Reporters on the Job

Safe in Kyrgyzstan: When correspondent Fred Weir landed in Kyrgyzstan on Friday, it was dark and there'd been looting after the government fell on Thursday. "The taxi driver was really scared about the 30-kilometer [18.6-mile] drive into the capital," says Fred.

But an unofficial security detail soon arrived, courtesy of the government of Turkey. "A convoy from the Turkish Embassy had just deposited a group of fleeing Turks at the airport. So, we tucked in behind it as the convoy returned to Bishkek. It really looked like a city in crisis. There were fires burning and shadowy gangs running around, but I arrived safely at my hotel," Fred says.

By Saturday evening, order had been largely restored. "The entire downtown looks normal except for a few black holes where restaurants, shops, and banks had been destroyed."

But it's hard to say what's going to happen next. "This was like a thunderstorm that caught everyone by surprise. The opposition blundered into this and there's still a power vacuum [page 1]."

Exclusive Video: Today's story by correspondent Nicholas Blanford is based in part on a surveillance tape from a video camera outside a Beirut branch of an HSBC bank (this page). "As far as I know, no other local publications have seen this. It's not in wide circulation. I got it through a friend who has a relative in the Lebanese security service," says Nick. "It doesn't show the blast that killed Rafik Hariri, but you can see the final moments, frame by frame, as the six black cars of his motorcade go by, and as they turn the corner, the bomb goes off. You can't see the blast, but then the screen is immediately obscured by smoke and the camera is knocked from its perch, pointing downward. Then the smoke clears and you see people running out of the bank," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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