Reporters on the Job

Changes Afoot: If you work in a region long enough, you get to witness the ebb and flow of political history - even in the Middle East. Beirut correspondent Nicholas Blanford says that when he interviewed Sultan Abul-Aynayn, the head of the Fatah faction in Lebanon, for today's article, he was a changed man.

"In 1999, the Lebanese sentenced him to death in absentia for forming armed groups, a cooked up charge by Syria to pressure Fatah at the time. Mr. Abul-Aynayn spent the next six years holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon, unable to do anything," says Nick.

"But the sentence was lifted last month as a sign of the new relationship between the Lebanese government and the Palestinians. Since then, Abul-Aynayn has been very active meeting politicians, religious leaders, diplomats, etc. When I saw him last week, he looked 10 years younger, eyes shining with excitement and full of energy."

A Tale of Two Towns: Correspondent Monica Campbell had just been on a reporting trip to a small town in Guanajuato where most of the men had left to work in the US. "My photographer and I were struck by the bleakness of the situation. It seemed this place was on the way to becoming another Mexican ghost town," she says.

The next day, they arrived in Indaparapeo, to report today's story about Mexicans in the US sending cash back to this town in Michoacán to fund scholarships. "The contrast between the two towns was extreme. The outlook of the kids was so much more positive. You could feel the influence of the program. Wherever these kids go, there will be a benefit for the town," she says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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