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Reporters on the Job

Remembering Dhaka: Reporting today's story on political conflict in Bangladesh induced a fit of nostalgia for correspondent David Montero, who cut his teeth as a foreign correspondent during his 14 months in the capital, Dhaka.

"Political violence is a mainstay of life in Bangladesh," says David. "Almost every Friday, there were protests and strikes. I'd zip around the city on the back of a motorcycle driven by one of my Bangladeshi colleagues to report."

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David says that he gained great respect for counterparts who often worked under difficult conditions. "I have the utmost respect for those guys," he says. "It's not an easy place to be a journalist."

Pirate Patrol: Pirates conjure an image of swashbucklers with eye patches and cutlasses. The modern version is less romantic: a speedboat of toughs armed with automatic weapons, says correspondent Simon Montlake.

The shipping industry has considered arming crew members or posting the maritime equivalent of air marshals on valuable ships. But many analysts say the best approach is deterrence, keeping a 24-hour watch and using bright lights and hoses to repel attackers.

Simon notes that Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and, initially, Thailand began aerial patrols in 2005, and it sent a signal of regional resolve. But some observers are skeptical of that approach. And, says Simon, "I found no recorded cases of pirates being spotted from the sky."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor