News Promo: May 2012 Archives

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Child "bomberitos" on Peru's most dangerous highway

Peru's Bomberitos to the rescue

Bomberito means "little fireman" in Spanish. In the Andes Mountains of Peru groups of them use their homemade carretas  to help stranded motorists and truckers along the highway.  The tips they earn help support their families. 

 Hevert (left) was a bomberito as a kid, helping rescue stranded motorists and victims of disasters.  They get their carretas up the steep highway through the Andes by attaching ropes, or just their hands, to passing transport trucks.  (Photos: Romi Burianova)

The photo that started it (below). Filmmaker Quincy Perkins saw this picture of two Bomberitos -- kids on their own in the mountains of Peru who make their way to mountain accidents and disasters. Our Dispatches contributor went with him to the Amazon valley as he made a film about them (Photo/StefanSonntag) 

It was one of those dinner party stories that sticks in your head. A rumour about kids racing homemade carts high in the Andes, acting as first responders during accidents and disasters.

They have a catchy name. They're said to do dangerous work in a dangerous region.

But are they real?  For Dispatches contributor Lori Chodos and a colleague, the voyage to find out was a story in itself.

 Lori's documentary

May 31 Dispatches









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Foreign slaves serving the U.S. military machine

Sarah Stillman has won several awards for her investigation of America's "Invisible Army".  (Photo by Alan Chin)

When the recruiter offered Lydia and Vinnie high-paid jobs in Dubai, they jumped in, not realizing they'd been sucked in, like so many other foreign workers.
By some estimates, as many as 70,000 work in appalling conditions on American military bases, locked into punitive contracts by unscrupulous contractors accountable to no one.
They're America's "invisible army."Journalist Sarah Stillman was struck by their stories during her time in Iraq in 2008, especially when she looked into how they were living.
The article she wrote about those workers -- which appeared in The New Yorker last year -- has won several awards. This month she picked up the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism and a National Magazine Award for her story.

Hear Rick's interview with Sarah

Sarah Stillman is a freelance journalist and visiting scholar at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

She is in Washington, D.C. Her story about foreign workers on American bases first appeared in The New Yorker.

Hear the rest of this week's Dispatches
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Reporter caps Zimbabwe gig with 24 days in grotty jail

New Zealand photographer Robin Hammond was imprisoned for 24 days by the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, atfer photographing people fleeing the country. (Photo: Amnesty International)

Tales of jail in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, the police are pretty good at scaring people, according to Robin Hammond.

Maybe not so good at police work. The New Zealand photographer found out first hand.

He was jailed for taking pictures of Zimbabweans fleeing the political violence of the Mugabe regime.

He might still be in there if the police had promptly patted him down and seized his cellphone.

They didn't.

Long story short, Robin Hammond was held for twenty-four days and only released last week. We caught up with him in Paris to hear more about conditions in Zimbabwe.

Listen to Rick's conversation with Robin

New Zealander Robin Hammond is an award-winning photographer whose work in human rights and environmental issues.  He is now completing his retrospective on 32 years of Mugabe rule in Zimbabwe for the Carmignac Gestion Foundation.

Hear the rest of this week's program.
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Mean Home Alabama. Mixed results from law pushing Hispanics to self deport

Immigration law protestors gather outside the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.  There's been a steady backlash against House Bill 56, which is considered one of the toughest law in the U.S. aimed at finding and expelling undocumented immigrants, many of whom do jobs American can't or won't do. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Deport thyself?

Alabama has a problem. Some people think it has too many illegal immigrants. Not as bad a problem as in some American states, but bad enough to look like a political problem.
Its solution is to get the illegals to deport themselves. And to craft a law, the notorious HB-56, making lawbreakers out of anybody who doesn't report them.

The result is a frightening mess for illegals and Alabamans alike, according to journalist Paul Reyes.

He wrote a major piece on the issue in a recent edition of Mother Jones magazine called "It's Just Not Right: The Failures of Alabama's Self-Deportation Experiment".

Listen to Rick's interview with Paul

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Brazil man makes musical treasure from trash

David Rocha finds wood for his instruments in vacant lots like this one in Villa Nova. (Photo: Lisa Hale)

A story now, about making the best of what you've got. You know the old adage about life givng you lemons, so make lemonade.
As Lisa Hale reports from Brazil, life gave David Rocha garbage. You won't believe what he makes of it.

Listen to Lisa's documentary


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Reporter goes on sting operation in Amsterdam to get "family" bike back

Lauren's ex-partner with kids and cousins piled into the family "bakfiets". It was stolen and she launched an undercover recovery operation with Amsterdam police that bore little resemblance to Law & Order. (Photo Lauren Comiteau)

A sting on wheels

Our contributor in The Netherlands is not larcenous by nature. But you don't mess with a woman's wheels.
Bike wheels, in this case, bicycles being a favoured form of transportation in Dutch cities like Amsterdam. And swiping them, is a favored pastime.

And that's how Dispatches contributor Lauren Comiteau found herself going over to the dark side in her quest for truth, justice, and her big missing bike.

Listen to Lauren's essay

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