• Glittering Head Scarves: Staff writer Jill Carroll was prompted to do today's story about head scarves (see story) when she noticed a fashion shift while riding in a Women Only car in the Cairo subway. "The last time I was in Egypt, almost two years ago, I noticed that a fishnet head scarf over a colored head scarf was the thing. I was surprised to see that sparkles and sequins are now in vogue," says Jill.
"As I started asking questions, I realized that wearing the hijab was more than a political or religious statement. It's a fashion statement, and there are rules. For example, older women wear a different kind of head scarf than younger women," she says. "The head scarf is not just a religious statement, it's also an expression of individuality."
Jill is now in Algeria reporting about this week's national elections. When asked about the fashion trend there, she says, "There are fewer women wearing hijabs, but sparkles are all the rage here, too."
• South African Scapegoats: South Africa's relationship with Zimbabwe is a subject that staff writer Scott Baldauf has delved into before today's story (see story). Last month, he spoke to Zimbabwe refugees in Johannesburg. They told him that in Zimbabwe there seemed to be little hope for a political solution to their leadership problem. "I was surprised to learn that they didn't think that even South Africa's peace efforts would bear fruit. And now that they're here in South Africa, they feel little sympathy from either the government or from local South Africans about the seriousness of their economic plight that caused them to flee," says Scott.
In fact, Scott says, he often hears South Africans blame all their social problems – crime, unemployment – on Zimbabweans.
– David Clark Scott