Reporters on the Job

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    Hello Hugo: Members of China’s honor guard stood in line Thursday before a welcoming ceremony for Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, on a visit to strengthen trade and business ties with China, at the Great Hall in Beijing.
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Close Call: While reporting on the plight of illegal Burmese migrants inside Thailand, reporter Anand Gopal saw just how dangerous life can be for those who have fled Burma (Myanmar) in search of a better life.

"The Thai police stopped my guide, herself an illegal refugee, and me. I explained to them that I'm American and they let me go, without even questioning her," Anand said. "My guide escaped, but most other Burmese don't have a foreigner with them and aren't so fortunate."

On their way to the camp he visited for the story, Anand saw Burmese families by the road, waiting to hitch rides to town or back to camp, even though it's illegal for them to leave their camps.

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"On our way out," Anand said, "all of the people waiting for rides were gone, most probably picked up by Thai police. A few miles later, we saw even more Burmese migrants scrambling as police chased them on the highway."

Beatlemania, Delayed: When reporter Joshua Mitnick was calling experts for his story on Sir Paul McCartney's concert in Tel Aviv Thursday, some 40 years after the Beatles' Israeli gig was cancelled, he tried to get an Israeli musician's comment.

Joshua sought out Danny Sanderson, a veteran of Israel's 1970s pop super group, Kaveret. "They were undoubtedly influenced by the Beatles," he says, "even though their music isn't given to categorization. I hoped that Sanderson could give me an Israeli musician's perspective on how the Beatles were perceived in the 1960s and the frustrations of having the government pass up on their show," he said.

But, alas, explains Joshua, "I was told that Sanderson was in no mood to talk about the McCartney concert because he was too upset at having to miss it because of a previously booking show of his own in the Israeli city of Eilat."

– Michael B. Farrell

Middle East editor

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