Reporters on the Job

• HEARD IN CAIRO'S SLUMS: Reporter Philip Smucker made two trips to one of Cairo's poorest neighborhoods to take the pulse on local support for Osama bin Laden (page 1). He says, "Egypt's most impoverished people are also the country's kindest, but there is a growing air of discontent with the US government's foreign policy and the unending violence in the Middle East."

None of the animosity was directed at Philip personally. As he sat with Cairiens "We heard whispers (between long draws on the sheesha – an Egyptian waterpipe) and worries about government informants, but most people spoke openly."

Last year, just after the Sept. 11 attacks, Philip went to the same neighborhood. At the time, residents were generally disbelieving that bin Laden had been responsible for the attacks. "Many said that such a 'simple and devout Arab' would be incapable of such a sophisticated attack against the world's most powerful nation.

"Not so, anymore," says Philip.

"Osama is fast becoming a folk hero, and downtrodden Cairiens now say that he did carry out the Sept. 11 attacks."

• NOT MARRIED YET? If its real estate is anything to go by, Singapore's government-run dating service (page 1) is a pretty high priority for the government. Its offices are in the last English mayor of Singapore's former home – a turn-of-the- century mansion that looks like it was carried over brick by brick from England. It's located in the middle of one Singapore's most expensive neighborhoods. Reporter Dan Murphy found behind the period exterior a hive of activity, with government employees bustling about thinking up new ways to get citizens to tie the knot. "I'm 31, so there were a lot of pointed questions from the staff about why I'm not married yet,'' says Dan.

Follow-up on a Monitor Story

• WIDOWS OF INDIA Several readers have asked us about how to support job training for widows in India, as mentioned in the July 10 story, "In India's town of widows, a home for the forgotten." Checks (made out to "Guild of Service") or other offers of support may be sent to the following address:

Guild of Service

C-25, Qutab Institutional Area

Behind Qutab Hotel, New Delhi

110016

INDIA

Tel. 91 11 656 2780

Fax: 91 11 685 4529

David Clark Scott
World editor

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