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Reporters on the Job

Citizen Judges: Sitting in the Paris studio audience awaiting the start of "For You to Judge," correspondent Susan Sachs took a good look around (see story). "The two teenagers to my right were in torn jeans, their shirts untucked. A friend at the station got them their invitations. On my left were two black women in business suits, employees of Radio Outre-Mer, the state radio that broadcasts to French territories in the Pacific. They pointed out that one of the 'citizen-judges' had been on the program before. There were a few political heavyweights wandering about and slapping shoulders. But once the cameras rolled, all the back-and-forth stopped. For more than two hours, the 130 people in the studio stayed absolutely focused on what candidate Ségolène Royal was saying. I never imagined I'd see such concentrated interest on politics."

Citizen Protesters: Political opposition in Pakistan has snowballed ever since the "sacking" of the country's chief justice (see story), says correspondent David Montero. There's been lots of upheaval – protesters are out in the streets clashing with police, and some television channels have been shut down. "In a meeting of reporters and government officials Sunday, one reporter referred to the events as the 'biggest hot potato to affect the Musharraf regime,' " says David. He adds that there's increased security in the capital – even his quiet street has seen protests. "But one of the biggest mysteries – and challenges – is semantics," says David: the government refuses to call the action a "sacking" or a "dismissal." "It likes to say the Chief Justice's position has been 'put into abeyance,' " he says. "That's a mouthful, and you can sort of feel the press trying to work around that one."

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Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

This week's look ahead

Monday, March 19

Berlin – German Chancellor Merkel meets Afghan President Karzai.

Istanbul, Turkey – Iraqi officials and international donors gather for fifth round of Iraq Reconstruction Forum.

Wednesday, March 21

Washington – Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand meets President George W. Bush.

Sydney, Australia – Australian magistrate to rule on extradition request by Croatia for Serbian war-crimes suspect Dragan Vasiljkovic.

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Friday, March 23

Rabat, Morocco – Trial starts of more than 50 alleged terrorists, including members of the Moroccan security services, accused of plotting attacks.

Sunday, March 25

Aswan, Egypt – Secretary of State Rice meets foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.