• SPIN CONTROL: Often at speeches by world leaders or other major events, there are official spokesmen and advisers present to "help" the media interpret the event. Wednesday's Middle East summit in Aqaba, Jordan, was no exception. What was telling, says the Monitor's Cameron Barr, was the full-court press by one side: the Israeli government. The press center at the Radisson Hotel was "buzzing," he says, with at least half a dozen Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman and advisers. With the exception of two Palestinian legal advisers, Palestinian officials were noticeably absent. "There was no one there who normally speaks for the Palestinian Authority. The Israelis had more to say and were more eager to say it," says Cameron. "That reflects their perception about the road map: They're coming out on top."
• TOO NICE TO BE AMERICAN? While interviewing former Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad for today's story, the Monitor's Ilene Prusher says that the men were were "really agitated, shouting in my face."
"I think it was part of the process of publicly letting off steam over the state of things in Iraq," she says.
As she was leaving, they turned friendlier and said to her interpreter, "Is she really an American journalist? She looks too nice be an American."
"I laughed, but I found that to be a sad statement. They already have the impression that an American is a large man in uniform with a gun."
David Clark Scott