• FALL FROM GRACE: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf says that two anecdotes illustrate the political decline of Afghan warlord Badsha Khan (this page). The first time Scott met Mr. Khan last spring, he was invited to a compound of houses, where he had a lavish lunch outside with the Afghan leader. "There were tribal leaders lined up to meet Khan as we sat on fine carpets enjoying the view of the Shah-e Kot mountains near Gardez. This time, we met in a dim guest room at one of the three dusty checkpoints he still controls on the road to Gardez. It was quite a comedown."
Another American journalist wasn't interested in interviewing Khan. But she told Scott that last week, as she passed through Khan's checkpoints leaving Gardez, his men insisted at gunpoint that she interview him. "It shows how desperate he is for attention now," says Scott.
• LAND OF PLENTY: Finding a good interpreter can be a challenge for a foreign correspondent parachuting into a country. But the Monitor's Robert Marquand says that's not the case in South Korea, where there's a surfeit of English speakers for hire. "After working in China, where there are all kinds of political sensitivities when a local works with a foreigner, it's a pleasure to find so many good interpreters willing to work on short notice," he says. English is a popular language. He's found that if one interpreter is busy, a friend will step in. For today's story about how the Sunshine Policy has changed South Korea more than North Korea (page 1), Bob's interpreter was four "generations" removed from his first contact. "He was a friend of a friend of a friend."
David Clark Scott