• Too Yucky to Touch: Sports in China have long been considered a serious career path, only to be pursued by top athletes – identified by the state at an early age. To learn more about China's emerging "sports for fun" culture, staff writer Carol Huang checked out a summer sports camp in Beijing, where parents were sending their preteen kids to enjoy exercise, in this case a basketball camp. According to the sports director, her program of 85 students was only one of a handful in the entire city.
"This camp didn't have quite the, er, momentum I'd imagined a summer sports camp would. For their segment on physical exercise, most of the children were sitting at desks in a hot, crowded classroom while their soft-spoken teacher standing at the front of the room showing them how to do tricep curls and leg lifts," says Carol.
She watched as they shuffled outside into the muggy afternoon, where their teacher tried to organize a game. But the children didn't get too involved; some refused to join in because it required boys and girls to link arms, she says.
Survey Says ...
• What 35-Hour Work Week? The idea of the leisure-mad, uncompetitive French worker who heads for the door after 35 hours appears to be a fantasy, a new survey shows. French workers racked up an average of 41 hours per week last year, says a study by France's national statistics agency. Farmers put in the most hours, an average of nearly 59 per week. Shopkeepers and craftspeople came in second, at 55 hours; and white collar workers were third, with 44 hours. The results, reported by the Associated Press, put French workers ahead of German (37.5 hours) and British (37 hours). US workers put in 41.7 hours on average, says the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
– David Clark Scott