Reporters on the Job

• COURAGE IN ROBES: For her story on battling corruption in Central America (this page), reporter Catherine Elton interviewed a female judge who had ordered the investigation of top Nicaraguan officials. Challenging the political establishment on corruption is considered a brave and unusual act by the Nicaraguan people, says Catherine. "During our interview, a woman came in the room, walked up to the desk, and passed the judge a note. The woman then took the judge by the hand and said, 'Thank you, thank you.' The judge read Catherine the note, which said: "You are the saviour of justice, the hope of this country." The judge told Catherine she had a whole folder of notes like that one. "I didn't expect to have an interview with a judge interrupted by a fan," says Catherine. "She's not your typical celebrity."

• HIDDEN IN NEPAL: Normally, little is known beyond the official press release about the daily conflict between Maoist rebels and the Nepalese Army. "It's usually something along the lines of 'Six Maoists were killed in XYZ community. 30 weapons were found,' " says the Monitor's Scott Baldauf. But Scott's interpreter had a friend from a village near where the attack occurred in today's story (page 1), who knew some of the details, so the two went to investigate.

"The interpreter I work with is a reporter, and usually he would have rushed back to his office and filed a story on this apparent human-rights atrocity. But because of the state of emergency, he didn't think it was safe to write about this event. 'There have been so many journalists arrested that nobody wants to write such stories anymore,' he told me on the two-hour, bone-rattling ride home to Kathmandu. But he added, 'I'll take notes, and we can tell these stories later, when the emergency is lifted.' "

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• NOTHING TO SEE HERE: The conflict at the Church of the Nativity wasn't only between the Palestinians and Israelis (page 1), it was also between international journalists and the Israeli military, says the Monitor's Peter Ford. And it began to escalate – literally. Each time the Israelis sought to block photographers' views of the entrance to the church – with smoke bombs, and by parking a tank in the way, the photographers returned with ever-higher step ladders. Israeli soldiers finally won by erecting white screens in front of the door.

The soldiers still had a perfect view from their cameras hung from cranes in Manger Square and a blimp floating overhead.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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