Reporters on the Job

NO MORE FEEDING THE BIRDS: Sparrows may be on the decline in Paris (page 1), Monitor correspondent Peter Ford reports, but he does spot them from time to time.

In the Gare du Nord, where he takes the cross-Channel train to London, they are to be seen hopping around the platform, for example. But at the other end of the journey, when he alights at Waterloo station in London, "the only form of birdlife is the ubiquitous pigeon."

HAVE YOU TALKED TO BUSH LATELY? Monitor correspondent has been surprised recently by how much acquaintances and the people she reports on expect her to know about future events (this page).

"Lately, I find that that people must think that American journalists must have two direct lines - one to the Pentagon, and the other to the White House. Everywhere I go, when I see Turkish friends and acquaintances, the first thing they say after hello and how are you is, "Is there going to be a war?"

She found this to be particularly true on her recent trip to the south of Turkey. "Everywhere I went for interviews, people would ask me whether there was going to be a war, and all seemed to hope that I would say that there actually won't be one."

Ilene was hard put to respond. "What could I tell them? I would often say that I know as much as they know, which is that it looks likely. One could argue that it looks more than likely, but I always feel its inappropriate for me to make predictions, especially regarding the next most-common question: "When will it start?"

- Amelia Newcomb

Deputy World editor

Cultural snapshot
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