• Kidnapping in Gaza: The kidnapping of the FOX News Channel reporters obviously hits close to home. Staff writer Ilene Prusher is deeply concerned, and notes that she also finds it professionally frustrating. "There is a story to tell in Gaza, but I haven't been there in a while – in part because it's becoming too dangerous to go, and in part because I've been busy covering the Israel-Lebanon war. It's really unfortunate because there's a very important political and human story happening there, and we all want to be there to cover it.
"The foreign press corps in the region has generally thought that the threats in Gaza to the media are nothing like the ones we face in Iraq. Unfortunately, that's starting to change," she adds.
• Where's the Beef?: Japan was once the biggest importer of US beef, until 2003 when Tokyo decided to ban it after the first reported case of mad cow disease.
The ban was lifted three weeks ago, but the Associated Press reports that American beef can be found only at this nation's five Costco stores.
Even Seiyu Ltd., the Japan unit of US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which runs more than 200 stores nationwide, isn't selling American beef.
A survey by Tokyo-based marketing researcher Intage earlier this month found that 54 percent of the respondents said they wouldn't buy American beef. A similar survey in December 2005 found 45.4 percent of respondents said they wouldn't buy US beef.
Still, Costco's entire 5.1-ton first shipment of US beef sold out within about 24 hours. Another batch went on sale a week later and is selling well, according to Costco. American beef at about $11.70 a pound is about one-tenth the cost of Japanese beef.
David Clark Scott