Reporters on the Job

Called to Duty on Omaha Beach: If Franco-German rapprochement has any clear limits, they tend to be linguistic. Staff writer Peter Ford was interviewing the team of German bakers who have set up a camp near Omaha Beach in France (and doing it in English, since his German is shaky), when the town's deputy mayor showed up to make nice, collect a loaf of cumin-scented bread, and generally show civic support for the project (this page). The mayor, however, spoke neither German nor English. Peter put down his notebook and did his bit for European unity by translating everybody's expressions of mutual goodwill and faith in the future.

"Standing in a field that had once been soaked in the blood of German and Allied soldiers, and of French civilians, it was rather a moving moment," says Peter.

Global Priorities: The fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria, eradicating hunger, and promoting free trade are the most urgent problems on the planet, a panel of top economists decided this past weekend. As reported on May 28, "How do you rank world misery?" eight economists, including a number of Nobel Prize winners, met in Copenhagen and were asked to prioritize how to spend an imaginary $50 billion to improve the world.

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Reuters reports that the panel gave the highest priority and $27 billion to combating HIV/AIDS because of its humanitarian urgency. The AIDS virus has infected 43 million people globally and has killed more than 25 million. Hunger was ranked second, and allocated $12 billion. The panel was given 10 challenges: Climate change, diseases, hunger, migration, sanitation, corruption, trade barriers, education, conflicts, and financial instability.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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