Reporters on the job

Cultural Snapshot

• CURFEW IN KHOST: When reporter Philip Smucker tried to step out of his guest house in Khost, Afghanistan, last night, several guards outside stopped him. "You can't go anywhere after dark," they said.

Since one American soldier was gunned down near a destroyed mosque two weeks ago, Afghan hosts are particularly concerned about the safety of their guests. Philip's hosts put together 16 gunmen for an exclusive ride into the Zawar Kili Al Qaeda base (this page). "The only terrifying moment was when a B-52 heading south looped back and seemed to hover overhead. I found myself looking for caves to dive into. Fortunately, the bomber moved on."

- David Clark Scott

World editor

THE BEST OF THE REST

• GLOBAL PRETZEL COVERAGE: President George Bush's fainting spell after choking on a pretzel was international news. The Daily Telegraph in London ran an editorial proclaiming Bush "a man of the people."

"This is exactly the sort of accident that befalls Homer Simpson, night after night.... What is so comforting is that here is a president who finds himself conducting an international war against terrorism with great competence, but who still finds the time to while away his Sunday evenings in front of the box, watching football and munching pretzels."

The Scottish Daily Record reports that the management at Madame Tussauds museum has put a bag of pretzels in the hand of the wax model of George W. Bush.

One German paper asked a baker about the safest way to eat the snack. The Guardian of London sent a reporter to the streets of Manhattan to ask vendors about the pros and cons of soft versus hard pretzels.

The Age in Melbourne, Australia, ran a letter from a reader who wrote: "It is a bit of a worry when the leader of the battle against world terrorism can't chew on a pretzel and watch television at the same time."

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