Reporters on the Job

Bring Your Own Food: Foreign journalists aren't typically granted permission to visit the "exclusion zone" in Belarus, downwind from the Chernobyl disaster. It's a politically sensitive area.

"We were smuggled into the zone by local environmentalists. But as we were leaving, we were stopped at a police checkpoint," says correspondent Fred Weir. Their guide was pulled out of the car and taken to the guard post. Fifteen minutes later he was released. "I think that our presence may have helped, actually," says Fred. "We called him two weeks later to make sure there were no repercussions and he said he was OK."

During a press conference in March, Fred's interpreter Olga Podolskaya asked Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko about the health risks in the Gomel region. He told her angrily that when he visits the area, he eats everything he's served.

The Gomel residents said that it was true that Mr. Lukashenko visited about once a year to show solidarity with the people. "He comes and meets with the residents. But they told us that he brings his own food every time," says Fred.

Sleepless in Nepal: Correspondent Bikash Sangraula in Nepal hasn't slept much lately. Between the curfews, the king's midnight speech Monday, 19 days of street protests - and now victory rallies, his head hasn't spent much time on a pillow. "I had to rush to office before the daytime curfew, which stayed in place until late at night," he notes. Tuesday, as he walked to work, it "rained" vermilion powder. "It's a symbol of victory in our culture," he notes.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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