Reporters on the Job

Cultural snapshot

• NEW WORDS IN ZAMBIA: Reporter Nicole Itano found out just how difficult it is to debate an issue like genetic modification in a country like Zambia (page 1) when she went out to a rural area outside the capital of Lusaka to speak to people suffering from the current food shortages. She asked her guide, a local pastor whose organization is helping to deliver food, to ask a woman whether she would eat genetically modified food. The pastor who was helping translate, wasn't even sure how to ask the question. "None of the people there knew what a gene or DNA is," she told Nicole. "There aren't words for that in their languages."

• GONE TANK HUNTING: While reporter David Buchbinder was researching the underground weapons market in Afghanistan (page 7), he heard rumors of some arms merchant burying a tank. But when he tried to verify the rumor, he didn't get very far. "We asked about it in a remote area northwest of Bagram, and people looked at us funny," David says. But his driver quickly got cold feet. "He was terrified. He told me, 'Look, these people would kill each other for money, they would even kill their own brother.' " They eventually gave up and went back to Kabul.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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Follow-up on a Monitor Story

• NO NEW MEXICO CITY AIRPORT: The $2.3 billion plan to build a new airport in Mexico City, as reported in the Monitor on July 30, has been cancelled. But the leaders of the violent protest against the airport have pledged to create a Zapatista rebel-style "autonomous government" in the town of Atenco on the eastern edge of Mexico City. Protest leader Ignacio del Valle said Friday that the radical movement "had only just begun," despite the decision by the federal government to meet the protesters' main demand: to stop the airport project.

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