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Beggars See a Boon as Europe Dumps Old Coins

January 08, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

The euro may be causing headaches for cashiers across Europe, but the single currency has been a windfall for one group: beggars.

"The euro conversion has been a blessing for me," said Emil Osmetzki, 58, a homeless man in Berlin. "The people seem eager to toss away their leftover [German] marks. The old mark change is burning a hole in their pockets."

Britain is not part of the euro, introduced in 12 European nations Jan. 1, but beggars there are being flexible. A homeless man near London's Covent Garden area was spotted wearing a sign saying: "Euros accepted but pounds preferred."

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