Reporters on the Job

Sukree Sukplang/Reuters
Who needs a skiff? In Thailand's Ayutthaya Province, about 50 miles north of Bangkok, a man fishes from his elephant.

Not-So Plainclothes Police: On the same day that Chinese leader Hu Jintao arrived, correspondent Christopher Johnson attended a pro-Tibet demonstration in Tokyo. He was struck by the size of the turnout – about 3,000 Japanese ranging from teenagers to housewives and retirees – and by the paucity of pro-China supporters. "Unlike the Olympic torch protests in Nagano, Japan, a week ago, there were no Chinese supporters around this time," says Chris.

But he did notice some "well-groomed, spiffy-looking Japanese businessmen along the protest route Tuesday. "No one seemed to know who they were. So, I went over to one of them. He had a small yellow flower or lapel pin on a nice Italian suit. In Japanese, he explained to me that he was a plainclothes policeman there to make sure no one attacked the protesters. They were the best dressed plainclothes policemen I've ever seen in Japan," says Chris, and he's lived there off and on for 20 years.


Motherhood Index: Nordic countries are the best places to be a mother, according to Save the Children's ninth annual survey of 146 countries. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa dominate the bottom tier. The United States places 27th this year, one slot down from last year.

The Top 10 countries, in general, have high scores for mothers' and children's health, educational, and economic status, while the 10 bottom-ranked countries perform poorly on all indicators.

Top 10: Sweden, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Finland, Ireland, Germany, France.

Bottom 10: Ethiopia, Mali, Djibouti, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Chad, Niger.

The index relies on some of the following criteria: Lifetime risk of maternal mortality, percentage of women using modern contraception, skilled attendant at delivery, expected number of years of formal schooling for females, maternity leave benefits, and ratio of girls to boys enrolled in primary school.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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