• THE MULTICULTURAL WARD: Reporters are daily observers of the changes in a society and often get ideas from their own experience. Today's story about Britain's influx of overseas healthcare workers is a case in point.
Reporter Mark Rice-Oxley's second son was recently delivered by a New Zealand midwife. "The after-care was performed by a succession of Filipino nurses who were attentive and competent, although not always completely at ease with English. The doctor was from the West Indies, I believe.
"A British hospital today is definitely a cultural melting pot," says Mark.
• LET THEM RIDE SCOOTERS: The French effort to make cuts in social services , were brought home even to the children of the Monitor's European correspondent, Peter Ford.
Enough public-sector unions in France oppose pension reform to have made last spring a nightmare for Parisians trying to get around the city when it was paralyzed by intermittent strikes. Peter was in Baghdad at the time (facing his own shortages of public services), but his wife tells him that their two boys were sent to school on their scooters, in the absence of the Metro. She felt sorry for the few bus drivers who kept working.
"Everyone was shouting at them, when they should have been shouting at the drivers who weren't working," she says. "It was difficult, but the spring was lovely - Paris was at its best, and as long as you weren't in a mad rush to get somewhere, walking (or scootering) was a pleasure."
David Clark Scott