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June 21 & 24: the last Dispatches

From our correspondents around the world...

 

The crew at Dispatches preparing the final show: (from left: Alan Guettel, Rick MacInnes-Rae, Nima Shams, Steve McNally, Alison Masemann, and Dawna Dingwall). 

This week -  we say good-bye.

It's our last program but we're going out with boats, baboons, and a bang.

We'll touch on some of the stories we've brought you over the years, some of the places we've been, and some of the strange and sublime people we put into your radio.

Along the way, we'll hear some of the moments that stopped us in our tracks. And hear some untold stories from our our correspondents.

We saved the best for last. 

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May 31 & June 3: from Kabul, Afghanistan - Lima, Peru - Florence, Italy - Hong Kong - Mumbai, India

From our correspondents around the world...

The photo that started it. Filmmaker Quincy Perkins saw this picture of two Bomberitos -- kids on their own in the mountains of Peru who make their way to mountain accidents and disasters. Our Dispatches contributor went with him to the Amazon valley as he made a film about them.  (Photo/Stefan Sonntag)

There's no fire department, no auto club between the Andes and the Amazon. Just feral kids in homemade carts. Meet the Bomberitos of Peru.

The threat left behind. NATO troops leave Afghanistan but their unexploded shells will wage a protracted war on civilians. 

Why Hong Kong's superiority complex is turning into an identity crisis, 15 years after its handover to China. 

Italy's doleful demographic.  The birth rate's so low, schools are being turned into old age homes.  

And, inner-city Mumbai might look like a slum, but the land's worth a fortune to the crafty residents waiting for a developer's payday.

 

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May 3 & 6, 2012: from China - Toulouse, France - India - Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Amsterdam

From our correspondents around the world...

 

China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai is the subject of one of two scandals threatening the Chinese Communist establishment. His wife has been implicated in the death of a British businessman. (Photo: Reuters)

In China, a dead man, a live dissident and a disgraced party boss make for an embarassing challenge to the country's Communist party.

The F-word erupts into French presidential politics. Are foreigners the future of the Gallic identity or its undoing? The campaign revives a rift.

Then, hate camps versus haute couture. A new documentary examines why some girls in India are subjugated, while others are liberated.

In Haiti, the lacklustre government moves to appease restless former soldiers with the promise of a payday but there's a Fifth Column to worry about.

And, a sting on wheels. Bicycle theft in free-wheeling Amsterdam pushes our correspondent to extremes.

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April 26 & 29, 2012: from Baku, Azerbaijan - Mumbai, India - Manila, the Philippines - Copenhagen, Denmark - Shanghai, China

From our correspondents around the world...

 

Danish film director Mads Brugger in a scene from The Ambassador. He posed as a diplomat and arranged to smuggle diamonds from Africa.  Here he takes a boat ride with his new assistants in the Central African Republic. (Photo/The Ambassador)

A journalist in Azerbaijan discovers Big Brother isn't just watching her. He's filming her.

Stop with the honking! The quest for quiet in one of India's noisiest cities.

A Danish filmmaker turns diamond-smuggling diplomat. Mads Brugger sets up a sting in central Africa.

And, the rebellious new farmers of China. Young. Well-educated. And getting no respect.

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Turkish minorities tread carefully in opening doors to multi-culturalism


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

The April 5 Dispatches program

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The trials of Tweeting in China

Twitter may be blocked in China, but the Chinese have Sina Weibo, which the government tries to police but may already have lost hold of. (Photo: Reuters)

China last week shut down its sanctioned version of Twitter, when rumours of a coup spread like the proverbial "prairie fire" throughout the country.  A couple of weeks ago, Rick spoke with a journalist who knows how this "tweeting" system works. 
 
We know it as Twitter, though not in China, where it's blocked by state surveillance.

Instead, the state permits the Chinese version -- something called Sina Weibo. The principles are similar to Twitter. The parameters, not so much.

Not when Big Brother has its algorithmic finger posed above delete, just waiting to wipe out any sign of dissent in those 140 characters on Weibo.

That hasn't stopped hundreds of millions of Chinese from signing up. It just means they have to find clever ways around it.

Author Rachel DeWoskin has been looking into it. She lived in China for five years in the 90s, writing and consulting and eventually becoming a TV star in a hugely-popular Chinese program similar to Sex and the City. Her findings appeared in a recent edition of Vanity Fair magazine. She joined Rick from Chicago.

 Rachel's interview with Rick  

The March 22 Dispatches program