• Why Can't We Meet? Staff writer Danna Harman stumbled upon the story about Mexican soap operas (telenovelas) versus reality TV (page 7) when she kept running into a scheduling block. "Whenever I called friends, or other people, and tried to set up a meeting or dinner in Mexico City, they would never want to meet between 8 p.m and 9 p.m," says Danna. "I discovered that the reason is 'Rubi,' a cliffhanger telenovela ("The Juanas" on from 7-8 p.m., was also taking a slice out of my potential meeting time). That got me thinking about what made these shows so enduringly popular with Mexican viewers."
• Watching the US Vote in Cairo: It's not news that the US and President Bush would not win a popularity contest in the Arab world. But staff writer Dan Murphy discovered a subset in the region that is even more stridently opposed to Bush: American students, nongovernmental-organization workers, and academics.
Dan attended a 6 a.m. breakfast at an American acquaintance's home in Cairo to watch the returns. The five Americans there - three Arab-language students on scholarship, a PhD candidate, and a woman who monitors Arab television news for an NGO, were all heavily against Bush. "The one Egyptian at the breakfast said she didn't see much difference between the candidates. If she had a vote, she might have picked Bush," says Dan.
Dan found similar leanings at an election party the previous evening organized by another American PhD candidate. The Egyptians in attendance were critical of Bush and US policy, but were not expecting great things from Kerry either. "Obviously, there are lots of Americans overseas who voted for Bush and support him. But if my spin through the circles of Americans studying the Arab world is any indication, Bush supporters are rare," Dan says.
David Clark Scott