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Reporters on the Job

April 10, 2008

Different Worlds: An Italian soldier stood guard as Afghan women walked toward a mine-awareness program launched by French soldiers in Kabul, Afghanistan Wednesday.

Musadeq Sadeq/AP

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Hold the Rain: Contributor Eliza Barclay says that Kenyan farmers displaced by postelection violence face a sad irony (see story). "On the one hand, the rainy season is starting, and usually, for farmers, that's good," she says. "But for the farmers I spoke with – who live in a camp for internally displaced persons northwest of Nairobi, in the southern part of the Rift Valley – it's not good news, as the camps are built on low ground. Many people are concerned that the camps could become swamps and pose a health threat. "

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The already poor conditions could become worse, says Eliza. But Kenya also faces a larger issue: With many farmers unable to plant and do their regular work, food security becomes a more urgent issue.

Silence Is Preferred: Sam Dagher made detailed preparations to meet with Abu Abdullah, a Sunni insurgent whose militia continues to battle US forces in Iraq. When they finally did meet, under conditions approved by the Monitor's security advisers, Mr. Abdullah – who goes by a nickname – was accompanied by another man introduced as the "driver."

"This driver kept quiet for the most part but was eyeing me the whole time," says Sam. "But then, as the discussion progressed and I started asking some detailed questions, he started interrupting and telling Abu Abdullah that 'he was going too far.' "

Sam says he began to protest. "I told the man, 'Come on, this is on a no-names basis to begin with and is off the record.' But the man told me that there are things I couldn't report."

Sam told him that was fine. "But I thought to myself, this is now an 'off, off the record' interview." (See story)

– Amelia Newcomb

Deputy World editor

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