Reporters on the Job

ENDING HOSTILITIES: The Monitor's Jerusalem bureau wrestles with primordial conflict large and small. Two weeks ago, Cameron Barr and Nicole Gaouette rescued a foundling bird, probably some kind of finch. They've been feeding it with tweezers and an eyedropper. But there's a problem: Cats hang around outside their house in the hope of catching a tidbit.

Early yesterday, Cameron found a cat skulking around inside the house. Then he noticed the newspaper under the bird's cage was shredded to ribbons. "The bird was OK," Cameron says. "But it looked, well, stressed." It was the second time in two days cats have come into the house to try to eat the bird. The question for them is: How to engineer a cease-fire?

Laughing matter?: What makes a Russian radiation control expert laugh? While on patrol (this page), Moscow bureau chief Scott Peterson found that tales of false alarms and real emergencies both brought mirth. Nine times out of 10, he was told, citizens who called in "high radiation emergencies" had simply misread their new, hand-held radiation detectors. Laughter. And then there was the woman who detected a radiation source coming from the ceiling of her apartment. The woman was shocked when investigators found a vial of radium paint in a closet - in the apartment above. More laughter.

After hours: Like all Australian journalists on foreign assignments, Andrew West decided he could not get a real feel for coup-ridden Fiji until he tried the nightlife (page 9). After a busy day, he shared a table at a Suva jazz club with a leading labor unionist, a human rights advocate, and a former judge.

"At the table next to us, an exchange student from New Zealand was celebrating her 21st birthday," Andrew says. "She invited us to join her. But I'm not sure that she still expected to be partying with half of Fiji's legal elite five hours later!"

Let us hear from you. Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail:

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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