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Reporters on the Job

June 25, 2008

A butcher in Meckenbeuren, Germany, set up this display with plastic pigs to draw customers during the Euro 2008 soccer match. Germany plays Turkey in the semifinals Wednesday, June 25.

Felix Kaestle/AP

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Next Time, Try Bread Crumbs: As the authorities in Beijing tighten up security ahead of the Olympics, even the most innocent of bystanders can get caught up in the police net, says staff writer Peter Ford.

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"An expatriate social running club ran into trouble the other day because the lead runners were leaving a trail of flour to show stragglers which way they had gone", he says. Similar clubs around the world also use chalk or sawdust to mark the course.

"But the Beijing police arrested the lot of them at the end of their jog, on suspicion of spreading poison through the streets of the capital," says Peter. "It was not until the early hours of the morning that forensic scientists decided that the flour was not anthrax, and the runners were released."

Down a Rabbit Hole: Abkhazia, says correspondent Fred Weir, is "almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. There are no planes, trains, or ships that go there."
The only way into this statelet is down a gravel road to a single border crossing in a suburb of Sochi, Russia (see story).
"You stand with hundreds of Abkhazians returning from the market in Sochi with everything from furniture to bags of cement. It takes hours to get through Russian passport control. For me, much longer, because the guards couldn't read my Canadian passport. They made a dozen phone calls before I was allowed through," he says. The Abkhazian side was not much faster. "It was extraordinarily instructive introduction to a place lost in time."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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