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Reporters on the Job

Gauging Progress: Correspondent David Montero has driven through the earthquake areas of northern Pakistan more times than he can count since last November ( see story). This time he drove from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Kashmir, into neighboring Battagram district, about four hours away.

"It's changed dramatically in that time," David says. "There are shiny new metal roofs everywhere."

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David says that he was particularly heartened by one new sign: children in school uniforms running and laughing on the street. "That's something you didn't see a year ago," he notes.

But another thing also struck him. "There's one point on a ridge going through a valley that I've driven by countless times," he says. "The first time I drove by it, about a month after the earthquake, I saw a flattened building whose remains seem to spill over into a ravine. That same debris is still there. I use it as a kind of personal benchmark of the progress, and it reminds me how much there is to go."

Who Cares for the Cows? Contributor Mical Lumsden had been in India for about a week, passing cows wandering free along the roads, when she started wondering, "Who feeds these cows? Does anyone milk them?" ( see story)

So she started asking around. "Everyone from India whom I talked to seemed to know about gaushalas,"she says. "Someone first described them to me as 'nursing homes for cows.' The host at my hotel in Varanasi arranged a trip to a nearby gaushala. The men working there belong to the cow herders' caste and told me that they had been raised to work with cattle. They conveyed their feeling that taking care of cows was a religious obligation and a privilege. When I first started wondering about India's cows, never did I imagine I would stumble upon such a humble expression of sacred beliefs."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor