Reporters on the Job

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    HOLY SCARVES: Workers in Allahabad, India, dry freshly dyed scarves for the Hindu festival of Navratri, meaning 'nine nights.'
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Got Official Milk? Staff writer Peter Ford says that the brand of milk his family has always bought in Beijing has passed all the melamine tests with flying colors (see story). "The one problem", Peter says, "is that our preferred brand of milk is the official milk of the National People's Congress. That means I don't know whether the quality has been ensured so as to keep the parliamentarians healthy, or whether the testers simply did not dare reveal that the milk was contaminated and thus infuriate legislators."

Closure: Correspondent Yigal Schleifer says that today's story about identifying the remains of Turkish Cypriots killed in the 1960s and '70s reminded him of a reporting trip to Iraq in May 2003.

"Saddam Hussein's regime had just been toppled and some of the mass graves that were a legacy of his rule were being uncovered. I visited one site where Shiite families were searching for missing relatives. It was a chaotic scene, with little being done in the way of cataloging the remains or any other forensic work," he says.

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The lab of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus was pristine by comparison. "The tables were covered with an assortment of skeletal remains that the forensic anthropologists were painstakingly piecing together," he says.

Despite the different approaches in Iraq in Cyprus, what struck Yigal about both scenes was "the deep human need for finding some evidence of a missing relative's fate, even if it is death, and the closure offered by a burial on a family's own terms."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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