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May 26 & 29: from Hainan Island, China - San Diego - Malaysian Borneo - French Mayotte Island - Dublin

The USS Makin Island is the hybrid "Prius" of aircraft carriers. It saved $2-million in fuel on its first mission.  Photo/US Navy

The American military goes green, saving gas and soldiers' lives.

Then, the boat people you don't hear about, fleeing by the thousands across the Indian Ocean.

Did an Irishman save the life of young Adolf Hitler?  Disturbing new documents have come to light in Dublin. 

Skulls on the ceiling and big-screen TV: a tradition in transition in Malaysian Borneo.

And, another cultural change arrives in China.  On a surfboard.

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One of the electric motors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Makin Island. It powers the ship at low speeds and saves millions in fuel costs. (Photo/US Navy)

A mean, green fighting machine

In the United States, the push for energy conservation isn't just a civilian concern.

In fact the mighty American military is way out front, keen to go green, on land and sea, because it cuts costs -- and casualties -- as we hear from CBC correspondent David Common, off the California coastline. 

Hear David's dispatch now 

 

  

A French military truck delivers prisoners to the overcrowded immigration detention centre in Mayotte. (photo/Nick Lazaredes)

Controversy Island

When we hear about boat people we usually think Vietnam, Cuba or Haiti. But rarely Mayotte. It's a tiny French-ruled island off the southeast coast of Africa that recently became a department of France.

For more than a decade, it's seen thousands of people arriving in flimsy, overcrowded boats each year, though many drown attempting the dangerous sea voyage from the island of Anjouan, a hundred kilometres away.

And the reception they get in Mayotte angers human rights activists. They complain of overcrowded detention centres and a lack of due process, resulting in mass deportations with little chance for those who might be genuine refugees.

Australian correspondent Nick Lazaredes recently profiled the problem in a documentary for SBS Television in Australia.

Listen to Rick's conversation with Nick now

 

 

Darci Liu, China's Surfer Girl, on Hainan Island (photo/Danielle Nerman)

China's Surfer Girl

Now, here on Dispatches, we're always banging on about the changes emerging from the superheated economy of China.  But sometimes even we're surprised at the form it takes. 

Surfing for example. Who knew?

Canadian journalist Danielle Nerman tracks down China's Surfer Girl on the beaches of Hainan island.

Listen to Danielle'sView from Here

 

 

Michael Keogh as a young soldier (left) and years later as an older man. (photo courtesy With Casements Irish Brigade)

The strange story of Michael Keogh

In 1919, a soldier in the German army changed the course of history when he stopped an angry crowd from beating a politician to death.

If you believe that soldier's recently recovered journals, the man whose life he saved that day in Munich, was 30-year-old Adolf Hitler.

But that's not all there is to this story. The soldier himself fought for and against both Germany and Britain during the first World War, and was loyal to neither.

Michael Keogh was Irish and his goal was the creation of an Irish republic. The whole double-agent act was his way of trying to make it happen.

But along the way, if his journals are true, he did something with far greater ramifications.

Irish broadcaster Joe Kearney recently did a radio documentary on Keough for RTE Radio One in Ireland.

Hear Rick's conversation with Joe Kearney now

A family weaves mats inside the Iban longhouse. (Photo/Andrew Princz)

Rebirth of old Borneo

In parts of Malaysian Borneo, the taking scalps and skulls are still a recent memory.

But the culture is in transition now, adapting the exotic lifestyle and its spiritual practices to an era of tourism and flatscreen TV.

But as we hear from Andrew Princz, not all the traditions are being discarded, not even in Kuching, one of the largest cities in Malaysian Borneo.

Listen to Andrew's documentary

Andrew's website

 

Man bites bug

And now a preview of a story we'll hear on an upcoming edition of "Dispatches" -- the case for EATING bugs. The Netherlands, a country with limited arable land, scientists are already looking into insects they can make a meal of.

Dutch entymologist Marcel Dicke says why not?  We've been eating them all along anyway, whether we know it or not.

Listen to Marcel Dicke speaking at TED Global last summer

Next week, journalist Lauren Comiteau looks into how the Dutch are developing foods containing insect proteins...and how they'll manage to convince to public to take a bite.

 

Your dispatches

Now some of your letters about some of our recent programmes.

After we aired a piece about proposed legislation in Uganda that would impose the death sentence on some homosexuals in Uganda, we heard from Rick Armstrong in Hinton, Alberta.

Having spent the better part of the last 5 years in Uganda, I've read the press, heard the radio, and viewed the television; all of which drip with negative propaganda on this topic. 

Bishops expound from the pulpit on Sunday, feeding the minds of the congregation with conflicting information which paints homosexuals in the same category as pedophiles.

This is a private member's bill, and many world leaders whose countries donate big money to Uganda have warned President Museveni that it best not see the light of day.  Time will tell if it is introduced again in the next parliament. 

Mary Heaton of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia also heard our story and writes:

In 1981 I was working in Hawaii with students dealing with substance abuse. One student was doing so well in reducing her drug usage, and getting wonderful grades too. The guidance counselor and I decided to take her to Pizza Hut for lunch.

Walking from the car, we were all laughing and discussing what to order when all of a sudden, a car load of girls screeched around the corner screaming obscenities about her being gay. All of us were shocked at the words they used.

The student...sat with her head down, tears streaming from her eyes. What was supposed to be a celebratory lunch, turned into a silent, painful experience. I never forgot the puddle of tears on the table and how silently the student wept. And how I still weep over the meanness and ugliness in our world.

After our recent interview with the Guardian's South Asia correspondent, Jason Burke, about the death of Osama bin Laden, we heard from Dean Darling in Vancouver:

As a Canadian citizen, I feel very uncomfortable about what seems to have been a summary execution...This sordid and barbaric event seems to have been analogous to a lynching. No matter what Osama bin Laden is alleged to have done, he should have had a fair trial, in a court of law meeting international standards. Only if he were proven guilty in a such a court of law could any subsequent punishment options be morally considered.

Your letters. Our thanks. Do keep them coming to dispatches@cbc.ca

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