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Reporters on the Job

Tehran's Smog: Returning to Iran was like falling into a bowl of pea soup for Scott Peterson, who says he can't remember pollution in Tehran ever being quite this bad. "You could feel it, you could see it, you could taste it," says Scott, adding that Tehran authorities have already posted an alert for seven days. The elderly and young people were asked to stay at home; traffic was far less than usual.

"I knew we were in trouble when a woman walked into a student meeting wearing a face mask," says Scott, who returns from a day of reporting sometimes with burning eyes. "Everyone is praying for rain, or wind, or anything to shift this cloud of smog."

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Too Good of a Disguise? James Brandon arrived at the Islamic Center in Malmo, Sweden, expecting to find it full of militant firebrands preaching hatred of the West. So he came prepared to blend in.

"I was deliberately unshaven, with a battered packet of cigarettes in hand and wearing a shabby German Army surplus jacket," he says.

It's a costume designed to help him put at ease suspicious young Islamists who are often instinctively distrustful of well-dressed Westerners.

"So I felt somewhat foolish when I arrived at the mosque to be introduced to its immaculately attired founder and his well-educated native Swedish assistants. Indeed, my disguise was so effective that I had some trouble convincing them that I was a respectable journalist and not a roving militant."

- Matthew Clark

Africa/Americas editor