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REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

TOFU AND OPULENCE: Like many third- world cities, Jakarta juxtaposes opulence with squalor. But reporter Dan Murphy was still surprised to find a complex of small-scale tofu factories tucked away in Kemang -one of the city's most expensive neighborhoods.While reporting today's story about how Indonesia's economic hardships play out for the little guy (page 8), Dan took a cab to a street he'd been on dozens of times, and a local man pointed to a narrow alley between a filthy river and a row of shacks. After walking in for about 50 yards, the alley turned away from the river, and Dan followed the smell to the factories. The tofu businesses themselves "were like something out of the industrial revolution," with huge copper vats, open flames, stifling heat. After his interview, Dan returned to the road and was nearly run down by a brand-new BMW. "It was a 'same planet, different worlds' moment,'' he says.

BETTER THAN AAA: The Nairobi press corps is normally a fairly competitive bunch, but there's also an esprit de corps. When Mike Crawley was in central Kenya covering today's story on British Army munitions (this page), a BBC film crew crawled to the same hotel, late at night, on two flat tires. "They were here for the same story. We were leaving really early the next morning to look for unexploded bombs, so they had no way of fixing the punctures in time. I agreed to take them in my car. It's just a sedan and not really meant for these bumpy dirt roads, but things went fine," says Mike. On the way back to Nairobi, he got a flat, and his tire iron was missing. But what goes around, comes around. Ten minutes later, a CNN crew happened by. "The cameraman helped me change the tire, and I made it all the way back to Nairobi on the spare," says Mike.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor