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May 10 & 13, 2012: from Damascus, Syria - Munich, Germany - Sao Paolo, Brazil - Alabama - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Port-au-Prince, Haiti

From our correspondents around the world...


Alabama has America's toughest laws aimed at undocumented immigrants. It makes the lives of Hispanics so hard they are "self deporting", even if they are not illegal. The approach has also had an impact on Alabama citizens, many of whom have been drawn into the state's war on undocumented immigrants. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The shifting conflict in Syria. From stand-and-fight to guerilla warfare and a cry for outside help.

The German locomotive hopes to pull Europe's flailing economies out of trouble. But there's a ghost in that machine.

In Brazil, David Rocha makes garbage instruments. Or rather, instruments from garbage. That's why they sound so good.

Illegal immigrant, deport thyself. How an experiment in immigration went wrong in Alabama.

Hotels aren't in the charity business, so why would the Red Cross want into the hotel business, in Haiti?

And from the Netherlands, a cafe where you don't pay for the food. We take repast in a restaurant for these recessionary times.

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A woman walks past a damaged building during a field visit by United Nations observers in the northern Syrian province of Idlib May 8, 2012. UN diplomats says fears of full-scale civil war are increasing, (Photo: REUTERS/Khaled al- Hariri)

An undeclared war, an unfulfilled truce, and an unconvincing election.

As the conflict in Syria enters its second year it remains a country full of rabbitholes, each of them full.

While Damascus is relatively quiet, gunfire's replacing artillery fire in cities like Homs as the nature of the conflict starts to shift.

The CBC's Laura Lynch is in the country for a firsthand look and joined Rick from the capital of Damascus.

Listen to Rick's conversation with Laura

Syria's opposition meanwhile, is also fighting on the diplomatic front to get a message out past the war zone. A message critical of the actions of the international community so far.

Ausama Monajed is a member of the Syrian National Council representing factions involved in the uprising.

Speaking to the Oslo Freedom Forum this week, he urged the world to make a more urgent and unanimous plan.

Listen to an excerpt from Ausama Monajed's speech

A mechanic works on a new Audi A4 car on the production line of the German car manufacturer's plant in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt. (Photo: REUTERS/Michaela Rehle)

The pull of Germany's economic engine

Over the years, several countries have taken turns wearing the humiliating label of 'the Sick Man' of Europe.

Lately, there's more than one.

But Germany is robustly and resolutely not among them. It's better known as the economic engine of Europe.

Especially now, as it oversees and underwrites bailouts from Ireland to Greece, with Portugal, Spain and Italy in the rearview mirror.

While some endure austerity, Germany enjoys stability that's attracting the less fortunate. But they'll have to overcome corrosive mutual resentments if they're to prevent the economic insecurity turning into social conflict.

Our Radio-Canada colleague Sylvain Desjardins is in the German industrial heartland to see it.

Listen to Sylvain's dispatch

David Rocha finds wood for his instruments in vacant lots like this one in Villa Nova. (Photo: Lisa Hale)

From trash to musical treasure in Brazil

A story now, about making the best of what you've got. You know the old adage about life givng you lemons, so make lemonade. As Lisa Hale reports from Brazil, life gave David Rocha garbage. You won't believe what he makes of it.

Listen to Lisa's documentary

Immigration law protestors gather outside the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.  There's been a steady backlash against House 56, which is considered one of the toughest law in the U.S. aimed at finding and expelling undocumented immigrants, many of whom do jobs American can't or won't do. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Illegal immigrant: deport thyself.

Alabama has a problem. Some people think it has too many illegal immigrants. Not as bad a problem as in some American states, but bad enough to look like a political problem.

Its solution is to get the illegals to deport themselves. And to craft a law, the notorious HB-56, making lawbreakers out of anybody who doesn't report them.

The result is a frightening mess for illegals and Alabamans alike, according to journalist Paul Reyes.

He wrote a major piece on the issue in a recent edition of Mother Jones magazine called "It's Just Not Right: The Failures of Alabama's Self-Deportation Experiment".

Listen to Rick's interview with Paul

Owner Michiel Zwart takes an order for drinks from some regular customers, who've come with their own food, at Basis Restaurant in Amsterdam (Photo: Anik See)

A recessionary repast

We already have restaurants where you bring your own wine. But your own food? With a little help from the recession it's beginning to happen, and Anik See takes us to one in Amsterdam.

Listen to Anik's dispatch

This is the image of the Red Cross people typically associated with Haiti: emergency aid after the earthquake there two years ago. Now there are reports the agency is planning on expanding into the hotel business in Haiti (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)

The latest hotel chain - the Red Cross?

Well Haiti is still shovelling out from the 2010 earthquake, but the hotel industry senses an opportunity and so does a charity, not usually associated with the hospitality industry.

But the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is considering a hotel on a $10 million parcel of land it bought with earthquake donations.

Critics think that was inappropriate, but there is precedent. The Kenyan Red Cross already operates a four-star in Nairobi.

But Haiti? Trenton Daniel is the correspondent there with the Associated Press and joined Rick from the Haitian capital.

Listen to Rick's chat with Trenton

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This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, Steve McNally. With technical producers Nima Shams, Tim Lorimer and Wayne Richards. Senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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