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July 14 & 17: from Comitan, Mexico - Paris - New York - China

Cataphile "Riff" heads underground in the Paris catacombs (photo/Don Duncan)

The misplaced love of Marvin Pinto. A story of obsession with the culture of the cockfight

Stove Camp; the "hippie Manhattan Project" hoping to save millions of lives through cleaner cooking.

As China goes, so goes the world, according to an author who says Chinese consumers are transforming...everything.

And, conflict in the catacombs.  Hard-core crypt crawlers, take exception to the teen tomb tourists partying in their playground under Paris.

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Blood and Blades in a Mexican yard

In Mexico the world of cockfighting is all about blood and blades.

And it's not just a danger to the roosters. Bad debts can have bad endings or worse, for those to try to cheat at a past time that attracts some seriously-deadly gangsters.

Despite all that, Marvin Pinto can't stay away. For him, and a lot of other Mexicans, cockfighting is a not-so-magnificent obsession, as we hear from Dispatches contributor Dominique Jarry-Shore, out in the rooster yard.

Hear Dominique's dispatch now


How not to die for a meal

Back in the 1600s, stovemakers in England tested their prototypes by soaking a chunk of coal in cat urine and throwing it on the fire.

If the stink went up the stank, well, it was good to go. But if it stunk the joint out; back to square one.

Four hundred years later, that same quest draws a bunch of guys to the Oregon woods for the annual pilgrimage known as Stove Camp, aiming to come up with a cheap and efficient stove to feed the Third World.

As it is, smoke-related illness from cooking fires is killing over a million people a year. And it's the second-biggest source of global warming, so it's also attracting some high-tech commercial interest.

The quest just got a big boost from a $60--million initiative recently announced by  U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton

The quest for clean stoves intrigues American journalist Burkhard Bilger, who's written about  it in The New Yorker Magazine.

 He joined us from New York


China's all-you-can-buy buffet

In the days of Mao, a Chinese worker aspired to own four things.

A bike. A watch. A sewing machine and..a radio.

They were known as, "the four things that go 'round."

These days, Chinese consumers have the potential to make the world go 'round. 

And the changes historian Karl Gerth has seen since he was a student there fill the new book entitled, As China Goes, So Goes The World; How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming Everything.

 Rick's interview with Karl

As China Goes, So Goes The World is published by Hill and Wang.


Isareli singer Yasmin Levy's father preserved Ladino folk songs from Spain which she is re-styling for new audiences. Photo/Ali Taskiran

Ladino: Songs of the Jews from Spain to the world

Jewish folk songs survived the expulsion of the Jews from Spain more than 500 years ago.  Over time they were re-shaped in different countries. The result is called Ladino. And it's finding new audiences thanks to artists like Yasmin Levy, who Dispatches caught up to at the Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow.

Listen to Yasmin's musical story of Ladino

Thanks to Dispatches contributor Maria Bakkalapulo in Glasgow.

Yasmin's website 


Paris underground

Cataphile "Riff" heads underground in the Paris catacombs (photo/Don Duncan)


Most of us think of the catacombs under Paris as a final resting place for the dead.  A tourist attraction by day.

But at night, when they are supposed to be off-limits, they come alive with cataphiles who flout the law and go roaming the hundreds of kilometres of former limestone quarries.

But now the information age is exposing some of their secrets.

As Dispatches contributor Don Duncan reports,  there's a culture clash emerging from those gloomy depths.

 Don's dispatch

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