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Middle East: October 2010 Archives

October 28 & 31, 2010: from Rio de Janeiro - Dublin - Voss, Norway - Huntsville, Alabama - London

High-school students tuck into a meal of smalahove in Norway (photo/Nachammai Raman).

Brazil reclaims lost communities: an ambitious plan to transform the capital's most dangerous shantytowns.

Why hundreds of sham marriages are taking place in Ireland, and there's not much police can do about it.

The Wikileaks whistleblower defends his decision to publish documents that pillory the Pentagon.

Is the key to clean energy buried beneath Nevada? We have the story of thorium in a drum.

And, fancy another helping of sheep cheeks? Norwegians line up for an acquired taste.

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Maalula, Syria... meeting Chavez on the road here

Lea Stogdale of Winnipeg writes of an encounter in Syria with the president, his wife and Hugo Chavez on the road to Damascus.

I'm travelling in Syria now. After visiting the impressive and magical Roman ruins of Palmyra and Apamea, Friday was probably going to be an anti-climax: a Crusader citadel followed by ... the churches in the town of Maalula which clings to the side of a steep mountain about an hour's drive from Damascus. The Church of St Sergius was built in AD 325... It is also where Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, is spoken...

On the road into this predominantly Christian village we passed numerous motorcycle policemen. This meant a visit by important people. Us? Well, maybe not. We were just sitting down to a late lunch when excitement ruffled the air. Two black Audis arrived. It was President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, driving, accompanied by his attractive and modern wife, and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela (having just left Iran).

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October 14 & 17, 2010: from Miami - Cuba - Arizona - Tripoli, Lebanon - Berlin - La Paz, Bolivia

The brother of Bolivian murder victim Gladys Apaza holds up photos of her and her boyfriend, and alleged killer. Photo/Ruxandra Guidi

The Dean of Gitmo reporters dishes the dirt on the weirdness of covering a court like no other.

Then, the Cuban state diet. Everybody gets fed. Just not enough, as an American journalist finds out when he goes native.

Bolivia's new revolution: tough new laws on violence against women, in a society where it's practically part of the culture.

A small matter of the missing: a new book documents the quest to identify the Balkans' war dead with DNA.

And we revisit the story of Arizona ranchers talking shoot-to-kill after one of their own is murdered on the trail of Mexican drug smugglers.

All that, plus a view from Lebanon, and some melancholy musical memory.

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October 7 & 10, 2010 - from Port-au-Prince - Rio de Janeiro - Pakistan - New York - Kabul

Waving the Green Party banner in Brazil.

The view from here: our correspondents spot Brazil's post-election challenge lying on the beach, and watch a heartbreaking scene on the flood plains of Pakistan.

A doctor's lament for the injured of Haiti's earthquake: "By saving them, did we condemn them to suffer?" 

Hezbollah loves Iran, open warfare and the Soccer Moms of Lebanon.  So why do so many Lebanese love it back?

And, an encore of our latest award-winning documentary: "Shovelling the rain away" in Afghanistan.

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