Reporters on the Job

Radio Hong Kong: Staff writer Robert Marquand was traveling on a train from mainland China to Hong Kong recently. In the seat next to him were two 20-something Chinese business people. They were returning to Hong Kong from a day visit to their toy factory in Guangzhou. They were grumpy about a price increase. So when Bob asked them a question about the future of RTHK - the Hong Kong radio station - he got a minor rant on the difference between the political climate in Hong Kong and that in mainland China.

"People in Hong Kong won't tolerate harm to RTHK" said Choy, who is a self-proclaimed expert on Hong Kong music and American movies. "It would show that we don't have power, and that the mainland does. Under the British, we could speak more freely. But it is being lost now. Look what's happening with Yahoo and Google. They have to kowtow [to Beijing's wishes]."

Survey Says...

Index of 'Failed States': Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the nations most vulnerable to instability, according to Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace think tank's (www.fundforpeace.org) second-annual "Failed States Index."

The index ranks 148 nations, using 12 criteria, including human flight, demographic pressures, and economic decline. Eleven of the 20 most unstable states are in Africa. Iraq ranked fourth on the list. Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Nigeria, and China (87,000 peasant strikes/riots last year) showed the biggest drops in the index. Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Boznia and Herzegovina saw the biggest improvement in the rankings.

France (riots in Paris) and the US (response to Hurricane Katrina) fared worse than other industrialized nations such as Norway, which ranked as the world's most stable nation.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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