new Christian theme park, tourism to the Holy Land appears on the upswing. The Israeli government projects that nearly 2 million people will visit this year. But staff writer Ilene Prusher has her own indicators.
"I know bookings are up because a couple of friends are tour guides. Just two years ago they were out of work for long periods. Now, when I call them up to socialize, to go out for dinner, they're always busy," she says.
And recently, Ilene visited a favorite spot on a promenade that overlooks east and west Jerusalem. "The restaurant there fills up in the evening, but during the day it's a quiet place to write. I had just sat down when a tour group of about 200 evangelical Christians from Africa wearing the same bright yellow T-shirts came in. They started singing over lunch. It was quite magical."
David Clark Scott