From the Publisher: May 21 1990

Funny things can happen to stories on their way to publication, as TIME's correspondents know all too well. Almost every one of our journalists has coped with a special roadblock or snafu that has turned an already challenging assignment into something that requires the patience of Job or the derring-do of Indiana Jones.

Computers can play tricks, for example. One winter's evening in 1986, then Moscow bureau chief James Jackson, now in Bonn, completed a 2,500-word story on his portable computer and decided to run a spelling-check program to catch typos. He had not used the program in some time and...

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