Reporters on the Job

Harry Potter in Kabul: As an overseas staff writer, Mark Sappenfield says that he's prepared to make sacrifices in order to write stories in the world's wildest frontiers – in this case Afghanistan But going without the latest J.K. Rowling tome, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was not one of them.

In advance of the release, Mark read all of the previous six books again – for the third time. He listened to podcasts, joined web discussion groups, and researched the history of Norse legends for clues as to the meaning of "Deathly Hallows."

"I had to have the book on the day of release – July 21. There was simply no Plan B," says Mark.

"Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I found a businessman that was flying to Dubai on the global day of release, buying a clutch of books, and returning to sell them for $35 each that same afternoon in Kabul. So it was that I began reading "Deathly Hallows" at 4 p.m. on July 21 and finished 11 hours later."

– David Clark Scott
World editor

This Week's Look Ahead

Tuesday, Aug. 7:
Panmunjom, Korea – South Korea hosts a two-day meeting with officials from six countries to discuss energy aid to North Korea.

Thursday, Aug. 9:
Caracas, Venezuela – President Hugo Chávez hosts the Petrocaribe summit, a gathering of the leaders of Latin American and Caribbean nations currently receiving oil from Venezuela at preferential rates.

Saturday, Aug. 9:
Freetown, Sierra Leone – Presidential and parliamentary elections – the first since UN peacekeepers left the country in 2005 after a brutal 10-year civil war.

– Associated Press

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