Reporters on the Job

ELUSIVE FACE OF A SOLDIER: Arie Farnam says that the Macedonian Army has always made reporting difficult, but since the latest offensive on Aracinovo began, they have become almost unapproachable. "I hoped to meet Macedonian soldiers and give them a human face, which they haven't gotten in most of the international press," Arie says.

She approached Defense Ministry spokesman Gjorgi Trendafilov with the idea, and after long deliberations, he agreed to give her an escort to meet soldiers in a barracks in Kumanovo. He told Arie to meet him at the Defense Ministry at 11:00 a.m. Saturday. When she and a photographer arrived, he was gone for the day. Since then, he has refused to take her calls. "I am now told visits to soldiers are impossible," Arie says.

FIELD OF DREAMS? Ukraine is putting on its best face for the pope, but Scott Peterson finds that the groundwork - literally - is a little behind schedule in Lviv.

"It's been raining for days, and the dirt field in front of the cathedral where the pope is to hold a Mass is sodden," Scott says. New grass shoots, meant to stabilize the ground, have just poked through. But they were planted too late, and too sparsely. "They are predicting hundreds of thousands of people will come," Scott says. "If it rains before the Mass, it could look like a king-size mud wrestling championship."

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: For today's story on Taiwanese in Shanghai, Bob Marquand went to Xiar Xin road (page 1). It is at the heart of what is a budding "little Taiwan" in Shanghai - a gaudily lit strip where Taiwan businessmen go late at night.

Being an American reporter asking people if they are Taiwanese in China gets a lot of stares. But surprisingly, the Taiwanese were more than happy to talk. Several, although requesting anonymity, freely said they did not want their island to join with China "anytime soon."

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT

VOLCANO ERUPTS: Mount Mayan, one of the Philippines' most active volcanoes, erupted yesterday. About 360 miles north of Manila, it is spewing lava and ash, but hasn't yet been raised to alert status 5.

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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