Reporters on the Job
• PRAYER FOR PEACE: Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace, Luís Carlos Restrepo, is making news by negotiating the demobilization of paramilitary groups (page 7). Last week he gave his first press conference since the latest initiative began in December. Reporter Rachel Van Dongen arrived at the Casa de Nariño (Colombia's presidential residence) at 3 p.m. with a gaggle of about 50 reporters, not knowing what to expect. "Since he's been so shy of publicity, I thought it might be a relatively short event. It wasn't. He answered our questions for three hours."
Dr. Restrepo - who often mentions that he's a psychologist, not a politician - also shared with reporters insights into his spiritual life. "Whenever he goes to negotiate with the various factions, he carries a card in his pocket that has a prayer to 'Our Lord of Peace,' " says Rachel. He gave out two or three copies to reporters up front. Rachel didn't get to see the prayer and is still waiting to receive her own copy.
David Clark Scott
• NEW/OLD EUROPE DIVIDE? People in future EU member states are more sympathetic toward US policy than current European Union citizens, a public-opinion poll shows. But the European Commission survey shows more people in both groups view the US role in keeping world peace as negative rather than positive.
Among citizens in the 10 nations set to join the EU next May, 45 percent say America tends to play a negative role in the world, while 35 percent say it plays a positive one. In the 15 current EU states, 58 percent said the United States tends to play a negative role, while 23 percent saw its role as positive, Reuters reports.
And in every country of the enlarged EU, except Malta, more than 70 percent of respondents felt Europe should agree on a common position when an international crisis erupts.