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Reporters on the Job

NOT SO BAD IN BAGHDAD: The Monitor's Danna Harman arrived in Iraq for the first time this weekend carrying some false expectations. "I'd watch the television coverage of the war, and was certain that large sections of Baghdad had been demolished. But there's much less damage than I expected. The bombing was very precise," she says.

After reporting from Africa for the past two years, she didn't find the daily inconveniences in Baghdad as bad as she had expected either. "Yes, the traffic is terrible. There's no police, no traffic lights, nobody is moving and everybody is honking. But the electricity outages are no worse than what I experience every day in my home in Nairobi, Kenya.

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"What's really getting to people here, I think, is the uncertainty of what's next politically and economically (page 1). You have large numbers of people sitting at home, who don't know what's going on and don't know what their role is going to be," says Danna.

QUAKE-PROOF HOUSING: When last week's quake hit in southeastern Turkey, reporter Yigal Schleifer had just visited Turks in Adapazari who had lost their homes in the 1999 quake. Then as now, one of the prevailing concerns is that buildings aren't constructed to withstand earthquakes (page 7).

In Adapazari, a refugee village for several thousand people was built with aid from Israel, using steel shipping containers. "The village included a mosque and a school in these in containers. It was supposed to be phased out as new homes were built. But about 40 families didn't want to leave," says Yigal.

"They told me they thought the containers were more earthquake proof than the traditional homes. They didn't want to move," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot