• No Men Allowed: Access is crucial to enable reporters to do their jobs, but some places are just off limits. That's what correspondent Andrew Downie found when reporting his story on Daslu, the opulent department store in São Paulo, Brazil (page 4).
When he arrived by car at the giant gated entrance, Andrew was met by a guard in black clothing wearing an earpiece. The guard had to call inside to check on his appointment. "In typical Brazilian fashion," says Andrew, "the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. The man kept asking me, 'Who are you? What are you doing here?' Meanwhile, cars full of impatient shoppers were lining up behind me."
When he was finally let in, Andrew was met by one of the beautiful young female employees who served as his guide. She spent 90 minutes showing him around. But there was one area he could not go. "There was a part of the first floor that had statues of dogs guarding each side of the entrance. On them were signs in English that read, 'No men allowed.' Daslu doesn't have changing rooms for women; in the women's clothing area, shoppers can strip off their clothes and try things on right there. So those dogs clearly showed that that area was off limits."
• No Signs: Correspondent Josh Mitnick says he has become accustomed to visiting Jewish settlements in Gaza. But the evacuation of four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank has commanded less interest, he says. "Reports of families with gaggles of children moving into tent cities at Sa-Nur settlement offered me good opportunity to visit one of the more remote regions of the West Bank," says Josh (this page).
Equipped with a map, he set off with another colleague for roads never before traveled - a treat becoming rarer in such a small country. "But when it seemed that Sa-Nur should be just around the corner, we reached a military roadblock for a Palestinian city several miles to the southeast. We had missed the turn off for the road leading to the settlement. After retracing our steps, we still couldn't find the intersection. Only on our third pass did we realize, the road sign indicating the turn onto the highway to Sa-Nur was missing. It was as if someone had already erased the settlements from the geography of the West Bank."
- David S. Hauck
Latin America editor