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Reporters on the Job

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EAGER FOR EDUCATION: Filipino students call through a locked gate to their school. The new school year began in Manila this week, but these children arrived to find their elementary school is being knocked down for a new sports complex. About 700 students staged a protest vigil.

Bullit Marquez

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An Interview Plus Peacocks: Journalism isn't all hard work and no play. Correspondent Mian Ridge met some former "manual scavengers" in Alwar, India, as she did the reporting about an Indian businessman who is shattering the caste system.

The scavengers had been trained in new skills, ranging from picklemaking to tailoring. "One girl was keen to show off her beautician skills, so while I interviewed her she decorated my hands with the intricate henna patterns women wear at weddings here," says Mian.

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"She did it really beautifully and I was very happy to go home with five-headed peacocks dancing up my arms. They won't fade for weeks."

What Inflation? Often stories emerge out of the personal experience and curiosity of reporters. They see something and wonder if the same thing isn't happening to others. But that wasn't the case in today's story about rising inflation in Asia. In reporter Simon Montlake's corner of Thailand, inflation seems under wraps – so far.

"I don't have a car, so even though gas prices are up to $1.30 per liter (about $5 per gallon), I haven't felt the pinch," he says. He takes a motorcycle taxi to the end of his street, and it costs just 10 baht (32 cents). "That price hasn't changed in the six years I've lived in Bangkok. Car taxi fares haven't risen yet either." But his landlord recently upped the rent.

Noodle soup prices are steady, he reports. "I know the price for raw ingredients is going up, so the soup vendors profit margins must be down," he says, and then pauses as a new thought hits him. "Perhaps they're putting less chicken in my noodle soup. I'll have to pay more attention to that."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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