â€¢ Trying Times for Olympic Training: Correspondent Sam Dagher met Iraqi Olympic team sprinter Dana Abdul-Razzaq and her coach at Baghdad University because the risk of flying rockets and mortars missing the Green Zone and falling on Shaab Stadium, where she normally trains, was still high (see story).
Sam says that the campus, despite having also been hit recently, is a refuge of sorts. "We found young men and women, many of them unveiled, mingling on campus," he says. "Lots of smiles, laughs, and chirping birds."
But this idyllic world ends at the university's gates. "Dana said she has to wear a head scarf and black abaya when she ventures out of her home for security reasons," Sam says.
Dana's fiancÃ©, Arkan, also a sprinter, was at practice as well, dressed in stretch running shorts and a cut-off T-shirt. He told Sam that he and his family had to flee Basra four months ago because militiamen were preventing him from training and harassing him for letting his hair grow too long or for wearing running shorts. One of his friends, a soccer player, was killed after militiamen kidnapped him outside their club.
â€¢ Thanks, but No Thanks: Working for a US paper in divided Kosovo has made correspondent Andrew Wander a target for effusive praise â€“ and criticism â€“ since the territory declared independence with Washington's blessing.
"I've been in interviews with ethnic Albanians who wouldn't stop thanking me," says Andrew. "It was embarrassing. I had nothing to do with it."
"It's the worst combination â€“ a British reporter for a US newspaper," says Andrew. Serbs are increasingly turning down his requests for interviews because, they say, he comes from a country that supports Kosovo's independence.
â€“ Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor