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October 15 & 18: from San Juan Batista, California - Kabul - New York - London - Cape Town - Port-au-Prince

California farmers have to chase rabbits if they want to sell lettuce. Why some say the law is cutting into their salad days.

Can anthropology help win the war in Afghanistan? The U.S. Army thinks so and wants to embed more social scientists with front-line troops.

Hear the sound of The Last Rango Master. How a forbidden instrument is finding a new global following.

Reflections on Haiti's holistic economy. If the poor can't afford to eat, is it their own fault for not seeing the big picture?

And, the plague of hairy, snarling crooks in Cape Town. It's like they're not even... human.

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Individual items from this week's show are not available. But you can listen to them in Part 1 and Part 2 of the programme (above).

Leafy greens and growing pains

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the salad bar, comes news those leafy greens are among the riskiest foods we eat. A new American study says they account for nearly 30 per cent of all reported food-borne illnesses. That's got the industry going crazy trying to keep its products pathogen-free.

Now, the rules for cultivating salad were set down a couple years ago in the fragrantly named "California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement."

All the state's exports to Canada must comply. And Washington's pushing to make the rules nationwide.

Dispatches tells you all this for a reason.

All the zeal around food safety is having unintended side effects.

Growers worry it's short-term gain for long-term pain as we heard from CBC Correspondent Jennifer Westaway in the fields of central California.

Human terrain

While the White House considers whether to send more American troops into Afghanistan, it's also being asked to send in more anthropologists and social scientists.

They're part of an experiment to help U.S. forces understand the place and the people they're dealing with.

Civillian academics are embedded with front-line soldiers to advise on local customs and politics.

It's called the "Human Terrain System" and it began in Iraq two years ago. Not everyone approves. And it's not without dangers. Three of them have been killed in action.

But it's apparently been effective enough that the Army's asking to expand the six teams in Afghanistan to 13.

One journalist who's seen it up close in the field is Vanessa Gezari, who's writing a book on the system underwritten by the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting. She spoke to Rick from Kabul.

Counting crickets

At Dispatches we delight in bringing you the world but here's a first. We bring you...Bugworld. As Rick explains , it comes via New York City...

Link to New York's Cricket Census

Burgling baboons

Now, India's entry into the exclusive club of "Space Nations" has come to a rude ending.

The scenic tranquility of Capetown, South Africa has come under seige.

Residents are now plagued by a growing incidence of break-ins and vandalism.

And the culprits are not the kind of thieves you can just throw in jail as we heard from. Dispatches contributor Rhoda Metcalfe at the scene of the crime.

Pennies from Haiti

The U.N. is going to give Haiti another go.

It's extending its peacekeeping mission into a sixth year, saying the country still constitutes a threat to international security.

It's even bringing INTERPOL into the picture, to combat criminal gangs that threaten to undermine the nine-thousand strong force.

It all seems a far cry from the Haiti of twenty-five years ago, when a dictator ruled, and Haitians worked for just a few pennies per hour.

Or is it?

Canadian journalist Claude Adams has covered Haiti for many years and just returned wondering what's really changed.

Claude Adams is a Canadian journalist based in Vancouver.


The Last Rango Master

Hassan with his band, Rango.

Well down through history, music has had the power to move and incite, prompting some regimes to ban it.

And on rare occasions, the instruments that play it too.

Bagpipes were once forbidden by the British which feared they were a Scottish weapon of war. But that was nearly 300 years ago.

Imagine our surprise to learn that Egypt had forbidden the playing of another kind of instrument as recently as the 1970s.

The rango is fashioned from vegetable gourds, but Egypt viewed it as black magic which caused women to shake evil spirits from their bodies. The forbidden instrument and its music had all but died out.

Until Zakaria recently found Hassan, the last Rango Master.

Hassan is touring Britain this month playing his first recording, called "Sudani Voodoo" and recently performed it at the Barbican Theatre in London.

Hassan displays the rango.


The tracks featured in this piece are from the band's debut recording "Sudani Voodoo" on 30IPS Records.

Click here to see their website.

 

 

 

 

 

This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall and Alison Masemann, intern Nadia Shabhaz, with technical producers Victor Johnston, Marc Thibodeau, Thomas Ledwell and senior producer Alan Guettel and myself.

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