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Reporters on the Job

• NOT YET HOOKED ON PHONICS: Peter Ford could not help agreeing with the mayor of a French town he visited this week in the wake of an anti-Semitic attack, that the root problem is a lack of education.

Aside from the fact that the anti-Jewish obscenities he saw scrawled on walls were full of spelling mistakes (and it is hard to misspell a four-letter word), the North African immigrant boys with whom he talked thought that, since he had once been posted in Jerusalem, he must be Jewish. Only when he told them that he had also been posted in Moscow, but that he clearly was not Russian, did he begin to win their confidence.

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• HOT TIME, SUMMER IN THE CITY : Temperatures rose to 100 to 104 degrees F. in the streets of Cairo this week as reporter Philip Smucker was attempting to take the pulse of the angry crowds.

"The heat is on," says Philip. "The Egyptian street is enraged and looking for outlets. I don't expect that you'll have teenage boys lining up to donate to charities to help the Palestinians. They are looking for other ways to help, and many are calling for their government to arm them. Short of that, there are militant groups lurking in the shadows who can also supply the goods."

Faye Bowers
Deputy world editor

Follow-up on a Monitor Story

• BETANCOURT STILL HELD CAPTIVE : The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, continue to hold presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, snatched by the rebels at a road block in February (March 12 Monitor story).

The US brands the FARC "terrorists," and Colombian President Andres Pastrana arrives in Washington tomorrow to lobby for US aid to combat the rebel group.

Cultural snapshot