• Prattle On, Panda Pundits: Correspondent Jonathan Adams, who normally reports from Taiwan but is now in Beijing, noted while reporting today's panda story that China's TV media are markedly more sedate than Taiwan's.
"The island's free-market media sports a handful of 24-hour cable news stations that compete fiercely for viewers' eyeballs with splashy graphics, screaming headlines, and often-looping footage running full-screen behind fast-talking TV anchors," he says.
Other TV news coverage looks boring by comparison, Jonathan says. "That goes double for China's wooden, state-run CCTV. But you can tell it is changing. CCTV-4's panda coverage included breathless coverage from reporters at the Chengdu airport and panels of in-studio experts trying their best to maintain a running panda banter."
• Wandering Border: While interviewing Tarraf Tarraf in his home in Blida village on his ordeal of being abducted by Israeli soldiers, correspondent Nicholas Blanford asked him if he would show him where he was snatched (see story). "He jumped in my car and we headed toward a stretch of the Lebanon-Israeli border – policed by the UN mission known as UNIFIL – that lies just to the west of northern Galilee – a flat valley flanked by the Lebanon hills and the Golan Heights," Nick says. "It occurred to me as we drove closer to the border that Tarraf could have been mistaken in thinking that he was on Lebanese soil when he was grabbed. The Israeli border fence does not follow the border exactly but dips into Israel in spots. That means it is possible for people on the Lebanese side to accidentally wander across the border even though they have not reached the Israeli fence. I mentioned to Tarraf that he could find himself grabbed by Israeli soldiers again if we did cross the border. "That would be embarrassing," he replied. "They might think I want to move to Israel."
– Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor