Reporters on the Job

Misha Japaridze/AP
A lock on love: Russian newlyweds place padlocks on the "Trees of Love" on Moscow's Luzhkov bridge. As long as the padlock remains, tradition says, their love is sealed.

The Power of an Olympic Pass: Pre-Olympics security checks are becoming onerous, staff writer Peter Ford reports from Beijing. But recently he was spared the hardship that ordinary Chinese face.

"I was coming back into Beijing from a reporting trip the other day, and came across a four-lane traffic jam at the highway exit toll booth" he says. "A policeman told me it would take at least an hour and a half to get through."

But Peter remembered that he had an Olympic press pass. "I don't think the pass I have (for non-Olympic-accredited media) actually entitles me to special traffic privileges, but it seemed to be enough for the officer in charge of the security checkpoint," Peter says. "He said that if we could maneuver our car to the head of the line, he would let us through quickly.

"Once we had disentangled ourselves from the crush of vehicles, we were waved through. Good thing too. My summer intern had forgotten to bring his passport; if he had been checked, he would not have been allowed back into the city," says Peter.

Uncharted Territory: Joshua Mitnick has been covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for years, so he seldom has to reach for his road atlas. But today's story about the newly controversial settlement of Maskiyot in the West Bank, was an exception.

"It's in a remote area of the Jordan Valley. It's so sparsely populated that there are few confrontations between Israeli settlers and Palestinians," he notes.

At one scenic outlook, Josh met religious tourists getting off their bus for a look around. "There is a series of mountaintops in the Jordan Valley that are mentioned in the Bible as being used by ancient Israelites as signal posts where torches were lit to alert communities," he says.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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