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Reporters on the Job..

CASUAL ABOUT CONFLICT: On the afternoon before the cease-fire in Macedonia was declared (page 8), the Monitor's Peter Ford found himself inadvertently caught in a heavy exchange of mortar and artillery fire just outside Tetovo. After a quiet drive along the highway, he stopped at a toll booth and suddenly heard a mortar explode in a field a hundred yards away. A Macedonian Army tank behind some trees replied with an artillery round, and several hours of shooting ensued. "It was surreal," says Peter. "I stopped a little way down the road, at a cafe, and sat with a group of Albanians who were peacefully drinking coffee while they watched the shells hit the mountainside about half a mile away. They (and the toll-booth operator) seemed quite unfazed by the fact that the guerrillas were aiming their mortars at an Army position less than 200 yards away from us."

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN CHINA: China has executed at least 1,781 people since it launched a nationwide campaign against crime in April, the human rights group Amnesty International says. As reported in the Monitor on June 6 ("A world shift from execution"), China leads the world in executions, with more than all other nations combined. Diplomats said the pace of executions this year means China may match the 4,367 people executed under the last anticrime campaign in 1996. The campaign, which will run for two years, started as a drive against organized crime, corrupt officials, and murder, but now includes other crimes.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor