Reporters on the Job

• Bring the Kids! Georgia's "rose revolution" has been very much a family affair, the Monitor's Scott Peterson found while covering the protests in Tbilisi that have brought down Eduard Shevardnadze (this page). Squeezing through the jubilant crowds - so tight that Scott's interpreter had his contact book stolen from a zipped up jacket pocket, and a fellow photographer had a long zoom lens plucked from his waist pouch - Scott was impressed at the number of children.

"Parents were so proud of what was happening that they brought even the smallest toddlers to witness this moment in Georgian history," Scott says. Children waved flags and held balloons, while sitting on fathers' shoulders. Others danced as the crowd opened up for them. Some children received tearful kisses again and again from ordinary people in the crowd who saw a brighter future.

"I even heard of a 26-day-old baby who was there," Scott says. "When people asked the parents how they could keep the baby out in the cold at night, they said their apartment had no heat and was just as cold - thanks to Mr. Shevardnadze."

• Detour Ahead: Correspondent Nicholas Blanford traveled north of Baghdad to Baquba to report today's story on the challenges facing Iraqi police in areas being targeted by militants (page 1). He was struck by the tension in the air. "There is a lot of anti-US graffitti and there's little cooperation from local people," Nick says.

During his day in the provincial capital, Nick heard from Iraqi police increasingly nervous about their lack of protection in the face of attacks. And the weakness of security generally was driven home as he, his intepreter, and his driver returned to Baghdad.

"The road is frequented by bandits after dark, so I was told in no uncertain terms that we had to leave Baquba by 4 p.m. But halfway, we ran into a firefight between US forces and some militants in a building. The US soldiers were in their Bradley fighting vehicles and were on the highway, shooting into a building. Iraqi civil defense troops were directing traffic onto tracks that ran through a palm-tree plantation."

The next half-hour, Nick reports, was nerve-racking. "The sun was going down, and we weren't sure the tracks would lead back to the highway, south of the fighting." Fortunately, they did - and the group arrived in Baghdad before the sun slipped below the horizon.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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