• Paint it Green: Driving to a meeting with BOCOG, the abbreviated shorthand for Beijing's 2008 Olympic organizing committee, correspondent Simon Montlake says the air pollution was so bad that visibility could be measured in terms of city blocks. Yet, when he interviewed Olympic officials for today's story (see story) they assured him there would be blue skies by the opening one year from today.
"It was unreal to be in this meeting and be told that everything is going to be clean and green," says Simon.
Still, he says that ultimately China will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Whether it means seeding clouds to create rain or shutting down industrial plants ahead of the games, China will pull out all the stops. "If it comes to [making the city] green, they'll paint it green, literally," says Simon.
• A Shortage Worth Waking Up For: When contributor Matthew Malinowsky entered an electric company payment center in Santiago looking for locals affected by Chile's soaring energy costs (see story), he expected to find only a handful of people. It was a few minutes after 9 a.m., and, although that's when most offices open, Matthew says, "things don't generally pick up until 10 or 11." By then most people have had breakfast and finished their morning routine. "I thought I'd slip in, get quotes, and slip out," says Matthew.
"I walked in, and there was a line stretching out the door," he says. More than 50 people were crammed into the tiny office. "There was no shortage of people complaining," he says. The challenge then became one of extracting himself and limiting the number of interviewees.
– Tom A. Peter