• The Right to Vote : Contributor Jamie Etheridge expected urban, university-educated women in Kuwait to applaud the parliament's decision to give women the right to vote (page 7). "I totally didn't expect that a number of the professional women educated in the US and Britain, would not be happy. They think that it will actually create a backlash and that the larger numbers of [conservative] rural women will vote to give women fewer freedoms," says Jamie.
"The other concern I heard from both sexes," Jamie adds, "was that democracy would open the door for Western modernity, undermining Kuwaiti culture. For example, would the male-only diwaniyas [parlors] be forced to become mixed gender? Would women candidates be able to campaign in the diwaniyas?"
But, says Jamie, who is managing editor of the Kuwait Times, some women were excited by the change. "One of my reporters in her early 20s was at the parliament. She said, 'I'm going to be able to tell my daughters I was there on this historic day.' "
• Visiting the Methboubs : Catching up with the Methboub family in Baghdad has become a regular stop for staff writer Scott Peterson, who has been watching matriarch Karima raise her eight children in Iraq for 2 1/2 years (page 1).
With the kidnapping risk in Baghdad still high - for foreigners and Iraqis alike - visits are last-minute, and Scott's driver parks close to the apartment to enable a swift exit from the car and entry into the building.
But 11-year-old Mahmoud was disappointed that Scott did not wear his Swiss Army knife on his belt. Instead, he had to settle for messing with the flash on Scott's digital camera. It amused a camera crew from ABC television that had joined Scott for the visit. "When it is on, he punches the red 'test' button and blinds everyone, again and again," Scott says.
David Clark Scott