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Reporters on the Job

• COUNTED IN RUSSIA: This is the first Soviet/Russian census (page 1) ever to include foreigners, and reporter Fred Weir (a Canadian) says that he's filled out magazine subscription forms that were more detailed.

"I was asked name, address, nationality, source of income (answer: journalist), and whether my marriage is registered. The 1989 census – which I was not allowed to take part in – took 20 minutes to answer all the questions of the census takers who came to our door. One change: In 1989 the whole family, including my then one-year-old daughter, had their nationality listed as 'Armenian' – the family background – exactly as it was written in their Soviet passports. This year everyone was simply asked what nationality they considered themselves to be, and the whole family, except me of course, has been set down as simply 'Russian.' "

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David Clark Scott
World editor

Follow-up on a Monitor Story

• BAGHDAD JOURNAL: The Iraqi government reported Wednesday that 100 percent of the country's electorate of 11.5 million people voted in favor of another seven-year term for President Saddam Hussein. There is no mistake: Every single voter.

Izzat Ibrahim, vice president of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council explained yesterday that "The situation in Iraq is quite different" from other countries. "The condition of Iraq is like that of the early Islamic state," when Arabs were ruled by the prophet Muhammad and his descendants. In a speech, Mr. Ibrahim used the sort of rhetoric one finds etched into relics extolling ancient kings; Hussein and his supporters have long sought to link him with the titans of history. The Iraqi people, said Ibrahim, had showed themselves to be "a people of civilization and creativity; a people of reconstruction and victory; a people of faith, of jihad, and the struggle against the forces of darkness and injustice." Referring to Hussein, he said: "You have chosen the star and the beacon and the sky of the nation."

Cameron W. Barr

Cultural snapshot