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Reporters on the Job

Car Connections: At first, Andrew Downie didn't know where to turn when his editor called with the assignment that produced today's story about a major World Bank study that illustrates the relationship between government red tape and poverty (page 12). "I scratched my head when he asked me to talk to someone in Brazil who'd just started a small business to see if what the study was saying could be corroborated with on-the-ground experience," Andrew says. "I thought maybe I could find a new restaurant or something."

Then, Andrew remembered a recent phone call from the man who had sold him his 1996 VW Jetta six months before. "Fernando Rezende was going through his list of old customers. He called to say that he'd just opened a garage in the neighborhood and wanted my business," says Andrew. He called Mr. Rezende, who was happy for the publicity and eager to discuss the challenges of starting a new business.

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Bridging the Shiite-Sunni Gap: As Dan Murphy reported today's story about the problems between Iraq's Shiite and Sunni communities (page 8), he found out just how disconnected they were.

"I interviewed a Sunni cleric about his efforts to improve relations with Shiite imams in a neighborhood where a bomb had gone off in a mosque," says Dan. "I mentioned that the Shiite clerics had invited me to a Sunni-Shiite meeting at the 'Mother of All Villages Mosque.' He looked at me with surprise. No one had told him about the meeting."

David Clark Scott
World editor