Reporters on the Job

THE RUSH OF HISTORY: The arrival of US Marines in Liberia Thursday and the handover of rebel-held territory to peacekeepers created a scene - and crowds - like nothing Monitor contributor Nicole Itano had ever seen. "I headed for the bridge that has divided the government and rebel-held sides of Monrovia, but I couldn't get all the way through because of the crowds. As I looked behind me on the government side, there were people as far as I could see. At some point, people just started running across the bridge, and dancing and chanting."

Nicole, who is small of stature, says she finally grabbed the side of the bridge to avoid being knocked down. "But people were friendly to me. They stopped to shake my hand and kept saying, 'Thank you, thank you for coming."

DO YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW....? Finding the anti-US fighter who appears in today's story on attacks in Iraq did not prove all that difficult for the Monitor's Cameron Barr. Cameron started by asking an Iraqi acquaintance if he knew anyone involved in the resistance. The acquaintance was initially noncommittal. He said he knew a man who was not directly involved in anti-US attacks, but who might know others who were.

Cameron asked the acquaintance to arrange an interview. After a meeting between the acquaintance and the fighter, the fighter agreed to an interview. It turned out that he had indeed been directly involved in an attack.

THE DENOUEMENT: Andrew Downie, like many others in Brazil, has been closely tracking the demise of Brazilian soap opera character Fernanda Machado, whose impending death by a stray bullet has sparked intense debate over violence in Rio. "The scene where she was shot aired last Saturday, when I was at a bar. Everyone stopped what they were doing and watched. There was no volume, but it didn't matter since the plot has been well covered in the papers."

What will fans do upon Fernanda's imminent demise? Andrew says not to worry. "Like all soaps, there are at least eight story lines going at once, so there will still be plenty of action."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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