Reporters on the Job

TEXANS MEETING IN NEPAL: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf wasn't expecting to run into a fellow Texan on the sidewalks ofKathmandu. "But when I saw the T-shirt slogan, 'Don't Mess With Texas,' I felt obligated to buy this man a cup of tea (Note to editor: 20 rupees, expense report to follow)," says Scott. And Scott's generosity was rewarded with some insights into the Maoist conflict.

This fellow Texan, David Blomstrom, hailed from Dallas, and he was living in western Nepal, teaching English and science for the US Peace Corps, says Scott. The Maoists were active in his district. One fellow Peace Corps worker in his district had been removed to another post, because the school and police station had been blown up by homemade Maoist explosives, made of gunpowder, shrapnel, and pressure cookers. Other Peace Corps workers had been targeted for Maoist extortion, Mr. Blomstrom told Scott. But the Maoists were not your typical robbers. "They are really courteous about it," he said. "When they extort from you, they give you a receipt."

OUT IN THE COLD AT CLIMATE TALKS: The Monitor's Peter Spotts reports in today's story that the Bush administration effectively removed itself from the Kyoto climate treaty negotiations (page 1). The US team was in Bonn for the latest talks, but even its media presence shows how much has changed since the last round of talks in The Hague in November.

"It was like night and day," says Peter. At the last round, the US "gave a briefing to the press every night, with a full transcript of the briefing sent by e-mail to you later the same evening," he says. This time, "the US team gave one half-hour background briefing for a handful of US media (including the Monitor)."

- David Clark Scott

World editor

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