Reporters on the Job
• Home away from home: As an Englishman, Peter Ford was hardly alone when he visited the Southwest of France last week to follow the convoi exceptionnel (page 1). Everywhere he went, he heard English being spoken. Retired and other comfortably-off English people have already bought all the 'fixer-upper' cottages that used to be for sale further north in the Dordogne (that deeply rural district even has its own English-language weekly newspaper), and now the invasion has spread to the Gers region. Peter found himself lunching on steack frites at a bistro table next to Nigel Lawson, once Margaret Thatcher's chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister), who has bought himself a chateau in the area. It is striking, Peter finds, how the British politicians who most disdain French politics and economics in public find its gastronomic and cultural charms most irresistible in private.
- Margaret Henry
• Change order: Work on Germany's national Holocaust memorial in Berlin resumed Monday after officials decided to continue using products made by a firm whose former subsidiary produced poison gas for Nazi death camps. As contributor Charles Hawley reported on Nov. 3, 2003, the board overseeing the monument had barred the use of anti-graffiti coating made by Degussa AG. But late last week, after emotional debate, the panel reversed its decision, with dissent from the leader of Berlin's Jewish community. Including Degussa is part of acknowledging and confronting the Nazi past, Wolfgang Thierse, president of the German parliament, told reporters. Degussa has been one of industrial Germany's leaders in an effort to atone for Nazi horrors, cofounding and contributing to a multibillion-dollar fund for compensating victims of concentration camps and former slave laborers.