LONDON — As Japanese lawmakers campaign for the Aug. 30 Lower House election, British members of Parliament are in recess and Prime Minister Gordon Brown is on holiday. Papers and weeklies are scraping the barrel for something to write about. Many fill their columns with so much sports that foreign readers might begin to think that British life revolves around football and cricket.

Perhaps we and the media should be giving more serious thought to the major challenges facing us as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Here are seven challenges to provide food for thought over the summer holidays:

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