Bookmark and Share

November 26 & 29 - Sao Paolo, Taverna del Re - Italy, Johannesburg, Mumbai and New York City

Latin America goes shopping for firepower. Since nobody expects it to actually fire the new guns, what are they for exactly?

A look inside "the land of the fires." How toxic muck and the Mob are poisoning one of the most fertile regions of Italy.

Africa is mad as hell and it's not going to partake in the UN climate change conference if something isn't done about carbon emissions.

And from Mumbai, why Mary Colaso can't go home. Mobility is changing tradition for the elderly of India.

Listen to Part One

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Listen to Part Two
Download Flash Player to view this content.

Individual items from this week's show are not available. But you can listen to them in Part 1 and Part 2 of the programme (above).

A New Arms Race in Latin America?

In Latin America, green is the new black. Military green, that is.

Weaponry is back in style, and at least six countries have just walked down the catwalk with billions in new arms ware.

And it's giving new urgency to old grudges. Get this: Brazil's buying attack subs and fighter aircraft.

Venezuela just purchased Russian tanks and air defense systems for its new fleet of fighter aircraft.

Which won't make neighbouring Colombia happy, because it's working on a new military base deal with the Americans -- who are cheesed off with Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Brazil for appearing to get cozy with Iran.

There's more but here's the thing: is all this militarization a preamble to an all-out arms race?

For some thoughts about that, Rick spoke with journalist Ruth Costas in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She's the Latin American affairs specialist with the city's oldest newspaper, Estado de Sao Paulo.

Italy's big stink

There was a public outcry in Italy two years ago, a rebellion against the stench in the streets.

Stinking hills of rubbish were burning all over the neighbourhoods of Naples. And since organised crime controlled the sanitation business, that's just the way things were.

Until its citizens said enough.

That prompted Italian prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to declare a national emergency. He sent in the military, and away went the trash. But it didn't go far. Just to the lush countryside outside Naples.

And two years later, it still isn't going anywhere fast.

In fact, the only thing worse than the new garbage situation is the way Italy treats those who complain about it, as we hear now from Dispatches contributor Megan Williams, who's watching it all pile up.

Kidnapping and the media

Journalists and diplomats face a growing new occupational hazard: kidnapping. It seemed to gather its recent momentum in Chechnya in the '90s.

And Canadians have recently become all too familiar with it.

Diplomat Robert Fowler tells a story about talking to his neighbour, CBC journalist Paul Hunter, about the case of Mellissa Fung, the CBC reporter kidnapped in Afghanistan.

Hunter's telling him the media agreed to a blackout on reporting it in the hope it might speed her release.

At which point Fowler asked, "Yeah, what are you going to do when I get kidnapped?'" And three weeks later, he was.

Fowler was serving as United Nations Special Envoy in Niger when he and colleague Louis Guay were grabbed at gunpoint and wound up being held for 130 days.

In his case there was no media-wide news blackout.

At a recent forum of the Canadian Journalism Foundation in Toronto, Fowler told an audience he supports a free press. But he says the information his captors got from the media put him in danger and extended their captivity.

Africa's quest for carbon credits

Chopping down hardwood for charcoal in Miombo forest on Malosa Mountain in Malawi. (Photo/Jeff Barbee)

Africa has always been a land of old deserts. But ominously now, it's seeing the start of new ones. And it feels like a victim of a problem it's had little part in causing.

In fact, a group of 55 African states are so fed up with the global failure to reduce carbon emissions, they're threatening to boycott the U.N.'s climate change conference in Copenhagen next month.

Africa wants to be able to sell itself as a continent of "carbon sink forests," where countries over quota on carbon emissions can buy credits, from African states that aren't.

And one of the best carbon sinks...is an ugly little tree, according to Jeff Barbee.

He's a photojournalist based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and he's working on a documentary about Africa's forests. His work on the environment has appeared in various publications including The New York Times and Smithsonian Magazine.

Link to Jeff's blog, "Another Path" on his road to Copenhagen.

A home, but not at home

In Mumbai, there's an elderly woman who'd like to be living out her life in the home of her children and grandchildren. After all, that's been the custom.

But she can't. And there are lots like her.

Never mind tradition. The mobility of modern society is changing this ancient culture.

There's nothing like a home. But for many, it isn't going to be the one they expected, as we heard from Canadian journalist Saira Syed, at the forefront of that change.

Covering trauma

Journalists are bombarded with powerful images and ideas in the course of their reporting -- and with emotions, particularly when covering stories of conflict.

And a recent gathering at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma in New York, Latin American reporters considered what that means as they cover tragedy and atrocity in their region.

Photo-journalist Donna DeCesare got to recalling the carnage caused in Guatemala by Hurricane Stan four years ago.

She'd met up with a lot of Guatemalans who'd been in the U.S. at the time, and returned to find their homes and families lost.

And she said an interesting thing to the assembled journalists. Be careful. Don't shut down. And don't treat everybody as a victim.

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

  • Commenting has been disabled for this entry.