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Reporters on the Job

• GONE NATIVE IN AUSTRALIA: Reporter Shawn Donnan says that reporting about Australia's feral-animal problem (page 7) – and the way Australians regard nonnative feral animals with extreme contempt – has been "a real eye-opener during my time in Australia." He gained an affinity for that perspective during a camping trip, in a national park in western Queensland.

"My wife and I were sitting around the campfire when we heard something rustling in the bushes. Cool, we thought. A possum! Or some other kind of cute marsupial. Maybe, if we were lucky, a rare bilby. We shone our flashlights into the bushes and, eventually, we found what had been making the noise – a feral kitten. Cute, sure. But when you think of all the birds and other animals it will kill in what suddenly seemed like an eerily quiet – and empty – national park, you look at even the cutest little kitten differently.

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"In fact, last year we made a point of buying Easter "bilbies," a native marsupial with rabbit-like ears, rather than bunnies. A portion of the money made on Easter bilbies goes to saving native fauna."

• NO FLIRTS IN MADRID? Sara Miller says changing attitudes toward women in Spain (page 7), are evident in the lack of piropos – the flattering, flirtatious remarks long directed at women here. "Some of the women I interviewed bemoaned the disappearance of the piropo. Friends in the US always ask me if I get constant unwanted attention. The truth is I have not heard one piropo since I arrived in September. Although I can't say I mind being ignored, it was definitely a surprise."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Follow up on a Monitor story

• NBA DRAFTS CHINA'S 'WALKING GREAT WALL.' Yao Ming is the first No. 1 draft pick from China, and he's the first foreign player picked as No. 1 who hasn't played US college basketball. As reported in the Monitor's April 23 issue, the 7ft., 5 in. center has a good combination of moves and shooting skills, something rare in a player so tall.


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