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Reporters on the Job

UNWELCOME GUESTS: Most of the war stories that reporters tell each other don't get printed. But while writing today's story about the risky nature of Afghan reporting (page 1), the Monitor's Scott Peterson recalled an incident from about two weeks ago.

A small contingent of British troops had just landed at the Bagram airbase north of Kabul. Scott joined a group of British journalists determined to see their compatriots. "The Northern Alliance perimeter security was one teenage boy, whom we breezed past. But he radioed ahead. We turned a corner and could see what looked like American agents, in baseball caps, in the control tower. We lifted our cameras, and an irate guard fired a volley of shots at my feet," says Scott. Another guard started clubbing the Independent Television Network cameraman with his rifle. "He put up his arm to ward off the blows and was slashed."

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A CYNICAL CABBIE: Mexico's President Vicente Fox has talked about the importance of impunity and cleaning up government. Some foreign reporters had expected the Fox administration would release something more revealing than the report about missing political foes that came out (this page). "As three of us made our way back across Mexico City, after the report was presented, we wondered aloud why no names had been named, no locations of bodies given." says reporter Gretchen Peters. "What did you think?" interrupted the taxi driver suddenly. "That things had really changed here?" He laughed and shook his head.

But, notes Gretchen, at least one thing is markedly different. The press conference took place in the Lecumberri Palace, an airy, and recently remodeled stone structure that is now home to the National Archive. In the past, ironically, it was Mexico City's main detention center for political prisoners.

David Clark Scott

World editor

Cultural snapshot

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