Today's Story Line:

There was no unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood yesterday. And no peace either. Instead, the 12th anniversary of Yasser Arafat's symbolic declaration of Palestinian independence was marked by an escalation of the violence between Palestinians and Israelis. The rhetoric is still that of peacemakers but the tit-for-tat attacks on the ground are of those bent on making war (page 1).

David Clark Scott World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

A SLICE OF INFORMATION, PLEASE: Reporter Mario Kaiser began his research on Albanian smugglers by talking to various investigators, including those at Interpol in Lyons, France, and the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Germany's federal intelligence agency. But most of the investigators were about as cooperative as the smugglers. "Some would tell me lots of anecdotes about how smugglers operate. But they would balk when I pressed them for details, out of fear, they said, that I might pass along valuable information to the smugglers." For example, one investigator told Mario about a restaurant that was a front for a smuggling operation. But when pressed for details, the investigator just smiled and said, "They make excellent pizza there."

After Mario finished his on-the-ground reporting, he went back to several investigators, with follow-up questions. But they quickly turned the tables and quizzed him. They said they were envious of his freedom and access (their investigations require the consent and help of the officials in a foreign country). Mostly, Mario was forthcoming. But when that one investigator pressed him for details about the restaurant that's used as a front for smugglers, Mario smiled and said, "You were right, the pizza there is excellent."

A DRIVER AND PARTICIPANT: An unexpected "assistant" joined Eric Unmacht during his interviews in the Cambodian countryside: his elderly motorbike taxi driver. "During every interview, the moto doppe would follow right behind, stand next to the man we interviewed, crouch down in Asian style when we all crouched down to talk, and nod his head in agreement or disagreement. I wondered how far this driver would go. Would he come in to meet the governor? I didn't dare disrespect an elder in Cambodia," says Eric.

Eventually this speculation was put to the test when Eric was invited into the village chief's hut for an interview. Uncertain how to act, "I followed my guide, took off my shoes, climbed up the ladder, and stepped into the bamboo hut. Sure enough, as I reached the top of the ladder, I felt someone climbing the ladder right behind me. I didn't even have to look to know that it was the moto doppe."

Let us hear from you.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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