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Reporters on the Job

Same Age, Different World: Contributor Katharine Houreld says she was struck by how frightened the refugees she met in Chad were of retaliation by local authorities. "Here they were in a place that was supposed to be something of a refuge, and they insisted that I change their names to protect them," she says.

Katharine was also moved by a conversation she had with a refugee who, like Katharine, is in her mid-20s. "This woman's husband had been abducted and murdered. We sat, shaded by a plastic tarp, and talked, and she was very dignified and measured in her words," Katharine says. "But at the same time, you could see and hear how uncertain the future looked to her, with four children, no husband, and her brother also kidnapped. She seemed as if she was going to be able to tough it out. She was approaching the situation very practically. But she also had deep lines on her forehead. I just looked at her, thinking that this could be me."

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Goodbye, Polythene Pam? When it comes to recycling, some neighborhoods in Britain are more forgiving than others. Correspondent Mark Rice-Oxley has more than once returned home after the curbside recycling van has visited to find his plastics, glass bottles, tin cans and discarded newspapers still on the sidewalk. "They like you to sort properly," he fumes. "If you mix your glass and your plastics they refuse to remove them. It gives a new meaning to the term 'refuse collector.' " Undeterred, Mark has just invested in a composter for kitchen leftovers, and takes larger items to the recycling facility. "When I'm sitting in line with dozens of other cars waiting to offload," he says, "I wonder if all the fuel we're burning is more than offsetting the positive effect of recyling."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor


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