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February 10 & 13: from Egypt - Prato, Italy - Haiti - Paris

Presidential politics aside, the army will remain as Egypt's power broker - it's main employer and engine of the economy. Photo/ Reuters Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egyptians have toppled a president, but new challenges are rising in his place -- challenges that might prove to be just as hard to resolve.

We'll hear from the Canadian who's resurrected long-lost music from Haiti and earned a Grammy nomination for doing it.

Italian factories, Chinese labour. Why some see the mix producing profits for business, but huge losses for both cultures.

And, come strut with The Society of Revellers and Elegant People. Of course they're French. French-African.

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Protesters have welcomed the army as a venerated institution.  It only appears to be impassive says our guest.   Photo/AP

Who wins now? Egypt's generals have first say 

Yes, there is a new Egypt, and it looks a lot like the old one so far. It's still an Arab Republic run by the military. Now, without the pretense of a president.

And with the exit of Mubarak and the generals in charge, there are troubling questions about the state's future.

Professor Robert Springborg has been watching Egyptian politics for most of his life, and teaches National Security Affairs at the Naval Post-graduate School, the U.S. Navy's university for officers in Monterey, California.

Listen to his interview now (the 18:48 version)

Read his recent article in Foreign Policy online.

It's pretty certain U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates hadn't read it, judging from what he had to say about Egypt's vaunted military last week.   Listen to his comments here


Jocelyn Armel models some of the tamer Sapeur fashion in Paris.  Photo/Reuters


Revellers and Elegant People

The catwalks of Paris are a showcase for over-the-top extravagance, but the French fashion houses are getting a run for their money from some African interlopers.

Call them the sons of SAPE. That's pronounced "SAP", a French acronym that roughly translates as "The Society of Revellers and Elegant People."

Most are men, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, all bought into the idea that it's better to look good, than to live good.

Genvieve Oger went to the catwalk for a look.

Listen to Genevieve's dispatch now

Check out more Sapeur looks in Papa Wemba's musical tribute to "Sapologie" on YouTube here.



Prof. Gage Averill plays lost recordings of Haitian music to earthquake victims. Photo/Averill

 Haitian hits back on the charts

For 50 years, nobody paid much attention to a stack of scratchy old recordings on aluminum discs, shelved in Washington's Library of Congress.

Nobody remembered they held more than 50 hours of rare Haitian music, recorded by the legendary American folklorist, Alan Lomax, who brought the likes of Leadbelly and southern blues to international attention.

Everything from work songs, to rara, to the world's first recorded voodoo ceremony, delivered in archaic French and kryole.

They were recently released in an album which is up for two Grammy Awards this weekend, one of them for the translations, essays and comprehensive liner notes penned by renowned Canadian Gage Averill, a scholar of Haitian music and Dean of Arts at the University of British Columbia.

He joined us from Vancouver.  Listen to our musical interview with Gage now



Chinese in Prato, legal and illegal, make up almost 20% of the population of the Tuscan city.  Photo/Megan Williams


Tuscan town goes Chinese

Now, you think of Tuscany, you think of all things Italian.

But parts of it are fast becoming all things Chinese, and the two cultures aren't getting along so well.

In the storied textile town of Prato, Chinese-run factories attract Chinese workers by the thousands, many of them illegal.

They now make up nearly 20% of the population. But, they don't want to stay, or become Italian.

Dispathces contributor Megan Williams files from Prato on a situation that's unique in Europe.

hear Megan's dispatch now




 This week's letters are BBC

There likely isn't an English-speaking correspondent in the world who hasn't found themselves standing in some remote location at the top of the hour, angling the shortwave radio to catch this lilting Irish march known as "Lillibullero," which starts the news on the BBC World Service.

English-language listeners are fortunate.

Others, not so much, as we reported to you last week after it announced plans to end broadcasts in several languages due to budget cuts. And that prompted some of you to email us your memories of the Beeb.

Susan Fraser of Gore's Landing, Ontario, worked for the BBC's Romanian section in 60s London and writes; "I recall the different 'smells' each morning as I took the lift up to my floor. The lifts were huge, and packed full of all-different nationalities, all of whom had had a different spice for breakfast.

By the time I got off, I felt I had travelled through many countries! "I'm sure the decision to make the cuts was a very difficult one, but it will be a hard one to bear, not only for those who will lose their jobs, but also for those countries who will no longer have the BBC World Service broadcasts in their living rooms" writes Susan Fraser of Gore's Landing in Ontario.

From Oakville, Ontario, Peter Boyd writes; "Many years ago, in the Dark Ages before the Internet, I worked in ...places like the Canadian Arctic, Saudi Arabia and Libya....the only source of news WAS...shortwave radio. ...back then, when the Cold War still ran warm, I would listen to the "Voice of America" for their perspective; "Radio Moscow" for their perspective.

"Then I would wait in anticipation for the strains of "Lilly Bolero," and the words "This is London." I could count on the BBC World Service for the truth," writes Peter Boyd of Oakville, Ontario.

From Vancouver, Jack Dubberly recalls listening to the BBC on shortwave at the family electronics store on Davie. "One day" he writes, "a man came in...looking at a very expensive shortwave radio. His clothing looked quite out of place... He said...he arrived from China the previous week. (I said) "Your English is fantastic! How come?"

His face lit up and he proudly said he learned ...from listening to daily English lessons on BBC World Service. ...did (the) Service make an impact on me? You bet.

To me and millions of others around the world. (Cutting it) is another step to the end of the romance of radio that the soul-less internet can't supply. Quite a shame really" writes Jack Dubberley in Vancouver.

Your letters. Our thanks. More letters in Your Dispatches!


 This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally. With technical producers Tim Lorimer, Rob Selminovic, and Anca Stan, Our senior producer is Alan Guettel.

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