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February 2 & 5: from Sri Lanka - Palau - Ethiopia - Bahrain - Pakistan - Colombia

From our correspondents around the world....

Tombs in Puerto Berrio, Colombia hold the remains of unidentified people adopted by local townspeople. Photo/Nadja Drost

The stateless of the South Pacific. Why six inmates freed from Guantanamo are now marooned halfway round the world.

Jazz night in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is comfortable with some western influences but dissent isn't one of them.

How Sri Lanka's headlong rush to development is pitting resorts against its people.

Making a deal with the nameless dead. Why Colombians adopt the victims of violence floating down its largest river.

And, the Pakistani journalist who revealed corruption in his craft only to become a victim of his own success.

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The first days in Palau looked great compared to Guantanamo.  But unable to work or to ever leave the tiny, it's become a prison too.  Ahmad Tourson stands on the left. Photo/AP

Paradise prison for Gitmo Uighurs

Two years ago, a group of Uighurs arrived in the South Pacific island of Palau, finally free after a long internment without charge in Guantanamo Bay.

As Australia's SBS network documented at the time, life after prison was very different.

Have a listen

But two years on, Ahmad Tourson and five other Uighurs from western China find themselves stateless, in a prison of another kind.

What was supposed to be a temporary stay among the 20,000 residents of Palau hasn't been quite so welcoming after all.

But no other country is willing to take them -- for fear of offending China. And it's just not fair, says their lawyer, Seema Saifee. She joined us from Philadelphia.

Seema's interview with Rick


Eslinder Nega now faces the death penalty for calling for respect of human right. Photo/CPJ

Ethiopia: development yes, dissent no

Ethiopia has jailed a local journalist for a column he wrote urging the government to respect human rights.

It's not the first time. More like his eighth. Except this time, Eskinder Nega is charged with terrorism, punishable by death.

Ethiopia has seven other reporters behind bars. In fact, more journalists have fled that country in the past decade than any other, according to the Comittee to Protect Journalists in New York.

Our next contributor knows Eskinder Nega, having recently visited his country of contradictions.

Hear Jesse on the contrasts in Addis Ababa


Fishermen need the beach for their traditional method of stringing and bringing in nets from the shore rather than from boats. New resorts would displace them. Photo/Yasmeen Qureshi

Resort push could shake Sri Lanka's new peace

The south Asian island of Sri Lanka is in a hurry to overcome its wartime past.

Just two years since the end of a long military confrontation, it plans to bung 17 resorts along one stretch of sandy shoreline.

But with developers pre-occupied with building a better beachfront, there's growing concern among those still fishing off it.

And the situation has echoes of the conflict only recently ended as we hear from Canadian journalist Yasmeen Qureshi, on the beach. 

Listen to her dispatch

Produced with Lily Jamali in Sri Lanka.

Thanks to the CBC's Flavia Missier and Jeevan Pragasam for voicing the English translations in that report.


Hernan Montoya is the town mystic in Colombia's Puerto Berrio. He conducts ceremonies for souls in purgatory, particularly those who are among the "no name dead"  Photo/Nadja Drost

The no-name dead of Colombia

In Colombia, the Magdelena River snakes the length of a country long caught in the coils of drug and political violence.

And the river has become a conveyer of the dead.

A place to dump the bodies. In downstream cities like Puerto Berrio, it's given rise to a kind of obsession with the dead, where strangers claim and name the floating remains.

But what began as compassion, has turned into a competition. where the living expect favours from the dead, as we hear from Canadian journalist Nadja Drost.

Hear Nadja's documentary


Fadhila Mubarak is pictured here with her son.  She's lost another appeal for release from jail in Bahrain. Photo/Amnesty International

Brutality in Bahrain 

In Bahrain, the revolution is not being televised but it is being heard.

In songs of protest - the playing of which may cost Fadhila Mubarak 18-months of her life.

Rick has the song and her story





Jan's show was dedictated to exposing corruption among journalists, who for a time agreed to be interviewed by him. Photo/DawnTV

Fighting Pakistan's payola for journalists

To Pakistan now, where the bribery and backhanders on offer to journalists can beggar belief.

Cash-for-cooperation.  Secret government slush funds. Cut-rate accomodations.

And freebies to the Hajj, the annual pilgramage to Mecca every Muslim is expected to make at least once in their lives.

But recently, a straight arrow by the name of Matiullah Jan took it on, creating a TV program exposing his peers on the government payroll.

In Urdu, the show's named Apna Gareban which means our own weak spot. Or at least it was.

Little did he know the forces he was messing with. Journalist Matiullah Jan joined Rick on a slightly-noisy line from Islamabad in Pakistan.

Jan's interview with Rick

Journalist Matiullah Jan is still on the air and back on the beat that motivated him in the first place; covering the courts in Pakistan.


This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, Steve McNally and intern Amanda Kwan. Thanks too to intern Kazim Rizvi.  Technical producers Tim Lorimer and Victor Johnston.  Our senior producer is Alan Guettel.

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