Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Now a couple of recent stories that have crossed our way. Robert Holding is a milkman in Burnley, England. Some people are willing to pay a premium for home delivery there because they can get utterly fresh milk with their morning cereal, cottage cheese and a little marijuana.

At least, Robert Holding has been convicted of adding marijuana to the milk orders of 17 customers on his route. All of them are elderly. Mr. Holding is 72 himself, and his lawyer said his customers asked him for marijuana to relieve aches and pains ranging from arthritis to loss of appetite.

Mr. Holding says he made no profit from stocking cannabis as well as cream for his customers, but Judge Beverly Lunt scolded Mr. Holding as a lawbreaker, not a philanthropist. He received a 36-week sentence which Judge Lunt suspended because Mr. Holding's wife has Alzheimer's and depends on her husband's care. By the way, Mr. Holding reportedly charged four pounds or about six U.S. dollars per stash, that's about twice the street price of a gallon of milk in London.

Finally, Russia is a deadly place to be a journalist. Over the past eight years, four reporters for Novaya Gazeta, one of the few independent newspapers, have been killed. In the United States, professional associations have award ceremonies at which journalists often laud each other for courage. When I consider the life of a Russian journalist, I'm humbled, even a little ashamed.

In the U.S., crusading dauntless journalists win awards. They wind up on the best-seller list, All Things Considered and the "Larry King Show." In Russia, anyone who tries to report the news honestly knows that they risk their lives.

Even in such treacherous terrain, the recent killing of Anastasia Baburova, who worked for Novaya Gazeta, is especially outrageous. She was 25 years old. She was standing on a Moscow street on January 19th this year with Stanislav Markelov, a human rights lawyer, who'd been a source in some of her investigative stories when they were both shot dead in the back of the head.

Britain's Economist has printed a poem Anastasia wrote when she was just 15. You're not surprised to learn that the girl who wrote it grew up to be a journalist, and all the more aghast and sad that her life was cut short.

Wake up in the morning, she wrote, stretch your arms toward the sun, say something in Chinese and go to Paris. Every minute, somewhere in the world there is morning. Somewhere, people stretch their arms toward the sun, they speak new languages, fly from Cairo to Warsaw, they smile and drink coffee together.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: You're listening to NPR News.

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Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small