• The Contractor Connection: In Iraq the hardest part of reporting is often getting there. In what the US military calls the "Red Zone" and what everyone else calls Baghdad, you have to be wary of all-too-familiar dangers. Car bombings are still daily events. But even getting into the Green Zone – where the US Embassy and Iraqi parliament are located – is an exercise in endurance.
After setting off more than an hour before an appointment with Iraq's deputy prime minister on what would normally be a 15-minute drive, correspondent Jane Arraf found herself stuck at one of the entrances to the Green Zone (see story).
"Dozens of cars were in line ahead of us – their doors open waiting for the bomb sniffing dogs. All batteries had to be removed from my four cell phones (not all of the phones work all of the time in Baghdad) and two tape recorders. Just as I realized was going to miss the appointment entirely, I ran into a contractor I hadn't seen in a couple of years," says Jane.
He was inspecting the checkpoint, and offered her a ride. The Green Zone is spread out over four square miles. "He got me to the appointment on time," says Jane.
• The Cricket Test: Cricket is often one the first things to suffer whenever India-Pakistan relations sour. For two days after the Mumbai attacks, the Pakistani press closely followed the fate of the two Pakistani cricketers who were in Mumbai to play cricket with an Indian club team, says correspondent Shahan Mufti. "Now all eyes are on the Indian team's scheduled tour of Pakistan in January. The two cricket boards have issued statements and neither side has canceled the tour. There's a view here that if India and Pakistan are playing cricket two months from now, the two countries' governments will have done a good diplomatic job," says Shahan (see story.)
– David Clark Scott