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March 1 & 4, 2012 - from Moscow - Jacmel, Haiti - Sanaa, Yemen - Dharamsala, India - Pakistan

From our correspondents around the world....
 

Jean Rody Joseph gets painted with acrylic house paint before going out for carnival in Jacmel, Haiti. The lanse kòd, or the rope-throwers, are the biggest, baddest, and the most menacing on the streets during Carnival. (Photo: Ben Depp)

Russia's election. But the campaign's more interesting than the outcome.  

Haiti's carnival. A dark and distrubing affair from the Rope Throwers of Jacmel.

And Yemen protests. We walk through Change Square to hear why they keep at it.

Also on the program, Pakistan's Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, on documenting the grisly abuse in a film that just won her an Oscar.

And, the Buddhists of Tibet grapple with the growing number of poltical suicides by fire. 

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Russia's current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at a presidential campaign rally in Moscow in February. Unlike in previous elections, Putin has been forced to interact more with the public and campaign for their votes. (Photo: REUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Pool)

The return of Putin

Russians are again voting in a presidential election that's Vladimir Putin's idea of a contest. Not much competition. Not much risk.      

Having already been president once, and prime minister twice, he wants the big job back.  

And barring a Cyrillic Spring, analysts say he'll almost certainly be sitting in the bigger armored limo for the next six years, even if he did suffer some unprecedented booing in one public event. 

CBC producer Alex Shprintsen joined Rick from Moscow with some of his own observations from the campaign. 

Rick's interview with Alex


You can see more about the Russian election, and that family he referred to, Sunday night, in the story he's producing for The National.


Children dance at the main stage in Change Square, Sanaa, Yemen - the primary venue for Yemen's protest movement. Protests continue despite a new president, hand-picked by his predecessor. (Photo: Samuel Aranda)

Plus ça change, in Change Square

In Yemen, the Arab Spring ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh after 33 years only to see him hand power to his deputy.  

That hasn't moved the country close enough to democracy for some peacefully occupying the streets of the capital, Sanaa, biding their time with some farming and foosball as we hear from Canadian journalist Lindsay Mackenzie.  

Here's one of the scenes she captured from the Square:

Lindsay's foosball game


And here's her full View from Change Square in Sanaa, where despite the new president, demands for democracy continue.

Lindsay's View from Change Square


Lindsay Mackenzie is a Canadian freelance journalist based in Tunisia.  That was her first piece for Dispatches.






Carnival spectators watch as the lanse kòd pass by on the parade route. Lanse kòd, or the rope-throwers, work out for months to prepare for their menacing role in Jacmel, Haiti's Carnival parade. (Photo: Ben Depp)

The Rope Throwers of Jacmel

The past few weeks have been the season of carnivals in the Americas, but when it comes to street celebrations, there's over-the-top, and then there's Haiti. 

In the southern town of Jacmel, for example, the drunky-go-lucky atmosphere of Rio or Mardi Gras in New Orleans, is instead a parade of aggression, summoned from the country's dark history.

And Canadian journalist Susana Ferreira  has been running with the Rope Throwers, the baddest boys on Jacmel's block.

Susana's dispatch



Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is co-director and co-producer of Saving Face - which won an Academy award for best short documentary. (Photo/Asad Faruqi - HBO)

Saving Face in Pakistan 

A barbaric practice in Pakistan received international exposure this week with an Oscar win for a film called Saving Face.

It's the story of an outraged surgeon trying to repair the damage done to women who've had acid thrown in their faces by jealous husbands or family. 

It's the first Academy Award for Pakistan, and focuses on one of the victims who triggered the legislation making the practice illegal just last year. 

Investigative filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a dual citizen of Pakistan and Canada, is  co-director and co-producer.  She spoke to Rick from Beverly Hills just before the Oscar ceremony. 


Saving Face airs on the HBO network in Canada and the U.S. on March 8th.  

A recent poll by the Reuters Foundation by the way, reveals Pakistan to be the third most dangerous country in the world for women. 

The country's Human Rights Commission estimates 90 per cent of them are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. The single most  dangerous country in which to be a woman is Afghanistan. 


Tibetan exiles dressed as Chinese soldiers enact the killing of a Tibetan student during a protest in Dharamsala, India, in January. Tibetans are debating the best way to protest Chinese rule, and whether self-immolation is justified. (Photo: AP/Angus McDonald)

The debate over suicide by fire

Tibet's New Year is normally cause for celebration, but not this year.  

A rash of suicides and protests among Tibetan Buddhists prompted the Dalai Lama to call for prayers and not parties last week.

Tibetans continue to bristle under Chinese rule, which began in 1950 when Beijing sent troops into the independent state. The anger often turns violent.

But Tibet's plight has gained new urgency lately as a growing number of monks and nuns set themselves on fire to draw attention to it.

The use of suicide is causing division in Buddhist ranks.  But Canadian journalist Edward Birnbaum watched a vivid demonstation of the reasons for in neighbouring India. 
 

Edward's documentary


This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, and Steve McNally. With technical producers Gary Francis, Nima Shams, and  Victor Johnston. Our senior producer is Alan Guettel.

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