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Reporters on the Job

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An angel and her rose: A Russian girl holds a white rose during celebrations of Orthodox Christmas Wednesday in front of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters

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China's No-Debt Culture: Staff writer Peter Ford says he had not fully measured the average Chinese person's horror of indebtedness until he heard that fewer than 10 percent of car buyers in China take out a loan: The rest pay cash on the nail. A new Chinese-made four-door sedan can run about $14,000. (see story.)

"Buying a home is the only reason most Chinese will borrow money from a bank," says Peter, "and even then some of them won't. My reporting assistant's parents, for example, saved up all the money they needed to buy a condo, and then bought it outright, so as not to be in debt to a bank."

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A little of that attitude, Peter suggests, might have gone a long way to prevent the sub-prime meltdown in the US and British financial systems.

David Clark Scott

World editor


TV Advertising Rules: Consumers globally still rank television advertising as having the most impact on their buying decisions, according to a Deloitte survey of more than 8,800 consumers from Brazil, Germany, Japan, Britain, and the United States. But the ad landscape is changing.

Online advertising ranks as the second most influential in Germany (57 percent) and Japan (61 percent). The US (48 percent), Britain (45 percent) and Brazil (45 percent) rank online advertising as the third most influential, behind magazine advertising.

A small but notable percentage of consumers surveyed in all five countries consider cell phone advertising the most influential form of advertising – ranking as high as fifth in Brazil (19 percent).

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In Japan, which has the most bloggers per capita, ads in blogs are rated as fifth most influential (13 percent). In Britain, ads in video games and on social networking sites are tied for ninth most influential (6 percent).