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March 31 & April 3: from Grand Forks, North Dakota - Ukraine - Amman, Jordan - Bunya, Democratic Republic of Congo - Manila, Philippines

A U.S. Predator-B unmanned drone like the one now deployed by the Americans to look across the Canadian border. Photo/Reuters

Powered by fear: The U.S. flies its eyes-in-the-skies drones above the Canadian border.

Justice delayed in the Philippines, where someone's killing the witnesses while a mass murder case stalls. 

Mother to another's brothers: A new Canadian film confronts the special perils facing black foster kids in Ukraine. 

Risk Radio: The CBC's correspondent in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the risk of reporting war crimes on local radio.

And, crossing Jordan: Civil unrest sends another Arab King scrambling. His daddy was a survivor. Is King Abdullah his father's son? .

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An instructor and a Predator drone pilot in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  The base flies unmanned drones 1500 kms a day looking across the border with Canada.  Photo/U.S.A.F.

Their eyes, our skies. 

We could hardly hear it, though we could see it, but it had seen us first.  

An unmanned Israeli surveillance aircraft, purring slowly overhead in south Lebanon several years ago. 

The new technology of war.  
Today they're flying in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  A technician in Las Vegas can fire a missile into faraway Iraq.

But in a development framed by fear and pork barrel politics, the U.S. is now cruising the skies over its northern border, worried what lurks on the Canadian side.

We hear why from CBC Security Correspondent Bill Gillespie, at the Grand Forks Air Force base in North Dakota.

Listen to Bill's dispatch


Olga Nenya and her foster children in front of their house. Sumy, Ukraine, 2008.  Photo/Interfilm productions.

Ukraine's mother of the many

Being a foster child in Ukraine has its challenges. Black ones face even more.   

And it's the subject of a new film, Family Portrait in Black and White, the only feature-length Canadian documentary selected for the recent Sundance Festival.

It turns on the heartwarming and headstrong Olga Nenya, who's looked after twenty-five foster children in all.

Sixteen of them, mixed-race.  The film was written and directed by Russian-born Julia Ivanova, who joined us from Vancouver.  

Hear our interview with Julia now.

Family Portrait in Black and White will be showing at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto on May 2nd, 4th and 8th. Read more about the film here.


IRFJ journalist Jean Pierre Kabulabo meets with members of one of the station's listeners' clubs. Photo/IFRJ.

Congo's risk radio IRFJ
In the Democratic Republic of Congo,there's a radio station that links the living and the dead.

Listeners get updates on Jean-Pierre Bemba, on trial in the Hague for allegedly presiding over the murder of hundreds of civilians.

It's called Interactive Radio for Justice, which tries to get people talking to the International Criminal Court and other agencies investigating atrocities in the troubled region.

The CBC's Stephen Puddicombe went to their office in Bunia, near the Ugandan border, and discovered a staff working at great personal risk.

Listen to Stephen's dispatch


A backhoe unearths bodies from a shallow grave where 58 people, mostly reporters, were killed near Ampatuan territory in the southern Philippines. Photo/Erik de Castro -Reuters.

Muddled massacre in the Philippines

One of the most gruesome trials in recent Philippines history, looks like it'll drag on for decades.  

And the delay is dangerous. Someone's using the time bribe or kill the witnesses.

It stems from a massacre in 2009, when fifty-eight people were murdered in a dispute between competing warlords. 

Nearly 200 followers of the Ampatuan family are accused of opening fire on a convoy of journalists and rivals from the rival Mangundadatu clan. 

And the longer this case lingers, the more people turn up dead.

Edward Lingao is multi-media Director of the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism.

He joined us from Manila via Skype.

Hear our interview with Ed now

Ed Lingao produced a documentary about the massacre. See it here.



Demonstrators have been on the normally-quiet streets of Amman for weeks. Photo/AP

Jordan's crown grows heavier

To be King Abdullah the second of Jordan these days, is more of a dilemma than a distinction.

Or as he frames it in his new book, quoting the sergeant who schooled him at Sandhurst:

"You're always going to be in the shit. It's just the depth that's going to vary."

And that's been Jordan's lot for years; a state full of refugees from the Arab-Israeli conflict, still being punished by its neighbours for supporting Iraq during the Gulf War twenty-one years ago.

And now, the civil unrest that's roiling through the Arab world is lapping at the King's historic city of seven hills.

Dispatches contributor Don Duncan assesses the depth, from the home of one of the aggrieved in the Jordanian capitol.

Listen to Don's report



Ayman Mohyeldin is the Cairo-based Middle East correspondent for Al Jazeera English.  Photo/Al Jazeera.

The view from there


With new governments expected in Egypt and Tunisia, and the possibility of more to come in the Arab world, some are asking how it might change relations with Israel and the United States.

Here's how Al Jazeera's Middle East Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin answered the Council on Foreign Relations at a public forum earlier this week.

Ayman's assessment


Coming up on Dispatches next week

The next time you're driving through the violent streets of Tijuana, Mexico, don't be surprised if a van suddenly pulls up beside you, a bunch of people leap out, and...break into song.

Hear a bit about Mexico's travelling opera.


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

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