•A Changed City: Correspondent Lucy Fielder says it's a surreal time to be in Beirut, Lebanon. "The rapidity of the change was odd – we were expecting a summer with the usual party atmosphere and festivals."
In fact, Lucy was supposed to attend a concert by the wildly popular Fairouz, who was scheduled to play at the Baalbek Festival on July 13. "Instead, I was crouching in my apartment, listening to bombs falling. My place was shaking," says Lucy. "It was far worse than we all expected. Things changed overnight."
Lucy said the conflict has impacted a lot of her friends. "Most of them are Lebanese Shiites, and in those first days of bombing in the suburbs, many were anxiously calling relatives there to see if they were OK. Their families are now homeless," she says.
Lucy says that the fighting has also had an impact on the bottom line. "Prices of things have risen. The little shop near me has fewer fruits and vegetables. Milk is no longer available, because Israel bombed the main milk factory. Many places have closed."
And, she notes, "Things are unnaturally black. It's a huge change from a normally vibrant city. It's as dark at night as when you're in the country."
•Kathmandu's Rallies: Correspondent Bikash Sangraula says that arrests of some two dozen physically challenged people from a protest in Kathmandu Wednesday are sure to affect the political parties' popularity. "The citizen's pressure program attracted a lot of attention, with even passersby also joining in in considerable numbers," he says. "With civil society leaders and pro-democracy poets and singers, who have become household names by now, entertaining the crowd, more people joined in. The programs organized by civil society leaders these days seem to prompt little disagreement from people."
Deputy world editor