Bookmark and Share

Jan 19 & 22: from Damascus - Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo - Kandahar - Ghana - Lombardi, Italy - Nigeria

From our correspondents around the world....


Bashar and father Hafez stare down on the entrance to the prison in Damascus where protesters have been jailed to scare them into silence.  Photo/Margaret Evans

Hear why the struggle for Syria has become "an equality of weakness" in our correspondent's dispatch from Damascus.

Putting the bore in Borneo. Tidal bore that is. A phenomenal view of a natural phenomenon.

Why was Canada in Kandahar? A new study says we didn't ask enough tough questions before embarking on an "ill-starred" mission.

If Ghana is democracy's beacon in Africa, it sometimes shines with faint light according to the filmmaker who's documented its presidential election.

And from the vaults: the fitful search to learn why Italian soccer players are coming down with Lou Gherig's Disease?

Listen to the program now (left click)              Listen to individual items

Download the podcast (right click: save target as)



Despite living close to Asad's center of power in Damascus, protesters in nearby Douma risk arrest or worse by raging against the regime. Photo/Margaret Evans

Syria's stalemated struggle

The body count continues to rise in Syria, a western journalist now among them.

Syria lets them in from time-to-time, but makes it clear they're as much an enemy as the rebels it fights in the streets.

CBC correspondent Margaret Evans has been finding that out firsthand.

She's been in the country for the past week, at times eluding her state-assigned minder to better gauge the ten-month rebellion.

And she joined us from Damascus.    Hear Margaret's chat with Rick


Boats pull surfers to catch the nearly endless flow of waves on the Batang Lupar River in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Photo/Maria Bakkalapulo

Surfing with the crocs in Borneo

Malaysian Borneo, nature gets turned on its head once a month.

Fishermen in Sarawak can go down to the river bank and pluck saltwater shrimp from freshwater.

But this unnatural event, has a natural cause. The surging tidal bore of Sarawak sucks them in from the sea.

And for others, surfing it seems the natural thing to do.

Despite the crocodiles. Listen to Maria Bakkalapulo's View From Here.

If you've seen some natural phenomenon during your experience overseas, email a little dispatch about it to dispatches@cbc.ca and I'll see about getting it on the program. 


This report says Canada lobbied to get the tough assignment in Afghanistan's deadly Kandahar province.  Photo/RUSI

Why chose Kandahar?

In sending troops to secure that southern province of Afghanistan, Canada committed itself to its deadliest assignment since the Korean War.

A new report characterizes the Canadian effort as valiant and important, but also "flawed" and "ill-starred."

It says Canada didn't know how dangerous Kandahar was when it lobbied for the assignment, and it cut NATO out of the process to get there. Why?

Interviewing NATO partners on and off-the-record, Canadian analyst Matthew Willis thinks he found some of the answers.

They're in a chapter he prepared for the prestigious Royal United Services Institute, Britain's oldest defence and security think tank.

He joined us from London, England.

Willis's interview

Matthew Willis's report, "Canada In Regional Command South," appears in the book "The Afghan Papers".

It's available for purchase from RUSI. His next report will deal exclusively with the Canadian campaign and will be published in the spring.


Producer/Director Jarreth Merz working on his documentary about the 2008 presidential election in Ghana. Photo/An Afican Election

Ghana: campaigning tested to the max

For an idea of what went into the last presidential election in Ghana have a listen to this.

It's an excerpt from the new film, "An African Election," a study of the passions and the precipice walked by all sides during the vote in 2008.

It was a test of the democratic process in a country that has only had it for a dozen years, with great implications for all of Africa.

Filmmaker Jarreth Merz is the director behind the documentary.  He got extraordinary access to the principals.

He came to our studio after a screening in Toronto.  Rick's chat with Jarreth

"An African Election" is showing next week at the Solothurn Film Festival in Switzerland, and next month, at the Spirit Awards in New York and the Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles.



"Tha Suspect" also known as David Peter seen in his video protesting Nigeria's cuts to the national fuel subsidy. Photo/Tha Suspect

Nigeria fuel costs light fires

Subsidy's the game, Occupy Nigeria's the name of this weeks' national protest.

When Nigeria stopped subsidizing fuel a national strike brought the country to a standstill.

That prompted David Peter a.k.a. "Tha Suspect," to write this song "Subsidy Matters For Your Pocket."

  Tha Suspect and Rick

But Goodluck Jonathan's sudden about-face, coming at the same time as the country's enduring violent attacks by Islamic militants, is raising questions about his government's competence.

That's a tune no leader wants to hear.   See Tha Suspect's YouTube video here. 


Stefano Borgonovo with his four children. Why is ALS afflicting Italian soccer players? Photo/Borgonovo Foundation

ALS stalks Italy's footballers

Something strange has been happening to some professional soccer players in Italy. They've contracted Lou Gehrig's disease.

Amyotrophic lateral schlerosis, or ALS as it's known, is a fatal muscle-wasting illness  with no certain cause. But it does disproportionately affect some people.

Gulf War veterans. North American football players.

And now, Stefano Borgonovo, one of Italy's best-known soccer stars.  Dispatches contributor Emma Wallis says he's determined to solve the mystery of how he and so many other players have fallen ill.

Emma's documentary


This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, Steve McNally and intern Amanda Kwan. With technical producer Victor Johnston. Our senior producer is Alan Guettel.

We bring you the world!

  • Commenting has been disabled for this entry.