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Reporters on the Job

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Text Message Blitz: Israel is a news-obsessed nation. As in most countries, when big stories break everyone is glued to the TV, radio, or Internet. But Israelis take it one step further than watching the news - they begin calling and text messaging their friends and family asking if they know what is going on, and swapping stories about ways in which they were related to the event.

Unlike a bombing, when everyone gets on the phone to check if their loved ones are OK, there are very few people in Israel who have a personal connection to Ariel Sharon's illness.

But Wednesday evening, when Israeli TV showed Mr. Sharon being rushed to the hospital, correspondent Rafael Frankel received a flood of text messages and phone calls. "Have you seen the news? Is he going to be OK? What's going to happen if he dies?" they asked. "All I could say or text message back was, 'I don't know,' " says Rafael.

Dubai Boom: Correspondent James Brandon has witnessed the swift economic transformation of Dubai firsthand. "When I first came here to visit my dad five years ago, it felt like a small town. You could drive across town in 10 minutes. Now it takes an hour."

But the greatest inconvenience and dearly felt loss is closer to home. "We used to be able to drive my dad's Jeep onto the beach and go for a swim. Now, there are big hotels in the way, as far as the eye can see. Now, you have to pay for a spot in a sensible car park, and walk to the beach," says James.

David Clark Scott
World editor


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