Reporters on the Job

China Daily/Reuters
Workers repair electrical pylons damaged during snowstorms in Shaoguan, China. The severe weather in the past month left millions without power. The last repairs are now complete.

A Drummer's Perspective: Staff writer Scott Baldauf's assumptions about race relations in South Africa were challenged when he met the ethnically mixed musical group Freshlyground (see story).

"My questions tended to focus on the divisions I have noticed in South African society – the persistence of separate neighborhoods, separate cultures, separate music and the relative lack of common ground where these cultures can mix. It's a problem that South Africans themselves point to and worry about, particularly 14 years after the downfall of the racialist apartheid rule.

" 'Ah,' said drummer Peter Cohen – putting me straight, gently – 'but I've been to the US and I see the same thing there. Blacks and whites live separately, socialize separately, eat at different restaurants, they keep to their own for the most part. But when it comes to music, that is where they mix.'

"I really should stay away from politics," concludes Scott. "Music gives me so much more hope."

Saddam Nostalgia: Saddam Hussein's cult status seems to be only growing in Iraq, especially among the former rank-and-file loyalists of his Baath Party, says correspondent Sam Dagher. When Sam was interviewing one ex-colonel, a Shiite who served in Mr. Hussein's military, for a story on the problems plaguing de-Baathification reform, he was shown what seemed like an endless stream of video clips glorifying Mr. Hussein.

"The latest Saddam video, making the rounds on the cellphones of his loyalists," says Sam, "shows him swimming, riding a horse, cooking, and dancing with peasants, all to the tune of a fast-paced song that laments his absence." The lyrics to the song say, "All the money and gold in the world is worthless without you."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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