Reporters on the Job

SURFACE CALM: As Monitor correspondent Robert Marquand traveled around Seoul, South Korea, yesterday, the city looked fine: taxis tearing around the streets, people out shopping. But, Bob says, the well-oiled daily routine masked the jolt of reforms being pushed by new President Roh Moo-hyun, and an unfolding scandal with the North (this page).

"There's a great sense of worry here. People ask regularly if the US will attack North Korea. President Roh is quite popular, but his reforms are creating a big stir in the system. Then there's the question of how to go forward with the North," Bob says.

One source in the know told Bob that people desperately want some evidence that the South's policy of engagement with the North has had some effect. "You have deep concern that the South has been very good to the North and has worked very hard at a policy that will have a lasting effect. Now, they're wondering if it's all falling apart - and for them, it's a question of survival," says Bob.

MEDIA PERSONALITY: Contributor William Boston says Germany is abrim with signs of antiwar sentiment. Demonstrations and vigils are regular fare, and two nights ago, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder gave a rare TV address criticizing the US.

The intense focus on the Iraq conflict (page 3) has made an American like Bill, who is knowledgeable about the issues, and speaks German, a hot commodity on the talk-show circuit. "I was on a TV show two nights ago, one yesterday, and another moved its taping time today just so I could be interviewed," Bill says.

But the exchanges aren't always easy. "In Germany, you are either for the war or against the war. So it gets hairy if you're more nuanced in your arguments. It's difficult to have a reasonable conversation."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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