• Sorry, No Bribe Today: Staff writer Abraham McLaughlin spent two weeks reporting stories in Nigeria, including today's article about efforts to curb e-mail scams and government corruption. Before he arrived, he was told by other foreign correspondents that he would be hit many times by government officials for bribes. But Abe's experience was different.
"During my two weeks in Nigeria, I was asked for bribes only three times. So, by one rather unreliable measure, Nigeria's corruption is lessening," he says.
But, he adds, it clearly has a way to go.
"After interviewing the head of the national police force's fraud squad - one of the two departments charged with tackling corruption in Nigeria - I was approached by a guard at the building. He stuck out his hand and asked quietly, 'What do you have for me?' "
Abe's reply: "Nothing, except perhaps disappointment."
• A Crowd Courtside: Staff writer Scott Peterson thought he might have an exclusive story when his interpreter off-handedly mentioned that he had helped with some translations for American basketball players in Iran. Always looking out for counterintuitive stories in the Islamic Republic, Scott arranged to visit the basketball arena on the Western outskirts of Tehran to check it out.
"My hopes for an arcane scoop were dashed when I arrived at the practice," says Scott. There was a fellow photo agency shooter, and a correspondent from ESPN already there putting together a piece on Iran's hoopsters.
David Clark Scott