Reporters on the job

BOOKSTORE BROWSING: The Monitor's Robert Marquand is based in Beijing and hasn't reported from India for more than a year. But he was in Delhi for today's story about saber rattling in South Asia (page 1). Despite the proclamations of India's leaders, Bob says that most people in the street aren't talking about war with Pakistan. One of his first stops was a visit to Bahri Books, his favorite bookstore in Delhi. "It's an extraordinary little shop, with thousands of titles about the most minute aspects of Indian life, in English. The owner and his three assistants all remembered me, greeting me with smiles and a cup of coffee. He told me that there's no way that India would go to war. He called it political posturing that had to occur after the Dec. 13 attack on the Indian Parliament."

What did Bob buy? "India: Emerging Power" by Stephen Philip Cohen.

BIG GUNS, SMALL GIRLS: The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi traveled to Colombia's demilitarized zone several times during his tenure as Latin America bureau chief. Contributing to today's story (page 1), triggered some memories. "What always struck me in San Vicente [a major rebel enclave, from where Martin Hodgson is reporting] was the young girls who walked around town with rifles that were bigger than they were," he says. "The guerrillas had said they wouldn't recruit anyone under 15, but it was pretty clear in places like San Vicente that there were kids even younger than that." For three years, these kids had something of a haven, but it's likely they will have to rejoin the FARC forces on the front lines.

FOLLOW-UP ON A MONITOR STORY..

A LONG WALK TO SCHOOl: Schoolgirls were escorted past a line of armored vehicles and security forces yesterday on the way to a Catholic girls' primary school in North Belfast (left).

Schools throughout the bitterly divided city were guarded after Protestant militants - who claimed responsibility for the killing of a Catholic man over the weekend - threatened to target teachers. This violence follows a rocky return to school for many of these students (see Sept. 4 Monitor).

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