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Reporters on the job

GONE (GAS) HUNTING: Gasoline may soon be the most precious commodity in northern Afghanistan, says correspondent Scott Peterson. Journalists and Northern Alliance rebels alike are competing for black-market fuel in the aftermath of bombing in Kabul Saturday night. The bombs set off large orange secondary explosions - probably fuel depots - which Scott could see from the balcony of the home where he's staying in Jabal Siraj, not far from the front line.

So Sunday morning, the top priority was stocking up. Rumors quickly floated back that CNN reporters were able to find only enough for to fill two jerry cans. Gas is needed for generators that charge the batteries for the computers, satellite phones and cameras, and the eventual getaway car. So Scott and the TV team he is working with sent translators out to scour the valley. The result: 10 jerry cans, at $60 each - a bargain that will keep the Monitor's "Afghanistan bureau" in operation until the advance on Kabul (this page), whenever that may be, at just $12 a gallon.

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US FANS OF AL JAZEERA: It's not just viewers in the Middle East who flock to Al Jazeera, the CNN of the Arab world (page 1). At Goody's Pizza in Framingham, Mass., frequented by the Monitor's international news editor, the TV set mounted on the wall is nearly always tuned to the station. "They give you straight questions that you can't get elsewhere. They ask honest, direct questions. It's very bold. In Arab countries, there's nothing else like Al Jazeera," says Goody's owner, Hossam Mousa, an the Egyptian who has lived in the US for 16 years. He gladly pays the $29.99 per month fee for the satellite feed. "In this country, there's nothing like it, either. It's the best source of Arab news in the world."

- David Clark Scott

World editor

Cultural snapshot

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