Reporters on the Job

Key Escort: Correspondent Nicholas Blanford went to see the father of Bilal Mahmoud, whose killing last week by police set off calls for revenge in his Tripoli neighborhood and boosted sympathy for Fatah al-Islam, an Al Qaeda-linked group (see story).

After Nick arrived, he and the father walked down the street to see where Bilal was shot. "This is a poor, militant neighborhood. I was getting a lot of frosty looks," says Nick. "But the father hooked his arm through mine, and everything was fine. The foreigner was with the father of the martyr."

By coincidence, a squad of forensic detectives arrived while Nick was there. Nick says officials hadn't gone into the quarter because of fear of repercussions. "There's been a backlash against the government, and the authorities were worried about this," says Nick. "They felt by sending in detectives, it might ease the mood."

The head of the local police station talked to the father and asked him to try to calm things. "He promised they would do a serious investigation," Nick says. "The father told the major that it was wonderful they were there. He was very polite. He wasn't going to start a scene, as these were authority figures in uniform. But that was most certainly a mask for his real attitude."

You'll Love it, Trust Me: Since moving to China, Peter Ford has discovered myriad ways to prepare pork, some of which he says are a good deal more delicious than they look (see story). One dish in particular – a pork belly stew in which the few slivers of meat play second fiddle to the chunks of inch-thick jellified fat and gelatinous rind – has given him special pleasure. "Once you get over your initial reservations and put some in your mouth, it simply melts in the most disarming way," Peter reports. "It is too rich to indulge in much, but it is a real treat from time to time."

– Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor

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