Reporters on the Job

TALKING TO STREET KIDS: Social workers say that a major obstacle to helping street children is winning their trust. The Monitor's Scott Peterson found that was a problem in reporting today's story about a model program in St. Petersburg, Russia (page 1). "Initially, they just wanted money from me. When I made it clear I wouldn't give them money, some left, not wanting to waste time with me when they could be out begging," says Scott. An angry shopkeeper then asked them to leave, because it was bad for business for them to be gathered nearby. Some, to win sympathy or attention, would "hype the tragedy of their stories, telling me that their parents were dead. So, I had to verify their tales with the social workers," says Scott. But the common thread that was woven through each of their lives, he says, was alcoholic parents. "In the US, street kids may come from divorced or abusive families. But here, in every case, alcohol was the underlying cause of their homelessness."

COLLECTOR'S ITEM: Reporter Ben Lynfield tried to bring back a fragment of an Israeli tank shell that had landed in a Palestinian village (page 7). But when he got to the Erez Crossing checkpoint, to enter Israel from Gaza, he was stopped. "I took it out of my bag because it would have set off the metal detector. But an Israeli soldier told me it was the property of Israel, and that I had to give it up. When I refused, he said, 'So now you're trying to make a political statement?' " says Ben. He then spoke with the soldier's commander and explained that he was writing a story about it. The commander relented.


GLOBAL EATING HABITS: An Australian slaughterhouse in Tennant Creek is reopening to supply wild horsemeat to German and French consumers, according to the Associated Press. As we reported on March 20, Europeans are substituting horsemeat for beef because of concerns over health risks. Germany reported a 40 percent drop in beef sales in April from a year earlier.

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