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Reporters on the Job

WHO YOU GONNA CALL? The Monitor's Danna Harman was getting conflicting information about who was the best person to arrange for today's interview with Joseph Kabila, the new president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (page 1). A lobbyist in Washington, D.C., the minister of information, and the minister of communication all claimed to be the point person. The government is in such a state of transition, says Danna, that "the guards at the Parliament building carry around little hand-drawn charts listing the various ministers - outgoing, incoming, and jailed." Just to cover her bases, for a week she asked nearly every businessman and diplomat she spoke with in Kinshasa to put in a good word for her.

She got the interview. But before entering Mr. Kabila's office (where his father had been assassinated three months earlier) she had to hand over all equipment, including her pen. "A security measure," she was told. She was given a "safe" pen to take notes with during the interview.

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MILESTONE

POPE GOES TO MOSQUE: Pope John Paul II made a call for Muslims, Christians, and Jews to work together to bring peace to the Mideast. On a six-day tour of Greece, Syria, and Malta, he celebrated mass yesterday in Damascus, and made the first-ever papal visit to a mosque. The pope called for a "new attitude of understanding and respect." But the visit was marred by Syrian President Bashar Assad's reference to what he called Jewish persecution of Jesus as the "mentality" blocking peace. Israeli leaders called for the pope to condemn the verbal attack.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor