New Internationalist

Articles by Radio New Internationalist

The new superpowers

As US power falls, people-power is rising…

Never before has a United States’ Presidential election been given so much coverage in the Western World as it’s being given now. Indeed, sometimes it feels like it’s taken over our political horizon. But look, up in the sky. The world’s media-spotlights are shining in the wrong direction!

Commentators concede that as a superpower, the US is in decline. No longer strong, but grounded and gasping for breath, it must have been exposed to kryptonite. Meanwhile Europe, China, and India are dusting off their capes, positioning themselves in anticipation of the crash. Superpowers bring vastly different dialogues to world politics - war and peace.

They have the power to re-shape capitalism and the world economy, and fundamentally affect the most pressing issues of the decade. So who will fill the power vacuum that the US is leaving behind?

Russian political economist Boris Kagarlitsky - Director of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements joins Chris Richards to help unmask the superhero-contenders of the future, and finds social movements rather than countries may soon be the ones that are flying high:

  • Modern China has merged capitalism and communism. Shi Yinhong - Professor of International Relations at the Renmin University in China’s capital, Beijing - reveals how the country and its people now see both themselves and their place in the world.
  • Kamil Mahdi - a fellow of the Transnational Institute and specialist in the political economy of Arab and oil exporting countries - examines the effects that the declining influence of the United States and the rising global influence of India and China are having in the Middle East.
  • Patrick Bond - the Director of the Centre for Civil Society in South Africa - celebrates the growing strength of social movements… and the multi-billion dollar legal action being taken by South Africans against the long line of foreign corporations that propped up apartheid.

The music in this program and throughout all our programs comes from the World Music Network’s wonderful collection of inspiring music from all corners of the globe. This week features the CD Rhythm of the River, which showcases a range of artists from the World Music Network’s Riverboat Records series.

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——

With this program, the Radio New Internationalist project comes to an end.

We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have because we’ve had a ball. But life’s commercial realities have pressed in on us and forced us to close our microphones. The good news is that there are now over 80 Radio New Internationalist programs in our audio archives just waiting for you to download at the push of a button. So if you’re looking for more radio programs, check out our website: http://www.newint.org/radio/ In addition, over the coming weeks some of our very best programs will be repeated.

  • August 19, 2008
  • 0

Enter stage left

A radical take on improving peoples’ physical and environmental security…

Many of the perspectives put forward by the powerful and passionate voices gracing Radio New Internationalist this year have the capacity to move the world. The move may be to a better place, fundamentally shifting our attitudes towards a more sustainable life. Or the move may be a step down life’s ladder leading us to a more dangerous destiny. Whether to the left or the right all of these views reveal other ways of thinking about the overall direction the world is turning, offering a veritable smorgasbord of ideas and developments to feed into our own lives. Today the Radio New Internationalist team serves up some of this year’s best:   

  • We start with security - the ability of people to feel free from fear of attack. The war on terror has moved the world into greater fear of personal danger. British slam poet Danny Chivers moves us out of that space with a humorous assessment of the risk of being killed in today’s Western World.
  • Turning to some true terrorists, government-backed military forces across the world are at best, arresting and torturing and at worst, killing and raping their own citizens - people who challenge the boundaries of government power. Labour rights advocate Dr Yang Jianli describes the treatment that he received as one of thousands of political prisoners in China’s jail.
  • Talking of terror, 50 of the world’s 27,000 nuclear weapons have the capacity to kill an amazing 200 million people. Yet despite active campaigns involving millions of people, five decades after the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan, an international convention to ban the bomb has still not been successfully negotiated. But things are about to change, as New Internationalist co-editor Jess Worth and Felicity Hill from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom report.  
  • With environmental security endangered by climate change, what should the world’s response be? Professor Walter Kälin, Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons takes us through some options.
  • Other international campaigns are attempting to combat climate change by stopping carbon emissions at their source. New Internationalist co-editor Vanessa Baird and Carlos Larrea - one of Ecuador’s leading economists - explain the Yasuní proposal to keep Ecuador’s oil in the ground.  
  • High on the health security list is HIV, which kills more people than all world wars and conflict - 1.2 million in 2007. While the United Nations estimate that over 33 million people were living with HIV/AIDS last year, most of these can’t afford the drug treatments to contain it. Humanitarian and diplomat, Stephen Lewis - co-director of AIDS-Free World - and Dr André de Mello e Souza from the Pontifíca Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro outline which countries have by necessity by-passed pharmaceutical patents to offer their people the medication that they need.

Today’s CD selection is Dig Dig performed by Bob Brozman and René Lacaille, which showcases the African, Asian and Indian influence on the island of La Réunion. It’s a passionate, joyous, sexy and rhythmic romp - one of this program’s favourites CD.

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  • August 12, 2008
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Wonder Women

Women who are doing it for themselves…

Right now the Radio New Internationalist team are revisiting some of the powerful and passionate people we’ve been hearing from this year.  And we’ve found that it’s the women who’ve really starred. They are an inspirational bunch - vivacious, outspoken, interesting, warm and funny - stepping out bravely to create more inclusive communities and build a better world. We chat with some of them today:

  • India’s environmentalist extraordinaire Vandana Shiva, talks about her remarkable legacy to humanity - a seed bank to protect biodiversity and stop corporate control of the food chain, and the 300,000 farmers it has helped.
  • Jenni Williams from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) introduces us to her remarkable organization which - in spite of arrests and assaults - stands up to challenge corruption and incompetence riddling her country’s Government. 
  • Charm Tong from the Shan Women’s Action Network reports on how military madness is burning ethnic villages off Burma’s map - killing the villagers and using rape as a weapon of war and what she is doing to combat it.
  • Water is essential to good health, and the African nation, Tanzania, has just been awarded compensation after privatized water services in the capital delivered worse water. Tamsyn East - Water Campaigns Officer with the World Development Movement - reports.
  • Despite widespread and vocal global disgruntlement about privatisation, governments keep on keeping it on. Laila Harré - a former New Zealand Cabinet Minister - explores what goes on in the minds of our governments when they’re making huge and irreversible decisions to privatize.

Today’s CD is a collection of ambient funk from Asia - Ryukyu Underground.

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  • August 5, 2008
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In support of feminism: Why women aren’t equal

In the last century, women’s rights ran a marathon. Across the globe, women fought and won the right to slam their stove doors shut and put down their mops to participate more equally in government, in education, in paid work, and all the other wonderful things that a good life offers. So much so that the feminism of fifty years ago sounds outdated and unnecessary to the young women in the Western World today. Yet if the goal is to secure an environment in which women can reach their potential, today’s guests set-out why many women actually get something far short of the ideal, and how women are fighting back.

  • The militias in many countries are now using the genitals of women as a weapon of war. Marie Claire Faray regularly returns to the Congo - her homeland - where the militia’s have raped 200,000 women to humiliate their communities and cripple their families. She explains why.
  • From African villages to the suburbs of America, historically women with children clean and cook while men go out to put food on the table. For women, that can mean slave-like drudgery. That’s why feminists started an international campaign for a wage for housework. Selma James - co-author of The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community - tallies some of its impressive victories.
  • In totalitarian countries like China, when men are imprisoned for their politics, their wives end up being punished with them. Lee Tan, from the Australian Conservation Council, reads extracts from an essay by Ouyang Xiaorong called: ‘The life of a political prisoner’s wife’.
  • How can women get their issues onto a political agenda dominated by men? Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls - coordinator of femLINKPACIFIC - takes a suitcase radio out into the rural areas of Fiji to record the voices of the people and play them back to policy makers and politicians. She tells us the results.
  • The mothers and grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo - the wonder women of Argentina - were pivotal to punishing the murdering military which rampaged through Argentina during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rita Arditti - the author of Searching for life: The grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina - recounts how they’ve fought and won.
As this program showcases women, so does its music, sampling sampled the sounds of some fantastic female vocalists born in Africa: Sally Nyolo on the CD Studio Cameroon; Saba performing her CD Jidka; and the golden voice of Mozambique Zena Bacar singing on the Yellela CD.

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  • July 31, 2008
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Life without the car: A crash through our addiction to cars

They are machines that kill more people than wars. Pouring out 1,000 known pollutants into the environment, they contribute as much as a fifth of the globe’s carbon emissions. For those they transport, contact with other peoples and environments closes with their doors. As they eat asphalt to maintain motion, they leave behind roads and parking lots that shroud our public spaces in black. Who on earth would want one? Amazingly enough, nearly everyone. Every two seconds, three more cars will come into the world - more than one car for every two babies born. Katie Alvord - author of Divorce your car! Ending the love affair with the automobile - hits the highways with today’s guests to find out why the world is addicted to cars and how that addiction can be broken.

  • Road crashes now claim 1.2 million lives a year and injure 50 million more. Yet more and more Asians are driving them. Greig Craft - the founder & President of Asia Injury Prevention Foundation based in Vietnam - reveals why.
  • Transport costs for food will rise with the price of oil to put in the trucks and planes. Henry Saragih - the general co-ordinator of the international peasant movement, La Via Campesina, and chairman of the Indonesia Peasant Union - explains the effect on the incomes of farmers growing produce in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • Randall Ghent from the World Carfree Network unlocks the door to the many practical ways of leaving your car behind.
As for the music to accompany the journey … the pulse of the Pacific melts into the arms of Blue Grass and Latin as René Lacaille and Bob Brozman perform from their fabulous CD DigDig.

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  • July 25, 2008
  • 3

The earth or the pits: The global campaign to pay Ecuador to keep its oil in the soil

This program celebrates a remarkable environmental strategy proposed by civil society that is now the preferred option of the Ecuador’s President. Ecuador will keep nearly a billion barrels of oil in the ground if the international community pay it $350 million in compensation each and every year for the next 10 years. The proposal has clear environmental and social benefits for Ecuador. The Yasuní National Park - a part of the Amazon rainforest with an extraordinary but fragile ecological significance - will be saved from the often devastating consequences of mining. The international community also gains from the proposal, with the atmosphere avoiding a potential 500 million tonnes of carbon emissions. The German and Spanish Governments are supporting the proposal. So too is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). New Internationalist co-editor Vanessa Baird joins the Radio New Internationalist team to explore the Yasuní proposal and its relevance to mining everywhere.

  • As share prices shoot up during mining booms, uncritical media give glowing guarantees that whole countries will be able to ride on the resources being prized from the earth. Patricia Feeney - Executive Director of the NGO Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) - explains why mining’s the pits by pointing out the African people and places buried under the mineral wealth.

  • Carlos Larrea - one of Ecuador’s leading economists - reports on the yet-to-be settled technical details of the Yasuní proposal and the emergence of a world first: legally enforceable rights for flora and fauna.

Today’s stories move from Africa to Latin America. So does the music. The Afro-beats from a slave-bound past struts its stuff on Colombia’s Caribbean coast as Colombi-africa: the Mystic Orchestra perform their Voodoo Love Inna Champeta-Land CD.

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  • July 16, 2008
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Speak my language - The rise and fall of linguistic empires

One language dies every two weeks. Of the estimated seven thousands languages spoken in the world today, only a fraction is expected to survive into the next century. For those who loose their language, the cultural cost is so profound that it’s likened to loosing one’s family. A shared language is not only a useful tool for communication. It also defines communities. Its words draw boundaries for the values we embrace and the way we see the world. Not surprisingly, a key cause for the decline of the world’s linguistic heritage is the phenomenal global dominance of the language you are reading now: English. But language empires rise and fall. Mandarin Chinese has been tipped to topple English as the future super-language even though English is still gaining popularity inside China. This program’s co-host - Nicholas Ostler - author of Empires of the Word and the chair of the Foundation for Endangered languages - joins today’s guests as they map linguistic imperialism and its cultural costs:

  • Nick Young, founder of China Development Brief, tells lost-in-translation stories from the streets of China - where the international popularity of Mandarin is a source of pride, but communicating in English is still seen as the key to empowerment.
  • What is being done to combat the loss of language? Jeanie Bell manages the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics in the Northern Territory, where linguists are working with elders in communities to document endangered languages and teach the next generation traditional tongues.
  • Colonisation leaves a language legacy but independence brings a choice: what should be the official language when there are many contenders? Human rights lawyer and former member of the East Timorese Constituent Assembley, Aderito Soares reveals how the world’s newest nation made that decision and what it means for its emerging national identity.

The music on today’s program celebrates a new generation of Hungarian Gypsy music. Introducing Bela Lakatos & the Gypsy Youth Project features songs in the Romani language, which was forbidden to the Hungarian Roma for generations but is now experiencing a revival through projects like this one.

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  • July 8, 2008
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Small arms, big bangs

A thousand people die every day from gunshot wounds, and 3,000 more are severely injured. Surprisingly, those targeted are not troops. Nearly three quarters of guns are in the hands of civilians not armies; and three quarters of people who die are citizens, not soldiers. If a 1,000 people were dying each day from bird flu, it’d be treated as a global emergency. So why don’t Governments just pass laws to outlaw them? It’s just one of many conundrums targeted by the International Action Network on Small Arms - a global movement of 800 civil society organizations working in 120 countries to get rid of small arms and light weapons. It’s Director, Rebecca Peters, joins today’s guests to take aim at gun traders, and shoot down the old idea that the more guns we have, the safer we’ll be.

  • Yukiko Murasaki arrived in Cambodia to find that guns were part of the household furniture. But by the end of last year, she and her colleagues from Japan’s Assistance Team for Small Arms Management in Cambodia had collected around 28,000 guns. She tells us how.
  • John Rodsted - part of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines that won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize - was firing on all cylinders again in Dublin this year when over 100 countries committed to a ban on cluster munitions. He swaps strategies on negotiating international conventions.
  • Author Alasdair Soussi is researching the first US invasion of Lebanon, which took place 50 years ago this month. Ally takes us to the beaches of Beirut on 15 July 1958 to introduce us to the unusual ‘enemies’ confronting US troops as they landed.
As disarming communities and countries is today’s target, the CD for this week is Ceasefire, inspired by peace-talks in Sudan between the Moslem North and the predominantly Christian South. Reflecting the hope by both sides for a peaceful future, Christian rapper Emmanuel Jal gets together with Moslem musician Abdel Gadir Salim to show what colourful, dynamic sounds are produced when two different cultures work side-by-side.

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  • July 2, 2008
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Those 27,000 Nukes

How to ban nuclear bombs and save the planet  

With just 50 of the world’s 27,000 nuclear weapons having the capacity to kill an amazing 200 million people, you’d reckon that nations would thump their parliamentary tables and ban those bombs completely. After all, only nine countries have nuclear bombs. Yet despite active campaigns involving millions of people, five decades after the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan, an international convention to ban the bomb has still not been successfully negotiated. But things are about to change. Now that Henry Kissinger and some of the other most aggressive advocates for US world military domination are arguing that the US should get rid of its nuclear weapons, the doors of Governments across the world are opening-up to disarmament. New Internationalist magazine co-editor, Jess Worth, is fresh from producing a magazine called ‘Dropping the Bomb: how to ban nukes and save the planet’. She joins today’s guests for a tour of nuclear weapons; whose got them, where they’re pointing, and how the people of the world are mobilizing to get rid of them.

  • The theory is that no country would dare damage a country with nuclear arms. Yet Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy - the Chairman of the Department of Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad - argues that in practice nuclear weapons make Pakistan less secure.
  • The international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons is mushrooming. Felicity Hill - from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom - spotlights some inspirational developments, and the politics behind them.
  • Where there’s bucks to be made, there’s marketing managers to spin the issues. Two media watchdog groups have just launched a new online resource to profile who’s spinning nuclear power and weapons issues. Bob Burton - the managing editor of SourceWatch - spotlights some of the star performers.

As the dangers of nuclear weapons reach from one end of the planet to the other, today’s CD is an international showcase of musical styles and performers from Spain to the Pacific; from Latin America to a range of African countries - Rhythm of the River.

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  • June 24, 2008
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AIDS without the aid

In the Western World it feels like HIV/AIDS is well and truly under control. Yet world figures tell a different story. HIV/AIDS kills more people than all world wars and conflict - 1.2 million in 2007. The United Nations estimate of the people living with HIV last year was over 33 million. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, over 2,000 men become infected every day. But while the United Nations has calculated that the world needs $41 billion annually by 2010 to reach full universal access to treatment prevention and care of AIDS, only a proportion of that has been pledged so far. and diplomat, Stephen Lewis, co-director of AIDS-Free World, and before that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, joins Chris Richards to dissect the politics behind HIV/AIDS - the indifference of Western World governments; the negligence of international institutions; and the mass misogyny that has meant that women in parts of Africa are now being deliberately infected at a far greater rate than men.

• Brazil was the first nation to provide anti-AIDS therapies free to patients who were prescribed it. Dr André de Mello e Souza - from the Pontifíca Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro - explains how dusting-down the dollars that big pharmaceutical companies make from AIDS treatment produces better health for less cost in Brazil.
• The militias in Congo are using the genitals of women as a weapon of war on a massive scale - leaving their torn flesh open to HIV. Marie Claire Faray, spokesperson of COMMON CAUSE UK - a platform for Congolese women in the United Kingdom - explains the war on women and what the international community must do to help stop it.
• In Tamil Nadu in the south of India, there is now a whopping 99 per cent AIDS-awareness. Dheepthi Namasivayam talks with sex workers, who are now AIDS awareness workers with the Indian Community Welfare Organization, about the power of their voices.

The spotlight in this program is on Kenge Kenge - which, roughly speaking, means the fusion of small, exhilarating instruments. In the CD Introducing Kenge Kenge, traditional sound boxes, one-string-fiddles and gongs combine with modern day drums and flutes to produce their dance-until-dawn Afrobeat.

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  • June 17, 2008
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Human Tides

An estimated one billion people will flee their homes by 2050…

What’sthe most urgent threat facing poor people in developing countries. War?Climate change? Mega-development? A recent report says it’s the resultof all three - that people are being forced from their homes. Oncurrent trends a staggering one billion people will flee their homes inthe next 40 years - the majority because of climate change and thebuilding of mega-projects like dams and mines. Today’s co-host, JohnDavison - one of the authors of the report Human Tide: the realmigration crisis - joins Radio New Internationalist’s Chris Richards tovisit some startling scenarios and meet the people who are affected:

• Ten years after Cyclone Mitch hit Honduras, Juan Almendares from Friends of the Earth reveals how displacement and disruption still endures.
• Development projects like dams displace 15 million people a year. Medha Patkar - the leader of the Save Narmada Movement - recounts how the World Bank helps fund them.
• Two hundred and fifty million people are going to be displaced because of climate-change through floods, droughts, famines and hurricanes between now and 2050. That’s more than double the entire populations of Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Ibrahim Togola - from the Mali Folke Center - explains how it’s already happening in Africa.
• Professor Walter Kälin, Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, presents compelling reasons why the Rich World should pay to climate-proof the Poor World.

In today’s CD - UrbanGypsy performed by the Romanian-born Shukar Collective - traditions ofthose perennial refugees - the gypsies - meet the electric sounds ofmodern musicians.

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  • June 10, 2008
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Pathways to peace (part 3)

If peace had a personality, what would it be?…

Have you ever wondered why war, not peace, is higher on societies’ agenda? Peopleseem more preoccupied with stopping war than building peace. It’s an important difference. Cabinet rooms and news desks; in school and university curricula; around kitchen tables and work rooms; the concentration is more on the immediate gunfire and bombings than along-term look at the tools we all need to get on better with aneighbouring person or country - the very things that will preventconflict from breaking out in the first place.

Over the last two months Radio New Internationalist has been exploring pathways topeace. Today’s program explores the human characteristics that theworld needs to put peace into practice - the qualities that we’ll needto nurture if we’re going to stop conflict from war-zones towar-in-homes. And it’s women who are in the drivers’ seat:

• If peace had a personality, what would it be like? Rebecca Spence - founder of Peaceworks, an organization that designs training programs to build peace in deeply divided communities around the world - sketches some profiles.
• Even though victims of conflict are traumatized by the violence they’ve experienced, many go on to inflict it on others. Robi Damelin - a Jewish woman whose son died in the Arab-Israeli conflict - considers the consequences (with Sally Golding Advocacy Manager for Christian Aid in the United Kingdom, who recorded Robi’s story).
• With four coups in two decades in a warrior nation, Fiji’s men have problems putting down their guns. Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls - coordinator of femLINKPACIFIC - takes a suitcase radio out into the rural areas of Fiji to record the voices of the people and play them back to policy makers and politicians. She tells us the results.

Zena Bacar - the golden voice of Mozambique - sings herway through this week’s program from her comeback performances in theCD Yellela.

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  • June 3, 2008
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Telling truths

The power in truth and the justice in revenge…

What’s wrong with a bit of revenge? It may be a base emotion, but it has some redeeming qualities that we ignore at our peril. For individuals, it acknowledges the harm done to the victim and punishes the perpetrator - needs which, if unmet, can be psychologically devastating to a victim. Within countries, ‘moving on’ from conflict without meeting the needs of victims can mean widespread community violence decades later. So when a war is over, and yesterday’s enemies are now one’s neighbours, how do the victims of conflict obtain justice without revenge? How is it possible for people to move towards peace when they can see their torturers or rapists - the people that they have nightmares about - in the street enjoying life, free and prosperous?

Today’s co-host - law professor Teresa Godwin Phelps - has written a book about it: Shattered Voices: Language, Violence and the Work of Truth Commissions. Together with today’s guests, she explores the power of Truth Commissions to help a country face up to its past and move into its future.

On behalf of indigenous peoples abused by their governments, National Chief Phil Fontaine from Canada’s Assembly of First Nations has been at the forefront of obtaining both words of apology and the action that must flow from them. He weighs up the weaknesses and strengths of saying sorry.

The people of some countries are demanding more than an acknowledgement of the past. Thun Suray - Chairman of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee - puts the case for prosecuting military murderers through trial and punishment.

Rita Arditti - the author of Searching for life: The grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina - recounts the resilience of truth and how it is uncovering the identities of children stolen during Argentina’s military regime thirty years ago.

In the melodies taken from today’s CD, Sahara, Spanish singer-songwriter Javier Ruibal delivers performances that are beautiful but haunting, staying with those experiencing it well after they are finished… just like the unresolved injustices that are discussed throughout this program.

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  • May 27, 2008
  • 0

Inside China's Prisons

Swinging open China’s cell doors to hear who’s inside, and why…

Civilunrest is rising in China, particularly in rural areas where people areincreasingly disgruntled because of corrupt or inefficient officials.In a push upwards by the people, more and more protesters are claimingfreedom of speech and demanding a right to be heard. Seeing thispotential growing amongst labour rights activists in 2002, Dr YangJianli to China for two weeks to assist with strategy and negotiation,then spent the next five years in prison. He was one of thousands ofpolitical prisoners - prisoners of conscience jailed because of whatthey believe or say - interrogated, beaten, placed in solitaryconfinement and then left to serve out his sentence in China’s gaols.Together with today’s guests, he shows us who’s imprisoned there andwhy.

• When political prisoners are convicted, so are theirpartners. Lee Tan, from the Australian Conservation Foundation, readsextracts from an essay by Ouyang Xiaorong called: ‘The life of apolitical prisoner’s wife’.

• Like Tibet, Xinjiang is presentlyclaimed by China as a province in its far-east region. And also likeTibet, thousands of it people have been imprisoned while seeking moreautonomy. But unlike Tibet, their cause is rarely heard on theinternational stage. Alim Seytoff - the Director of the Uyghur HumanRights Project and General Secretary of the Uyghur American Association- explains why.

• While Dr Yang describes how prisoners’organizing to share their knowledge creates harmony inside Chineseprisons, Australia’s first doctoral candidate studying in prison isfinding the opposite. In an essay read by Colm McNaughton, CraigMinogue - serving a 23 years jail sentence - describes the subtle andnot-so-subtle ways that the prison bureaucracy bucks when it finds outthat he’s lent a helping hand.

Today’s CD - Lumière - lights upthe program. Performed by one of this show’s favourite artists, BobBrozman, this amazing CD combines musical influences of a range ofAsian and the Pacific countries.

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  • May 21, 2008
  • 0

Politics of war - pathways to peace (Part 2)

The unseen politics propping up war…

Unquestionably, the greatest violations of human rights occur in times of war; not justbecause of the mass slaughter, unspeakable rapes and torture.Everything that we value is under attack: homes and schools; family,friends, and food; political debate, participation in government,protection by the rule of law. And as we probed in the last program,these effects reverberate for decades, even centuries later as thelegacy of violence is inherited from one generation to the next. Thegood news is that major armed conflict - conflict causing at least1,000 deaths within a year - is falling. The bad news is that itdoesn’t seem that way.

The United States - hell bent onremoving global risks to its economic and social security - isaggressively intervening in the Middle East and Latin America. And - inthe case of Iraq - a collection of Rich World countries that aregloriously free from internal conflict have armed their troops to jointhe fight. The cost can be immense. So why do it? Two passionateadvocates against war and for human rights - one from a country thatpromotes war and another that is a victim of it - join Chris Richardsto explore the unseen politics propping up war and internationalinterventions. They unravel the complexities of the Iraq and Colombianconflicts along the way:

Kathy Black - a convenor of the US Labor Against the War - explains how military intelligence, fundamentalist religion, education, and the American psyche have helped build and maintain US war-mongering;
Alirio Uribe Muñoz - a member of a death-defying human rights lawyers’ collective, the Corporación Colectivo de Abogados ‘José Alvear Restrepo’ in Bogotá - takes us inside Colombian conflict to find out why the United States is pouring money and troops into it, and the interests it seeks to protect. David Feller, also from the collective, translates.

Alsofrom Colombia, the music threading its way through this program is theCD Canta Bovea y Sus Vallenatos con Alberto Fernandez featuring the up-beat sassystrains of the accordian led vallenato music.

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  • May 13, 2008
  • 1

Pathways to peace (part 1)

How the effects of violence are inherited…

There’s no escaping it. It seems like violence is everywhere! Turn on the radio and hear about the latest war - mass rapes, murder and destruction. Closer to home it’s a body found in a trunk; a grandmother bashed for her bag; or a child that’s been sexually assaulted. How to respond? Give comfort and support to the victims? Time, they say, is a wonderful healer. But is it?

What if trauma is inherited - a violent legacy that’s passed down from one generation to another. Suddenly the wars that are happening far away - wars we didn’t think were even relevant to us - can come back years, decades, even centuries later to haunt our communities just because someone’s grandfather or aunt was there.

This is the first of four programs that will be broadcast over the coming months in search of sustainable pathways to peace. Independent Australian broadcaster Colm McNaughton kicks off this series with his excellent documentary, Awakening from History, which was commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. In it, Colm returns to Ireland - the home of his parents and for a short time the cradle of his own childhood - to confront the profound effects that the war between the British and the Irish had on himself and his family, decades and generations later.

Unfortunately, while this part of the program has been broadcast by the 50 community radio programs across the world now scheduling Radio New Internationalist, for copyright reasons we are unable to make this documentary available to the general public through our website. However, here is the interview that followed the documentary, with indigenous member of the New South Wales Parliament, Linda Burney. Linda takes our understanding another step further as she considers whether the violence that deprived Australian Aboriginal people of their land up to two centuries ago can explain why their communities are full of violence today.

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  • May 8, 2008
  • 0

Ballot boxes Burma

May 10th vote may give Burma’s generals permanent control…

From a country that employs one soldier for every citizen - where demonstrators are tortured and where political joke-tellers end up in jail - some incredibly brave men and women step up to Radio New Internationalist’s microphones today to talk about the latest developments in their country. Since 1962, military generals have run Burma with iron fists and frozen hearts. As the generals’ bank balances rise, the standard of living of the Burmese continues to fall, with an estimated one in ten of Burma’s people now suffering from chronic malnutrition.

On Saturday 10th May the Burmese people will be asked to give the generals permanent control over the government of their country by endorsing a new constitution: one that most voters won’t be able to read before they place their vote. Just back from Burma, New Internationalist co-editor Dinyar Godrej shares some stories about the generals and their grip on power with three resisters of the military regime who are forging new horizons for Burma:  

  • Bo Kyi from Burma’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners spent a total of seven years and three months in Burma’s jails because he organized a demonstration. He explains the way tens of thousands of political prisoners have been abused in a justice system that the military kidnapped decades ago.  
  • Charm Tong from the Shan Women’s Action Network reports on how military madness is burning ethnic villages off Burma’s map - killing the villagers and using rape as a weapon of war.
  • Htoo Paw from the Karen Women’s Organization has been part of a process to draft a Constitution that’s alternative to the one being proposed by the military. She outlines a system to unite the country and still deliver autonomy to minorities.

Today’s CD is a collection of ambient funk from Asia from the Ryukyu Underground, which takes original Japanese recordings and mixes them with a beat pulsing with an independent spirit.

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  • April 29, 2008
  • 0

Indigenous Sunrise

A brighter horizon may finally be dawning for some of the world’s 350 million indigenous peoples. It’s a nice change. In country after country, indigenous peoples are often the most deprived: more likely to be in prison; more likely to die early; and more likely to be hungry. Stripped of their land by foreign invaders generations ago - often with deadly consequences - community after community still struggles for a decent place within their own homeland. But the storyline is changing as indigenous peoples become more organized and demand justice. Two and a half years ago indigenous leader Evo Morales was elected President of Bolivia. New Internationalist co-editor Vanessa Baird joins the Radio New Internationalist team on a trip to Bolivia to discover how redistributing parliamentary power, resource wealth and land can deliver social justice to indigenous peoples.

  • An indigenous head of state means far more than a fair share of the country’s money and resources. Bolivian anthropologist Xavier Albó salutes power’s crowning glory - dignity.
  • Saturnino (Jun) Borras - one of the founders of the international peasants movement La Via Campesina - digs up the good, the bad and the ugly ways of dividing up a nation’s land.
  • While cocaine is being cooked chemically from coca, the United States Embassy in Bolivia is serving coca tea to its visitors. Given its substantial health and export potentials, Jim Shultz argues that - when it comes to the coca leaf - its time that the international community gets real.

Also in this program, power dances to a different beat as Cuban band Sierra Maestra performs passionate love songs both to Latin America and the rumba from their CD Rumbero Soy.

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  • April 25, 2008
  • 0

Privatization continued

Inside the minds of politicians privatizing public assets…

Despite widespread and vocal global disgruntlement about privatisation, governments keep on keeping it on. They’re selling public assets at ridiculously low rates. They’re giving corporations monopoly control of a dizzying array of essential public services. And they’re exposing education, health and transport to a profit motive delivering less quality at more cost. Just what can politicians who privatize be thinking? Radio New Internationalist decided to ask.

  • Laila Harré - a former New Zealand Cabinet Minister - joins today’s program to explore what goes on in the minds of our governments when they’re making these huge and irreversible decisions: decisions that effectively let companies take over the functions entrusted to government. As she outlines the players, the politics, and the psychology of privatization, she paints a clear picture of what’s coming up next on privatization’s broad horizons.
  • The privatization cheer-leading squad contains a colourful array of financiers and advisors who are driving the process behind the scenes. New Zealand researcher, writer and activist Bill Rosenberg from the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) provides some profiles, as he outlines some of the international pressures driving privatization.
  • A massive 30 per cent of South Africans have no access to electricity even though it’s a right given to all by South Africa’s Bill of Rights. Silumko Radebe from the South African Anti Privatization Forum explains how he and his colleagues are reconnecting people with the energy services that privatization is trying to take away. 

Today’s CD is called Sabou performed by that legendary West African singer Mory Kante. He’s a millionaire of a different sort - the first African artist to sell a million singles.

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  • April 16, 2008
  • 0

Ethical travellers

To fly or not to fly…

Now that we’re more conscious of combating climate change, cutting back on carbon emissions is high on the list. To fly or not to fly - that is the question. After all, heating a home for a whole year produces on average less carbon dioxide emissions than one person taking a return flight from New York to London. But helse do you get there? You can’t take a train, and who’s got time for a boat? Should you go at all? ‘s just one of many dilemmas that confront ethical travellers. It’s no easy ride. here to go? Who to travel with? How to maximize the amount of your money that goes to local people - not big companies - in the places you visit? So strap on your seat belt as New Internationalist co-editor Chris Brazier away the ecotourism marketing hype and guides us through a host of travelling experiences destined to do more good than harm.

  • Combine carbon emissions with the increasing cost of a place on a plane and the desire for plane travel might be crashing. Cameron Forbes - author of ‘Under the volcano: The Story of Bali’ - considers what would happen to the Indonesian island of Bali if the tourist dollar disappears.
  • From rubbish and water waste to the over-development of sensitive areas, tourism’s environmental impacts are significant. Syed Liyakhat from the Indian NGO Equations sets out the effects that tourism has had on Indian people, places and culture.
  • Peter Richards - from the Community Based Tourism Institute in Chiangmai, Thailand - shows us snapshots of communities in the Majority World that are benefiting best from tourism.

The revved-up rhythms in today’s program come straight off the streets surrounding Colombia’s Caribbean coastline as Colombi-africa - the Mystic Orchestra perform their Voodoo Love Inna Champeta-Land CD.

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  • April 9, 2008
  • 0

Not so supermarkets

What’s on the world’s supermarket shelves…

Whether you’re shopping in England or India, supermarkets are appearing on every horizon. The bigger they get, the greater is the break-down of community culture. Huge box-store shopping developments spring up on town-outskirts drawing petrol guzzling people-movers in like a magnet from suburbs that have long ago lost their local economies. They have a lot of issues on display. Profit hungry superstores sourcing the cheapest produce are squeezing out small local farmers and retailers from the market. Quality is compromised as food is grown further and further away, then driven or flown ridiculously long distances. To stop it from rotting en route, food regulators look the other way as science offers weird ways to increase food life. Indian environmentalist-extraordinaire Dr Vandana Shiva joins Chris Richards on a trip to the supermarket to take a close look at what’s now on the shelves - and the movements for retail democracy building around the world in response.

  • Andrew Simms - author of Tescopoly: How one shop came out on top and why it matters - gives a profile of the British retail giant, Tesco, which takes around one in eight of every retail pound spent and has stores in all but four postcodes. Far from the fields of fresh veggies and fruit, supermarket products are increasingly jumping out of test-tubes onto the shelves.
  • Georgia Miller - coordinator of the Friends of the Earth Nanotechnology Project - has identified 104 big name products utilizing nanotechnology that don’t need to be labelled and have unknown effects on human health.
  • Every time people in Rich World countries sit down at the dinner table, they could be eating the fruits of Morocco’s illegal invasion of Western Sahara. Kamal Fadel from Polisario - the independence advocates for the Saharawi (Western Saharan) people - explains why.

Today’s CD is called Mahima - an  extraordinary melting pot of music by two of the world’s best slide guitarists: Debashish Bhattacharya from India and Bob Brozman, bringing in his signatures strains from the Pacific. 

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  • April 1, 2008
  • 0

Fuel for thought

The global impact of using food supplies to fuel cars…

As world leaders prepare to fly into Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, for the next round of United Nations climate change talks, we’re wondering - realistically - what these talks are going to achieve. They’re supposed to strengthen global action on climate change, but just how we’re going to achieve those all-important reductions in greenhouse gases and the cooling of the environment are no where in sight. Far from focussing on how to stop the very activities that we now know lead to higher carbon emissions, governments are hitching up to the big business bandwagon that biofuels (more accurately called agrofuels) offer an important plank in combating climate change. From the Rich World, it sounds promising - replacing oil with fuels that can be naturally grown. But what do the people of the Poor World where the crops are being grown think? Today’s program asks them.  

  • The current talks in Bangkok are framing a successor to the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. Fiu Elisara from the O le Siosiomaga Society in Samoa assesses how effective the Kyoto protocol been so far in combating the effects of climate change in the Pacific.
  • Rachel Smolker - author of a report called The Real Cost of Agrofuels: Food, Forest and the Climate - gives a global assessment of the impacts of pouring the world’s grain supplies into our cars.
  • Lucia Ortiz - a Brazilian geologist - reports about how agrocrops are dispossessing her people of land and resources.
  • We are being told that economic growth in developing countries like China and India will surely kill us all. But how often are these countries being asked for their side of the story? Soumitra Ghosh - who works with  the North Eastern Society for Preservation of Nature and Wild Life in West Bengal, India gives his assessment of agrofuels.
  • British-based Danny Chivers performs one of his action poems, offering a straightforward but supremely effective solution to reducing our carbon footprint.

Today’s CD is called Songs of the Volcano performed Bob Brozman and the Rabaul community’s local string-bands in Papua New Guinea.  Two volcanic eruptions have destroyed Rabaul twice in a century so the energy in this CD reflects an unfailing optimism in the face of adversity - something that we’re going to need as we tackle climate change.

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  • March 26, 2008
  • 0

Temperatures Rising

The privatization of public health systems

Radio New Internationalist has just landed in Dublin to join one of the leading lights in Irish community radio - Jack Byrne from NEAR FM - as he reports on a pressing public interest issue: plans to privatize his country’s public health system. Ireland - like so many other countries around the world - is preparing to follow the health system operating in the United States. Yet the health outcomes of the US-system are horrendous. Forty seven million Americans - completely uninsured - are destined for patched-up healthcare. Others with insurance face high out-of-pocket costs that bankrupt more than a million people annually. Mortality statistics are lagging behind those of most other wealthy countries. And - according to two North American doctors writing in the British Medical Journal at the end of last year - clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction are mediocre even when you are insured. So as country after country lines up to privatize its health services, we had to ask: ‘Why?’

  • Water is essential to good health, and the African nation, Tanzania, has just been awarded compensation after privatized water services in the capital delivered worse water. Tamsyn East - the Water Campaigns Officer with the World Development Movement - reports.
  • Big private pharmaceutical companies are neglecting some killer diseases in countries without cashed-up consumers. Ann-Marie Sevcsik describes the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative that is developing life saving drugs and - in the process - is challenging private companies to cough up with the cures that they’ve so far neglected.

Today’s CD is called Yellela (This is it) sung by the band Eyuphuro with lead vocalist Zena Bacar- the golden voice of Mozambique. She’s back after years of silence,singing new songs full of melancholy and powerful rhythms with herreformed band.

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  • March 19, 2008
  • 0

Here comes the bride

Fresh from this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations, this week the Radio New Internationalist team pay tribute to the women of the world and the challenges that confront them as a result of marriage. While changing roles of women in public life, laws to stop obstacles to education such as the marriage of girl-brides and greater availability to contraception are gradually improving women’s lives, progress is slow. Nikki van der Gaag - author of the No Nonsense Guide to Women’s Rights and Because I am a Girl - joins some inspirational campaigners for women’s rights to overview the issues:

  • Over thirty years ago, Maria-rosa Dalla Costa from Italy and Selma James from England stepped onto the world stage to put the case for a wage for housework. Their book - The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community - kicked-off an international campaign. Selma James outlines its impact then, and now.
  • Payal Nair - Senior Features Writer with Asian Bride Magazine - reports on how Western wedding culture has jumped into Asia, and brought the white wedding dress with it.
  • In the capital of the Philippines - Manila - men don’t need to worry about putting a condom in their wallet because there’s a ban on contraception. Lawyer Aya Fujimura-Fanselow has been documenting how the ban is imposing misery on the city’s poorest women.
  • From one extreme to another, we travel to China - the only country in the world where access to abortion is unrestricted for women throughout their pregnancy. Yet - despite that country’s one-child policy - abortion still carries a stigma. Ivy Wang has been studying how single women in China who’ve had an abortion are reacting to that experience.

Today’s CD is called Jidka (The Line) performed by Saba, a truly international woman who was born in Somalia to an Ethiopian mother and an Italian father and who combines each of these countries’ cultures in her music.

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  • March 12, 2008
  • 0

Homeward Bound

Think globally. Act locally.’ How many times have you heard that before? It’s the catch-cry on activists’ stickers and posters across the world. Embracing that spirit, Radio New Internationalist - which is normally produced at community radio station 3CR in Melbourne, Australia - is s’tepping outside its patch to collaborate with community radio stations in other countries. They select an issue of local concern. We bring in the international perspectives. When Murray Dawson - whose one of the driving forces behind SHMU FM in the Scottish city of Aberdeen, Scotland - put the privatization of public housing up for debate, progressive people from Cuba, England, Russia, and Germany stepped up to the microphones to share their views.

  • The British Government wants to move public housing off its books into the hands of housing associations. At first blush this might sound great - giving people a chance to run the blocks of homes that they live in. So why are communities voting against it? Glyn Robbins from the British organization Defend Council Housing Campaign reports.
  • In the full-blown sell-off of all Russian state assets that made multi-millionaires of some but impoverished most of the others, ordinary tenants in Moscow were offered the chance to own the homes they lived in. The sale price - nothing! But there’s a downside. Yelena Shomina from the State University Higher School of Economics in Moscow reveals it.
  • Forget the ‘bricks and mortar’ approach. Improving local economy and society is central to improving public housing. Hermann Strab from the Gras Group for Architecture and Town Planning in Germany and Dr José Fernando Martierena Hernández from the Ecomaterials in Social Housing project in Cuba outline their two World Habitat award-winning projects showcasing this community approach.

The invigorating music that’s threading its way through today’s program comes from those sons of son music, the Cuban band Sierra Maestra, from their Soul of a Nation CD.

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  • March 4, 2008
  • 0

The Next Western Front

There’s a lot of spotlights shining on the privatization of armed forces in Iraq, but little attention being given to the fact that this is just the tip of a very large iceberg. All over the world, governments are contracting-out war and peace work to private companies. Military forces are now being called ‘security forces’. What used to be done by publicly controlled armies is now being done by private companies. It’s a lucrative market, worth hundreds of billions (the Pentagon alone pays private security providers around $270 billion each year).

And why not? Water and energy are being privatized. All of our public services are up for grabs. Isn’t our army just another public service? Well, not really. Up until recently, it’s been thought that when it comes to the legitimate use of violence, then our governments and the bureaucracies that they control should have a monopoly. Because when it comes to the privatization of security, what we’re talking about is contracting out the use of force - contracting out the right to kill.

Today we’re examining the results of this contracting. Starting with a case study from the Pacific, Nic Maclellan - who has recently written a report on the high number of Fijians who are now working for private security companies overseas - joins Radio New Internationalist’s Chris Richards as we investigate this global phenomenon and how it is affecting our international landscape.

  • Caroline Holmqvist - previously a researcher for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute - gives us an overview of the private security companies that are now operating in around 100 countries worldwide, and how to regulate them.
  • Around 70 per cent of the income needed by the Indonesian military to operate comes from providing security to private companies. Damien Kingsbury - author of Power, Politics and the Indonesian Military - reveals how this practice has become deeply entrenched across Asia.
  • One of the leaders of the most famous mercenary operation in the Pacific, which failed, was Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer. He’s prominent again in Iraq. Pratap Chatterjee - managing editor of CorpWatch - gives us a colourful portrait of Tim Spicer and some of the Wild West people he’s recruited along the way.

Lightening the dark of war, today’s CD is Lumiere, performed by Bob Brozman - an amazing album, combining musical influences of a range of Asian and the Pacific countries. Bob and his colleague Rene Lacaille are also the mastermind musicians of our theme song, Dig Dig.

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  • February 26, 2008
  • 0

Human Rights Olympics

The starters’ gun has gone off. We’re all in the running. Many say it’s the most important race of all - the human race. In a year when international media is focusing on the 2008 Beijing Olympics, New Internationalist celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights with a medal count of its own. And what better way to judge the runners than through their pursuit of human rights. This program highlights some of the big winners… and big losers.

  • New Internationalist magazine co-editor David Ransom picks up his binoculars to survey the track record of international human rights so far.
  • Jenni Williams from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) introduces us to her remarkable organization which - in spite of arrests and assaults - stands up to challenge corruption and incompetence riddling her country’s Government.
  • Maria Yulikova - formerly the Moscow correspondent of the Committee to Protect Journalists - follows the trail of 14 journalists who’ve been killed since Vladimir Putin became Russia’s President.
  • China expert Sam Geall reviews China’s form in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games.

In a kaleidoscope of sound, gypsy traditions meet modern-day techno in today’s feature CD - Urban Gypsy - performed by the Shukar Collective.

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  • February 20, 2008
  • 0

Musical unions

In just minutes, one song can deliver a powerful message that would take a book-load of words to explain. Unquestionably, some songs move our hearts and sympathies in a way that straight facts could never achieve. But while we have experienced how sound can enrich our lives, it can also move those who create it through a healing journey to a better place. This program’s co-host - Brian Procopis from Sweet Freedom, an Australian social justice program that works through sound and song - brings music to our ears from asylum seekers who sing about their life journeys, as today’s guests talk of the realities facing refugees from the Middle East and Asia:

  • Thousands of Timorese have fled from internal violence and are yet to return to their homes and families. Timor Lèste’s First Lady, Kirsty Sword Gusmão - who fought for that country’s independence and is now wife to the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão - gives us a glimpse of the political challenges facing leaders of a new nation as she talks about one of the country’s hottest political issues.
  • From and to where are today’s refugees fleeing? Cécile Pouilly from the UNHCR - the United Nations Refugee Agency - takes us to the hotspots.
  • Blues musician Dr Steve Dillon - author of ‘Music, Meaning & Transformation’ - shares stories with Brian Procopis about music that’s made people and their communities more resilient; and explains how songs and sound helped transform a failing school into a centre of excellence.

Today we feature three CDs from the emerging record label Sweet Freedom - Scattered People, Normal Days, and Alafiah. Profits from the sales go to those asylum seekers who’ve participated. Find out more at www.sweetfreedom.org

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  • February 13, 2008
  • 0

Fistful of dollars

Compared to the euro, the value of the United States (US) dollar has fallen 76 per cent in the last five years. So why would anyone want to be paid in a currency that’s loosing its grunt. Not Iran. It’s hedging its bets by selling its oil in a basketful of currencies brimming with euros and Chinese yuan. As it prepares to launch an oil exchange (bourse) which will trade in a currency other than US dollars, it’s encouraging the big oil producing countries to do the same - effectively destroying the US dollar’s monopoly in the international oil market. At the same time President George Bush is branding Iran as the world’s worst terrorist nation and travelling to the Middle East to prosecute his case. Mere coincidence? Or punishing payback? It’s one of many questions that this program raises for debate as today’s guests examine the international impact of the falling US dollar: how it heralds ‘the fall of the empire’ and why it will bring about a dramatic decline in United States’ influence over world economies and politics.

  • As the dollar declines, China is left holding an ever-decreasing bag. What will it do with the trillions of US dollars that it now holds in reserve? Renowned Asian intellectual and activist, Walden Bello - executive director of Focus on the Global South - considers China’s options after he describes how the falling dollar is having a disproportionate impact on Asia’s poor.
  • How are the Arab states likely to respond to the falling dollar? Political economist Ardeshir Ommani - a founder of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee that spearheads the Stop War on Iran campaign - finds some answers at the last Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting and in present-day Iran.
  • And with the start of the year 4,706 in the Chinese calendar, Calvin Ke-ming Yen - the Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Melbourne, Australia - drops in to wish us Happy New Year and stays on to explain the significance of both the dragon in the New Year festivities and the election of Taiwan’s new Government.

This week’s feature CD is Sahara performed by Javier Ruibal. He’s a highly regarded singer-songwriter from Cadiz in Spain, blending passionate flamenco with more relaxed North African sounds.

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  • February 5, 2008
  • 0

Power to the people

We are the millions of women and men, organisations, networks,movements, trade unions from all parts of the world. We come from ruralzones and urban centres. We are of all ages, cultures and beliefs, butare united by the strong conviction that another world is possible.With our diversity - which is our strength - we invite all men andwomen to undertake throughout this week creative actions, activities,events and convergences focusing on the issues and expressing them inthe ways they choose.’ This was the call to action made by theorganizers of the World Social Forum (WSF). The first year, 20,000responded to such a call. The next year - 100,000. Now in its eighthyear, an estimated million people took part in a Global Day of Actionon 26 January 2008. Nicola Bullard, from Thai-based Focus on the GlobalSouth, joined Radio New Internationalist’s Chris Richards to whiparound the world so that we can hear what people were doing and sayingout there on the streets.

  • On the beach at Rio de Janeiro, Moema Miranda from the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis (IBASE) remembers back to the conversations around the table at which the WSF was born.
  • Outside a seminar room in Lahore, Mahar Safdar Ali - the General Secretary of Anjuman Asiaye Awam - explains the connections between nuclear weapons and visas.
  • Fresh from a rally in Seoul, young organizer Mikyung Ryu explains the Korean issues that are motivating her people to act.

Befitting the diverse energy of the WSF Global Day of Action, Africanand Colombian beats collide in today’s CD - Voodoo Love InnaChampeta-land performed by Colombiafrica: guaranteed to get all ages upfrom their seats and dancing in the streets.

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  • January 30, 2008
  • 0

Big Issues - Conflict and Climate Change

the second in a two-part special… listen to part one here

They say that media have short memories. So in this - the second of two special programs - Radio New Internationalist looks back over some of the big issues of 2007 that are set to get bigger in the next few years. This week: the two issues that have been dominating, and in our view will continue to dominate, the international social justice agenda - conflict and climate change.

  • A staggering 28 nations have no armies. Peace pioneer Professor Johan Galtung and Ahmed Abdisalam Adan from HornAfrik Media in Somalia talk about what it takes for a country to ditch their armed forces.
  • With the amount of global conflict at the moment, you’d reckon that peace would be the most popular debate in the world. Why isn’t it? One reason is that there’s more money in war than in peace. Damien Kingsbury explains why around 70 per cent of the income needed by the Indonesian military to operate must come from profit-making companies, not government.
  • Carteret Islanders Ursula Rakova and Bernard Tunim remind us what environmental refugees are facing as their Pacific islands are becoming submerged.
  • Prominent progressive author and thinker Susan George drops in to our airwaves to outline a possible solution to climate change that we hadn’t heard about before.

Big issues deserve big musical sounds - and today’s are from a broad range of countries and performers selected from the World Music Network’s Riverboat Records series.

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  • January 23, 2008
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Big Issues - the hands on the rudder

The first in a two-part special…

They say that media have short memories. So in the next two programs, Radio New Internationalist looks back over some of the big issues of 2007 that are set to get bigger in the next few years. This week: a selection of trends that are steering the world towards new horizons:

  • World superpowers rise and fall. As the US enters its 11th hour as a world superpower, China, India and Europe are stepping in to scoop up economic, military and political allegiances. To cement its strength in foreign policy, the Chinese Government is substituting development aid for diplomacy. Nicola Bullard, a senior associate with Focus on the Global South, and Daniel Bibiero from the Mozambique NGO Justiça Ambiental investigate the results.
  • Nature is being broken away by scientists and corporations. Governments say that nanotechnology is getting in the driver’s seat to steer the next industrial revolution - fundamentally transforming every aspect of our lives. Business leaders predict that nano-industry may be worth one trillion US dollars in the next five years. Georgia Miller from Friends of the Earth Australia reveals the what, where and how nano works - from odour-eating socks to frightening new weapons for armies.
  • Capitalism and its inequities intensify. Intellectual property is overtaking labour as a means of production, and the Majority World is striking back. Jon Ungphakorn, a former Thai Senator, and now a prominent social activist on public health and HIV/AIDs, explains why the Thai government is putting its people before profitable patents, and Abbott pharmaceutical company’s vicious response.
  • Truth is becoming hard to find as an army of professionals are being hired to steer society away from the facts. John Stauber, from the Center for Media and Democracy, whose organization publishes PR Watch in the United States, talks about the experts and scientists who are prepared to mortgage their professional souls to companies… and sell short the public interest in the process.

Big issues deserve big musical sounds - and today’s are from a broad range of countries and performers selected from the World Music Network’s Riverboat Records series.

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  • January 16, 2008
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Raise those voices high

While countries that proudly claim to be ‘democracies’ are supposed to bask in the beauty of different voices and ideas, the reality seems quite different. All too often, its small pockets of people pushing limited agendas that get access to reporters, policy makers and politicians. In fact, the only time that the voices of most people are clearly heard by those in power is through the ballot box - and even then in some countries they’re robbed of that chance.

Yet when people are given the opportunities to speak out, their stories can be so strong that they can challenge our prejudices and demand that we leave the comfort of our lounge rooms and cars to see the world in a different way. This - the first program for the New Year - is the 50th we’ve produced. What better way to mark this anniversary than by revisiting some of the real stars of Radio New Internationalist: our guests.

  • From South Africa, as Kameelah Rasheed explains why, for her, wearing the hijab can be so liberating, she shakes up some stereotypes about how it oppresses Muslim women;
  • From Canada, Abdullah Almalki - who was tortured in Syria for 482 days - sets out his Government’s complicity in appalling human rights abuses;
  • From Afghanistan, Sohaila talks in detail about her daily life, and how - if the military interventions into her country were ever really about liberating Afghan people - then they have completely failed.
  • From Malawi and Zambia, Walter Otis Tapfumaneyi, from Panos Southern Africa, describes Radio Listening Clubs - a remarkably democratic initiative through which discussions amongst rural Africans are recorded, then played on national radio programs to relevant parliamentarians or policy makers for their response.

Like our guests, the music that weaves its way through today’s program comes from a range of different countries and influences - all from the World Music Network’s Riverboat Records series.

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  • January 8, 2008
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Winner of a program

Radio New Internationalist has just won the 2007 Excellence in Spoken Word Programming award from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. Here’s the program that won it… Taxing Matters.

Africans are poor. Everyone knows that. But they needn’t be. On current estimates, for every dollar of aid that flows into Africa, five dollars of financial assets flow out into private bank accounts in the Rich World. Money that’s never taxed. Africa has the fastest growth of millionaires in the world, but the burden for building much needed infrastructure keeps on getting pushed back to those who can least afford to pay. For African economies - and the many other countries like it in the Poor World that are straining under the burden of debt - tax revenue means self-reliance, economic freedom, and money to improve education and health.

So why are developing countries relying on aid, rather than taxing those who profit most from their countries? In what is emerging as a major social justice issue for this decade, Radio New Internationalist’s Chris Richards is joined by a range of guests who challenge the accountants and politicians of the world to ‘Go figure!’

  • John Christensen - a Director and founder of the international NGO, Tax Justice Network - spent 11 years as the economic adviser to that infamous tax habourer, the island of Jersey. As co-host, he shows us how countries’ coffers are being plundered to leave populations in poverty, and reveals how vibrant - and important - tax issues can be.
  • Investigative journalist and author, Nicholas Shaxson reveals how President Omar Bongo of Gabon maintained a giant offshore slush fund, fed by African oil and hooked up to tax havens.
  • Greg Muttitt from London NGO PLATFORM lifts the lid on how the International Tax and Investment Center - a registered charity - manipulates governments for six of the world’s biggest oil companies.

With money zipping across borders throughout this program, what more appropriate music could we find to bounce its beats off the spoken words than Rumba without borders (Rumba Sin Fronteras) performed by Cuban percussionist Pancho Quinto.

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  • January 1, 2008
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Feast and famine

With the Christmas parties and New Year feasting that’s featuring in many millions of homes this week, the Radio New Internationalist team wants to get it’s teeth into some of the interviews that we’ve done during 2007 about the food we’re finding on our dinner tables:

  • Angus Calder - a company director in search of more efficient agriculture - takes us through the problems that threaten our food supplies. As rising populations face falling levels of both water and agriculture land, he explains the conflicting choices that are about to be served to us.
  • New Internationalist co-editor Troth Wells dishes up some tantalizing chocolate tastes to try on our New Year’s guests.
  • On chocolate’s darker side, Bama Athreya from the International Labor Rights Forum outlines a plan for wiping out slavery and forced labour in the supply of cocoa by paying producers properly, and why manufactuers’ aren’t responding.
  • While Coca Cola has been marketed as the holiday drink, Amit Srivastava from the India Resource Center explains how it’s no holiday for Indians, where cola plants have been stealing water and polluting land causing community outrage strong enough to close Coke plants in India and start the ball rolling on the laying of criminal charges;
  • Cooking up some solutions to impending food supply problems, permaculturalist Pam Morgan explains how it could be as simple as looking at our living spaces and maximizing their potential for growing food - as Cuba has done to avoid starvation.

Accompanying the food for thought that’s been on today’s program is a smorgasbord of sweet and saucy strains from the World Music Network’s Riverboat records.

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  • December 25, 2007
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In Search of Santa

Ho, ho, ho! The Radio New Internationalist team had a good laugh when we found out where Santa - or St Nicholas - really came from. It’s another indication that, when it comes to Christmas, history gets swept aside and traditions take over. Dick Gross, author of Godless Gospel: A modern guide to meaning and morality, jumps on the sleigh with Chris Richards as we search for Santa and the meaning of Christmas.

  • In Turkey, Danielle North points us in the direction of where St Nicholas lived and worked.
  • From the United States, author Mark Pendergrast explains the transition from scrawny St Nicholas to jolly Santa.
  • From Israel, peace campaigner Uri Avnery paints a picture of what Christmas is like in a divided Jerusalem, and his blueprint for uniting the city.
  • From England, Tori Ray from Friends of the Earth unwraps some tips about how a white Christmas can be made greener.

Today’s program features music from one of a regularly featured artist and the author of the our theme music, Bob Brozman. As this program’s theme is a light one, the music on the show reflects that - literally! Its "Lumiere" performed by the Bob Brozman Orchestra and available on the World Music Network’s wonderful collection of inspiring music from all corners of the globe.

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  • December 19, 2007
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Big Campaigns - An Alternative View of 2007

A continual media diet of corruption and conflict can make people scared, cynical, withdrawn, and depressed - feeling that: ‘It’s all hopeless. I give up!’ But serve us something inspirational, and hope and energy come to the table. Throughout this year, the Radio New Internationalist team has been ourselves inspired by the power and passion of progressive voices from every corner of the globe: brave people who have seen the worst in the world, and have stood up and offered other answers. They have linked up with others, reaching across countries to built ever-strengthening international movements. They have delivered messages that are so powerful and clear that the politicians have to listen. Their energy is inspirational; their achievements sparkle. Today’s program is dedicated to them. Time constraints mean that you’ll hear only some of them:

  • On current estimates, for every dollar of aid that flows into Africa, five dollars of financial assets flow out into private bank accounts in the Rich World. Money that’s never taxed. In what is emerging as a major social justice issue for this decade, John Christensen - a Director and founder of the Tax Justice Network - tells us how countries’ coffers are being plundered to leave populations in poverty, and in the process proves how vibrant - and important - tax issues can be.
  • John Rodsted is the official photographer to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines - the team that won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. John is still campaigning against the cruel and life-destroying legacy of war - the anti-personnel bombs left behind. And his pictures of this legacy, such as the bodies blown-up when bombs just lying on the ground eventually explode, are helping to bring about a total world ban on landmines and more recently cluster bombs.
  • Sitting on the fence of an air base in Manta, Ecuador… is a warning sign: ‘Military Base. No Trespassing.’ It might as well read: ‘Ecuadorians, Keep out’! Since 1999, this air base has been occupied by the United States - a ‘forward, operating location’ of the US military: just one of around 740 that are currently scattered in over 100 countries around the world. But not for much longer. Herbert Docena is from the Philippines office of the international organization Focus on the Global South was part of the mass movement that persuaded the Government of Ecuador not to renew its lease on this air base. He explains the growing global movement to close down military bases and the culture of conflict that goes with them.
  • Farida Shaheed is a Director of Shirkat Gah - a resource centre for the empowerment of women based in Pakistan. She’s also on the campaign advisory board of the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign. She outlines why authorities and people condone the throwing of stones at people until they die, and the politics and places where it is happening.

All kinds of music laces it’s way through today’s program, lent to us from the playlists of the Riverboat Records series in the World Music Network’s wonderful collection of inspiring music from all corners of the globe.

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  • December 11, 2007
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Kiss My Bottom Line

Throughout the last decade, companies have told us that they want to be lean as well as green. The mad, bad days when corporations were only on about money and shareholders is over, they say. An aggressive corporate culture must be combined with community spirit; profit must not dominate the public interest. About time! But is it really happening?

To set the scene, New Internationalist co-editor Jess Worth went to a $5,500-per-ticket corporate conference on corporate social responsibility. She walks us through the talk of the high-flyers of the corporate world who she met there.

  • Mark Hays - from Corporate Accountability International in Boston - drops into our airwaves with an overview of what’s happening in the tobacco and water industries. He tells us how the industry players are shaping government policies in ways that are dangerous to the public interest.
  • From England, John Hilary - the director of campaigns and policy with War on Want - and from Hong Kong, Apo Leong - who works with the Asia Monitor Resource Center - compare campaigning notes about what works, and what doesn’t, in holding corporate vandals and bullies accountable.

Africa meets Europe in the music that we’ve lined up throughout today’s program as Saba who was born to an Ethiopian mother and an Italian father sings her way through the divide between the two continents in her debut Jidka (meaning ‘The Line’).

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  • December 4, 2007
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Dreaming of a Fair Trade Christmas

This week, as the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, we examine some of the impacts our consumption patterns have on people and planet. We take a look at some of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and what gadgets we use and ask whether ‘ethical shopping’ is a way out of the quagmire. Today’s co-host is New Internationalist co-editor Jess Worth who’s done some research into the ethical shopping sector and has found that all is not as simple as it seems at first glance. We also hear from a number of guests from all over the world:

  • Albert Tucker, Fair Trade consultant from Sierra Leonne and Barbara Crowther from the UK’s Fair Trade Foundation, discuss the pros and cons of big business involvement in the Fair Trade sector.
  • NI co-editor David Ransom speaks with Greenpeace’s Sarah Holden about the fishy business of pirate fishing and its impacts on our oceans and the workers who get caught in the nets of the global seafood industry.
  • The vast majority of electronic goods end up as waste in Asia - mostly China - where they may have been manufactured in the first place. Greenpeace China’s toxics campaigner, Jamie Choi, describes the impacts this enormous e-waste burden is having on human health and the environment in China.
  • Australian author/activist Sharon Beder diagnoses the CSD (Compulsive Selling Disorder) epidemic afflicting the politicians and governments around the world, as read by Radio New Internationalist producer Rachel Maher.

Today’s music comes from two CD’s from the World Music Network - Riverboat Records series. Granada-born vocalist and lyricist Benjamín Escoriza’s Carambola delves into Spain’s Moorish roots blending Flamenco and North African traditions. Meanwhile, take two volcanic island nations of Hawaii and Reunion and what do you have? The explosive combination of master accordionist and guitarist Rene Lacaille with the eclectic genre-defying talent of Bob Brozman erupting hot musical magma in the form of their album Digdig.

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  • November 28, 2007
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Depleted Uranium

Just one microscopic particle of depleted uranium lodged in the lungs can start a reaction in a single cell that could lead to fatal cancer. It’s unfortunate, then, that the world has an estimated one million tonnes of this dangerous waste - and a very limited means to get rid of it. In this program we’ll hear how, why and where it’s being dumped… and the injuries and deaths that are being caused as a result.

Storing depleted uranium (DU) is not a viable long-term option: it takes 4.5 billion years for just half of it to turn into lead, and keeps eating through the containers in which it is stored. So countries are giving it away - to weapons manufacturers, who turn it into weaponry that they sell back to governments. It’s very effective in weapons: piercing tanks and armor like a hot knife through butter. However, its long-term impacts are cruel and inhuman. With a range of international guests, New Internationalist co-editor Dinyar Godrej joins Chris Richards to report on how DU waste now contaminates a string of ‘enemy’ countries. As a result, thousands of civilians are - and will continue to be - reporting cancer and abnormalities at rates never before experienced well after their war is over:

  • Having sent troops into places marked on maps as being contaminated with depleted uranium, the US army told their troops in Iraq that depleted uranium was so safe that it could be sprinkled on breakfast cereal. Now Retired Staff Sergeant Herbert Reed is living with the legacy - including nerve damage, respiratory problems, pain, paralysis, and internal bleeding.
  • When John LaForge from Nukewatch went knocking at the door of the number-one producer of depleted uranium weapons in the United States, he and three other non-violent protestors were arrested for trespassing. In his defence, he asked a jury to find that the munitions manufacturer was the real criminal, not those who protested against it. The jury did.
  • The movement against DU is growing. In March this year, the Belgian Parliament voted to ban depleted uranium ammunition. Then there’s the ultimate campaign result - peace glorious peace. Dekha Abdi is a peace-builder - forging viable ways to resolve conflict without violence. She’s one of the recipients this year of a Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize) for outstanding vision and work on behalf of the planet and its people. She shares some of her rich experiences with us.

Reflecting our hope for the future, today’s CD is called Ceasefire. Inspired by peace-talks in Sudan between the Muslim North and the predominantly Christian South, Emmanuel Jal, a Christian rapper from the South, gets together with Abdel Gadir Salim, a Muslim musician from the North to show what colourful, dynamic sounds are produced when two different cultures work side-by-side.

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  • November 20, 2007
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Chocolate

This program’s full of tasty treats. It’s all about chocolate. Luscious and lovely, it’s a product that’s starting to light up the fair trade lists. Sweet and satisfying, it’s been hailed over the centuries as a sexual stimulant. But when it comes to chocolate desserts, there’s little that’s just. The country producing over forty per cent of the cocoa to make the world’s chocolate is still relying on child slaves and forced labourers. Today’s co-host - Troth Wells - is one of the authors of The BitterSweet World of Chocolate. As she shares with us some secrets of sweet and savoury treats, she serves up a taste of both the light and dark sides of the global chocolate trade.

  • Bama Athreya and her colleagues from the International Labor Rights Forum have calculated the cost of wiping out slavery and forced labour in the supply of chocolate by paying producers properly. It’s an extra .02 cents on the price of each chocolate bar. She tells us why cocoa and chocolate companies aren’t prepared to pay.
  • Nikki van der Gaag takes us through the many health benefits that history hands to out to chocolate consumption.
  • The Grenada Chocolate Company is revolutionizing the supply chain from cocoa to chocolate block. Company founder Mott Green tells us about the dynamic impact that this will have on Grenada’s economy.

Today’s CD - Canta Bovea y Sus Vallenatos con Alberto Fernandez - celebrates that Colombian style of music called vallenato. It’s sweet and saucy strains should provide an ideal accompaniment to any chocolate dish.

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  • November 13, 2007
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Climate Change in Bali

What are the people and politicians in the developing world saying about climate change? Nicola Bullard, from Focus on the Global South, joins Radio New Internationalist’s Chris Richards to find out, as campaigners in India, Thailand and the United States take a ride through the rhetoric of climate change politics.

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali this December, the nations of the world will be writing a roadmap setting-out how to get to a global agreement for cutting greenhouse emissions. The conference is being held on the Indonesian island of Bali in Indonesia - ‘the Island of Gods’ - and the Gods know that climate change needs a little divine intervention right now. Just as the Rich World is finally acknowledging that the world is hurtling towards a global warming catastrophe the political game going into those negotiations is blame, not shame. China and India are being painted as the new environmental vandals. Hell bent on development, the increasing emissions of China and India will surely kill us all and block the potential for meaningful international negotiations. As least, that’s what’s being said by the real renegades - Rich World countries that have turned their backs on committing to a meaningful reduction to their greenhouse emissions.

  • Chandra Bhushan - Assocqiate director and head of the Industry Unit at Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi, India - advocates how India can accelerate development in ways that minimize its emissions.
  • EcoEquity’s Tom Athanasiou - argues that it’s the countries of the Rich World, not the Poor World, which are responsible for climate change, and now it’s their responsibility to pay. Tom outlines his plan, and presents the politics that await it at the UN Climate Change Conference.
  • Daphne Wysham - co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network - reveals why international institutions such as the World Bank are cashing in on the growing climate change market, and how this is hindering sustainable energy options.

The music threading its way through today’s program is some ambient funk from Asia: Ryukyu Underground - a collection of original Japanese recordings mixed for dance.

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  • November 6, 2007
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Celebrating the Dead

Inspired by the millions of people around the world who are celebrating All Souls Day this year, the Radio New Internationalist team dips into different cultures to hear the many ways in which the world’s populations honour their dead and respect the dying. From the fear of the spirit-world underpinning Halloween to the burning of money at the tomb-sweeping festivals of Taiwan, the ways we celebrate death shape our own hopes and fears about dying.

  • What better place to start than Mexico’s Day of the Dead - a two day national celebration where bands, feasting and sugar-coated skulls go hand-in-hand to the cemetery. Author Mary Andrade takes us there.
  • Just what human rights should we have as we die? It’s an issue that literally gets buried with the body. Prominent Australian human rights lawyer, Julian Gardner, has had the rare experience of making decisions on behalf of people who are in the process of dying, and then living to tell the tale.
  • On the cusp of celebrating Halloween - the night that the Irish believe the spirits can break back through to the world of the living - Jack Byrne from NEAR FM in Dublin shares some scary recollections.
  • The three day mourning ceremony undertaken by Koreans can be gruelling on their families. After explaining the process before burial, a young Korean - Anna Alcon - weighs up the pros and cons of their mourning traditions in a story read by Vymala Yim.
  • One of the benefits of religion is that it sets out a belief structure when someone dies. But ritual is not the sole province of the religious, as Dick Gross - the author of a modern guide to meaning and morality called Godless Gospel - explains.

The feature CD is by Benjamin Escoriza performing his first solo album Alevanta! or in English Rise Up! - an eerily appropriate title for today’s program. It’s a magical mix through which Moroccan influences jump across the Mediterranean to dance with flamenco.

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  • October 31, 2007
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Tribal revival

Guess which country the Radio New Internationalist team is talking about today? Its indigenous people - still struggling for rights to their land and resources - often live in shanty communities overrepresented by the unemployed, drug addicted, and alcoholic. Fringe-dwellers, they die much earlier than non-indigenous people, and suffer a range of chronic health problems. Many non-indigenous people say that these folk need to be integrated into mainstream society, but the standard of education and other basic services that they are offered still remains low. It could be Australia. Or it could be Canada. Perhaps it’s the United States, or Africa, or Latin America?

In fact it’s the standard text for a long list of indigenous peoples all over the world. Together with today’s co-host - Jonathan Mazower from the international NGO Survival - today’s guests share the problems and possible solutions that their people face as a result of a continuing stream of attempts to steal their land and culture.

  • Canadian Innu leader Marcel Ashini describes how - just like a tree - strengthening ones roots can make indigenous people grow stronger.

  • Carteret Islanders Ursula Rakova and Bernard Tunim relate how rising tides caused by climate change are now claiming their crops and their Pacific homes.

  • Debra Harry, who spearheads the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism based in Nevada, talks about how global genetic testing that’s currently being undertaken can threaten the culture and knowledge systems of indigenous peoples around the world (in conversation with Daniel Diesendorf from Victoria University in Australia).

Today’s CD is Introducing Kenge Kenge. Kenge Kenge is an expression of the Luo people of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa. It means ‘fusion of small, exhilarating instruments’. And don’t those beats fuse well - guaranteed to get their most reticent of dancers bopping.

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    • October 17, 2007
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    Torture - the deepest scar

    Undoubtedly acts of torture are shocking. How could anyone extract information from others by breaking their back or boiling them alive? But the real horror exposed by this program is not so much the acts themselves but the complicity of Western Governments - and the leaders and officials in them who hold themselves out as supporters of human rights - in obtaining information through such methods. Down in The Grave in Syria and the countless other cells where thousands have been sent for forceful questioning, we come face-to-face with some inescapable realizations - that the war on terror is a war of terror, and that our security is being traded for the insecurity of an unacceptably high number of others.

    • Stephen Grey, author of Ghost Plane, tracks both the private executive jet fleet that the US uses to ferry suspects in the war on terror to torture chambers around the world, and its implications for us all.
    • Canadian Abdullah Almalki - who spent 482 days of torture in a Syrian torture centre - relates the impact that torture has had on his life and that of his family.
    • Author and activist, Kerry Pither sets out how innocent Canadian citizens are being tortured abroad with the knowledge and support of their Government.
    • Andrea Berg, the Central Asian researcher for Human Rights Watch, reveals the findings of a report about the world’s most notorious torturers - the Uzbekistan Government and its authorities - that is about to be presented to the United Nations Committee Against Torture.
    • And Stephen Grey outlines the lengths to which British authorities have gone in order to continue receiving information obtained from Uzbek torture.

    The CD Lumiere performed by Bob Brozman proves a perfect sound for today’s program as it moves musical influences effortlessly between cultures and countries: a great thing for music, but not so good for the many thousands who are being moved around the world for interrogation in the war on terror.

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    • October 9, 2007
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    Down the dictators

    Meet Reed Brody. He hunts dictators for a living. Dictators need to be hunted by full-time professionals. For, as Reed explains: ‘If you kill one person, you go to jail. If you kill 40 people, they put you in an insane asylum. But if you kill 40,000 people, you get a comfortable exile with a bank account in another country, and that’s what we want to change.’

    And the good news is that he and his colleagues at Human Rights Watch are well on the way to making that change. They were there in London when the House of Lords decided that General Augusto Pinochet could be arrested and sent to overseas courts that wanted him to be tried for his crimes against the people of Chile. And although Pinochet - now dead - never faced trial, the knock-on effect since the law lords’ decision has been significant. The legal systems of Argentina and Uruguay are paving the way for the arrest and trial of former officials during the 1970s dictatorships that brutally governed their countries. Africa, too, is slowly but surely following suit, with a developing front amongst the African Union to prosecute war criminals on their continent.

    With the backdrop of testimonies from people in Latin America and Africa who have been victims of state-sponsored violence, Reed takes us on safari to show how some of the world’s worst dictators are being tracked down. From diplomatic negotiations across Europe and Africa down into the former offices of Chad’s political police, he explains the barriers to prosecution, how they are being pushed through, and what practical benefit this will hold for the people who have been systemically brutalized by their own governments.

    To lift your spirits, the invigorating music that threads its way through today’s program comes from those sons of son music, the Cuban band Sierra Maestra, from their Soul of a Nation CD.

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    • October 2, 2007
    • 0

    Democratic conventions

    Now that products are being pumped out into already saturated markets, it’s not surprising that the culture that capitalism creates is centred on: ‘Me! Me! More! More!’. For many, life’s main goal has become: ‘The one with the most toys wins’. We often hear how soul-destroying this culture can be. But what does it do for our political structures? The rich terrain that we’re tilling in this program is whether capitalism is cultivating democracy, or killing it.

    Democracy must be one of the most exploited words in the English language. So much is being done in its name. We’re supposed to be living in it. Iraq has been invaded so that the people of the Middle East can start enjoying it. Together with New Internationalist co-editor, Richard Swift, leading lights in the field shine their intellect on ways to rebuild our political and economic foundations so that societies can better deliver democracy’s main prize - power to the public.

    • Author of Radical Democracy, Douglas Lummis outlines where the concept of democracy comes from and where it could go.
    • British mental health professional Trevor Turner sorts through the ways politicians dumb-down debate, and what it means for short and long term decision making by governments.
    • Susan George - whose many books have stimulated debates amongst progressive people around the world - outlines a new economic order that would address climate change at the same time as strengthening democratic structures.

    Africa meets Europe in the musical backdrop for this program, as Saba - who was born to an Ethopian mother and an Italian father - sings her way through the divide between the two continents in her debut CD Jidka.

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    • September 26, 2007
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    Trafficked

    What kind of person wakes up and says: 'Right, I'm going to make some money by selling a person today?' Apparently it's often a parent or trusted friend; someone known to the victim. And it's women as well as men. Today's program seeks out sex traffickers …and what can be done to stop them. Through stories fresh from the streets and brothels of India, Nigeria and Moldova, profiles of both the exploiters and the exploited emerge that are very different from those reported in the Rich World.

    * New Internationalist co-editor Vanessa Baird describes how the global sex trafficking industry operates. She climbs through a cruel barrier discouraging prosecutions of sex traffickers - that police intervention often means the deportation of victims - and introduces us to a country successfully taking an opposite approach.   

    * Louisa Waugh - author of Selling Olga: stories of human trafficking and resistance - explains why domestic violence, migrant labour and international sex trafficking go hand-in-hand

    * Film maker and writer Bishakha Datta introduces us to the sex workers of India, and why abolishing prostitution is unlikely to stop people-trafficking.

    ALSO in this program: the third in a series of interviews from a conference in Shanghai held in May this year to examine the increasing influence of China in Africa. Regular Radio New Internationalist contributor, Nicola Bullard asks Walden Bello, the executive director of Focus on the Global South, for an overview.

    And because today's theme was a weighty one, the music that's threading its way through the spoken words is full of exuberance and love for life.  The old up-tempo but melodic traditions of marrabenta - the national rhythm of Mozambique - meet the youthful energy of hip-hop in the CD Soul Marrabenta performed by the band Mabulu.

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    • September 19, 2007
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    The Hunger

    This program hits the airwaves at the start of Ramadan - the most significant month of the Islamic year: a month in which fasting features. So, inspired by the millions around the world of all faiths who fast, today we're focusing on food - who's got it, who hasn't, and how it's being used for religious and political pursuits:

    • With global grain reserves at levels so low that would only be capable of satisfying world demands for two months, Angus Calder - a company director in search of more efficient agriculture - takes us through the problems that threaten our food supplies. As rising populations face falling levels of both water and agriculture land, he explains the conflicting choices that are about to be served up to our dinner tables.
    • Many millions in Africa are on the starvation line. Yet a number of African countries don't want genetically modified food to feed their people. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria, tells us why.
    • During Ramadan, thousands of Jews and Christians in the United States are planning to join their Muslim friends for an interfaith fast asking for an end to the war on Iraq. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, from the Shalom Center in Philadelphia is one of the organizers. As he shares their plan of action, he explains the significance of fasting across faiths. 
    • And while we're talking about food as a tool of political protest, we visit Palestine, where political prisoners (more than 11,000 of them now) have a rich history of using hunger strikes to leverage basic human rights from their Israeli captors. Jaber Wishah - a political prisoner for 16 years and now Deputy Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - tells us how.

    To set the mood, we dip into the CD Sahara performed by Javier Ruibal. He's a highly regarded singer-songwriter from Cadiz in Spain, blending more relaxed North African sounds with passionate flamenco.  

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    • September 14, 2007
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    Pulp Friction

    Whether you're living in the Rich World or Poor World, pulp is probably producing problems for people not too far from you. We're continuing to destroy trees that eat carbon dioxide – one of the main greenhouse gases. There’s also a litany of other problems that follow the plantations that are grown to replace old growth – the loss of food-supplies for the surrounding communities; the pollution of local water supplies; the promise of jobs at paper mills that only a few will ever get; and the community conflict that mounts as a result. And it's not just pulp. Palm oil production presents parallel problems, yet some European countries are marketing it as a sustainable replacement for petroleum.

    • Co-host Cam Walker, a seasoned international campaigner from Friends of the Earth, starts this week's Radio New Internationalist program by setting out these scenes, opening the door to today’s main forum – how countries can bring down greenhouse emissions at the same time as bringing up the standard of living in many of the world’s poorest countries.
    • Chris Lang – formerly an architect, now an environmental activist – has just completed a global audit of pulp problems: Banks, pulp and people. He invites us into a recent meeting in Germany when big bankers asked a team of non-governmental organizations to help them choose which pulp projects to finance.
    • How can China and India continue to develop without taking the planet to fatal levels of greenhouse gas emissions? Why should Europe, Canada and the United States support them in this aim? Tom Athanasiou and his colleagues at the Californian-based organization EcoEquity, have a proposal that they are about to take into international negotiations on climate change. He shares it with us.

    Today's CD is called Canta Bovea y Sus Vallenatos con Alberto Fernandez, celebrating that Colombian style of music called vallenato. It's usually accordian led, and suggests that not nearly enough credit is given to the accordian's sweet and saucy strains.

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    • September 6, 2007
    • 0

    Cyber crimes

    Next time you're downloading a film or music through the internet, spare a thought for Hew Griffiths, 44 years old, unemployed and now languishing in a jail half a world away from his home. Unlike most of the other inmates, he's not there for doing drugs, theft or assault. Rather, his crime was to belong to a group that cracked security codes of some of the United States' biggest media moguls, giving group members access to software and games that - if downloaded - could have been accessed free of charge. And whilst Australian authorities did not charge him, they nevertheless complied with a US request to send Hew to them for trial. In June this year he was judged by a Virginian court and sentenced to more than four years (51 months) in jail; shunted into a cell meant for two men in which three would sleep.

    But Hew is only the first in a disturbing new trend. Following in the traditions established at Guantanamo Bay, the US is putting the world on notice that borders will not limit their prosecution and punishment of copyright crimes.  For as US Attorney General John Ashcroft explained in 2004 - with copyright industries contributing more to US economy than the entire Gross Domestic Product of countries like Argentina, The Netherlands, and Taiwan - his administration cannot afford to do otherwise. To brief us about copyright crimes in cyberspace - crimes' new frontiers - lawyers from India and Australia join today's program:

    • Cyber-space copyright experts Lawrence Liang from Bangalore, India, and Professor Andrew Christie from Australia put us in touch with the world of intellectual property and debate whether Hew's crime fits his punishment.
    • Stephen Kenny - whose represented four men arbitrarily detained in the war on terror - argues that the real offence against criminal law is shunting Hew off to another country for trial and sentence.

    The music of Indian musician Debashish Bhattacharya also stars this week with three guitars that he designed himself. In Indian cosmology, the Trinity is a powerful symbol - for instance Tri Netra - Sanskrit for three eyes - represents past, present and future. Together the guitars straddle the styles of one thousand years of Indian music. The result is the magical CD Calcutta Slide Guitar.  

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    • September 2, 2007
    • 0

    Taxing matters

    Most Africans are poor. Everyone knows that. But they needn't be. On current estimates, for every dollar of aid that flows into Africa, five dollars of financial assets flow out into private bank accounts in the Rich World. Money that's never taxed. Africa has the fastest growth of millionaires in the world, but the burden for building much needed infrastructure keeps on getting pushed back to those who can least afford to pay. For African economies straining under the burden of debt and the conditions that are placed on it, tax revenue means self-reliance, economic freedom, and money to improve education and health. So why are African countries relying on aid, rather than taxing those who profit most from their countries? In what is emerging as a major social justice issue for this decade, today's guests challenge the accountants and politicians of the world to 'Go figure!'

    • Investigative journalist and author, Nicholas Shaxson reveals how President Omar Bongo of Gabon maintained a giant offshore slush fund, fed by African oil and hooked up to tax havens.
    • Greg Muttitt from London NGO PLATFORM lifts the lid on how the International Tax and Investment Center - a registered charity - manipulates governments for six of the world’s biggest oil companies.
    • With money bouncing across borders throughout today’s program, today’s CD is called Rumba without borders: Rumba Sin Fronteras - performed by Cuban percussionist Pancho Quinto together with a long list of his Havana friends. It’s a collaboration spanning a number of generations creating new frontiers in Afro-Cuban beats.

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    • August 28, 2007
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    Labour the point

    Each time a person becomes rich, you can bet your bottom dollar that it has come at a cost to the wealth or health of others. As an upper class of millionaires emerges in any country, they often do so off the backs of imported labour, creating a layer of second-class citizens. China is no exception. More than 120 million rural workers have now left their land and migrated to factories and developments both inside and outside their country. Once there, they can earn a better living than in their fields by mortgaging their bodies to their bosses. But what are these capitalist realities doing to socialist principles? And is the Chinese Communist Party bringing their people out of poverty or throwing away a whole generation of its citizens to feed capitalism's new machines? Through a range of revealing discussions, Monina Wong, from Labour Action China, helps us find some answers.

    • In foreign policy, the Chinese Government is substituting development aid for diplomacy. Nicola Bullard, a senior associate with Focus on the Global South, and Daniel Bibiero from the Mozambiquen NGO Justicia Ambientale investigate the results.
    • When Chinese state-owned enterprises export Chinese workers to develop and construct their overseas projects, cultural clashes and conflict result. Yat Paol, who works with the NGO called the Bismark Ramu Group in Madang Province in Papua New Guinea, lays out the concerns held by Papuans about the Ramu nickel mine development, owned and operated from China.
    • Then today's microphones turn to Iran, to hear Pakistani sociologist Farida Shaheed explain why women are still being stoned to death, and the international campaign that's now developing to stop it.

    Carrying on with the Asian and Pacific themes in today's program, the music that you'll be listening to comes from the CD Nankuru Naisa - in which Bob Brozman's island-beats intertwine with the Japanese songs of Takashi Hirayasu

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    • August 14, 2007
    • 0

    Another Afghan Postcard

    The sixth anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Afghanistan is fast approaching, but no-one is celebrating. Western governments continue to pour military resources into Iraq and Afghanistan, turning away from the reality that their continuing intervention is destroying the social, political and economic viability of both countries. In this program we hear the voices that are too often missing from mainstream media coverage: the perspectives of Afghans and Iraqis themselves. Our guests today explain the affects that the Western invasion of their countries is having on their hearts, minds and souls. And as they share with us their stories about the collapse of their parliaments and international exploitation of their resources, they reveal how – if these military interventions were ever really about liberating Afghans and Iraqi people – then they have completely failed.

    • Sohaila and her colleagues in the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) risk life and limb to bring education and security to the women of Afghanistan. She talks in detail about daily life in her country.
    • At last – the very thing that everyone’s suspected was behind the invasion of Iraq is now on the table of Iraq’s Parliament until October. This Oil Law will hand the management of Iraq’s oil fields back to foreign companies. Faleh Jabar – one of Iraq’s most prominent sociologists and Director with the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies – explains its causes and effects.
    • The talented Phil Sparrow – development consultant, photographer and writer – challenges our humanity in a performance of one of his wonderful stories about living and working in Afghanistan.

    This program also features the CD Introducing Etran Finatawa from Niger – a country which serves as a crossroads between the Arabs of North Africa and the sub-Saharan traditions. You can tell in this music.

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    • August 7, 2007
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    Darfur - don't turn away

    Say ‘Darfur’, and many of us feel we just can’t confront the prolific slaughter and rape that is taking place there, in the African nation of Sudan. Yet those who don’t turn away will see an extreme example of how many of the world’s governments deal with those seeking independence. On the ground, there’s an arrogant government stripping the natural resources from the area without giving the region and its people opportunities to develop. Internationally there are the diplomatic deals that indirectly prop up the violence and a continuing cycle of United Nations impotence. Together with New Internationalist co-editor Jess Worth – who’s just finished editing a magazine about Darfur – today’s program travels to Egypt, Uganda, and China in search of some solutions:

    • Nicola Bullard, a senior associate with Focus on the Global South chats with Sara Musa el Saeed from Sudan about how China is supporting a government guilty of killing its own citizens  
    • Moataz El Fegiery, the Programmes Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, explains why the Arabs as well as the Christians seem to be keeping clear of the conflict   
    • Dismas Nkunda, a co-Director of the International Refugee Rights Initiative in Uganda, outlines the initiatives that are being taken in other parts of Africa to stop the violence and
    • Darfurians explain what they want you to understand about their plight.  

    From Sudan, today’s CDCeasefire – reflects hope for a peaceful future, as Emmanuel Jal, a Christian rapper from the Sudanese south, gets together with Abdel Gadir Salim, a Moslem musician from the North, to show what colourful and dynamic sounds are produced when two different cultures work side-by-side.

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    • July 31, 2007
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    Pipelines to power

    Oil and gas can make the difference between living in a developed or developing world. As a valuable energy source, oil and gas create power. Pipelines bring this power to the people. But now that oil and gas supplies are dwindling, transnationals are pushing more desperately into new frontiers, bulldozing the paths for their pipelines straight through community resource-rights and surrounding environments. A phenomenon limited to the developing world? Not any more. Today’s co-host, Jack Byrne from community radio NEAR FM in Dublin – reports from West Ireland on the Shell gas pipeline that’s breaking through the fragile bog lands of County Mayo. He introduces us to Willie Corduff – one of the Rossport Five – who went to jail for 94 days after refusing Shell and its pipeline workers entry to his farm. Willie takes us into his beautiful town and shows us the police violence and the corporate arrogance surrounding the pipeline, and the legal system that allows these problems to take place.

    • Mika Minio gives us a global audit of communities in other countries plagued by pipeline problems.
    • Alicia Casas, the facilitator for Oilwatch Mesoamerica, talks about how Costa Rica became the first country brave enough to place a moratorium on oil extraction, and why this world-first is now in jeopardy.
    • New Zealand’s investigative journalist, Nicky Hager lifts another lid – this time of spies planted by corporations in community campaigns.

    Today’s program features the wonderful performances of Spanish vocalist Benjamin Escoriza from his first solo album Alevanta! – or in English Rise Up! – a very appropriate title to conclude a program about protesting power and pipelines.

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    • July 24, 2007
    • 0

    Bombs away

    This month last year, Israel’s military forces were attacking Lebanon. One year later, a horrifying legacy remains. Imagine walking into a field where hundreds of unexploded cluster bomblets lie – just some of the four million that Israel’s military dropped into South Lebanon in the last days of its bombardment. You know that – in this field – living and dying can change with the wind. You have seen the faces and limbs that are blown away with one wrong step. What do you do? What John Rodsted did was grab a camera, film the fields, and take the footage to the Norway Government. Within weeks the Oslo Process had begun – an international dialogue to negotiate a treaty to ban cluster bombs. John is the official photographer to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines – the team that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. Ten years later John is still campaigning against those cruel and life-destroying legacies of war – the anti-personnel bombs that fighting forces leave behind when they withdraw from conflict. To explode the argument that cluster bombs are legitimate weapons of war, he is joined in conversation with other international campaigners:

    • Rae McGrath, a driving force behind the campaign to ban landmines, describes the anatomy of this successful international campaign: where to lobby, when to fight, and how to win.
    • Simon Conway, the Director of the British NGO Landmine Action, who’s a global advocate effectively prosecuting both landmines and cluster bombs, translates what the politicians are saying.  
    • Arms traders make their money from dead bodies. Their best products are the ones that kill the most effectively. Siemon Wezeman from the Stockholm International Peace Research explains why the international arms trade continues to be brisk.  
    And what’s a more appropriate CD for the topics that we’ve been discussing in this program than Ceasefire. Rock meets rap in this musical collaboration from Sudan inspired by peace-talks between the Muslim North and the predominantly Christian South.

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    • July 17, 2007
    • 0

    Radio New Internationalist - Up in smoke

    Forty-seven million documents are now online that trace the power-marketing and politicking undertaken by the tobacco industry – the only industry in the world that’s able to sell a product that is directly killing many of those who buy it. There’s a lode of gems you can find in these documents: that is, if you’ve got time to wade through 47 million pages. Anne Landman – the editor of TobaccoWiki, a new online research and information project being facilitated by the Center for Media and Democracy in the United States – is doing much of the hard-yards for us. She’s smoking out damning material about the ways that the tobacco industry attacks the public interest by recruiting young children to smoking; butting out its critics; and influencing government policy away from a healthier policy agenda. Together with today’s guests, she shares with us the industry’s excesses and what can be done to stop them:

    • Hemant Goswami, the Chairperson of the Burning Brain Society, drops in from the north of India to offer us a packet of policies that countries can adopt to stop tobacco’s carnage.
    • Peter T. Brown, the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation, celebrates open online communities like TobaccoWiki, and alerts us to the ways that Microsoft is trying to make the information superhighway into a one-way street… leading right to the backdoor of its bank.   

    This program also features the music of Indian musician Debashish Bhattacharya and his three guitars – a trinity of guitars that he designed himself. Together the guitars straddle the styles of one thousand years of Indian music. The result – Calcutta Slide-Guitar – is a CD that’s already attracting award nominations.

    • July 10, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - No refuge

    The dictators may be different and the violence may vary but when people flee their homes in fear, they live many common experiences. In this program, refugees from Chile, Rwanda and Uganda share with us intimate details of their life journeys. Facing up to the gruelling resistance of the Rich World to open its borders to those who are asking for just one more chance at finding a peaceful existence. Searching for an identity that’s not connected to country. Dealing both with the fear that stalks their dreams for decades and the deaths of loved ones left behind. And then, there are the children. … Co-host Marisol Salinas – who has herself fled political repression in Latin America and has recently reproduced the experiences of over 40 Latin American refugees on the CD Voices of Exile – helps steer us through the hopes and fears of these brave people.

    • Dheepthi Namasivayam travels to Strasbourg, France, to explore how Rwandan refugee Immaculée Cattier has found refuge in a country that helped fuel the genocide in her birthplace.
    • Rowenna Davis goes into Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention and Removal Centre and talks to Ugandan refugee, ‘Doris’, about how she has been treated by British authorities and the effect that this has had on her children.
    • Also from Uganda, but this time travelling with those who are displaced within their own country, Rebecca Wearn shows us why Ugandan children continue each day to travel to the safety of night camps even after the need for their protection has passed.
    The stunning songs of lost love and hardship from the world’s perennial refugees – the gypsies – seemed like just the right sound for this week’s program. So while you’re listening to the program, enjoy the music of Introducing Bella Lakatos and the Gypsy Youth Project.
    • July 3, 2007
    • 0

    Radio New Internationalist - How does your garden grow?

    This program gets down in the dirt to ask progressive people from around the world: 'How does your garden grow?' Permaculture may still be seen by many as the fodder of the fringe, but its designs are having profound results – stopping starvation, combating climate change, and creating more cohesive communities. Get ready for some reasoned realignment as we welcome co-editor of New Internationalist magazine David Ransom, and hear how growing your own veggies is a profoundly political act, challenging the heart of today’s consumer culture.

    • Permaculturalist Pam Morgan shows us around the rooftops, corridors and workplaces of urban Cuba – places conscripted for growing fruits and vegetables to successfully stave of food shortages.
    • Chris Evans tells us about how young people are putting down their guns to make Edible Earth in Nepal. (Chris is the Country Representative for Appropriate Technology Asia (ATA) Nepal, and advisor of Himalayan Permaculture Group).
    • Jonathan Dawson, President of Global Ecovillages, explains how permaculture principles are outperforming carbon offsets in bringing down greenhouse gas emissions.
    • And while we’re talking about more creative consuming, author Sharon Beder adds her thoughts about compulsive market disorders.

    This week’s album is an old favourite: Rene Lacaille and Bob Brozman’s fabulous CD DigDig, where the pulse of the Pacific melts into the arms of Bluegrass and Latin.   

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    • June 27, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - The Dirt on Nuclear

    It used to be that 'No way!'; and nuclear belonged in the same sentence. But as the international community scrambles for solutions to address the problems associated with climate change, now we're being told that nuclear energy is clean and green. Pacific commentator and campaigner Nic Maclellan joins today's team to dish up the very extensive pile of dirt on the nuclear alternative: the problems of waste that won't go away; the world-wide radioactive fallout from operational plants to date; and the sacrifice zones that have already displaced agriculture and people.

    • When the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in the Ukraine exploded in April 1986, eight tons of radioactive ash vomited into the air. Now - 21 years since that disaster - Japanese doctor and radiobiologist Katsumi Furitsu tracks the damage across Europe to Japan.  
    • Rebecca Johnson reports on people power - from the picket line at the Faslane 365 Blockade of the Trident nuclear missile base in the United Kingdom to the recent Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Conference in Vienna.
    • Corazon Valdez Fabros - the Secretary-General of the Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition - explains the coalition of 130 organizations that spearheaded a successful campaign against the operation of the first and only nuclear power plant in the Philippines - Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

    You'll also hear the CD Songs of the Volcano - performed by Bob Brozman and Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Stringband . It's a fitting choice following the description by Cora Fabros of how Westinghouse built a nuclear plant on the side of a volcano!

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    • June 13, 2007
    • 0

    Radio New Internationalist - Alternative radio waves

    A test for any true democracy is whether or not people can hear, and be heard on, a diverse range of views. Paradoxically, while the Rich World wages war to bring its concept of democracy to the Middle East, it does nothing as its own minorities are marginalized by a shrinking base of media owners. While the United States media had some fifty major conglomerates in the 1980s, by the year 2000 just six corporations dominated. Presenter and executive producer of internationally respected news broadcaster Democracy Now!Amy Goodman – joins the Radio New Internationalist team to examine some of the effects of media concentration. With guests from Latin America, Africa and the United Kingdom, we explore the ever-increasing boundaries of independent media created by and for a wide range of people.

    • Journalist Tom Phillips reports on new programs being broadcast about slaves; for slaves. They may not be rating in the rest of the Brazil, but the programs are helping unemployed workers stay clear of the slave-owners’ clutches; 
    • Jane Duncan, Executive Director Freedom of eXpression Institute in South Africa, explores the causes and effects of media consolidation across Africa and tells us how some dictators and despots are closing down community radio voices; and
    • While community-based radio has been building solid foundations across countries like Australia for over 30 years, allowing people to broadcast their perspectives at a local level is only just starting to blossom in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom. Alan Fransman, the Deputy Director of the Community Media Association in the United Kingdom, celebrates this new community broadcasting landscape, and explains why it’s taken so long to take root.

    As our guests today have been chatting about how important a range of voices it is to democracy, the music threading its way through this program dips into a diverse range of countries and artists – Spanish singer-songwriter Javier Ruibal performing from his Sahara CD; Sally Nyolo on the CD Studio Cameroon; and Rene Lacaille and Bob Brozman’s fabulous CD DigDig.

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    • June 7, 2007
    • 0

    Radio New Internationalist - Under the privileged

    The United States Government suggests that nanotechnology is getting in the drivers’ seat to steer the next industrial revolution. The Australian Government says that nanotechnology will fundamentally transform every aspect of our lives. Business leaders predict that nano-industry may be worth one trillion US dollars in the next five years. But here at Radio New Internationalist, we didn’t even understand what it is, let alone how it’s capable of taking over the world. So Georgia Miller from Friends of the Earth in Australia has called in to have a chat to us about what, where and why nano works – from odour eating socks to frightening new weapons for armies. Together with today’s co-host, Nnimmo Bassey, from Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria, they map out –in simple terms – the amazing reach that nanotechnology will have in the developed and the developing world. Also on the program:

    • The election of the new Chairperson on the United Nation’s United Nation’s Commission on Sustainable Development has caused quite a stir. Nnimmo Bassey was there. He tells us why the worry.
    • Following on from last week’s visit to Democratic Republic of Congo to find out why mining for coltan to make our mobiles destroys parts of Congo’s economy and environment, we return – this time with Congolese political scientist and author Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja – to hear how Congo’s natural resource wealth is being given away for a fraction of its true worth.
    • Michael O’Flaherty – a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee – speaks with spirit about why the recently released human rights principles on sexual orientation and gender identity are so important to us all.

    Today’s CDKarimbo, performed by Mabulu – was recorded during the catastrophic floods in Mozambique in the year 2000. But there are no dirges here. This album is lilting; light… an uplifting testament to hope in the face of disaster.

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    • May 29, 2007
    • 0

    Radio New Internationalist - Mobile talking

    The marketing mavericks of mobile phones should take a bow. They’re getting some astounding results. According to a recent report from the United Nations, more than two thirds of the world’s population are now mobile cell phone subscribers. In the United Kingdom and Hong Kong there’s actually more mobile phone subscribers than people. So today’s guests pull out their mobile phones (or cell phones as they're called in some countries) and press the ‘on’ button. While we hear that instant mobile communications has some definite benefits, they are obtained at the expense of our health and the environment.

    • In Hong Kong, young people are gaining sexual confidence through their mobile phone conversations. Angel Lin from the Chinese University of Hong Kong tells us how.
    • By contrast, mobiles serve all kinds of other uses in conflict zones. Sanjana Hattotuwa from Sri Lanka's Center for Policy Alternatives, talks about why he thinks their use should be recognized as a human right.
    • The world is using China as a dumping ground for its mobile phone batteries. Jamie Choi, the Toxics Campaigner for Greenpeace China, leads us through some affected communities.
    • From the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Vice President of Business Development for GoodWorks International, shows us the environmental and economic destruction caused by the mines that are digging up resources to make our mobiles.

    And our musical backdrop for mobiles? Some funky ambience from the Ryukyu Underground CD – which mixes traditional music with electronica – provides a fitting beat.
     
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    • May 23, 2007
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    Not the only game in town

    Remember the 2005 G8 Summit at Gleneagles – when rock-stars and NGOs combined to Make Poverty History? The G8 leaders responded with speeches and promises to make massive increases to aid for Africa. Their promises now lie in a broken pile. As the leaders of the Western World gear up for the G8 Summit in the German coastal town of Heiligendamm in early June this year, campaigners are collecting to point out to the G8 and the world that on a range of crucial international issues, they are not the only game in town. Nicola Bullard, a senior associate with Focus on the Global South, is today’s co-host. She is about to join the blockade of the Summit, and takes us through the membership of the G8; how it works; the power it presently yields; and why it’s loosing its legitimacy.

    • Oliver Pye, from the University of Bonn, in Germany takes us to the blockade and explains the local and international issues that will be on the picket lines.
    • After Nicola focuses our attention on China – the rising super-power that’s missing from the G8’s guest-list – Ya-Seng (Arthur) Hsueh drops in to provide a powerful example of China’s current international clout. A public health specialist recently retired from the National Taiwan University, Arthur takes us through both how Taiwan’s continuing bid to join the World Health Organization has been blocked for more than a decade by China, and why this compromises world health.
    • Then there’s the economic system that the G8 helps prop-up, and how the Majority World is striking back. Jon Ungphakorn, a former Thai Senator, and now a prominent social activist on public health and HIV/AIDs, explains why the Thai government is putting its people before profitable patents, and Abbott pharmaceutical company’s vicious response.

    Today’s feature CD is Mudanin Kata performed by David Darling and The Wulu Bunun. The Bunun are indigenous peoples dispersed throughout Taiwan known for their sophisticated vocal music.

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    • May 15, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Common senses

    While mainstream media steer a hard right away from good news stories, the everyday ‘wins’ of ordinary people are getting ignored. As a consequence, opportunities to be inspired by and learn from the victories of progressive people in other countries get lost. This program showcases progressive people who are using common senses to get their messages across: people presenting their messages through our five bodily senses – taste, sight, hearing, touch and smell – in a way that dares us to dream and makes our souls smile. Together with co-host Dinyar Godrej – who for the past few months has been busy collecting big visions from the Majority World, we chat with:

    • Walter Otis Tapfumaneyi, from Panos Southern Africa, about Radio Listening Clubs – a remarkably democratic initiative through which discussions amongst rural Africans are recorded, then played on national radio programs to relevant parliamentarians or policy makers for their response.
    • Damian Platt from AfroReggae about how song and music is being used in Brazil to keep people alive.  
    • Francisco Pancho Ramos Stierle about a tasty bit of resistance from Latin America: an organic bread being baked to challenge Mexico’s largest bread-baking company thought by some Mexicans to be financing fraud by the current Government.

    In addition, some poetry readings so that we can experience how sound can touch the heart. And ambient funk from Asia from our album of the week Ryukyu Underground. This CD takes original Japanese recordings and mixes them for dance.

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    • May 9, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - The strength in the roots

    This program’s co-host, Richard Meeran, is a true internationalist. A human rights lawyer whose cases are challenging governments and countries across Africa, he’s just been in India searching for his mother’s childhood. He gives us a very personal account of what he finds in India… and also in South Africa where black gold miners are dying because their workplaces that have treated them like disposable people. As Richard, and other progressive people from Pakistan, Africa and the United States, share their inspiring stories of strategies that are helping to change the world, we hear how some of the strongest tools available are often rooted in the experience and ingenuity of the people and communities with whom they’re working.

    • We all know of the power of the United States of America. So what would happen if the nations of Africa united? A leading supporter of this initiative, Demba Moussa Dembele from the African Forum on Alternatives based in Senegal, tells us about how the concept is becoming a reality.
    • Children have been kidnapped, bought or conscripted into a number of Middle Eastern countries to race camels. Zubair Shad is the Assistant Director of the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau in Lahore in Pakistan and he’s helping to repatriate 650 young Pakistanis who’ve been child jockeys in the United Arab Emirates.
    • Daniel Hunter, a Training Associate with that remarkable organization, Training for Change, assists communities to stand up to dictators and despots… and win. He tells about the strategies that are winning hearts and minds in his latest campaign.

    Hear also musical gems from Introducing Shiyani Ngcobo, which captures the Zulu sounds and poetry of maskandi. Shiyani started his musical career when he begged his brother to show him how to make his first igogogo, which is a guitar made from a five litre-oil can. Dip into how far he’s come since then! 

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    • May 3, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Sultans of Spin

    Public relations experts are manipulating information in favour of companies, governments and the rich at blinding speeds. Many communities are so resigned to this spin-doctoring that governments and officials who get caught-out lying still get elected. While conservative organizations are permitted to tear away at the truth, ordinary people are left on the sidelines wondering what to believe. This week’s program opens the PR briefcase and examines their tools of trade.

    • John Stauber, whose organization publishes PR Watch in the United States, talks about the experts and scientists who are prepared to mortgage their professional souls to companies… and sell short the public interest in the process.  
    • Eminent Australian historian, Henry Reynolds, tells us how conservative governments are rewriting history and the impact that this has on what we value and believe.
    • New Zealand investigative reporter and author Nicky Hager lifts the lid on how political parties around the world deceive their publics in ways which still land them votes.

    And on the musical front this week, we dipped into the CD Sahara performed by Javier Ruibal. He’s a highly regarded singer-songwriter in Spain, blending more relaxed North African sounds with passionate flamenco.

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    • April 25, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Cotton Pickin'

    Cotton pickin’

    Fresh from an assignment in India, New Internationalist co-editor Richard Swift joins the radio team to pick the issues from the world’s cotton fields. Ninety-nine per cent of cotton farmers now live in the Global South – two-thirds in India and China. Yet some in India estimate that only one per cent of the price of a cotton shirt brought in the West ends up in the hands of the farmers. Today’s program explores just how globalization is taking the shirt from the cotton farmers’ backs.

    • Farming leader Vijay Jawandhia tells us about the desperation that is driving thousands of Indian farmers to commit suicide.
    • Kavitha Kuruganti from the Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Hyderabad takes us through the big ecological issues – water, fuel, organics and pesticides.
    • Richard Swift chronicles the fascinating history of cotton.
    • Then, it’s off to Israel to climb the Apartheid Wall with Palestinian psychiatrist Samah Jabr.

    This week’s music is from the album Sigil performed by Nuru Kane who weaves his musical magic throughout today’s program by blending rhythms of traditional musics and Oriental and European sounds.  

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    • April 18, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Base matters

    Base matters

    As the US and its coalition of willing friends concentrate more military resources in Afghanistan and Iraq, Radio New Internationalist takes a step back to look at the backbone of the US security network – its bases. As campaigners from Iran, Mauritius, the Pacific and the Philippines talk about how US bases operate in their region, a clearer picture emerges of how the US maintains its superpower status… and the price that ordinary people in other parts of the world must pay as a result.

    • Pacific leader, teacher and campaigner Mosese Waqa takes us through the network of international military bases and how they secure the health and wealth of the US;
    • Lindsey Collen, from LALIT, tells the shameful story of how the people of Diego Garcia were expelled from their homes to provide the US with a strategic base in the IndianOcean ; 
    • Herbert Docena, from the Philippines office of the international organization Focus on the Global South, explains why Ecuador has ousted its US base: just one positive step in a growing international movement to close down foreign military machines; and
    • Nasrin Alavi, author of We are Iran, explains the hopes, fears and dreams of the people of Iran in the face of mounting world hostility to their country’s nuclear ambitions.

    This week’s program features the Mapou CD – presenting truly global sounds with African, Indian, Madagascan and European influences.

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    • April 12, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Peace of the action

    Peace of the action

    Protecting a human rights campaigner as he lays bare the connections between a mayor and notorious paramilitary death squads. Helping mothers negotiate the release of their children – kidnapped to become child soldiers. These are just some of the stories that women peacekeepers share with us in this week’s program. Challenging the perpetrators of violence with words, not arms, Jodie Martire from Peace Brigades International and Angela Pinchero from the Nonviolent Peaceforce take us to the front-line of the conflicts in Colombia and Sri Lanka and introduce us to the people who they are helping to protect.

    Their stories explore the ways that truth can combat violence and the latest tactics at the peace movement’s latest frontiers. In addition:

    • Anastasia Moloney drops in from Bogota to tell us how – for the first time in Colombia’s history – their war criminals are facing trial.

    • And Sarojeni Rengam – the Executive Director of the Pesticide Action Network for the Asia Pacific region and one of the leaders of Week of Rice Action – talks about how the cultural and spiritual significance of rice could be threatened by genetic engineering.

    Our album of the week: The invigorating music of those sons of Cuban music … Sierra Maestra …from their Soul of a Nation CD.

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    • April 5, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - The Arrogance

    The Arrogance

    This week we’re linking up Asia, Latin America and the Middle East to explore why that bundle of international economic policies favoured by the neo-cons can fail so badly… and uncover a common link. It’s ‘The Arrogance’… the arrogance of the World Bank in Indonesia, of the International Monetary Fund in Latin America, and US policy-preachers now working in Iraq. Today’s guests – all of whom are working closely with international policy makers – open the doors to a range of very personal experiences:

    • Jim Shultz, Executive Director of The Democracy Center in Bolivia remembers the 34 people killed in protests over the International Monetary Fund’s fatally flawed tax policies;
    • Farah Sofa, from WALHI (Friends of the Earth, Indonesia), tells us about their negotiations with the World Bank, which is now supporting Indonesian industrial timber plantation projects the size of whole countries; and
    • Pratap Chatterjee, Managing Editor, CorpWatch takes us to Iraq and shows us around both the healthcare system being imposed on the Iraqi people, and the colourful crooks and incompetents that are mismanaging it.

    Last week and this week, we’ve been featuring the CDRhythm of the River… which showcases a range of artists from the World Music Network’s Riverboat Records series. From rhapsody to rap, it offers music with which to relax, then rage.

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    • March 24, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Afghan Postcards

    Afghan postcards

    This month – on the fourth year anniversary of its invasion of Iraq – the world is assessing the carnage. But missing from the ledger are those forgotten victims of the war on terror … the displaced and dead in Afghanistan, and the millions of desperate refugees who’ve fled from inside Iraq. This week’s Radio New Internationalist makes contact with them.

    • The youngest member of Afghanistan’s Parliament – Malalai Joya – talks fearlessly about the warlords that still dirty any prospect of democracy in her country; the US policies that put them in power; and the personal price that those who speak up against them must pay.
    • Cathy Breen, who works with just some of the 700,000 Iraqis who have attempted to escape the violence in their country by journeying to Jordan, recounts the policies and practices of the Western countries which started that violence, to leave Iraqi refugees to rot.
    • And as the war on terror moves into cyberspace, Julien Pain, from Reporters sans Frontières, assesses whether human rights activists are set to become second-class citizens.

    The musical morsels sprinkled through this week’s program come from the CD Introducing Etran Finatawa: a band from Niger – the crossroads between the Arabs of North Africa and the sub-Saharan traditions.

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    • March 23, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Inner Conflict

    As a radio program that’s always in search of new horizons, this week’s co-host is a pioneering reporter from Somalia – Ahmed Abdisalam Adan – who explains the most recent conflict in his country from his HornAfrik newsroom bunker in the capital, Mogadishu. From here, we step out into the line of fire in search of successful campaigns to rid the world of war and weapons.

    • Johan Galtung – a global warrior for non-violent resolution to conflict – sets-out a world without armies;
    • Kameelah Rasheed gives a passionate defence of the hijab, and explains how one piece of cloth has become a battleground between the sexes in South Africa;
    • Mathias Bienstman talks about how the launch of a new bank has incriminated arms-trade funders.

    And – as March marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British colonies – New Internationalist contributor Clare Goff compares the campaign tactics that won the public then, with those that work now.

    In this program, we again feature the CD Rhythm of the River, which showcases a range of artists from the World Music Network’s Riverboat Records series. The extensive variety of sounds and synergies on this CD draws on music from Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

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    • March 15, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - The real thing

    This program investigates Coca Cola – that sugary soft drink that has led the corporate pack towards international profit and power. What’s in its bottles? What’s in its history? And what’s in the global movement to ban it from schools, university and government canteens? Find out as:

    • Amit Srivastava from the India Resource Center leads the way, by explaining how Coke plants steal water and pollute land… and cause community outrage strong enough to close Coke plants in India;  
    • Nutritionist Marion Nestle from New York University takes the top off a bottle and analyses what’s inside;
    • Historian Mark Pendergrast tells us about the colourful people and strategies last century that has made Coke one of the most recognizable brands this century;
    • Writer and broadcaster David Bacon examines the evidence that implicates Coke plants in the assassination of union officials in Colombia.

    This week’s CD is Rhythm of the River, which showcases a range of artists from the World Music Network’s Riverboat Records series. The extensive variety of sounds and synergies on this CD draws on music from Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

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    • March 9, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Landing rights

    Today we accompany Indigenous people through battles won and battles won in Africa and the Pacific. Although these are battles with no gunfire, the cultural and economic injuries are just as momentous. Jim Brooks – an Australian human rights lawyer who’s worked with Aboriginal people for the last two decades and was the chief administrator on Australia’s Stolen Children’s Inquiry – co-hosts today’s program as we start off by exploring the forced removal of Indigenous kids that has shamed countries like Canada, the United States and Australia. Then its off around the world:

    • To Botswana, where the Jumanda Gakereborn and the Kalahari Bushmen are returning home triumphant after rolling back attempts by their Government and De Beers to rob them of their land for diamond mining;
    • To Hawai’i, to learn the language of self-determination… and dispossession with author and human rights advocate Haunani-Kay Trask. It’s not black and white, you know. Haunani shares also with us some of her poetry about self-determination from her latest book;
    • To West Papua, as former Political Counsel in the US Embassy in Jakarta, Edmund McWilliams, updates us about Indonesia’s military occupation of West Papua, and the arms that the US continues to give the Indonesian military effort; and
    • To Papua New Guinea, where Annie Kajir from the Environmental Law Centre in Port Moresby tells us how the lobbying done by herself and other PNG campaigners have reduced Europeans imports of PNG wood by 80 per cent.

    Some juicy audio morsels pepper this week’s program from Rene Lacaille and Bob Brozman’s fabulous album DigDig … where the pulse of the Pacific melts into the arms of Bluegrass and Latin. You’ll find them in the Riverboat Records Series on the World Music Network’s website.

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    • March 2, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Ethical Shopping Special

    Put away your credit card. Get out your shopping trolley. This week’s program pays a visit to ethical shopping. New Internationalist editor, Jess Worth has just been hunting around the stores to find out whether ethical shopping is the magic bullet that can save the world, and bumps into some interesting ideas and people at the cash register:

    • Albert Tucker – who works with the Latin American Fair Trade Producers’ Network – debates Barbara Crowther, Head of Communications of Britain’s Fairtrade Foundation about how to best achieve fair trade – working within companies, or well away from them.
    • Helen Ireland drops into our airwaves to talk about Café Direct – a big company putting people before profit, proving that in the corporate world, you don’t have to sell out to make a profit.
    • Phil Stanton, a driving force behind the World Music Network, brings over some music samples and talks about the barriers and the benefits of a world economy for musicians in the Majority World.

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    • February 23, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Unnatural resources

    Campaigners from Nigeria, Nevada, Darfur and England take a seat attoday's table to discuss human rights abuses by oil companies, acts ofgenocide by governments, and how the world's indigenous peoples arebeing robbed of their DNA. Co-host Nnimmo Basseyfrom the NGO Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria shines a spotlighton a range of African issues as he exchanges ideas with today's guest.  

    • Becky Tinsley, Director of Waging Peace, talks about how the Chinese, UK and US Governments have fuelled the acts of genocide that continue in Darfur by giving support to the current Sudanese administration - their key to the country's oil.
    • Debra Harry from the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism, gives us an update about resistance to the latest attempt to rip off the ownership of the genetic material of 100,000 of the world's indigenous people.
    • NI editor Vanessa Baird has just been in search of ‘Fair Trade'. But what does it actually mean?

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    • February 16, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - Caste aways

    In this program you'll hear one of the main concepts behind Radio NewInternationalist take-off, as progressive people from Asia, Europe andthe Pacific drop in to our airwaves to share and compare theirexperiences from different continents. Today, arms traders andcorporate raiders share the space with human rights advocates …and astand-up comedian:  

    • Dr Shaista Shameem, Director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, co-hosts today's program. She's presently mounting an historic case to obtain compensation for the descendents of Pacific Islanders who were forced into slavery to service Fiji's cotton industry.
    • Brokering international sales for electric torture batons is child's play. Literally! British comedian and author Mark Thomas was there when the kids were on their mobiles doing the deals.
    • In a country still plagued by the problems of caste, Urvashi Butalia, an Indian writer and publisher who lives in New Delhi, tracks the progress of India's affirmative action legislation - one of the first countries in the world to enact such laws.
    • Murray Horton from Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) talks about this year's Roger Award for the worst transnational operating in New Zealand.

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    • February 9, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - A wave from the ocean

    Just what is on the very bottom of the world's ocean? Dive in as New Internationalist co-editor David Ransom looks around. He and Greenpeace campaigner Sara Holden - co-ordinator of the world voyage being undertaken by The Esperanza -fish-out why the world needs a network of ocean reserves. Also droppingin for a chat in this week's program are progressive people fromBolivia, the Netherlands, Nova Scotia and England: 

    • Bolivia's people are fighting an economic war against globalization - and winning some significant battles. Jim Shultz pops in to tell us about the next front: attempts to nationalize the country's oil and gas sectors.
    • Paul-Emile Comeau welcomes us to the wacky world of radioactive fads: like toothpaste produced in Germany during WWII and radium suppositories sold to give men more vitality during the 1930s.
    • What's it like being a child who lives on the streets of Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar? Fourteen-year-old Dolgion (read by Jahan Meeran) gives a very personal account.

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    • February 2, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - World Social Forum Special

    When international campaigners from more than 100 countries converged on Nairobi, Kenya for this year's World Social Forum, Adam Ma'anit and Jess Worth from New Internationalist wereon the ground to find the people, the ideas and the action for socialand economic justice in 2007. This program - a-day-in-the-life of aWorld Social Forum - introduces us to:

    • Pat Mooney from the What Next? Project as he looks through new technologies to find out what the world will look like in thirty years time
    • Basila Urassa, the Executive Co-ordinator of the Network Against Female Genital Mutilation, whose challenging a deeply entrenched cultural practice… and winning
    • Al-Hassan Adam, from the Ghana Coalition Against Water Privatization - whose fresh from setting up public water partnerships, and talks about how water privatization has left worms in the water of Ghana

    Plus a general discussion about one of the most critical issues facingAfrica - and this year's World Social Forum: how China is taking thecontinent with money, not guns.  

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    • January 27, 2007
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    Radio New Internationalist - First ever Radio NI broadcast

    The first-ever Radio New Internationalist hits the airwaves with Timor Leste's (East Timor's) First Lady - Kirsty Sword Gusmão- in the co-host's chair. Married to President Xanana Gusmão and anactive campaigner for the people of the poorest country in Asia, sheillustrates the issues facing freedom fighters once they gainindependence… and government. Drawing on her experiences from bothbefore and after Timor Leste's independence, Kirsty opens the door tosome fundamental issues facing a new nation as she swaps stories with arange of progressive people from around the world:

    • Dr Shaista Shameem - Director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission - about the cause of military revolts.
    • Haunani-Kay Trask, Indigenous human rights advocate, scholar, writer and poet from Hawai'i, about choosing a national language.
    • Alia, a spokesperson for the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), about educating people after a war.

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    • January 20, 2007
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