• Swallowed by a Pothole: Brazil is the world's biggest exporter of soy, chicken, beef, ethanol, sugar, and orange juice. But as staff writer Sara Miller Llana discovered, getting those products to market can be a challenge. "The roads are notoriously potholed," she says. Sara experienced the transport shortcomings first hand. "There were long, desolate stretches where you could see cars in the distance literally zigzagging down the highway. I saw all matter of household goods falling off the top of trucks and buses, including a mattress and a rocking chair.
"It was hilarious, until we found ourselves stranded," she says. "We hit a massive pothole and the tire went flat, and we didn't have the tools to change it," she says.
But they crept along on the wheel rim for about six miles until they reached the next town. "We were fortunate that this didn't happen farther away from the town or we would have had to spent the night sleeping with the snakes and giant frogs famous in this part of Brazil," she says. (See story.)
• Plenty of Tears: Staff writer Scott Peterson returned to the Sunni village of Dulaim, Iraq, where he watched US forces and a local Sheikh in January persuade a small village to overcome its fear of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and mount a band of "Sons of Iraq" guards.
"It was very emotional," recalls Scott. After promising the Americans that "everyone" was ready to sign up, it soon became clear that the sheikh had overstated his case. Villagers were reluctant to join. "The sheikh was almost in tears as the American officers chastised him," says Scott. Finally, with the help of a US platoon that stayed on to reassure residents, the village decided to participate.
When Scott returned, there was still plenty of emotion. He went to the sheikh's house. But this time it was the sheikh's wife in tears, because her husband had been killed in a recent AQI ambush.
– David Clark Scott