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Reporters on the Job

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On the outskirts of Allahabad, India, women stack cow-dung cakes, which are used as a fuel for cooking in rural areas. High inflation has made it harder for many Indians to purchase basic items.

Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

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Disaster Tourism: One of the things that has struck staff writer Peter Ford as he has traveled around China's earthquake zone in Sichuan Province in recent weeks has been the number of ordinary people visiting the sites of the worst disasters, especially schools (see story).

"They do not appear to be there to pay their respects to the dead, but mostly to take pictures of the ruins on their mobile phones," says Peter. "The presence of these disaster tourists is not only rather ghoulish, it is getting in the way of relief efforts, because the police are now trying to keep day-trippers away by demanding all kinds of authorization letters that relief workers have not been told about. And when they do find out about them, they have to go through all kinds of bureaucratic hoops to secure them."

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– Carol Huang

Asia editor