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Reporters on the Job

No More Than Four : Staff writer Abraham McLaughlin was interviewing supporters of the opposition political party in Zimbabwe late Tuesday evening (this page). "We drove to this poor neighborhood and sat on the mattress that Cosmas Ndira shares with two other family members each night," says Abe. "I could feel the springs. After awhile I noticed that there was someone standing at the door to the room who seemed to be controlling who came in and out."

Curious, Abe asked what was going on. "He was making sure that there were only four Zimbabweans in the room at any moment. The 'public order and security act' forbids a gathering of five or more people. That, of course, makes political organizing difficult. Early this week, I interviewed a candidate who met with his staff in caves in order do skirt the law," says Abe.

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You Know How to Whistle, Don't You? While Iran says it's preparing for an US military invasion (this page), staff writer Scott Peterson says that one rarely has to go further than the next taxi in Tehran to find pro-American sentiment. He jumped in one cab and found a memorable driver: "Ooohhh, America! Great!" he crowed. "We love you!"

Like many young Iranians, the driver had two jobs: one as a driver, the other as an aspiring actor. "He pulled out an 8x10 laminated photo of Humphrey Bogart. "They call me 'Humphrey,' " he said proudly, using the nickname given to him by fellow actors. Scott asked how his love of America fit with the local reports of a pending US military strike. "No, no - not here," came the reply, echoing the view of many Iranians. "The American people good, but no fighting."

David Clark Scott
World editor