Reporters on the Job

singing in unison:

In interviewing Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Lafer for today's story on the upcoming all-Americas trade talks, Andrew Downie noticed that almost everything Mr. Lafer said was a repetition of comments already printed in previous interviews. It occurred to Andrew that government officials there may have, in effect, rehearsed a script as Brazil moves to take a leadership role in the Latin American region.

FOLLOW-UP ON A MONITOR STORY

RUSSIA AND ITS SPy cases: Yesterday's Moscow Times reported that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has charged a scientist with treason for passing secret technology to China.

Fred Weir wrote in the Monitor on Jan. 19 about a chill creeping over Russia's academic and journalistic communities because of similar charges against a number of people, particularly Igor Sutyagin, a sociological researcher with Moscow's prestigious Institute of Canada-USA Studies. He was charged with espionage for carrying out seemingly routine academic cooperation with Canadian and British colleagues. He is still on trial.

The Moscow Times report says that Valentin Danilov, head of the Thermal Physics Center of the Krasnoyarsk Technical University, was arrested and jailed Feb. 16, according to his colleagues, who published an open letter to the Krasnoyarsk prosecutor in the local press Wednesday.

Mr. Danilov's colleagues said the technology that he is alleged to have passed to China has long been declassified and that no secrets were given to the Chinese. The only threat to Russia's national interest, they said, has been caused by the FSB's arrest of the scientist and the disruption of a beneficial contract.

Let us hear from you.

Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail: world@csmonitor.com

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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