• A Vote for Any Change: Reporter Amy Robertson went around Quito, Ecuador, Sunday talking to voters. The country held a referendum to decide whether to change the Constitution.
Turnout was good, largely because it's mandatory. "If you don't vote, you can't get a passport to leave the country, you can't get a loan from a bank, and you can't put your kids in school. Only those over 65 or illiterate are given a pass," says Amy.
The Constitution now limits the president to one four-year term. But Amy found voters knew almost nothing about the specifics of the referendum. Still, they were eager to share their views (see story). "Even those who were concerned that their new president might end up being another [Hugo] Chávez voted in favor of the referendum. There is such a rejection of the current establishment that they said they don't care what the alternative is."
• Bavarian Home-schoolers: To report the story about the German teenager arrested for being home-schooled (see story), correspondent Mariah Blake visited the girl's family in Erlangen, Bavaria. The girl wasn't there; she's been placed in a foster home.
"They live in a second-floor apartment over their church. It's a sweet, normal family. The father works as an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] repairman. They have five other children, none of whom are home-schooled," says Mariah.
She interviewed the parents in their dining room with their US lawyer present. "The mother plied us with cinnamon rolls and homemade cake and shared their story," Mariah says. German media have given their story less attention than have the US evangelical media. "The Christian Broadcasting Network [founded by Pat Robertson] has sent a correspondent from Virginia – twice – to interview the family."
– David Clark Scott