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Reporters on the Job

Mexico's Voters: On Friday evening, staff writer Sara Miller Llana had a telling conversation with a waiter who works along Reforma Avenue in Mexico City. He told her that he usually makes about $30 a day, but has made no more than $10 a day because of all the supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (aka AMLO) blocking the streets.

He didn't vote in the July presidential elections because he says he doesn't trust any of Mexico's political leaders. "The protesters say, 'You must not be poor if you didn't vote for AMLO.' He says he ispoor, but he still wants companies from Japan or the US to invest in the country. He told me AMLO's hardcore supporters can't see the long view," says Sara. But like the AMLO supporters, he says the election was fraudulent.

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"He said his mother was offered money at a polling place, and so was his neighbor. The conversation is a small indication of the troubles that lie ahead for Mexico's next leader," says Sara.

Lost World: Naguib Mahfouz famously identified the akhwa (cafe) as one of the principal sources of inspiration. And like millions of Cairennes, he liked nothing better than whiling away the day over glasses of sweet tea or coffee. But the elegant cafes of his youth are now largely gone – with one exception.

Al Fishawi is at the heart of the poor Cairo district of narrow alleys and colorful characters where Mr. Mahfouz was born. It retains its original appearance, though not the literary clientele. Today, it's popular with tourists (and reporters such as staff writer Dan Murphy) attracted by its reputation and location on the edge of the Khan al-Khalili bazaar. It also represents something of a vanished world. "If you go there and close your eyes, you can imagine Mahfouz gazing out at the peddlers, and shoeshine men, and government employees bustling home from work. But when you open your eyes you're usually staring at a European tourist in a T-shirt and shorts," says Dan.

David Clark Scott
World editor