• The Scents of Delhi: As staff writer Mark Sappenfield reported today's story about reactions to Wal-Mart opening in India, he made note of the fire near Somdutt's packaging store. "Delhi is a city of extremes – 110 degrees F. in the summer and into the 30s at night in winter," he says. "There is hardly a street corner that isn't aflame at dusk. These are modest affairs, just enough for a few people to gather around. Among the more inventive fuels: old wrappers and bicycle tires."
"The fires give Delhi the pleasant wintertime aroma of burning firewood, like an enormous scented candle hung over a city that typically smells of urine, curry, car exhaust, and body odor simultaneously," he says. "But it does have other consequences, highlighted by an electric sign I saw at a Delhi stoplight: "Fine air particulates today: 521 percent [above] safe level."
David Clark Scott
• Monday, Dec. 18
Beijing – Six-nation talks resume in international effort to get North Korea to give up nuclear weapons program.
Brussels – European Union fisheries ministers begin talks on preventing collapse of threatened fish stocks in Atlantic.
Zurich, Switzerland – FIFA, the world soccer body, awards Player of the Year.
Vienna, Austria – Report on Muslims and Islamophobia in European Union.
• Tuesday, Dec. 19
Jerusalem – British Prime Minister Tony Blair to visit Israel, Palestinian territories, and United Arab Emirates.
London – 400th anniversary of departure of ships carrying colonists for first permanent English settlement in America.
•Friday, Dec. 22
Madrid – Government conducts world's richest lottery, "El Gordo," with prizes totaling $2.5 billion.