• HURRAY FOR EUROS: When Peter Ford moved to Paris to become the Monitor's European correspondent several years ago, he was asked to approach the continent as a whole entity, reporting on broad trends. During that time, he has found "Europe" very much a work in progress, and he has been as struck by the differences between the European Union's 15 members (soon to be 25) as by what they have in common (page 7).
But on one practical front, he is delighted by their efforts to unite. "It may seem simple," he says, "but it is an enormous relief to arrive at an airport and be able to pay the taxi driver in the same currency, drawn from the same wallet, that I paid the taxi that took me to the airport in Paris, instead of rifling through the 15 envelopes of national currencies that I once kept in the office."
• BRING YOUR OWN INTERPRETER: When reporter Andrew Downie went to see the hit Brazilian film "City of God" (page 1) he took along a Brazilian friend. "Although I have been here three years and speak reasonable Portuguese, I knew the film would have a lot of slang (including words dating from the '60s, '70s, and '80s) and was worried that I would need an interpreter. With reason! I only understood about half the dialogue," he says.
But he says the cinematography was strong enough to hold his interest and to understand the story line. "I went back to see it a second time to make sure I didn't miss anything. At least then I knew which bits to listen more closely to."
• AN ISRAELI CLIMATE: The Monitor's Danna Harman says the atmosphere among foreigners in Kenya has changed since the hotel bombing in Mombasa two weeks ago. "I've attended Thanksgiving, Eid, and Hanukkah celebrations with different friends, and the parents at each house were saying the same thing to their children: 'Don't go to the night clubs, don't go the Christmas fair, stay close to home.' And the embassies have all registered their respective citizens and their blood types." Danna has also lived and worked in Israel, and says "the climate of fear here now feels very familiar."
David Clark Scott