Reporters on the Job

• PERCEPTIONS OF PAKISTAN: Reporter Gretchen Peters spent 1996-98 in Pakistan with the Associated Press, and has been back several times since then – mostly to cover terrorist incidents. She's noticed that coverage of the Pakistani elections (this page), particularly in the Western media, has focused on extreme Muslim political parties. "That tends to feed an incorrect perception of Pakistan, in my view," she says. "I've spoken with shopkeepers, taxi drivers, and other ordinary Pakistanis and they are all rooting for the extremism to be over.

"I think President Musharraf has read the public right on this point. They are much more interested in healthcare, justice, and good schools, than creating an Islamic state. In fact, I've found Pakistanis to be among the warmest and most open people I've met in my travels. It's sad that because of the Daniel Pearl killing and other recent attacks, the country is so often associated with terrorism."


• WRIGHT BROTHERS SECOND? The Independent of London reports that as America prepares to celebrate the centennial of the world's first flight by the Wright brothers (Dec. 17, 1903), an eccentric New Zealand farmer claims to have beaten them to it. Richard Pearse took to the air in March 1903 in a high-wing bamboo monoplane he designed and built himself. Nine months later, Wilbur and Orville Wright's Flyer soared over Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. The crucial difference is that while the Wright brothers' achievements are well documented, Mr. Pearse, who was known as "Mad Dick" for his obsession with trying to fly, failed to make notes and was watched only by a handful of locals. The Museum of Transport and Technology of New Zealand hails Pearse as the "first man to 'fly' a mechanically powered aeroplane."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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