NO PARTY TONIGHT: While working on today's story about cooperation between Afghan and US forces in eastern Afghanistan (page 1), the Monitor's Scott Baldauf was invited to a "musical party."
The invitation came from Kamil Rangi, one of the local commanders. "It will be a lot of fun," said Mr. Rangi, a jovial man with a gravelly voice. But what does the music sound like, Scott asked. "I don't know," he winked. "For five years the Taliban banned music, so I don't know what it sounds like anymore." Scott was intrigued. But self-preservation won out over musical curiosity. Scott was staying at the home of Kamal Khan Zadran, the regional commander, who ominously advised that if Scott left the compound that night, he couldn't guarantee his safety.
ROBES AND SCEPTERS: Reporter Colin Woodard traveled to Italy last month to report on today's story on the Roman Catholic pope (this page). He went with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the senior figure in the Eastern Orthodox Church, who was hosting an environmental symposium on a cruise ship. Bartholomew's entourage which included two Catholic cardinals, senior Islamic clerics, and nearly a dozen bishops and archbishops of various Christian denominations turned heads during shore visits. "A column of guys charging by with strange headgear, flowing robes, staffs, scepters, long beards, and uniformed retainers looked like something out of Fellowship of the Ring," says Colin.
David Clark Scott
BRAZILIAN AUTHOR WINS: Paulo Coelho was inducted into the prestigious Brazilian Academy of Letters. The best-selling author beat out sociologist Helio Jaguaribe for the seat by a vote of 22 to 15. In the July 24 Monitor, some Brazilians argued that Coelho wasn't sufficiently highbrow to be admitted to the academy.