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November 17 & 20: from South Africa - Afghanistan - Espiritu Santu, Brazil - Mogadishu, Somalia

Gold miners deep underground in South Africa. Tens of thousands them come down with TB and HIV and are sent home to die without treatment. Photo/AP

The preventable epidemic no one's bothering to prevent in South Africa.

American journalism gets a scolding as a Canadian journalist takes a top U.S. award.

Fawzia Koofi wants to be the next president of Afghanistan. Even if it kills her.

A story of selflessness from Somalia, where the only things not destroyed in the long civil war are hope and the sea.

And, all aboard Brazil's graffiti train. Why one of the world's largest mining companies is embracing street art.

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Miners in a South African gold mine pray before their shift. The odds are against them surviving epidemic levels of TB and HIV in the mine and in the camps. If they fall sick, their employers send them back to where they came from, where they infect more people. Photo/AP

Dying to dig gold

In a western population of 100,000 people, you might find five cases of tuberculosis. In South Africa - it's 7,000. 

And the unique circumstances of gold mining there also ensures HIV is rampant among mine workers.

Taken together, these illnesses have soared 28-times higher than levels considered to be a human health emergency anywhere else.

Here's how American poet Clint Smith describes mining life and death in a documentary about the underreported epidemic.

Hear him here

They Go To Die was shot and directed by American Jonathan Smith. He's actually an epidemiologist by trade, lecturing at Yale's School of Public Health. But he spent several weeks living with four miners too sick to work. Photographing their lives. Discovering to his horror there's no legal obligation compelling anybody to do anything about it. Jonathan Smith joined us in the Dispatches studio.

Hear his interview with Rick

Smith has launched a Kickstarter campaign to spread the word about this crisis through his film. Which by the way, has won this year's Tuberculosis Survival Prize awarded by the Tuberculosis Survival Project, recognizing those making a difference in the fight against TB.

Check it out at They Go To Die

He'll be speaking later this month in Minneapolis, Minnesota at McAllister University, on November twenty-ninth, and showing clips from his film.


Fawzia Koofi, seen over her right shoulder with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. She hopes to live long enough to run to replace him. Photo/Laura Lynch

Dying to serve in Afghanistan

From the moment she was born, Fawzia Koofi had to struggle to survive.

Now that she's running for president of Afghanistan, she's in another fight for her life.

She's just thirty-five, and in pictures rarely smiles. Her round face stares out serious and defiant behind a ring of bodyguards protecting her from assassins anxious to end a political reformer.

If she has her way, she'll be the first woman to ever lead the country. And she's used to firsts. First girl in her family to go to school. First woman elected to government office. But first female president in 2014?

Fawzia Koofi says she has to survive first, as Canadian correspondent Laura Lynch discovered in a visit to her house.

Listen to Laura's dispatch


Fighting fear in Mexico

It seems that in the most dangerous city in the world, things can always get worse. Members of a drug cartel in the Mexican border city of Juarez recently killed off a bunch of their rivals, as usual. Then left their pieces all over town.

In Toronto, a city of comparable size, the past four years have seen 277 murders. In Juarez? Eight-thousand.

Just living there is hazard enough. Reporting there borders on a death wish, but it's one defied each day by journalists Rocio Gallegos and Sandra Rodriguez of the newspaper, "El Diario."

Two of their colleagues have already been killed.

But the reporting of these two women has earned them this year's Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C.

We thought you'd want to hear why they risk it. Sandra Rodriguez speaks for them both.

Hear her acceptance speech


Radio-Canada's Jean-Michel Leprince is only the 5th Canadian to receive the prestigious American award for international journalism, the Cabot Prize. Photo/Columbia School of Journalism

Kudos for a correspondent.

A longtime Canadian journalist has won a prestigious award from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

Veteran correspondent Jean-Michel Leprince of our French-language cousins at Radio-Canada is one of four winners of the Cabot Prize for Outstanding Reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean.

It's the oldest international award in journalism, conferred annually since 1939.

Jean-Michel is one of just five Canadian journalists to be honored with it -- and the first from Canadian television.

The judging panel praised his work for showing "scenes and stories of real life that too often do not appear on U.S. TV," and scolded the domestic networks for what it calls their "retreat from the region."

Jean-Michel Leprince joined Rick from Montreal.

Listen to their chat

The award has been give for the past seventy-two years, and just four other Canadians have won it. Grant Dexter of the Winnipeg Free Press in 1946, Paul Kidd with Southam News in 1966, John Harbron of the Toronto Telegram in 1970 and Paul Knox for The Globe and Mail in 2000.


Twins, a train and art in Brazil

The Brazil-based multi-national known as Vale Mining is well-known in Canada for vast mineral holdings in four provinces. Not to mention a bitter year-long strike in Sudbury Ontario last year. But back in Brazil, it's working on softening its image, one spray can at a time.

Hear Connie's View from Here


Safia Nur Ahmed with one of the two women who would lose their babies that night in Mogadishu's strained paediatric hospital. Photo/Safia Nur Ahmed

Trade in Somalia: swapping your phone for medical supplies

When it comes to danger, Safia Nur Ahmed likes to say she has a kind of spider sense that keeps her out of trouble.

Just as war was about to break out in her Somali homeland, she scrambled out of harm's way and eventually to Toronto, where she works as a public health nurse.

But after 23 years away, she recently ignored the warning tingles, and went back to a country where everybody has a gun.

She volunteered for three weeks in a what used to be Mogadishu's best paediatric hospital, hoping to make something of a difference.

She didn't know she'd have to make something from nothing.

Safia Nur Ahmed joined us in Toronto.  Listen to their conversation


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

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