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May 24 and May 27, 2012: from Florence - Uganda - The Seychelles - Iraq

From our correspondents around the world...


Tour participants in Florence eat gelato topped with aged balsamic vinegar, a uniquely Italian treat. (Photo: Luigi Fraboni)

How does a hairdresser recruited for work in Dubai, wind up slaving for the U.S. military in a war zone in Iraq? We look at the plight of those known as "The Invisible Army."

In Uganda you can inherit a wife, marry more than one, and beating them isn't much of a crime. And changing that is proving problematic.

Then, a young award-winning reporter on shoe leather, social media and his first time in a free-fire zone.

And, Florentine steak, well-aged parmeggiano, and an egg-rich gelato to die for. How to find the best food in Florence.

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Sarah Stillman has won several awards for her investigation of America's "Invisible Army".  (Photo by Alan Chin)

Servant slaves to the U.S. military

When the recruiter offered Lydia and Vinnie high-paid jobs in Dubai, they jumped in, not realizing they'd been sucked in, like so many other foreign workers.
By some estimates, as many as 70,000 work in appalling conditions on American military bases, locked into punitive contracts by unscrupulous contractors accountable to no one.
They're America's "invisible army."Journalist Sarah Stillman was struck by their stories during her time in Iraq in 2008, especially when she looked into how they were living.
The article she wrote about those workers -- which appeared in The New Yorker last year -- has won several awards. This month she picked up the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism and a National Magazine Award for her story.

Hear Rick's interview with Sarah

Sarah Stillman is a freelance journalist and visiting scholar at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

She is in Washington, D.C. Her story about foreign workers on American bases first appeared in The New Yorker.

The website In2EastAfrica featured the wedding of Education Minister Jessica Alupo and news that her groom paid her family a "bride price" of more than $20,000. Those pushing for reform of marriage laws in Uganda say the payments make men feel entitled to abuse their wives. (Screenshot: In2EastAfrica.net)

Uganda's marriage trap

In Uganda, women's rights are decided by men. Especially when it comes to marriage.

The rules seem crafted to stifle a woman's wishes at virtually every turn. Parliament wants to change all that, but is catching flak from all sides.

Even from women, in a country where their wedding terms of endearment are counted in cattle. Dispatches contributor Dennis Porter picks up our story with a couple preparing for their big day.

Listen to Dennis' documentary

Toronto Star reporter Jesse McLean on assignment in Bahrain. He was named Canada's best young journalist and winner of the 21st annual Edward Goff Penny Memorial award. (Photo courtesy: Toronto Star/Lucas Oleniuk)

A young reporter's first time under fire.

Toronto Star reporter Jesse McLean is just a couple years into his career, but already a veteran of some tough assignments, including the earthquake in Haiti and the uprising in Bahrain.

For his work on those and other stories, he's been named one of the winners of this year's Edward Goff Penny Award, which recognizes Canada's best young journalists.

Dispatches thought you'd like to hear him on his first crack at foreign correspondence and he joined us in studio.

Listen to Rick's chat with Jesse

Shane Smith of Vice Magazine is critical of how the internet is being used, or not used, to reach younger audiences with news about the world.  (Screengrab: The Internet Conference NY 2012) 

New Media, young audience, but old news

As Jesse noted, the next generation of young foreign correspondents will have to combine shoe leather and social media in ways never seen before.

But they'll have to do a better job of it than we've seen so far, according to Shane Smith. He's the blunt-speaking CEO of Vice Magazine, a Canadian publication based in New York, where little is sacred and much is profane.

But it's one of the current bibles of cool for corporations which envy its demographic appeal to the cohort known as Generation Y.

And Smith says it's poorly served by the Baby Boomers in charge of conventional media which is failing to reflect the global anger of today's youth.

Listen to part of Shane Smith's warning

How not to be a tourist in Italy

Like many tourists, Toni Mazzaglia isn't impressed by the fast food on offer in her adopted city of Florence, Italy.

Unlike most tourists though, she's done something about it, becoming a guide to the true tastes of Tuscany.

Hear Nancy's dispatch

Ronald Jumeau told a conference of polar nations in Montreal that his tropic island nation of The Seychelles is also suffering from the effects climate change is having on the sea ice and oceans. He is the Ambasssdor for the Seychelles to the U.S. and the U.N. (Photo: Mia Bennett)

Polar melt hits the tropic belt

Dispatches notes that it's hot in the Seychelles right now. Too hot.

The tiny nation of 1500 islands in the Indian Ocean has come under drought and fire restrictions months earlier than usual.

It says it's caught in a crossfire of climate change and melting Arctic ice.

At a recent polar conference in Montreal, Seychelles Ambassador to the U.S. and U.N., Ronald Jean Jumeau, warned the poles and tropics may be far apart, but they are closely linked by exposure to global warming.

Listen to an excerpt from Jean Jumeau's warning

Jumeau spoke at the International Polar Year 2012 Conference in Montreal in April.

Neil MacDonald will have the story of how a low birth rate threatens Italy's traditional institutions and symbols. (Photo: CBC News)

Demographic doom stalks Italy.

Next week on the program, the CBC's Neil Macdonald on Italy's doleful demographic. A birth rate so low, schools are being turned into old age homes.

Listen to an excerpt from Neil's upcoming story


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This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, Steve McNally. With technical producers Nima Shams and Tim Lorimer. Senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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