Reporters on the Job

Morris Mac Matzen/Reuters
Mad Max? No. It's the 'Tankbike,' a 4.8-ton motorcycle made with the V-12 engine of a Russian tank. It's on exhibit at Hamburg Motorcycle Days in Germany this weekend.

No Lights, No Soccer! Foreign correspondents soon learn to be attuned to the influence of soccer matches. Correspondent Joseph Schatz, who is based in Lusaka, Zambia, was reminded of that again this week during a series of power blackouts. Sure, Zambia's blackouts had a big impact on the country's economically vital copper mines, forcing them to shut down and prompting a scramble to find generators (see story). But the real outrage came when the blackout occurred in the middle of an Africa Cup soccer match. Irate fans stormed the power utility office.

Of course, some parts of society are ready for such things. "It wasn't hard to figure out where the diplomats lived in Lusaka during the blackout – you just had to look for lights – or a loud whirring noise of the diesel-powered generators," notes Joseph.

On Tuesday night, the whirring noises were lost amid the cheering and honking horns. Conveniently, after a third short national blackout, the lights came back on in many parts of Lusaka just in time for Zambians to watch their national team beat Sudan, 3-0, in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament going on in Ghana.

Ask Your Babysitter: Israel is such a small place that it seems that everywhere you turn, somebody who knows someone who is newsworthy or a good source, says Tel Aviv reporter Joshua Mitnick.

The idea for today's story about Israelis helping Palestinian neighbors came while "I was chatting with the babysitter of my 6-month-old daughter. I knew that she lived near Gaza, and she told me that her father used to serve as the minister of religious affairs. That meant he was sort of the high commissioner overseeing all of Gaza's religious institutions. It turns out that her father is an Arabist. He knew all the Hamas leaders when they were little-known religious figures. And he still maintains contact with his Palestinian driver."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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