Reporters on the Job

Syrian Smoke Signals: Several journalists told correspondent Nicholas Blanford that one of the biggest signs that Syria wants more freedom of speech (this page), was the recent appointment of Mehdi Dakhlallah as information minister. "While editor of Al-Baath, the mouthpiece of Syria's Baath Party, Mr. Dakhlallah wrote an unprecedented article calling for the abolition of Article 8 of the Syrian Constitution which gives preferential status to the ruling Baath Party," says Nick.

In response, Abdel-Halim Khaddam, Syria's powerful long-serving vice-president, declared that Article 8 was "holy," fueling speculation that Dakhlallah would be fired. But two weeks later, he was handed the Information Ministry.

Yushchenko Rides Again? After dinner in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday night, correspondent Fred Weir strolled through the city's central square where much of the "Orange Revolution" had unfolded. If it wasn't clear then from exit polls that Victor Yushchenko was the likely winner of the presidential battle, it was from the sights and sounds in the city. Covered with orange flags, the square was alive with the cheering of Yushchenko supporters who remained "good natured" throughout the long ordeal, says Fred. And it was this good-natured mood that impressed Fred. "Although the politics have been explosive, when you looked at the protesters' faces you were reassured that there wasn't going to be any violence."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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