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April 5 and April 8, 2012 - from Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Kiev, Ukraine - Prato, Italy - Ganta, Liberia - Tel Aviv, Israel

From our correspondents around the world...

 

Haiti's President Michel Martelly (c) leaving a news conference in March, held to dispel rumours that he holds dual US-Haitian nationality. (Photo REUTERS/Swoan Parker)

The power of rumour in Haiti. It's enough to shut down a city.

Greeks and Turks make nice. Together! A cautious change in a troubled relationship.

And from the vaults, a story of Italian factories powered by Chinese labour. Business turns a profit, but both cultures take a loss.

Then, something few in Israel want to talk about.  How the state uses, and abuses, its Arab informers.

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The Haitian rumour factory

So two Senators walk into a radio station in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. But what happened next was no joke. 

"Things are going to get hot," says one of them on-air. "Don't panic," says the other.

What? What's getting hot? Don't panic about what? But there would be no details. No answers. Just panic.

Within minutes, NGOs were shuttered and the city shut down. There were injuries and shooting as people scrambled for the safety of their homes.

It had happened before, and it'll happen again, because in the shopworn palace of Haitian democracy, rumour is king, and he is a cruel monarch.

Correspondent Trenton Daniel of the Associated Press has been reporting on the Rumour Factory and joined Rick from Port-au-Prince.

One thing that's not a rumour is the resurgence of cholera in Haiti during this rainy season. And according to the UN, medical efforts are being undermined by the Haitian government which isn't paying anyone to run treatment centres during the present political deadlock.


People in Instanbul enjoy the newly-revived Baklahorani Carnival. What was once a pagan Christian rite, has morphed into one of the few celebrations of Turkey's multi-cultural past and present. Dominant Turkish nationalism has made its organizers tread with caution. (Photo/Meghan MacIver)

Dancing to the tune of reconciliation

With a history of conflict dating back more than 600 years, Greeks and Turks are not often found at the same party. As recently as the 90s, they sent warships into the Aegean in a sovereignty dispute over a tiny rump of rock cherished only by goats. And don't even get them started on Cyprus.

But now it seems, times are changing, ever so slightly.

Canadian journalist Meghan MacIver has found some Greeks and Turks dancing to the same tune at an unusual, and very historic party in Istanbul.

Listen to Meghan's dispatch


Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, her daughter Eugenia and husband Oleksander at one of Yulia's court hearings in Kiev October 11, 2011. (Photo/Reuters-Gleb Garanich)

Tymoshenko's daughter: my mother is a "political prisoner"

Ukraine's former prime minister is going to be allowed out of prison for medical treatment for a bad back, but her legal pain is far from over.

Yulia Tymoshenko is serving seven years on charges the European Union describes as "politically motivated" by the administration that replaced her.

Eight years ago, her blond braids and fiery rhetoric made her the face of the Orange Revolution. Thousands joined her in the streets, seeking to turn Ukrainian politics away from Moscow and towards the West.

But Tymoshenko wound up jailed for alleged abuse of power, and now faces new charges of tax evasion dating back to the nineties.

Her daughter Eugenia calls her Mother a "political prisoner" in this interview with Dispatches contributor Saroja Coehlo.

Listen to an excerpt from the interview with Eugenia Tymoshenko

Listen to a longer version of the interview



Chinese in Prato, legal and illegal, make up almost 20% of the population of the Tuscan city. (Photo/Megan Williams)

The Chinese discover Italy. Italy's not pleased.

You think of Tuscany, you think of all things Italian. But parts of it are fast becoming all things Chinese, and the two cultures aren't getting along so well.

For one thing, Chinese-owned factories attract Chinese immigrants by the thousands, many of them illegal.

It's causing headaches for civic officials and police, as we first heard from Dispatches contributor Megan Williams last spring when she went along, for the raid.

Listen to Megan's documentary 

And since that story first aired, we've heard about some intriguing developments. Chinese television has been shooting a soap in Tuscany, about a Chinese family that moves to Italy.

One Italian character is described as "mean" and "anti-Chinese," while Italian police are "clumsy" and "fat." Which bothers the Tuscany Film Commission not at all, because it's loving the publicity.

Back in the real world, the raids go on. But Italy's court did recently throw out a Prato city bylaw, so Chinese restaurants can now stay open there as late as they like.


Peace without reconciliation in Liberia

Coming up later this month in The Hague, there will be a landmark ruling: the verdict in the case of the first African head of state to be tried for war crimes. Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, is accused of murder, rape and recruiting child soldiers in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

In his own country, Taylor was responsible for starting a war that left 250,000 people dead when it finally ended in 2003.

But there've been NO prosecutions on that conflict. Just a widely-criticized Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Next week on the program, Canadian journalist Bonnie Allen examines how Liberians live with peace, without justice, right beside those who harmed them.

Listen to a preview of Bonnie's dispatch


Ibrahim el-Akel, an informant for the Israelis for 20 years, speaking with his son. (Photo: courtesy The Collaborator and His Family)

The Collaborator and His Family

Ibrahim el-Akel is a traitor and proud of it. Like his brother, he'd been an informer for the Israelis for 20 years in the city of Hebron on the West Bank.

But when his brother is murdered, Ibrahim flees to Israel, settling in Tel Aviv, and slowly learns exile has its own punishments.

His story so riveted the award-winning filmmakers Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz, they made a documentary, and called it The Collaborator and His Family.

Rick interviewed them last May, when it was playing at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto.

Listen to Rick's interview with Adi and Ruthie 

Since that conversation last year, their film has won six major documentary awards.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim El-Akel and his family are in a legal struggle to obtain Israeli citizenship and avoid the risk of deportation back to the West Bank.


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

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