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November 25 & 28: from Afghanistan - Bosnia - Ghana - Zimbabwe - Seoul, South Korea - Manila, the Philippines

Follow us on Twitter! @cbcdispatches

 

Afghan insurgents from "Taliban: Behind the Masks"

Taping the Taliban. A Norwegian filmmaker is a rare witness to their ambushes and ambitions - and gets kidnapped to boot.  

Can animal rights improve human rights? We'll hear why some in Bosnia hope so.

When to kick and when to run.  A martial arts expert teaches kids in the Philippines to defend themselves from sex traffickers.

Inside the witch camps of Ghana.  A Canadian author's time among  women exiled more for spite than for spells. 

Kimchi quandry: Time to make it in South Korea is running out and so is the cabbage.

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Journalist Paul Refsdal was kidnapped by the Taliban insurgents he was filming.

Rolling tape on the Taliban

In a new documentary about the Taliban, there's a scene where one of them looks into the lens and stares at the camera, like it's an animal that needs killing.

There are several disturbing moments in the film by Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal. It's called Taliban: Behind The Masks. And that's quite literally where he goes.

Refsdel shows the Taliban commander playing with his doomed children. An ambush of American troops. Taliban at play tossing rocks - about the only thing they're not running short of in their squalid mountain hideaway.

In total, the filmmaker spent 15 days with them, more than any other western journalist ever has, documenting how they live and fight. But he nearly paid with his life.

Paul's interview...

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Taliban: Behind The Masks was a finalist for this year's prestigious Rory Peck Award.  An hour-long version will air on CNN on December 11th, 8:00 pm ET. 

Here's are some video excerpts from the film.

 

Some of the wild dogs of Bosnia. Photo/Gillian Carr.

Evolving animal rights to human rights? 

The search for one of the world's most wanted war criminals is spreading beyond Serbia. INTERPOL has been asked to determine if one of its one-hundred-and-eighty-eight member nations might be harboring Ratko Mladic, wanted for the massacre in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War.

Meanwhile, in another war crimes case, Serbian prosecutors are appealing some recent sentences arguing they're too lenient. For their part in the murder of seven-hundred people, one man has been sentenced to fifteen years. Another, just six.

In a country still emerging from a climate of disdain for human lives, there's little sympathy for animals. But a number of new agencies believe they're inexorably linked.

Canadian journalist Gillian Carr joined up with one that cares for the feral dogs of Sarajevo.

Gillian's dispatch...

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Soundtrack: Masekela's Zimbabwe

Our Soundtrack this week comes from Jim MacKinnon and Celine Brault of Chelsea, Quebec, who went off to teach in rural Zimbabwe back in 1985 after watching the country achieve its independence.

Our Sountrack this week..

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More musical memories on The View from Here.

 

Jorge de Guzman spends his holidays giving seminars to girls at risk from sex trade recruiters.

Sex trade salvation 

If you ever meet Jorge de Guzman, watch how he moves. Like a cat. Maybe it's the martial arts training.

He arrived in Canada from the Philippines thirty-five years ago, and trained as a graphic artist. He also gives self-defence lesson at the "Y" in Sarnia, Ontario, where he volunteers.

But about ten years ago, de Guzman found his true calling; saving children from a life in the sex trade.

Most years, he returns to the Philippines to teach them to defend themselves against child traffickers. When to kick, and when to run.

He's schooled thousands, and not without risk. Posing as a John in some seedy situations, he's personally rescued a dozen kids.

And when he headed out on his latest mission, to the capital city of Manila, Dispatches had its microphone on him.

Jorge's mission to Manila...

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And you can see more of Jorge de Guzman November 29th on Connect with Mark Kelley, on the CBC News Network. Jorge is being profiled as one of Canada's top volunteers in the CBC's "Champions of Change" competition.

 

A precious load of cabbage for sale in Seoul. A rare sight this year for kimchi makers. Photo/Nissa Rhee.

Korean kimchi quandry

If you've ever been to South Korea, you'll appreciate the fine airway-clearing properties of kimchi, a traditional dish of sometimes fiery seasoned vegetables.

Right now is in fact, kimchi season, the time of year all the vegetables are ready for Koreans to prepare and put up for the year.

Alas, there's a shortage of a key ingredient. And you may be surprised at the lengths Koreans will go to get it, as we hear in this week's guest essay from Nissa Rhee in Seoul.

Nissa's essay...

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Hawa Mahama was accused of being a witch when a nephew saw her in a dream trying to strangle him. Photo/Karen Palmer.

Spellbound in the witch camps of Ghana

The Queen of Witches lives in Ghana, surrounded by lesser witches, all of them living in exile after being expelled from their villages.

On the surface, it is about sorcery and spells. But there's a complex belief system behind it all, often fueled by some pretty craven human motives.

Canadian journalist Karen Palmer found a network of villages where witches are made to live in Ghana and went to them to find out why the superstition continues.

The answers -- along with some questions that can't quite be answered -- are in her new book Spellbound: Inside West Africa's Witch Camps.

Karen's interview...

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Spellbound is published by Free Press.

Palmer reads a passage about how an allegation of sorcery can plunge a woman into a lifetime in exile...

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Palmer describes the inexplicable predictions of a diviner who told her friend's fortune...

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Next week: Colombia's Kidnap Radio

Kidnap and ransom by rebel groups like the one known as FARC are so common in Colombia, the victim's families have their own radio station.  

We'll have a first-person story from journalist Annie Coreal...

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This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally. With technical producers Tim Lorimer and Victor Johnston, senior producer Alan Guettel.

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