• A Guard or an Informant?: Correspondent David Montero, like most reporters, doesn't normally work in Pakistan with an armed guard. But oddly, while working on today's story about the murder of a female minister (see story), the police suggested that he needed an escort.
"When my interpreter and I went to see the police, a man who identified himself as an officer, but wore plain clothes, expressed a peculiar concern for my safety," David says. He pulled out a journal and took down David's name and press credential information, as well as his interpreter's name. He told David that the case was highly sensitive and warranted such formalities. Then he expressed concern that David was traveling without an armed escort.
"We politely turned down his offer. But about 10 minutes after we left, the policeman called insisting we allow them to dispatch an armed guard. I told him that it would attract too much attention. Then he suggested that he could provide a plainclothes gunman."
David refused again. "I had a feeling the policeman was genuinely concerned for our safety. But I also suspect that he wanted to know what we were up to."
• All About Edith: As a new arrival to Paris, staff writer Robert Marquand was struck by the frequent sounds and sightings of Edith Piaf. A movie about the French vocalist debuted last month (see story), he heard her music sung by street musicians in the subway, and saw her visage at the book and music stalls near the Sorbonne. He dug a little deeper, talking to two biographers and visiting her old neighborhood. "I felt this story was worth doing because she captures a feeling that French people still want to identify as uniquely their own. Although some baby boomers here see her the same way as they do the Eiffel Tower: Beautiful, a French icon but overly commercial," he says.
David Clark Scott