Reporters on the job

RIOT POLICE VOTING RIGHTS: While covering Sunday's presidential vote in Peru, the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi attended a night-time political rally (this page). As he was leaving the rally in Lima, Howard was suddenly called aside by a group of National Police in full riot gear. "My initial thought was, 'Wow, what did I do wrong?' But they simply wanted to talk to an American," he says. "They wanted to know how many terms can a US president serve? Is Canada a part of the United States? They especially wanted to be sure that the police and military personnel in the US have the right to vote, a right that is denied them in Peru. I told them they did, and that I assumed that with stronger democracies across Latin America, it wouldn't be too long before Peru's Constitution is changed to give them the right to vote, too."

SOCCER VS. SPIES: What struck Robert Marquand during his Beijing street interviews (page 1) was not how little some people knew of the spy-plane incident. Rather, he saw how much the same people knew about the 1999 US bombing of China's Embassy in Belgrade. One waitress, who hadn't heard about the US spy plane, complained that the cook in her restaurant kept the TV tuned to soccer matches. But it was clear to Bob that China's media coverage of this incident is decidedly more muted than the coverage of the 1999 bombing.

Follow-up on a Monitor story..

TiPPING SCALES TOWARD METRIC: The fruit-and-vegetable vendor dubbed the "Metric Martyr" was found guilty by a British judge yesterday of selling his wares in pounds and ounces, according to The Associated Press. As reported on Aug. 8, Steven Thoburn has become a cause celebre among British opponents of greater integration with Europe for refusing to adopt the metric system. He is the first person to be prosecuted under the strict European laws adopted in Britain last year. Mr. Thoburn faces a maximum fine of 1,000 pounds ($1,500) on each count, and may be liable for court costs as well.

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