Reporters on the Job

Follow the Music : Crawling through traffic in a Tehran neighborhood on their way to a campaign office of Iranian front-runner Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, staff writer Scott Peterson and his interpreter drove past a crowd of young Iranians mobbing a metal gate. He decided to investigate. They waded through the crowd, and were let into an outdoor compound and discovered another Rafsanjani campaign site where an unusual concert was under way.

"People were desperate to get in, and the Rafsanjani volunteers at the gate were like bouncers at a dance club - doing face checks, to guarantee a high quality of 'clientele,' " says Scott.

The last time Scott had seen anyone in Iran singing, let alone a rock band, was several years ago, when he visited the Iranian island of Kish, a playground built for the former Shah. So he was was surprised to find a new exception to the rules in Iran: rock bands can apparently play at election time, especially if it's in support of the front-runner (this page).

Visiting Syria's Kurds : Correspondent Nicholas Blanford drove more than eight hours across the Syrian desert to Qamishli, to report today's story. "After we arrived at the house of the sheikh's son, word spread that foreign journalists were in town. When we finished interviewing the son, there was a line of Kurdish politicians waiting to talk to us," says Nick. By 9:30 p.m., Nick and his colleagues were debating where to spend the night. "If we stayed, Syrian security would surely arrive and question us. Our Kurdish hosts wanted us gone, because now we were a danger to them. We decided to drive south to spend the night in another town. But Syrian intelligence had set up a roadblock on the main road out of Qamishli. We found a local driver who knew the back roads well enough to avoid the checkpoints and get us to our hotel."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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