BLOCKED FROM RAMALLAH: The Monitor's Cameron Barr says that he spent much of Saturday trying to get into the West Bank city of Ramallah to report today's story (page 1). "I was with five other foreign correspondents and a interpreter. First we drove to the back of one of the settlements to the east of Ramallah, but the Israeli soldiers there blocked our entry. Then we drove to an area near the main checkpoint where Palestinians walk into the city. You have to leave your car, walk a ways, then hope to catch a cab on the Ramallah side." Cameron says there was a lot of indecision about whether to proceed. Calls to journalists in Ramallah indicated the trip was doable but difficult, since cabs were hard to find. The Ramallah cab drivers were saying it was too hot to drive around. "A colleague from the Houston Chronicle and I decided to go for it, and the rest of the pack agreed. Then there was more whining about having to carry equipment, flak jackets, etc. Just then, an Israeli Defense Force jeep rolled up and sealed off the point of entry. So we had to give up."
As a last resort, Cameron went to Deheisheh, a Palestinian refugee camp to interview the family of a female suicide bomber (page 7). "Of course, now that I hear that a Boston Globe reporter was shot in the back in Ramallah Sunday, I'm not so put out that I couldn't get there."
TAIWAN AT THE MOVIES: "One always hears about how important Taiwan is to China, but until you're here, you don't get the full nature of the vibe," says Beijing bureau chief Robert Marquand.
"This weekend, I went to a movie about the transformation from Ming to Qing Dynasties in the mid 17th century, and it's set in the Fujian province, just off of the Taiwan Strait. The main character repeated a half a dozen times: China won't be whole until Taiwan is returned."
David Clark Scott