(i) on a plane with Abu Mazen:
Abbas is missing the tip of his right ring finger. The story I’d heard seemed to reflect the awkwardness Abbas experienced going from being Arafat’s behind-the-curtain deputy to leading the PLO—and how much he hated crowds. While campaigning for president after Arafat died in late 2004, a horde of people surrounded his car in southern Gaza. Unsure about their intentions, he pressed the electric button of his armored window and closed it on his own finger. But Abbas told me the real story, a version that made more sense. It was his driver, concerned for his safety, who pressed the button. By the time Abbas reacted, the tip of his finger had been severed.
Abbas was due to give a speech in the town, so he bandaged the finger and stayed for two hours. The same driver then ferried him to a hospital in Gaza City, 30 kilometers away. “I found the doctor there, he made the surgery for me,” Abbas told me.
Is the driver still working for him? “No, no, no. I told him, ‘You have to leave,’ and he left.”
(ii) 'War photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed in Libya last week, telling a story no one wants to hear.'
(iii) Old colleague Michael Ware remembers Hetherington and Hondros, and more besides: The news bludgeoned me on a sunny Australian morning
(iv) In many ways, Beltrame seems miscast for the role of Brazil’s top cop. He speaks slowly in a measured tenor, with the singing accent of his native Rio Grande do Sul, Brazilian gaucho territory. A youthful 53, he has sandy hair brushed with gray and wears bookish wire rims. Country aphorisms dot his speech. “We’re eating porridge from the edge of the bowl,” he says: fire with fire in Rio.