Reporters on the Job

Look, No Hands: Arriving in Tehran at 2 a.m. , the Monitor's Scott Peterson expected serious delays before he could drive to his hotel. As American immigration officials have begun to photograph and fingerprint most foreign visitors, Iranian officials have sometimes matched their fervor, tit-for-tat.

For years, US officials have fingerprinted every single Iranian who arrives on American shores. Scott has been fingerprinted in Iran three separate times - a lengthy process that can cut into sleep time of early morning arrivals.

"I thought there might be a camera waiting this time, and expected the sun would be coming up before I got out of the airport," Scott says. "But they stamped my passport, waved me through, and from plane to taxi took 15 minutes - a new record."

No Weapons Here: On the 30-mile drive from Bunia to Kasenye in Congo , reporter James Palmer saw many idle young men near the shoulder of the reconstructed road. James was traveling with Silvio Sambuco, an Italian engineer who led the demining project along the road before the arrival of UN troops and was well-known in many of the villages.

"On one stop, my first question to these men was if they had any weapons, specifically the ubiquitous AK-47," says James. "The answer was always a hesitant no, followed by an admission of owning traditional weapons such as bows, arrows, and machetes - for farming purposes, of course."

But Mr. Sambuco, after translating, would point out men he recognized as combatants who probably still possessed weapons. "Most of them don't know how they're going to protect themselves when the UN leaves," he told James.

On the return to Bunia, a supervisor of a crew told them there was fighting almost every day - and paused as automatic gunfire crackling in the distance underscored his point.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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