• ALL HE NEEDS IS A SAX: Colombian President Álvaro Uribe (page 1) recently held a televised national town-hall meeting, an unprecedented experiment in Colombia, says contributor Rachel Van Dongen. Before the cameras rolled, though, Mr. Uribe - who has come to be known as the "television president" - issued marching orders to his ministers, who joined him. "There must not be a scolding tone" in response to citizen complaints, he said. "Second, you have to tell citizens that they're right when it's necessary."
Like a seasoned expert, Uribe went on to field many of the questions, which came in via phone and Internet. Querries ranged from how to get a job at Colombia's version of the IRS to the lack of police presence in an indigenous community in the department of Cauca. "One has to wonder what's next for the versatile commander in chief," says Rachel. "Perhaps a talk-show offer like the one fielded by ex-US President Bill Clinton?
• THANKS FOR COMING: The Titinge refugee camp, on Guadalcanal, is not an easy place to get to, says contributor Chris McCall. Only four-wheel drive vehicles can get up the rocky road to the camp, which overlooks the town of Honiara.
When Chris walked up there with local aid workers, they encountered several groups of men - some of whom had recently been fighting rebel leader Harold Keke's forces in the southern part of the island. "We had two hours of friendly interviews. But as we prepared to leave, one of the men suddenly took exception to my presence and began shouting a stream of abuse. Instead of receiving support from his comrades, though, he was silenced. The others seemed to appreciate that a foreigner had taken the time to sit down and talk to them and their families in 'the Melanesian way.' "
Deputy world editor
• In a June 18, 2003, story, the Monitor reported on the growth of skilled jobs moving to India ("India winning higher-status jobs from US"). Last week, news and financial-information provider Reuters joined the crowd. The London-based media giant announced that it is planning to move much of the core of its operation to India in an attempt to save money. The shift, reported in a simultaneous presentation to 1,100 staff worldwide, will see new products being developed at either Hyderabad or Bangalore, the company reported.