Reporters on the Job

USED SPY GOODS: The Monitor's Moscow correspondent, Scott Peterson, has covered the rising tensions between Russia and the United States in recent months. And on a recent Saturday morning he reaped some unexpected benefits from the tit-for-tat expulsion of 50 "spies" from each country (page 1). "We stopped by the American Embassy Club for a swim, and there were tables of used household goods for sale. I bought a full 8-video set of CNN's series,"The Cold War," for half price from one of the diplomats being sent home," says Scott. "It was still in the wrapper!" His wife picked up some new rubber boots and his daughter got a new bicycle helmet. Scott could not confirm whether those items were used "espionage equipment."

DUCK AND COVER: Reporter Alex Todorovic was awakened in the wee hours of Thursday morning by a thunderstorm in Skopje, Macedonia. "Locals said it was the worst storm in years. One man told me he thought that the ethnic Albanian rebels holed up in a nearby suburb had started shelling the city [this page]," says Alex. After a moment's reflection, Alex had to agree with the man. Alex was in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, during the NATO bombing raids in 1999. "Thunder sounds like a large bomb, like a Tomahawk missile, when it lands nearby."


BESTSELLING TEXTBOOK: A controversial school history textbook that has infuriated Japan's Asian neighbors by glossing over Tokyo's wartime atrocities is now a bestseller. As we reported on April 11, the textbook was intended for junior high school students. But it went on sale on June 4, and a weekly nationwide survey shows the book is now the No. 1 bestseller. The book's publisher, Fuso Publishing, told Agence France Presse that it had printed 500,000 copies so far.

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