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Terrorism often begets fear and vengeance. And it tests a nation's commitment to democratic freedoms. The first response to the bombing in Moscow this week was to blame Chechen separatists. But President Putin wisely tried to quell any racist vigilantism in a televised address yesterday. A year ago, a climate of fear gripped Moscow after a string of apartment bombings. Police rounded up 20,000 dark-skinned Caucasians as "suspects" in Moscow alone.

David Clark Scott World editor

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REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

*HOW MUCH FOR A STORY? The Monitor's Ilene Prusher tried to set up an interview with several men who committed honor killings in Jordan. They had served their time and been released from jail. But they wouldn't talk unless they were paid. "They know it's a hot topic in the media, and so they've started charging journalists," says Ilene. She refused. Most journalists figure paying a source taints the process of discovering the truth. The interviewee may exaggerate or withhold details to fit the price tag. And it may influence how the journalist plays the story. "My interpreter was so outraged by this [practice] that he wrote a letter to the editor of the Jordan Times the next day," says Ilene. Rumor has it that a television crew set the precedent by paying for an interview. Journalistic ethics aside, "Is anything more despicable than helping someone profit from having murdered his sister?" asks Ilene.

*WE'll TAKE THE TRAM, THANKS: The Monitor's new Moscow correspondent, Scott Peterson, arrived with his family this week. They were eager to see the sights. "We had promised our children (ages 3 and 5) they could take their first ride on a subway today. But a bomb blast at the Pushkin Square metro put a damper on their plans. "We decided to put it off for a day," says Scott. The Petersons took a tram to Gorky Park yesterday.

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