Reporters on the Job

A Future Without the EU? Staff writer Peter Ford's adolescent son, Robin, had more than an academic interest in the outcome of the French referendum on the European Constitution on Sunday (page 1).

Robin has hopes of becoming a diplomat, and as the son of a British father and a French mother he finds it only natural to want to be a European diplomat in the service of the European Union. An EU foreign service is one of the innovations of the proposed Constitution, so his career plans seemed reasonable enough. No longer.

With the French rejection most likely killing the constitution, the prospect of an EU diplomatic corps has evaporated. His father hopes Robin will pursue his fallback option - to become an international lawyer. "That way I stand a better chance of getting the bottle-green Jaguar XJ6 my sons have promised me when they get rich," he says.

First Step in Civic Activism: In Lebanon, intellectuals gather in cafes every day to wage endless political debates, drinking rivers of coffee, tea, and often arak, says correspondent Annia Ciezadlo. At Lebanese cafes, the liqueur arak is served with little trays of nuts and slivered carrots drenched with lemon juice, intended to encourage more consumption of arak.

"When I met the organizers of Hayyabina, the antisectarian group (page 7), I wasn't sure what to expect. I found them sitting at a cafe drinking arak. They told me they had been thinking of forming a group like Hayyabina for years. It wasn't until the Cedar Revolution that they actually did it," she says. Lokman Slim, one of the group's founders, told Annia: "But we had to take the first step - to stop just drinking arak and eating nuts."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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