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May 19 & 22: from Kampala, Uganda - Israel - Montebaducco, Italy - Sarajevo, Bosnia - Nanjing, China - Robben Island, South Africa

Campaigns against gays in Uganda have included "outing" gay members of society in the newspaper, and calling for public punishment (Photo/AP)

Being gay in Uganda: it turns out no one will go to the gallows for it after all, but the threat's not past.  

A subject few in Israel want to talk about: how the state uses and abuses Arab informers

A look at a black politician in South Africa who's been running on racism.

The story of the Suicide-Catcher of Nanjing. Why does a man devote his life to prevent people leaping off a bridge? Perhaps to save his own?

Can animal rights improve human rights? We'll hear from some in Bosnia who sure hope so.

And, it may be time to reconsider the humble donkey. After all, some Italians think of it as a hairy dairy.

Listen to the program now (left click)
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Page from a Kampala newspaper in April, discussing the proposed anti-gay bill (Photo/Dennis Porter)

Being gay in Uganda

In the craven world of homophobia, there is gay-bashing, and then there's Uganda.

It came breathtakingly close this month to becoming just the eighth country in the world to legalise gay executions. 

Recently, parliament adjourned without considering a bill to impose the death sentence on homosexuals with HIV, or convicted of same-sex rape.  But there is a chance it'll be re-introduced as soon as next month.

And the atmosphere it's fostered in Uganda over the past two years is chilling.

One newspaper even published pictures of men it claimed were gay, and the headline said "Hang Them!" Sometime later, an activist was found beaten to death.

And for now, it's still illegal to be gay in Uganda. And more than a little frightening in the one place they dare to gather, as we heard from Dennis Porter in Kampala.

Listen now to Dennis' View from Here.

And the names of some people interviewed in that piece were changed at their request for their own security. 

 

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, only to find that exile has its own punishments.

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

Hear Rick's conversation with Adi and Ruthie now 

 

Donkeys roam the stables at Montebaducco Farm, in Italy (Photo/Emma Wallis)

Italy: Land of milkin' donkeys

Now: one of those "who knew?" stories from the Italian countryside. Here's Emma Wallis in Montebaducco.

Listen now to Emma'sView from Here.

And besides drinking the stuff, the ancients used to prescribe donkey milk for snakebite and nosebleeds. Did they know something we've all but forgotten?

  

 

ANC's young firebrand Julius Malema (in green shirt) at a rally (Bruce Edwards/CBC)

Racism's rude intrusion

Nelson Mandela's ambitions for a 'Rainbow Nation' of races at peace with themselves is being challenged by a young member of his own political party in South Africa.

Julius Malema heads the Youth Wing of the African National Congress.  His influence makes him a key supporter of the current President, Jacob Zuma.

Yet, he often defies party policy.  And despite a conviction for hate speech, he's back on trial for it again after publicly singing an old liberation song about shooting white farmers.

But the young and the poor are his biggest fans, and the ANC shows no sign of reining him in as Dispatches contributor Laura Lynch first told us when South Africa was preparing to host the World Cup last summer. 

Hear Laura's dispatch now

 

Mr. Chen and the Yangtze Bridge jumpers

For most of us, suicide is hard to comprehend, and in China, it's hard to prevent.

As many as 200,000 Chinese take their own lives every year, many of them by leaping from the Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing, to the oily brown water 30 metres below.

It's a bustling conduit for cars, trains and pedestrians.  And an obsession for a local legend known simply, as Mr. Chen.

He's a self-appointed, "suicide preventor."  In six years patrolling the bridge with binoculars and moped, he's persuaded more than 175 people to climb back down. 

But he pays a price for it.

And so did American journalist Michael Paterniti, who spent time in Mr. Chen's dark world for a piece he wrote earlier this year in GQ Magazine.

Hear Rick's interview with Michael now 

Michael Paterniti's feature on Mr. Chen in GQ was nominated for an Ellie, the American National Magazine Award.

 

Some of the wild dogs of Bosnia. (Photo/Gillian Carr)

From human rights to animal rights

With the death of Osama bin Laden, the fugitive Ratko Mladic vaults back up the list of the world's most wanted men.

The Serb General allegedly helped kill thousands in Srebrenica and Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

But he's eluded an international search for more than 15  years.  And a recent poll indicates most Serbs still don't want to see him tried for war crimes.

And there are still wanted men among Muslims and Croats too, as the former Yugoslavia slowly emerges from a climate of disdain for human life.

But a number of new agencies believe respect for human rights there is tied to improving animal rights. 
 
And earlier this season, Canadian journalist Gillian Carr joined up with one that's caring for the abandoned dogs of Sarajevo. 

Hear Gillian's documentary now      

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