Reporters on the Job

He Ain't Heavy: The US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, is said to keep up his jogging regimen despite the dizzying demands of running the civilian side of the US presence in Iraq.

Monitor reporter Howard LaFranchi (see story), who took part in a "round table" with the ambassador for the Western press in Baghdad, wanted to ask the ambassador if he wears armor while running.

"Ever since a May 2 mortar attack on the Green Zone, US Embassy staff have been ordered to wear protective gear when outside or in unfortified buildings," Howard says. "I was picturing Crocker, this wiry man, running with a helmet and body armor. I guess you could see it as enhancement of the exercise routine, like a tummy belt or ankle weights."

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Howard says he refrained, however, due to the seriousness of the situation. Just Wednesday, the Green Zone was hit for the second day in a row by a round of mortars, this time killing two Iraqis. The May 2 rocket attack killed four US Embassy employees.

Informed Outrage: Walking the streets of Kampala, Uganda, Alexis Okeowo (see story) was impressed with how the peacekeeper deployment in Somalia had stirred the passions of ordinary, impoverished Ugandans.

"There was a taxi driver that I spoke to. He was telling me that even though he doesn't know much about international relations, he's been following the Somali story because he's concerned about the Ugandan boys over there," says Alexis.

Chief among the emotions on Uganda's streets was outrage. "They were very vehement that these guys were dying for nothing," she says. "They said that even if there are some legitimate aims, it's not worth it when we have our own conflicts in our own country for our people to start dying in another country."

Matt Bradley
Asia editor

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