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Letters: Pinochet, Doctors' Hours, Buddha, Mingling
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Letters: Pinochet, Doctors' Hours, Buddha, Mingling

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Letters: Pinochet, Doctors' Hours, Buddha, Mingling

Letters: Pinochet, Doctors' Hours, Buddha, Mingling
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Among the topics covered in this week's letters segment are questions about how to pronounce Pinochet, comments on doctors' hours, an appreciation of holiday mingling and thoughts on the loss of the Afghanistan's Buddha statues.


It is a Thursday morning here on MORNING EDITION, and that's the day we often read from your comments. Many of you wrote in about the pronunciation of a certain former Chilean president's name.

In an interview this week, I posed the question to Nathan Crooks, editor of the English language daily, The Santiago Times.

Mr. NATHAN CROOKS (Editor, The Santiago Times): In Chile, most people will say Pinoshay(ph). But in English, I hear Pinochette(ph).

INSKEEP: And in fact NPR has pronounced it both ways. But since 1999, our diligent librarians have instructed us to use Pinochette. Here's librarian Kee Malesky explaining the decision that year.

KEE MALESKY: I had a conversation with the foreign desk editor Loren Jenkins and with reporter Tom Gjelten who had recently been in Chile. And at that point, he told me the media in Chile says Pinochette. And people on the street, he'd never heard anyone say Pinoshay.

INSKEEP: And so at NPR it's been Pinochette ever since.


This week, we reported that medical interns are supposed to work no more than 80 hours a week. But our story also pointed out the mistakes those interns make when working marathon shifts.

Listener Frank Marx(ph) noted that, as a truck driver, he's required to take 10 hour breaks but he can work up to 70 hours a week. It seems to me, he wrote, both groups have ample opportunity to make a devastating fatal mistake because of insufficient rest.

INSKEEP: Now, many of you wrote in about Renee's story on efforts to restore Afghanistan's giant Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban.

(Soundbite of previous NPR broadcast)

MONTAGNE: We have climbed up through the caves to the point where there's an opening just behind what would have been the Buddha's head and shoulders. And we're looking out across the Bamiyan Valley, and this is what the Buddha would have seen.

Ellen Sharon of San Diego knows that view. Her father was posted to Afghanistan for five years. Several times we caravanned over barely existent roads to spend time in what seemed like Eden, to fish and of course climb atop the Buddhas. Thanks for the memories of those magnificent statues and the exquisite panorama that few others will get to see.

INSKEEP: Listener Lynn Pastor(ph) added, I was also heartsick when I heard the Taliban had destroyed the Buddhas. But a basic teaching of the Buddha's was impermanence, she writes. For the Taliban to destroy something so solid reinforces the Buddha's teaching.

MONTAGNE: And finally, a story of lost and found. Mark Calen(ph) of Los Angeles wrote in to tell us how our interview with Jeanne Martinet about the art of mingling helped make it possible for him to mingle over the phone.

Mr. MARK CALEN (Listener): Last Monday, I lost my cell phone. Five days later, I was driving into work and I was listening to Steve Inskeep's story on mingling. As I was getting really close to work, I wanted to spend more time in the car so I could finish the story. So I stopped short at a yellow light that I otherwise would have been able to go through. As my car stopped, I saw something skip off my hood. Lo and behold, it was my phone. It had been sitting on the roof of my car for five days of freeway driving in Los Angeles. Thanks NPR for helping me find my phone and the interesting story.

INSKEEP: We love to hear your interesting stories and your comments. Go to and click on Contact Us. This is NPR News.

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