Reporters on the Job

• Heard on the street: Iraqis are still digesting the news of plans for accelerating the country's move toward sovereignty, but most told the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi and David Scott that it was a positive move (page 1).

Through a common acquaintance, Howard and Dave met a self-proclaimed resistance fighter from Fallujah. He agreed that "there will be fewer attacks if the Americans are not present in the cities and towns," he said. "If they're based away from towns then the random killings of Iraqi civilians will stop. And if they [the Americans] hand over responsibility for finding Saddam and the resistance fighters to Iraqis, the attacks will drop." But he added ominously, "Not all resistance fighters are as patient as I am. Seven months is a long time."

• Stopping time: Monitor contributor Yigal Schleifer doesn't live far from Neve Shalom, one of the temples that was bombed this weekend in Istanbul, Turkey (page 1). So he knew right away something major had happened.

"My wife and I felt our building shake quite strongly," Yigal says. "I ran to the window and saw a big plume and knew it was a powerful explosion. Then the phone started to ring."

Yigal ran down to the synagogue, five minutes on foot. And even before he arrived, the magnitude of the blast became clear. "As soon as I got just a few streets a way, everything was covered in broken glass," he says. "It was a trail of glass leading to the site."

As he arrived at the devastated building, Yigal peered inside. "In the entrance of the synagogue is a grandfather clock whose hands were stopped at the time of the previous attack on the building in 1986," Yigal says. "The clock was still there. The door covering its chime was open, but the clock was OK. What was odd was that this attack happened at about 9:30, similar to the time of the 1986 attack. The clock seemed like a silent witness to this kind of tragedy."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

cultural snapshot
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