Reporters on the Job

Powerless: Staff writer Scott Baldauf became aware of how bad the power crunch was in many African countries on his first night in a hotel room in Lagos, Nigeria . "The TV and the AC would stop suddenly, and then kick back on. What I didn't realize was that the off-and-on shift from power grid to generators and back again was wreaking havoc on my cellphonebattery, which was plugged in."

Nigeria shouldn't have a power problem. It is one of Africa's largest producers of oil. But only 17 of its 79 power plants work, because of lack of maintenance. And as Nigeria's 130 million citizens become more prosperous and buy more appliances, there is less power to go around. "Fortunately, I was not the first person to have a problem with a fried cellphone battery. They are sold on the streets, like peanuts or sodas, along with plastic battery chargers," Scott says.

Police Presence: Lahore, Pakistan, is becoming a "high security alert" city much like Islamabad, says correspondent Shahan Mufti. "It's sad for the free-spirited people of this old Mughal capital, who seem to care about their food and music much more than any politician," he notes.

Shahan had met with a superintendent at Punjab University and arranged to be on the campus with him during a protest rally . "But as I approached this morning, I found that police had blocked off the city's central artery. Traffic had piled up for miles," he says. The night before, it had taken him 90 minutes to travel a short route. "With Islamabad proving difficult for political activism, the focus is now falling on this metropolis."

– Amelia Newcomb

Deputy World editor

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