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June 9 & 12: from Cairo - Venezuela - Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Jerusalem - India

Germaine Villeceant Excellente stands in front of her house, which she says was burned by peasants in a dispute over land rights. Photo/Connie Watson

In India, a midnight wedding, a five-year-old bride. Why child marriage persists.

Egypt's unfinished revolution. How six months have soured the public mood. 

In Venezuela, the state takeover of private land provides some surprises.

Jerusalem's reach: our departing Middle East correspondent reflects on the never-ending story.

Your land or your life: the murderous row over property rights in Haiti.

And, the gecko effect. Our little program triggers weird science.

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Miguel Tovar (extreme left) outside his new house. His was among hundreds of poor families given farm plots in a private nature reserve expropriated by the government of Venezuela. Photo/Sarah Grainger

In Venezuela, nature has to earn its keep

Environmentalists feared the worst when Venezuela began expropriating private ranches and turning them into farms.

They were, after all, places that protected the exotic wildlife in ways that the state never did. And suddenly the socialist government of Hugo Chavez was going to break them up for agriculture?
But five years on, the result is not quite what some expected, as Sarah Grainger discovers on the flood plains of the Orinoco River. 

 Listen to Sarah's dispatch now


Egyptians saw the military as an ally during the revolution in Tahrir Square; now, the mood is different. Photo/AP

Egypt, after the euphoria

Khaled Saeed liked music and computers, like a lot of young Egyptians. Good looking kid, though you wouldn't know it after the police worked him over.

A year ago this week, he died from his injuries.  And when a picture of his battered corpse hit the internet, his became "the face that launched a revolution."

A court will decide the fate of the accused policemen later this month. 

Egypt's unfinished revolution will take much longer to play out.   Elections for Parliament are set for September, and the Presidency come November.

Till then, the country's being run by the same Generals who once served the ousted President, Hosni Mubarak.

Still, much has changed, for better and for worse.

For an appraisal of Egypt's progress, Rick spoke to American correspondent Abigail Hauslohner, Time magazine correspondent in Egypt.

 Hear Rick's conversation with Abigail


The CBC's Middle East correspondent, Margaret Evans.

Covering the Middle East, the never-ending story

One of the voices you regularly hear on this program is the CBC's Middle East correspondent Margaret Evans, about to be posted back to London after almost eight tumultuous years based in Jerusalem.

But we couldn't let her go without asking her thoughts about covering one of the most dramatic yet intractable conflicts on earth.

 Listen to Margaret's essay


A house in the Artibonite Valley in Haiti, destroyed by those claiming the property as their own. Photo/Connie Watson

Larceny over land ownership in Haiti  

In Haiti, people are killing each other over land.

It's a country where few can actually produce a deed to their property, and that's a big incentive for others to try and force them off.

There's hope the earthquake that's left more than a million homeless might prompt a reform of the country's chaotic system of land ownership.  But nothing so far. 

Instead, it's anarchy.  And sometimes a violent free-for-all, as we hear from CBC Correspondent Connie Watson in the capital.  

 Listen to Connie's documentary


Asia, a 14-year-old mother, washes her new baby girl at home in Hajjah while her 2-year-old daughter plays. Asia is still bleeding and ill from childbirth yet has no education or access to information on how to care for herself. Photo: Stephanie Sinclair/National Geographic

The secret world of child brides

Rajani was five years old when she was married off to a ten-year-old boy in rural India. Young, even by local standards, though not unheard of.

Every year, thousands of children enter into marriages arranged mostly for the good of their families. And while many work out, some have tragic results. 

Which is why some out there want to end the practice. 

In this month's edition of National Geographic, writer Cynthia Gorney takes a close look at the issue and she joined Rick from Berkeley, California to share her stories. 

 Rick's interview with Cynthia Gorney



Weird science on Dispatches

One of the many reasons we here at Dispatches love our jobs: your letters.  Lots of you write saying you like it, and we like that. Some of you write because you don't, and we get that.

But we really like it when our stories prompt one of yours and surprises the heck out us, like Anthony Russell just did:

Dear Dispatches staff,
Some years ago I was listening to an episode...from a correspondent ...talking about...the Caribbean, and taking plug-in air fresheners to use in hotel rooms.

...she said a particular brand...of air freshener attracted geckos... and stupefied them. Once the air freshener was unplugged, the lizards revived and wandered away.


I have, for many years been working on geckos, and would like to discover what this effect is. I'm wondering if that episode can be unearthed, because I would love to know the brand and fragrance so that I can begin to test these effects and their underlying causes.


Anthony Russell, Professor of Zoology
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Calgary.

How 'bout that! Dispatches is a pioneer on a scientific puzzle.

Professor, the piece you're referring to was a gem from CBC correspondent Jennifer Westaway, waaay back in 2001. 

So here it is. And we'd love to know what your research uncovers and what you plan to do with it!   

 Jennifer's gecko encounter

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