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Reporters on the Job

A European Light Foot : Europeans now pay more for a gallon of gas than anyone else on the planet (page 1). But staff writer Peter Ford says he is relatively sheltered from the escalating prices because he never drives his car in Paris. He prefers to take the extremely efficient buses or the Metro.

But during his recent holiday, he was exposed a the fossil-fueled world of $67-a-barrel oil, when he drove his family to Croatia and back. The experience of paying $110 several times to fill the tank of his car gave him pause.

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"I passed the driving time doing sums in my head," he says, "and calculated that it was still just barely cheaper for the four of us to drive our vehicle than to fly and rent a car in Croatia. But I did keep my speed down to 110 kph (68 mph) from the speed limit of 130 kph (81 mph), which saved me 20 percent on my fuel costs for the trip."

A Dial Tone Everywhere : Correspondent Nicole Itano can testify to Africa's leapfrogging of land lines to cellphones (page 7). "When I was covering the fall of Liberia's President Charles Taylor in 2003, the place was a shambles. There hadn't been electricity or running water in most of the capital for 10 years. But there were cellphones that worked everywhere. A blessing for a journalist. The area code for the phone was in the Middle East somewhere, but it worked."

David Clark Scott
World editor


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