Reporters on the Job
SMUGGLER SHOPPING: Scott Baldauf began his story about India's illegal trade in wildlife (page 7) thinking that it might be difficult to find a shahtoosh dealer in New Delhi. But the first dealer on a list given to him by an environmentalist group turned out to have shahtoosh on the shelf.
"At first, the dealer told me with a deep sigh, 'I'm sorry, sir, but shahtoosh is banned.'
"But I was persistent," says Scott. "I asked him, 'what does shahtoosh feel like? Is it really better than pashmina? Will I be caught?' The dealer first tried describing shahtoosh. Then he snapped his fingers and pointed at a package wrapped in white cloth. 'I'm not supposed to have this,' he told me, cutting into the package, 'but it's last year's stock.'
"He unfurled a gorgeous black shawl with lavender silk embroidery. I could understand the attraction of shahtoosh. The shawl was as Belinda Wright, an environmentalist, described it 'like a breath across your neck.' But then again, I was holding a dead antelope in my hands."
David Clark Scott
MYRNA MACK CASE: Human rights groups hailed Guatemala's conviction last week of a retired Army colonel for ordering the 1990 murder of an anthropologist.
Col. Juan Valencia was sentenced to 30 years prison for ordering Myrna Mack killed because of her research on refugees fleeing army repression during a brutal 36-year civil wars.
As the Monitor reported on Sept. 11, Helen Mack campaigned for 12 years to bring her sister's killers to justice. She called the verdict a "partial victory" because judges freed two other officers, but told Reuters: "This was a very positive verdict. It was the first time we Guatemalans have discussed our history in court."