Reporters on the Job

ALL IN THE LINE OF DUTY: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf finds that generosity and hospitality to strangers is so omnipresent - and insistent - in South Asia, that his daily caloric intake is rising. Take today's story about India's largest joint family (page 1). During one interview, the chief cook brought up a plate of food and placed it on a table in front of Scott. "Anytime we haveguests, we feel obligated that they take something with them," explained, Anukul, the family spokesman.

"I looked at the food.Steaming curried shrimp the size of baseballs. Fried fish in a peppery batter. Gulp. Being the hard-nosed reporter, I try to refuse gifts from the people I report on," says Scott. But his interpreter whispers to him: "They may feel hurt if you don't accept." Under the circumstances, "there's nothing left to do but ask for seconds," Scott says.

BREAK OUT THE CANDLES: Brazil's energy conservation push (this page) hits close to home for reporter Andrew Downie. The government says that residents who used more than 100 kilowatts of electricity per month during June, July, and August last year must cut back by 20 percent. Andrew used 105 kw per month last year, and he was traveling during that time. So, he's been struggling to cut back. "I'm changing to fluorescent bulbs. I may unplug the fridge for a couple of hours each day. I work at home, so I've got to keep the TV on to watch the news. I'm down to having bread instead of toast at breakfast." But as a native Scotsman, he says, he refuses to give up his teakettle.

- David Clark Scott

World Editor

MILESTONE...

YOUNGEST CONQUEROR: A crowd of 2,000 classmates cheered teenage Sherpa Temba Tsheri yesterday as he returned to Nepal's capital after becoming the youngest climber to conquer Mt. Everest. The eighth-grader, who lost five fingers to frostbite in an earlier climb, told The Associated Press he's now aiming for something less extraordinary: finishing school. "I have lived my dream ... now I am going to concentrate on my studies," the 16-year-old said.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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