Reporters on the Job

Cultural snapshot

• WHAT'S NEXT: WATER BALLOONS? While reporting on today's story about UN peacekeepers between Israel and Hizbullah outposts in Lebanon (page 8), reporter Nicholas Blanford found the lighter side of this low-level harassment. Recently, some Israeli soldiers were shot at with a paint-ball gun by some children on the Lebanese side of the fence. Later, some Lebanese lobbed Ping-Pong balls at the Israeli soldiers.

The soldiers, tiring of being targeted, responded days later by throwing a load of eggs back across the border at two Hizbullah fighters manning a position beside the fence. The incident was spotted by UN peacekeepers. The startled Hizbullah men refrained from retaliating but lodged a complaint with UN forces. "It's better than firing an M-16 rifle," shrugged a UN officer.

• PREPARED TO PROTEST: Protests in Mexico attract all kinds. Anarchists, globalphobes, and leftist students have descended on town where Mexico wants to build a new airport (page 7). "Do you remember me?" one protester asked reporter Gretchen Peters when she arrived. "It took me a few minutes, then I realized that he was leading the rally at an auto-factory strike in Puebla more than a year ago," says Gretchen. So, she says, Mexican officials are right to say that special interest groups wanting to discredit the Fox administration may have pushed the locals to take action. But the Fox government could have been better prepared. "There is a wealth of information on how to conduct fair, ordered resettlement – I found reams during my first five-minute search on the Internet – and armies of sociologists and resettlement experts ready to help, even within the Mexican government."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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