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June 16 & 19: from Gudvangen, Norway - India - Dakar, Senegal - the Balkans - Guca, Serbia

Enok Alfson (facing camera) and Hordtur Bardtal locked in a shoulder grip in the Norwegian sport of Glima. Photo/Nacha Raman.

The angry mission of Sampat Pal, confronting a culture that abuses women in India.

In Senegal, they say you gotta "eat the chilis before you get the honey."  And female cabbies eat a lot of chilis.

A small matter of the missing: a new book documents the quest to identify the Balkans' war dead with DNA.

Then, the sweet sound of celebration and a sour note of nationalism as brass bands gather in Serbia. 

And, going berserk with the new Vikings of Norway.

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Glima combatants (Photo/Nacha Raman)

Going "berserk" in Norway

Once a year in Norway, people gather to get in touch with their inner Viking.


They don Viking clothes.  Swap Viking stories. Some even arrive ready to rumble, Viking-style. And they don't like to lose. Sound like fun?

Alright, maybe you have to be there. Luckily for us, Nacha Raman is.

 Listen to Nacha's documentary

See some Glima combatants in action in our photo gallery

 Rebels in pink saris

India's about to do something not done since the days of the Raj, back when Britain ran the country 80 years ago.

Next year in a census, it'll be asking Indians to disclose their caste: the social class into which they were born.

And it's controversial. Supporters say it'll help the government determine where the poor are most in need. Critics say it will just reinforce an opressive social hierarchy.   

All this at a time when some Indians are gradually throwing off the idea that their futures are pre-determined by their family's past.

(Photo/Pink Saris/Women Make Movies)

But it is still very much in effect in rural India. And especially hard on girls, documented in a new film entitled Pink Saris, the uniform of abused women banding together to fight back.

The film is animated by their self-proclaimed champion, a tenacious, sometimes maddening woman named Sampat Pal. 

To bring context to it all, Rick spoke with Kim Longinotto, a career documentary maker with a fondness for rebels.

 Rick's conversation with Kim

Pink Saris won the award for best documentary at this year's Hong Kong Film Festival.


Space shuttle Atlantis (Photo/AP)

A Space Shuttle, a Premier, and an Ocean

Well down at the Kennedy Space Centre right now, they're prepping for the final flight of the shuttle program. 

It's due to go up July 8 for the very last time. 

NASA's vision for economic, re-useable transportation delivering people and payloads -- and perhaps space's secrets itself -- is a casualty of earthbound budget cuts after more than 40 years.

But when Atlantis does go up, Rick already know a particular song will run through his head with the same painful intensity as the roar of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters.

 Rick's essay


Senegal's Taxi Sisters  

In Senegal, a woman's place is now behind the wheel of a cab.  Pass the screening and all she needs is a little martial arts training and a bright yellow car.

And the male taxi drivers?  Well, one hopes they'll come round to the idea, as Canadian journalist Amanda Fortier discovers while shadowing these Taxi Sisters from the start of their day.

 Amanda's dispatch


Bosnian Muslim Alisa, standing inside the house where her father was killed, with her neighbours in the background (photo/¬©Nick Danziger/ICRC/Nbpictures).

Missing lives

In Bosnia, the bones of the dead still emerge from the mud.

The skeletons of 60 more people were recently found in the banks of  the Drina River.  Most are expected to be civilians.

Identifying the dead is serious business in Bosnia these days. 

Advances in DNA testing have encouraged thousands to provide samples in the hopes of matching a missing relative.

19,000 have been identified so far, though thousands more have not. 

Their stories are now documented in a new book called, Missing Lives, with pictures by Nick Danziger, and text by Canadian Rory MacLean, who joined Rick from Berlin.

 Listen to Rick's interview with Rory

Missing Lives is published by Dewi Lewis Publishing in the UK, in association with the International Committee of the Red Cross.


Trubaci blast their horns while onlookers take it all in, in Guca, Serbia (photo/Lisa Hale)

The View from Here:  Guca, Serbia

Brass bands and the Balkans might not seem like a match, but they have a long history in Serbia, which recently played host to a global gathering of horn players.

Good times and good beer were top of the agenda, though others were keen to hijack it, as Lisa Hale discovered, when it came time to strike up the band.

 Lisa's View from Guca

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