• All This For Me? Staff writer Sara Miller Llana called and called the Venezuela housing ministry in an effort to get an interview about the new socialist cities that President Hugo Chávez is building. She couldn't get a response. Finally, she called and asked if she could just go up alone and talk to people (she'd heard the entrance was guarded by the military).
"The next day, a media official calls me and says, the housing minister is giving a press conference about Caribia, and then we are going on a tour of the site," says Sara. "Wow! What great timing, I thought."
But Sara was surprised that the turnout at the press conference the next day, was small and partisan: it consisted of her, a Cuban journalist, and a few reporters from pro-Chávez papers.
On the bus ride to the site, Sara introduced herself to a woman who was a government press official. She responded: "I know who you are; this is why we are having the event."
Sara's not sure if that was true or not. If so, the ministry might want to work on its hosting skills. "At one point, the media bus left me and the Cuban journalist behind as everyone else went to see one of the 'biggest achievements': a water supply project.
• Young Monks: Disconnect between young and old Tibetan monks on the best strategy for Tibetan autonomy, says reporter Jason Motlagh, may be a reflection of their recent experiences. "The young monks have been taught by their parents to revere the Dalai Lama. But they have lived the oppression in Tibet. Many told me of the risks they faced crossing the Himalayas into India. They saw friends fall into crevasses or get caught and sent to prison. Those experiences create in them an undercurrent of dissent that they express in hunger strikes and vigorous street protests. But most won't say out loud that they favor a strategy of violence.
– David Clark Scott