Reporters on the Job

BOYHOOD FLASHBACK: When the Monitor's Peter Ford set up the interview for today's story about the Italian elections (page 1), he knew that the name Tana de Zulueta rang a bell. But he couldn't figure out why, until he met the ruling-party senator in Rome. He was suddenly transported back to his schoolboy days in Britain.

"Her striking good looks and her refined English accent jogged my memory. I'd gone to school with her sister, Taca," says Peter. He wasn't a close friend, but at the time, his formerly all-boy British public school had just gone coed. "There were 850 boys, and perhaps 10 girls in that first year. The authorities were so worried about the change, that the must have chosen the most beautiful and intelligent girls they could find, because all the boys were completely intimidated by them," says Peter. The connection and boyhood tale helped break the ice before his interview with Ms. de Zulueta.

REMEMBERING 'V' DAY: History, particularly World War II, seems a lot closer to people's lives in Russia than in the US, says the Monitor's Moscow correspondent, Scott Peterson. He notes the billboards just put up near Red Square to advertise today's Victory Day parade (this page). But he adds that "it's not uncommon year round to see veterans in the streets with a chest full of medals." And every time Scott runs out to the local Ikea outlet or goes to the airport northwest of the city, he passes a giant sculpture. "There are three oversized tank traps, or 'iron crosses,' marking how close the German Army came to taking Moscow," he says.


AUSSIES WIRED AND WIRELESS: One in 3 Australian households has Internet access, making the country the third-highest per-capita user of the Web, behind Sweden and the United States, reported the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The survey also found that 61 percent of all households used a mobile phone, up from 45 percent two years earlier.

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