• Bubbles for Dinner: Monday's story about the conflict in Belize between tourism and building dams was the result of Colin Woodard's fourth reporting trip to the Central American country (this page). While this story was about a dam in the mountains, his own personal rule is that every trip to Belize should include scuba diving. This visit was no exception. "Belize has the best reef diving in the world," he says.
Gladden's Spit, in southern Belize, is one of his favorite dive spots. "The best time to go is in the spring, when there's a full moon. That's when tens of thousands of fish come to spawn. At sunset, huge clouds of fish gather," he says.
Also drawn to the event: whale sharks, a rare fish that eats plankton and grows to 40 to 50 feet in length. "You can see three or four whale sharks at once," enthuses Colin. During one recent trip, a whale shark mistook Colin's air bubbles for fish eggs. "He tried to eat my bubbles. Dissatisfied with the result, he followed the trail of bubble to the source - me! He nibbled my fins and bumped me. I knew that he didn't mean any harm but when a creature with a four-foot-wide mouth starts to play with you, that can be a source of some nervousness."
David Clark Scott
• Iraq by the Numbers: More than two-thirds of Salvadorans believe their country's troops should return from Iraq immediately, according to a newspaper poll published last week. Based in Najaf, Iraq, a 380-man battalion from El Salvador is scheduled to return home in August. Soldiers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras have cut short their stays in Iraq.
A survey in Italy's La Repubblica, a left-leaning daily, showed that 59 percent of Italians want the troops withdrawn even if the United Nations asks Italy to remain in Iraq after June 30. About 31 percent said that in that case Italy should keep its contingent, while 10 percent said they didn't know.