Reporters on the Job

• NO NAPPING: Writing about the sleep habits of Europeans (page 7) made Monitor correspondent Peter Ford a little wistful. "I am naturally predisposed to siestas, which I regard as a highly civilized form of physical and mental recovery," Peter says. "But I am poorly placed geographically to take advantage of a nap because of the paper's deadline, which falls just after lunch Paris time. By rights I should be snoozing then, but in reality I am being bothered by my editors."

• BOTTOM LINE: The powers of Argentina's unfettered provincial governors, reported on by Colin Barraclough (this page), resonate at cash registers around the country. Going shopping usually involves a lengthy negotiation with the vendor, Colin says, because many currencies printed by these provincial lords remain in circulation.

"At some point, the government will have to outlaw their use," Colin adds. "No one can predict when that will happen, but few expect to be able to exchange alternative money for real pesos." As a result, shopkeepers try to unload quebrachos from the Chaco province and other such unwanted notes on the unwary. "Every day I find myself haggling over change, and everyone else is doing the same," says Colin. "It's like a card game in which you don't want to be caught holding the ace."

• UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Monitor correspondent Robert Marquand found that L.K. Advani, India's new deputy prime minister – and heir apparent to Prime Minister Vajpayee (page 1) – was quite different from the way he had imagined.

"He was gracious, personable, by turns funny and earnest, and not at all stuffy," says Bob. "He seemed far younger than his years." Though Mr. Advani is emerging as the man most responsible for the rise of Hindu nationalism in India, Bob says he brushed aside any references to nationalism, except to express pride in his country.

Advani said he wants to reach out to the Muslim community, Bob says.

"And he also gave great credit to Mr. Vajpayee. He never wanted to dwell on himself," Bob recalls. "Indeed, Mr. Advani came across as one whose personal ambition was tempered by long years of discipline and commitment to his work."

– Margaret Henry

Europe editor

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