Reporters on the Job

MEETING MRS. AL QAEDA: It wasn't difficult to find Mira Agustina, the wife of accused Al Qaeda operative Omar al-Faruq, for today's story on how terrorism spread in Indonesia. Her veiled face was plastered all over local Indonesian newsmagazines and she has been working with a group called the "Muslim Lawyers Team," which has filed a lawsuit demanding that the US return her husband.

Reporter Dan Murphy says that she was initially wary of being misquoted but otherwise happy to see Dan at her small single-story home in rural West Java. Meeting her was a glimpse into a world Dan has rarely seen.

"This is a women who married a complete stranger at her father's behest, and says she believes that was the right thing to do," says Dan.

Mira now lives alone with her baby and chubby 3-year-old daughter. Her father died fighting in Maluku and her husband was snatched in the middle of the day by Indonesian intelligence, then handed over to the CIA, his whereabouts now uncertain. "From her position, her husband has simply disappeared, with no official acknowledgment from the United States that they have him and no charges pressed," says Dan. "She attacks his detention as a violation of his basic rights."

David Clark Scott
World editor


HIGH-PRICED LIVING: Asian cities filled five of the top 10 places in a survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which ranks the cost of living for foreign workers rather than local residents. Tokyo, Moscow, and Osaka, Japan, were the world's most expensive cities. Bogotá, Colombia; Harare, Zimbabwe; and the Paraguayan capital, Asunción, were the cheapest. New York, at No. 10, was the only North American city in the top 10.

Cultural snapshot
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