Reporters on the Job

A Maid's Life: Staff writer Scott Baldauf says that "A Life Less Ordinary" by Baby Halder, an Indian housekeeper, was a revelation.

"I'm someone who has always been a bit reluctant at having 'a staff.' Reluctant because in the West, you clean your own house," he says. "In Delhi, the air is so full of dust that floors must be swept and mopped each day, and furniture dusted, or else the grime simply starts to take over. Letting people into your house means letting them into your lives. When things go wrong, you learn how close they live to the edge. An illness can mean poverty – more than half of the people who go to hospitals in India will end up being pushed below the poverty line because of hospital bills.

"As Delhi's glitterati rejoice at the improved number of restaurants to choose from in India's capital, it's sobering to be reminded that a dinner bill for two may be the average monthly salary of a housekeeper: 1,200 rupees, or about $27," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

This week's look ahead

Monday, Aug. 7:

Vienna – Next round of UN-brokered talks on Kosovo's future status.

Tuesday, Aug. 8:

Cairo – National Council for Human Rights holds a conference on the removal of religion from national ID cards.

Wednesday, Aug. 9

Worldwide – International Day of the World's Indigenous People.

Nagasaki, Japan – Japan commemorates 61 years since the dropping of the world's second atomic bomb.

Ballymena, Northern Ireland – Irish Republican Army dissidents plan to march through hard-line Protestant town. A similar march last year triggered rioting.

Pretoria, South Africa – A march to re-enact the landmark 1956 anti-apartheid demonstration by women against the pass system, a cornerstone of racial-separation policies under the rule of South Africa's white minority.

Sunday, Aug. 13:

Toronto – Scientists, health professionals, AIDS activists, and government officials from around the world meet at the International AIDS Conference to discuss ways to improve treatments for patients and boost prevention of the disease.

– The Associated Press, Reuters

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