New Internationalist

Radio New Internationalist

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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