Reporters on the Job
• NO BRIBE HERE: Peter Ford didn't witness any corruption during his trip to Poland for today's story (page 1). His only brush with Polish officials in a position to demand a bribe - but who didn't - was a few years ago, when he crossed from Belarus into Poland on a bus. All the other passengers were Belarussian women smuggling cartons of cigarettes they planned to hawk in a nearby market. "The Polish customs official, as he walked up and down the bus, clearly knew exactly what all these women had in their shopping bags, but he was equally clearly in a good mood. He didn't ask any questions, and he didn't ask for any money. A good thing for the smugglers: they told me they only made $7.00 profit from selling 20 packs," says Peter.
• CARTOON WARS: The Monitor's Ilene Prusher is in Ankara, Turkey, interviewing one of Turkey's most influential columnists (page 7). But she's also noticed that newspaper cartoons are a focus of debate. Political cartoons from the US are regularly rerun in Turkish papers. Many Turks have said they find the images - some portraying them as salesmen putting a price on their support in the war - insulting.
"The cartoon that really got backs up here was one that showed Uncle Sam sticking money into a belly dancer's costume," says Ilene. "In fact, most Turks don't much like belly dancing: It's only performed in establishments geared for tourists and is viewed here as an Arabic - not Turkish - dance form." After the Turkish parliament voted against basing troops here, the Milliyet newspaper ran a cartoon that showed a jubilant belly dancer giving a dismissive body check to Uncle Sam.
David Clark Scott
• ALEXANDER THE GREAT: In the March 4 story on page 12, "Iraq: From Saladin to Saddam," the date when "Alexander the Great's blue-eyed Macedonian armies swept across Iraq's dust plains toward the Indian subcontinent" should have been the 4th century BC.