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May 6 & 9: from Athens - Chernobyl - Johannesburg - Viengxay

Greece gets a bailout but will Greeks pay their dues? And their overdue taxes?

Why Chernobyl still smoulders, and Ukrainians still get burned, 24 years after the world's worst nuclear accident.

South Africa's ruling party has a new bad boy, and this time it's not the president, but it is his problem.

A Nicaraguan land play. The developers rush in. The developers rush out. A Canadian filmmaker explains what went so very wrong.

And, Laos spills its secrets from the Vietnam era. The war that just keeps on going, no matter whose side you were on.

Beware of Greeks bearing debts

Guy takes his car to a garage in Athens. The mechanic says, "Sure I'll fix it. But you pay cash money, off-the-books." Because books, mean taxes.
(Giannakouris/Associated Press)

Let's not pretend tax evasion doesn't happen here.

It just doesn't happen on the same scale as it does in Greece. And that's one of the reasons the country needs to be bailed out of bankruptcy.

Some say Greek reluctance to cough up dates back to the Turkish occupation, when for centuries, Greeks refused to pay tax to the Ottoman Empire.

It's a culture that touches every Greek family, as we hear in this week's guest essay from journalist Joanna Kakissis in Athens.

Joanna's dispatch...

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Chernobyl's long afterglow

Twenty-four years ago, the world watched in horror as dying men battled an explosion in a crippled Soviet nuclear reactor and radioactive fallout drifted across Europe.

It happened at the Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, though most remember it for the obscure Ukranian village where it was located: Chernobyl.

Clean-up crews were told to just stay drunk to ward off radiation.

Even today, the reactor's poison core still simmers beneath a concrete cover.

And remarkably, some residents have returned.

Dispatches contributor Saroja Coelho travelled the road to the ongoing disaster.

Saroja's documentary...

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The Iran-New Jersey axis of silly

How did televison's satiric Daily Show landed a Canadian journalist in a Tehran jail?

Maziar Bahari was covering the Iranian elections last summer, and in the course of it, had a conversation with others doing the same thing.

One of them was fellow Canadian Jason Jones, a comedian working his fake correspondent schtick for TV's The Daily Show.

Except Iran's zealous Revolutionary Guards thought Jones was a spy. But somehow it was Bahari who wound up in prison for four months.

They're still not real sure why, but last weekend at the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in New York, Bahari and Jones had some theories.

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South Africa's young and restless

South Africa's ruling political party is facing a new rupture, thanks to a badly-behaved boy some have taken to calling "Kiddie Amin."

ANC's young firebrand Julius Malema (in green shirt) at a rally (Bruce Edwards/CBC)

But Julius Malema is no kid, and no credit to the ruling African National Congress, though he remains head of its youth wing.

He sings anti-white songs. Defies ANC policy by praising the despotic regime in neighbouring Zimbabwe. He's even been convicted of hate-speech.

And the young and the poor of South Africa are eating it up.

But Malema helped President Jacob Zuma get elected. So, as Dispatches contributor Laura Lynch observes, there's a lot to read into how he chooses to handle his party renegade.

Laura's report...

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Land, losers and lessons learned, in Nicaragua

For awhile this decade, Nicaragua was being billed as "the new Florida."

From 2005 to 2008, it was a the darling of a few American developers.

They went in with their architects and bulldozers bent on creating a "central American Riviera."

Julian Pinder had already bought in. The Canadian filmmaker went down there after three years studying film and politics at Queen's University, and purchased his own little piece of paradise.

Thus began his real education in film and politics.

Developers followed, and social tensions mounted. And over a four-year-period, he turned his lens on the changing face of the Nicaraguan seacoast. The result is "Land", a documentary screening now at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto.

Julian Pinder came to our studio, sporting a black hat and a beard-in-progress, and looking like a compact Liam Neeson.

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Julian's film Land is due for theatrical release in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver this summer.

Some moments from "Land..."

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Laos's long shadows of war

Beneath the southeast Asian soil of Laos, time stands still.

Things are just as the soldiers and civilians left them when they last took shelter underground during the Vietnam era, escaping the secret war being waged on Laos by American bombers.
The underground hiding place was a secret too, until very recently.

But in a way, Laotians are still paying for that war, losing lives or limbs to unexploded bombs still buried beneath Laotian soil.

And those who dared to aid the American war effort in Laos are still paying for it too, as Dispatches contributor Jared Ferrie discovered in the secret shelters underground.
Jared's report...

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This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally, intern Eve Caron, technical producer Victor Johnston, senior producer Alan Guettel, and Rick MacInnes-Rae.
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