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March 15 & 18 from - Torrimpietra, Italy - Butare, Rwanda - Beijing - Chicago - India

 From our correspondents around the world...

 

Rwandan journalist Didier Bikorimana out with a local fisherman in Butare, Rwanda who tells him people used to fish with anti-malaria mosquito nets on this lake, but they don't anymore. (Photo: Didier Bikorimana)

Millions of people die every year and no one knows exactly why. The Million Death Study aims to change all that.

Mosquito nets are for a) mosquitos or b) fishing. Both, it turns out, and their mis-use is a problem in Rwanda. 

First, Slow Food. Now, Slow Wine. Italy takes the beverage of Bacchus back to basics. 

Our China correspondent takes the sting out of Dr. Wang's miracle bees in a painful test of traditional medicine.

And, we'll revisit those scaly barbarians at the gate.  An update on  invasive Asian carp eating their way towards the Great Lakes.

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 14 million verbal autopsies shed light on death

 

People call Prabhat Jha "Dr. Death" because of his passion for collecting information on why people die in developing countries.  He says he's goal is to reduce premature death as much as possible.

Scientists say the death toll in the developing world totals around forty-six-million each year, and for the great majority of them, nobody really knows why.

Since most occur at home, there's rarely a certified cause. So in India, where nine-million die annually, they're engaged in one of the largest investigations of human mortality ever attempted. 

It's called The Million Death Study, and it's been going on for the past 14 years. 

When it ends two years from now, scientists will have tracked nearly 14 million people, employing a technique called the verbal autopsy. 

Renowned Canadian epidemiologist Prabhat Jha leads the study at the Centre for Global Health Research at the University of Toronto.

Listen to Prabhat's talk with Rick

 

Vats of slow wine: ancient methods and a lots of patience make for vintages that only get better. (Photo: Luigi Fraboni)

And a long drink of yesterday's wine

The Slow Food movement began in Rome, a backlash against the arrival of a McDonald's near the fabled Spanish Steps, more than 25 years ago.  Since then, it's gone global.

Around the world, thousands reject fast food in favor of the slow kind, the sustainable kind, raised by traditional methods. 

You can even get Slow Fish.

And now, in these times of high-flying technology, Nancy Greenleese says there's increasingly a place for Slow Wine in the vineyards -- and on the tables -- of Italy. 


 Nancy's taste of the past







Rwanda's government issues mosquito nets to prevent malaria. But it makes for a good chicken coop too. (Photo: Didier Bikorimana)

Net a mosquito, or just coop your chickens

The global push to combat malaria is making mosquito nets widely available in many disease-prone countries.

A lot of the nets help put food on the table instead, even though it puts others at risk.  

The problem is big enough that Rwanda's resorted to a public information campaign reminding people they're meant to hang over the bed for a reason.

Rwandan journalist Didier Bikorimana is there, among the children and the chickens.


Didier's documentary






Worker bees: Bees are traditional health workers in China, stinging to help cure what ails you.. (Photo: Danielle Nerman)

Bee-sting therapy; no gain without pain

From China now, a story of another bug that punches holes in people, but in a good way. Or so Danielle Nerman thought about bee-sting therapy.
 


And while the bee therapy did cure the sinus problem, after the treatment Danielle developed a huge swelling in her neck on the side where she got the full sting.  It took a week to go away
.  

If you've got a story of unorthodox medicine, maybe pictures of it from your time in some faraway place, email dispatches@cbc.ca






A fisheries biologist holds a Bighead carp caught in Lake Calumet in Illinois. (Photo: Reuters Pictures)

The carp that ate Chicago 

The American government has announced it'll spend $50 million on science and poison in an effort to prevent voracious Asian carp from invading Lake Michigan.

The aggressive fish have been swimming through shipping locks on the Mississippi.  Now they're closing on a man-made canal that breaches the natural land barrier that would have stopped them from threatening the $7 billion fishery of the Great Lakes.

But critics say the federal spending is just a quick fix, and the only real solution is to close the locks at great expense to shipping.  And that's not widely popular. 

But neither are the carp; Rick got a first-hand look at them last fall near Chicago.


Rick's report


This much is certain; forty years ago, the carp was a thousand kilometres from Lake Michigan. Today?  Just 80.

Our thanks to the boys at Indiana Outdoor Adventures for their excitable audio. 
 
Since that story first aired last fall there's also been a significant legal development.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of five American states that want to fill in that federal shipping canal that's potentially a doorway for the carp to enter Lake Michigan.

But they're suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which installed the canal's electric barrier. The Corps is doing its own study with suggestions for containing the carp.  But it won't be ready, for another two years.

 

 
 

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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