Reporters on the Job

• A GIFT HORSE? After treating President Bush to a viewing of the ancient Japanese game of yabusame, in which archers are mounted on horseback, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi presented Mr. Bush with a painting of a sportsman that Bush read as a metaphor for his administration's raison d'être. "This is my - this present is beautiful," Bush gushed as he accepted the gift from Mr. Koizumi. "We're fighting evil." It's not clear if that's quite what Koizumi had in mind in giving him the artwork. A dispute in the press newsroom focused on whether the archer in the picture was meant to be a caricature of Bush.

• SPEAKING OF GIFTS: Peter Ford found the B92 radio station's manager eagerly embracing the demands of the market - coming up with promotional materials of all sorts that he was keen to give away (this page). Peter turned down the specially packaged box of Q-tips ("B92 - cleanses your aural passages"), but he was happy to accept a mousepad decorated with B92's logo of spreading circles.

• CONCEALED WEAPONS: After reporting in Afghanistan for more than four months, Philip Smucker is accustomed to seeing men with guns. But as warmer clothes are piled on to combat colder weather, the weapons are not as obvious. "Afghan men wrap themselves in so many blankets that even if they are carrying a Kalashnikov, you can't really tell without a metal detector," says Phil. "You have to keep your eyes peeled for bulges."

Phil speculates that when Aviation Minister Abdul Rahman was killed at the airport last week, someone must have secretly smuggled in a knife. "Just as Julius Caesar should have been warned about men in togas, the minister should have been wary of what lay beneath the blankets."



Cultural snapshot
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