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August 18 & 21: from Ghana - Uganda-Sudan border - Detroit - Senegal - London - Germany

American preacher Sam Childers set up an orphanage in Southern Sudan, then went hunting for the most fearsome of rebel leaders. Photo/Lionsgate Productions.


The machine gun preacher of Sudan; why a reformed biker's waging holy war on one of the most feared rebel movements in Africa.

Selling America by the pound. Meet the author who's documented the end of a Detroit auto plant, and its rebirth in Mexico.

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

They call it chessboxing and our correspondent is ringside as a merry cult of combatants battle for self-control on the canvas and the board..

Sam Childers - the American pastor who rescues child soldiers in Sudan, but loads up to hunt the rebels who enslaved them.  Photo/ Lionsgate Entertainment

Sudan's pistol-packing preacher

It wasn't so much a bolt-out-of-the-blue as a baby that turned biker Sam Childers to God.

Against long odds, his ex-stripper girlfriend finally got pregnant, and that was pretty much it.

He gave up the outlaw lifestyle, though not the guns.

He quit peddling the dope that was killing junkies, and took his newly-reformed, God-fearing self to Sudan and commenced killing rebels so he could free child soldiers.

At least, that's his story.

It was enough to persuade Hollywood to make a soon-to-be-released film with actor Gerard Butler playing the man himself.

Canadian journalist Dennis Porter has been to play with him too, and witness the biblical vengeance of the Machine Gun Preacher.

Listen to Dennis's dispatch now

Machine Gun Preacher: The Poster. Gerard Butler as Sam Childers in the motion picture that will debut at The Toronto Film Festival in September

  

 Name This Tune

Putting some oom-pah-pah into a rock classic. But the "why " behind it is a tale in itself. 

Go ahead, click here

Sound familiar?  It couldn't be Smoke on the Water, right?  Well, but not as you know it.  And -- trust us -- you do want to know why.

It's because this is a German military band, playing at the send-off of disgraced defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Gutternberg, ousted for allegedly plagiarising his doctoral thesis.

Makes sense. No?

Outgoing ministers in Germany usually get to pick the music for their handover ceremony. And Karl requested...AC/DC, like you would.  Totally freaked out the conductor.  

"Totally breaks the mold of our music styles" he said. Denied. So the conductor picks ... this! Which apparently doesn't!

So as torchlight flickers off brass horns and coalscuttle helmets, the disgraced minister stands with an enigmatic little smile on his face, looking a little misty, and probably thinking:

"No matter what we get out of this, I know, I know we'll never forget..."

Of course, there's a video.

Watch it   .

Stories like that are why we come to work in the morning.

 

Just another rusty Ford plant

punchingout200300.jpg

In the American Rust Belt, factories are dismantled daily and entire assembly lines shipped to low-wage factories out-of-country.

For writer Paul Clemens, it's symptomatic of a wider economic malaise, a story he wanted to tell from the inside out.

So he wheedled his way into the Budd auto stamping plant in Detroit, a place he describes as looking like a "sacked village."  He took notes on its culture and the conversations of those tearing it down.

It's all in his new book called Punching Out: One Year In A Closing Auto Plant

  Paul speaks to Rick, from Detroit  

  Paul reads about the atmosphere over the winter in the Budd plant.

  Paul reads about the motley crew of men who worked there in the end.

  Paul reads about a conversation with an executive of the Brazilian company buying some of the equipment in the Budd plant.

Punching Out, is published by Doubleday.

 

The agony of defeat in the Dakar ring.  Photo/Sean Liliani

Sandbox millionaires

More popular than soccer in many parts of Africa, taditional wrestling has grown into a major sport. 

Every year, wrestlers hoping to achieve fame and fortune converge on Dakar for an annual tournament.

The once-traditional form of local competition is now seen by many as the route from rags to riches.  

Sean Liliani is ring-side in Dakar, Senegal with this week's View From Here.

 Listen to Sean's VFH now


For more photos click here for Sean's photo gallery.

 

Knight to left hook  

The late chess legend Bobby Fischer once said, "Chess is war over the board."  All these years later some are taking him literally.

There's a new pastime with a following on both sides of the Atlantic that combines the mental demands of chess, with the physical demands of boxing. 

They call it chessboxing.  Wacky, perhaps, But the intriguing part is the way it re-trains the brain into what the American behavior therapist Andrea Kuszewski calls "emotion regulation." 

Emotional decisions can be poor decisions, she says, so learning to switch from one activity to another helps control them.

Since Kuszewski works with kids, she's excited about that idea because learning emotional control might say, reduce bullying in schools. 

Maybe not by chessboxing, she says.  But imagine; kickball-math! 

That's the theory. The CBC's Laura Lynch headed for a makeshift gym to hear it practiced.

  Hear Laura's dispatch now

As the late Grandmaster Bobby Fischer used to say, "Your chess deteriorates as your body does. You can't separate body from mind."  Bobby still rules.

  

This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, Steve McNally,  technical producer Victor Johnston, senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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