Reporters on the Job

ON STRIKE, FINALLY: Reporter Fred Weir has been watching the deterioration of working conditions in Russia for the past decade. And he kept wondering: "Why don't they rebel? They work in appalling conditions and often go months without any pay." Three years ago, Fred was visiting a coal mine near Rostov. "It was dank and dangerous. They worked in tight little tunnels a kilometer beneath the surface. I asked them why they didn't strike. They told me that it was pointless. They knew the mine was bankrupt."

That's the paradox of Russia, he says. "People rebel when the economy picks up. We've had two years of growth, and experts are predicting a string of strikes now (this page)."

ChilDREN, NOT SOLDIERS: The Monitor's Danna Harman went to Sudan expecting war-jaded teens (page 1). But she was struck by how childlike they were. "They were serious enough when talking about their war experiences, but once the questions stopped, they became silly kids," she says. Most had never been on an airplane and were excited or scared. "They were fascinated by the plastic card displaying the emergency exits, passing it around, and teasing those that couldn't read it." Each child was given a box of protein crackers by UNICEF, and was told to eat one per day for the next month. "By the time they landed, everyone had polished off their entire box."

- David Clark Scott

World Editor

SURVEY SAYS....

LOST AND FOUND: An estimated 62,000 mobile phones - nearly three for each taxi - were left in London cabs during the first six months of this year.

The survey by Taxi Newspapers and Pointsec Mobile said cabbies also discovered 2,900 laptops and 1,300 hand-held computers in their back seats. Also found: one little girl, a goldfish in a bag, and a suitcase full of diamonds.

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT

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