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Reporters on the Job

RULE OF LAW: Reporter Gretchen Peters detected not just opposition to the death penalty but a strong streak of anti-Americanism during her interviews of Mexicans for today's story (this page).

"To most, it comes across as superpower arrogance when the US gives no credence to the Mexican government's pleas, and so clearly ignores international treaties and due process under US law," says Gretchen.

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For example, she spoke with Flores Binda Estrada, whose son Daniel Plata is on death row in Texas. "Her son was caught on videotape killing a convenience store clerk. There's no question he's guilty. But his lawyer did not meet with Plata before the trial, did not inform him when a judge later denied his appeal, and failed to refile an appeal."

Gretchen says that Americans overseas, like herself, are put at risk when the US doesn't uphold the rule of law. "If I should get stuck in a Mexican prison over some crime involving a murder, the US government doesn't have much leverage to help me if it flouts international conventions."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Press clipping

SURVIVAL KITS DOWN UNDER: The Australian government is spending $9 million ($15 million Australian) to send a terrorism survival kit to every home in the country, The Age reports.

Each pack includes a refrigerator magnet with a 24-hour national antiterror hotline phone number, and a booklet titled: "Let's look out for Australia." The booklet advises families to gather food and water for three days, sunscreen, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, a battery-powered radio, a car-repair kit, and playing cards to keep the family amused.

Cultural snapshot