Reporters on the Job

The Price of a Gun: As staff writer Ilene Prusher was interviewing Zakaria Zubeidi, the head of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin (this page), he asked her how much the gun his comrades were about to purchase, an M-16, would cost in America. "I had to confess that I really didn't know," says Ilene.

At the end of the interview, the subject of guns came up again. "He stood up and showed me the 9 millimeter handgun tucked into a holster on his jeans. I hadn't even noticed it. He took it out and showed me the logo on it. It read: Smith and Wesson. Springfield, Massachusetts."

" 'Hah,' my interpreter, Samir blurted, 'not far from the headquarters of The Christian Science Monitor.'

"Then Zubeidi asked: 'Tell me. Why does your country export its weapons all over the world?'

" 'Maybe because people like you keep buying them?' I replied with a smile." Samir laughed. Zubeidi didn't.

Race Logistics: When it comes to the Tour de France, Peter Ford is a disciple of Lance Armstrong's motto: plan, plan, plan. Tuesday, Peter caught up with the Tour in the French Alps (page 5) and wanted to be sure he could meet his deadline.

The problem is that police block the route that the Tour takes for some time after riders pass, and then thousands of spectators' cars wind down the same tiny road to the valley. Peter arrived four hours early, found a junction on the Tour's route, parked one mile beyond it - on a road the riders would not take - walked another half mile where his cell worked, sat down (with a glorious view of the valley floor) to write and dictate his story to an editor. "I ran back to watch the race, then ran (so far as I could) back to my car to escape before the hordes descended," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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