Reporters on the Job

SHOTGUN WEDDING? Just five minutes after filing today's story about the hunt for Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, (page 1), the Monitor's Ilene Prusher heard gunfire and men shouting outside her hotel window.

"I went out to my balcony to see what was happening. In the valley below, I could see four cars stopped on a dirt road hidden by trees. The shouts seemed to grow louder. Another 20 or more shots were fired. The sounds reverberated against the massive mountains nearby and sent a pack of wild dogs running," she says. Her first thought was that the men had chosen the secluded spot in the woods to settle a dispute. "But as they emerged from the trees, I could see that two of the cars were decorated with red ribbons (which, at first glance, looked like blood). It was just a wedding party, and they were shooting in the air in celebration, as many Afghans do. As the cheering men passed below my fourth-floor window, they waved and shouted: 'How are yooo?! How are yooo?!' "

BETTER OFF IN BUENOS AIRES: Reporter Joshua Goodman - like everyone in Argentina - is trying to figure out how the new economic reforms (this page) will affect his personal finances.

"There's a feeling now of a calm before a storm. Short term, most people here won't benefit from the reforms. But I'm sorry to say that I probably will. My income as a freelancer is paid in US dollars," says Joshua. Also, he's likely to get a break on his rent. His $400 per month rent has been paid in US dollars until now. Under the new law, his rent will be frozen at the current rate for at least six months, but must be paid in pesos. In this case, 400 pesos per month. Assuming that the peso is devalued by 30 percent, that's effectively a reduction in his housing costs.

David Clark Scott

World editor

Cultural snapshot

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