Reporters on the job

NO MORE FRENCH BABY VIDEOS: Reporter Nanette van der Laan didn't have to go far for firsthand information about a French court ruling and its effects on French society. Nanette is expecting her second child. She was waiting in her doctor's office in Paris for a prenatal scan when she struck up a conversation with another expectant mom about a legal ruling covering babies diagnosed as mentally disabled (page 1). "This woman had brought a video cassette to record the picture of her baby in the womb, sort of a souvenir. She'd done it before, with her first child," says Nanette. "But she told me that the doctor had refused to allow her to make a video this time. He didn't want her to have any evidence that she could use in a legal case if he failed to see anything abnormal. The doctors are getting scared."

EMBRACING THE EURO: Peter Ford, our European correspondent, cannot wait for the euro, which becomes the common currency in 12 European nations on January 1, 2002 (this page). He will at last be able to get rid of the pile of envelopes in which he currently keeps money left over from reporting trips, and which contain German marks, Irish punts (also known as pounds], Italian lire, Dutch guilders, Belgian francs, and Spanish pesetas. Life will be a lot easier, he expects, with no mental gymnastics every time he books a hotel room in Helsinki or orders a meal in Munich.

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THE 12 FACES OF PUTIN: The Russian media says the Christmas gift in political circles is a 2002 calendar titled "The 12 moods of Putin." Each month shows a different expression of the Russian president. Moscow artist Dmitry Vrubel told the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta that his phone is already ringing with calls from "above" eager to get a copy of his calendar.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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