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Wide Angle

Border Jumpers (#403)

Along the 300-mile border between unstable and destitute Zimbabwe, and relatively calm and prosperous Botswana, a controversial 300-mile, 10-foot high electric fence is being erected. Every night, Botswana's armed soldiers try to stop hundreds of Zimbabweans from jumping over or cutting through the fence in a desperate search for employment and food. Border Jumpers takes us inside the human drama behind this frontier flashpoint, profiling two illegal immigrants threatened with repeated arrest and deportation, a cattle farmer who strongly supports the fence, a police officer fighting rising crime, and a journalist who reports daily on growing fears among Botswana's citizens that their 1.7 million people could be overrun by Zimbabwe's troubled 12 million. [56 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: WIDE ANGLE was created in 2001 as a response to the lack of in-depth international news coverage in the United States. Seven years later, WIDE ANGLE is the only program exclusively dedicated to international current affairs documentaries. For each broadcast, producers and journalists from around the globe report on an event, issue or trend through the eyes of the people who are living it day to day. In its first five seasons, WIDE ANGLE traveled to more than 50 countries to explore the forces that are shaping the world today, presenting global stories on a human scale and offering Americans uncommon and invaluable insight into today's interconnected world.

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  • Promos

    [56 minutes]

  • Saddam's Ultimate Solution (#101)

    During the 1980s, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime used some of these deadly agents in its war with Iran and against its own Kurdish civilians. While it is uncertain that Iraq could launch such attacks today, other nations -- including Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, and China -- are believed to possess large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. Now the question is: Would the United States withstand a large-scale assault with such deadly agents? [56 minutes]

  • To Have and Have Not (#102)

    Once the home of the "iron ricebowl" and social equality for all, today China has joined the ranks of the World Trade Organization. The country's new commitment to private enterprise and free markets may change China more in a single year than most countries change in a decade. Last season Wide Angle examined the enormous and dramatic upheaval China is undergoing, profiling people on the extremes of poverty and great wealth in the new China. One segment focused on Li Xiuying, a bright 13-year-old daughter of migrant workers who was barred from attending the Beijing public schools and forced to study in a makeshift, low-quality school for illegal immigrants. Thanks to a Wide Angle viewer who donated the cost of Li Xiuying's private school tuition, Li began her new life at an elite Beijing prep school earlier this year. In this updated version of the program, Wide Angle chronicles this life-altering change and captures her first day of school. [56 minutes]

  • Greetings from Grozny (#103)

    Small and fiercely independent, the republic of Chechnya has been embroiled for years in a war against Russia for self-determination. The ruined cityscape of Grozny and the scarred roads and fields of the countryside bear witness to a conflict that has been marked both by brutal occupation and terrorist resistance. This film is a ticket to the war, a journey that leads the viewer behind the lines on both sides and into the hearts of civilians and soldiers alike. Film crews accompany Russian troops on "cleansing missions" through residential districts of Grozny, and spend 24 tense hours at a Russian checkpoint. They also go undercover in the border regions where radical Islam increasingly motivates Chechen fighters, and provide glimpses of the webs of special interest woven around this horrific conflict by the United States, the Wahabist Muslims and the Georgians. [56 minutes]

  • Land of Wandering Souls (#104)

    A deeply human portrait of Cambodia, one of the world's poorest countries, whose people are only now emerging from more than thirty years of brutal warfare and reconnecting to the global economy. Our story follows a group of workers who are laying a high-tech fiber optic cable that will link Cambodia to the rest of Asia and Europe. The project is a hopeful symbol of the country's slow integration into the world community and the modern technological age. However, for the people employed to actually dig the trench by hand -- a group of rice farmers, ex-soldiers, and their families, the poorest of the poor -- the work is a mixed blessing. This film provides a haunting glimpse into of the lives of these indigent workers as they encounter the painful remnants of the past - mines, bones, and a landscaped littered with human suffering - and labor to bring Cambodia into the modern age. Rithy Panh was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 1964. He was 11 when the Khmer Rouge "evacuated" his family to the countryside, where they were forced to work as laborers. Although Panh managed to escape to France at the age of fifteen, most of his family, including his parents and his sisters, died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. During the last ten years, he has made nine films. "If we do not do this work now," Panh asks, "who will do it? History will restore that which the Khmer Rouge have killed, but how? The worst is not the millions of dead, of widows, of orphans, of mutilated people, it's also our broken identity, our ruined social unity, our stolen memory. Director: Rithy Panh [56 minutes]

  • The Empty Atm (#105)

    In December 2001, the Argentinian government defaulted on $US 155 billion in public debt. Since then, this once-wealthy nation has gone through five presidents and watched its currency fall by more than 70 percent. How do people survive in a broken economy? The solutions range from the ingenious - barter clubs where members can exchange goods and services without money - to the brutal, including outbreaks of rioting. With the most basic government services now only a memory and the army camped around the capital, how can the people of Argentina begin to put their society back together? What does a financial meltdown look like? And where do American interests or responsibilities lie? [56 minutes]

  • Bitter Harvest (#106)

    In the new political landscape of Central Asia, U.S. troops are on the ground and Western military bases are under construction throughout the region. But now, the forces aligned against the Taliban and their terrorist allies find themselves in an uneasy relationship with the drug lords who control the cultivation of much of the world's heroin. With the departure of the Taliban, the current opium crop in Afghanistan is among the largest ever. How will the world's drug control authorities deal with this fact of Central Asian life? Can agricultural reforms be implemented that will equal the profitability of the opium trade? And how will the United States resolve a dilemma that pits the War on terror against the war on Drugs? [56 minutes]

  • Growing Up Global (#107)

    Ten years ago, filmmaker Bruno Sorrentino began recording the lives of eight newborn babies from around the world. In 1992, world leaders met in Brazil for the Earth Summit on sustainable development. There they made plans and promises to conquer the global problems of overpopulation, over-consumption and poverty. In the ten years since, Sorrentino has revisited the children repeatedly and recorded how their lives have been affected by the issues discussed at Rio. Now, as world leaders prepare to journey to Johannesburg this August for the Rio+10 follow-up summit, Sorrentino returns to film these children and to see whether the promises of Rio have been kept. His camera captures his subjects, now ten years old, coping with the problems of racism, poverty, child labor, political violence, environmental degradation and access to education. Shot on location in South Africa, Kenya, Brazil, Latvia, the UK, the U.S., India and China, this film is a touching and timely portrait of children growing up in the world of the 21st century. Jamie Rubin interviews Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF. [56 minutes]

  • Cause for Murder (#108)

    Recently Mexico was startled by the murders of two young women lawyers, one from the political right and the other from the left. Both had fought to support human rights and legitimate protest, and to destroy the official and institutional corruption that has plagued Mexico for years - a system of bribes, debts, and favors that has prevented the worlds tenth-largest country from fulfilling its political and economic potential. The election of President Vicente Fox in 2000 ended more than 70 years of single-party rule, and this film examines the hopes that a new dawn has come in Mexico's history, and the fear that graft and corruption are immovable. [56 minutes]

  • Media By Milosevic (#109)

    The most successful and most brutal European dictator since Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic played the trump cards of nationalism and racism in his rise to power. Once in office, he performed an intricate balancing act, controlling information and the media to safeguard his reign and accomplish his ends - which included concentration camps and ethnic cleansing. How did he do it? Exclusive interviews with former Milosevic associates - both dissenters and loyalists - include a remarkable encounter with his wife and political mentor Mira Markovic. The film brings fresh and disturbing illumination to the closed world of the Milosevic regime - a world that The Hague War Crimes Tribunal is still struggling to penetrate. Daljit Dhaliwal will interview a guest to be confirmed. [56 minutes]

  • Soul of India (#110)

    The bloody conflict between Hindus and Muslims in North Western India is at the forefront of a struggle for India's identity, led by an increasingly powerful Hindu fundamentalist movement whose goal is to turn India into a Hindu nation. Over the last three months, some 2, 000 Muslims have been killed in the Province of Gujarat, and more than 100,000 Muslims have been forced to flee to refugee camps. Meanwhile extremist Hindu private schools are spreading rapidly across India. Attended by no less than 2.4 million children, these so-called Hindu "madrasas" fill impressionable young minds with militant religious propaganda. Will India, home to more than a billion people, continue to be the multi-ethnic, religiously diverse, secular and tolerant society that Gujarat's Mahatma Gandhi attempted to create? Or will the nation be split - by a Hindu fundamentalist movement hoping to rise to power by fanning the winds of religious extremism? [56 minutes]

  • Exclusive to Al-Jazeera (#201)

    For the Season Two premiere, WIDE ANGLE goes behind the scenes of Al-Jazeera's broadcast headquarters in the Arabian Gulf state of Qatar during its nonstop coverage of the recent war in Iraq. Watched by millions of people in the Arab world, the first Arabic all-news network had continuous access to events in Iraq. Exclusive to Al-Jazeera shows the network's similarities to its western media counterparts - and the differences. In a tense newsroom scene, the network's top executives defend their decision to broadcast footage of U.S. prisoners of war and uncensored images of dead coalition soldiers, despite claims by American officials that the footage violated the Geneva Convention. The station's English translator juggles Rumsfeld voice-overs with calls home to Iraq to check on his family. And when Tarek Ayyoub, the network's correspondent in Baghdad, is killed by US artillery fire, the shocked Al-Jazeera staff and his widow call him "a martyr." Exclusive to Al-Jazeera reveals that by the end of the war, the Al-Jazeera network is planning an English-language feed, grieving over a lost colleague, and four million subscribers larger. [56 minutes]

  • The Rock Star and the Mullahs (#202)

    Salman Ahmad is the charismatic lead singer for the popular Pakistani rock group, Junoon. Following the ancient Sufi tradition, the band's music and lyrics reflect the moderate, liberal side of Islam. Salman has also become UNICEF's chosen spokesman for AIDS prevention, and he and the group have publicly advocated the cause of peace with India. But a coalition of fundamentalist Islamic parties has made recent gains in Pakistani elections, and Junoon's high profile places them in conflict with the hardliners. WIDE ANGLE follows Salman as he journeys to the tolerant, ancient city of Lahore and the fundamentalist stronghold of Peshawar to reveal the internal religious and political conflicts of the Islamic world. The mullahs want to ban the music but Junoon's fans, among them Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, have made Salman a rock idol. From this trip emerges a rich portrait of modern day Pakistan, a pivotal nation in the war against terror. [56 minutes]

  • Courageous Nation: Aids and the Angola Military (#203)

    In Sub-Saharan Africa today, AIDS is no longer solely a vast humanitarian tragedy, but also a dire threat to regional stability. As death rates from AIDS exceed the rate at which teachers, doctors, and security forces can be trained and maintained, whole nations may begin to collapse. Perhaps the only benefit from Angola's long civil war is that the country now has one of the lowest AIDS infection rates in Southern Africa. Strategically important because of its oil reserves, Angola is now coping with the problems of peace. As refugees and soldiers return home and transportation and trade resume, the spread of AIDS looms. In response to this new enemy the government has once again rallied its military forces. WIDE ANGLE explores the role of the military, the only functioning arm of the state, in its bold attempt to combat the AIDS pandemic. The challenges it faces offer an arresting portrait of a nation at a crucial moment in history. [56 minutes]

  • Coca and the Congressman (#204)

    The rise of new leftist leaders in South America has been swift and surprising. From Venezuela's Chavez to Brazil's Lula, from Argentina' s Kirchner to Ecuador's Gutierrez, the swelling ranks of neo-socialist governments have provoked fears among some conservatives. If the proverbial dominos are on the table - will Bolivia be the next to tip over? In recent years the country has been torn apart by competing political forces, with the indigenous coca grower's union ( the "cocaleros") becoming an unexpected powerhouse. Their hero is ex-Congressman Evo Morales, a former coca farmer from indigenous peasant roots, who rose up last year to defend the coca growers against the Bolivian military's crop eradication program. Today Latin America's highest-profile indigenous leader, Morales fell just 45,000 votes shy of the presidency in the country's June 2002 election. This summer, as the standoff between the cocaleros and the government escalates, Wide Angle travels with Morales to the stunning highlands of Bolivia as he organizes strikes and boycotts aimed at expanding the amount of coca that can be legally grown by farmers. The pitfalls of a drug-based economy - and the difficulty of finding suitable replacement crops to support peasant families - are all part of the story. We will also profile other individuals at the heart of Bolivia's strife, such as the wealthy family of a former tin magnate - an oligarchy that controlled Bolivia for centuries; a coca-eradication commander on a slash and burn mission; and an ecotourism entrepreneur with visions of enticing tourists to Lake Titicaca and picturesque landscapes beyond. Cocaleros illuminates the shifting balance of power that's underway in Bolivia - and spreading across Latin America - as local democracy transforms our adjoining continent. [56 minutes]

  • The Prime Minister and the Press (#205)

    Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders recently ranked Italy at the bottom of the list for countries in the European Union on its press freedom index. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is not only Italy's richest man, but also the unrivaled owner of a vast media empire. This combination of political power and personal ownership of a large sector of the private media in Italy has provoked questions about the independence of the Italian media. Even Pope John Paul II has voiced his concern. By following the travails of some of the country's leading critical voices - including Marco Travaglio, one of Italy's most famous investigative journalists - The Prime Minister and the Press examines Berlusconi's rise to prominence and explores what happens to public debate when extreme wealth and political power converge with media dominance. This story is especially timely, coinciding with Italy's assumption of the Presidency of the European Union in July, 2003. [56 minutes]

  • Road to Riches (#206)

    A penetrating report on black economic empowerment in post-apartheid South Africa, where whites still earn an average of $6,300 each year, while blacks bring home only $950. The documentary focuses on Uthingo, the consortium of black-empowerment companies that manages the national lottery. Created under legislation enacted by the African National Congress (ANC) government, the lottery is an example of its black economic empowerment principles, designed to help transfer more of the nation's wealth and opportunity into the hands of South Africa's black majority. Uthingo won the extremely competitive bid to manage the lottery because its empowerment profile was so strong: currently, 96% of its workers are from previously disadvantaged groups. While Uthingo has created 10,000 new jobs, mostly for black South Africans, broad social change, including black ownership and participation in other industries, is slow in coming. Ironically, buying a lottery ticket may still offer the best chance of riches for many. The film reveals the stark contrasts among the lives of South Africans almost ten years after the demise of apartheid. Some believe they were financially better off before, and while the ANC government of President Mbeki has improved living conditions for black South Africans, the clock is still clearly ticking to do even more to improve life for the black majority - or face the consequences. [56 minutes]

  • Time for School (#207)

    An update of one of last year's most acclaimed films, Time for School spotlights the global crisis in access to education. The facts speak for themselves. More than a hundred million children have never spent a day in school - and one in four does not complete even five years of basic education. Now, 182 nations have promised to provide access to free and compulsory education for every child in the world - by 2015. Last season Wide Angle visited Japan, Kenya, Benin, Brazil, Romania, and India to meet children who have managed to enroll in the first year of primary school - in most cases despite great odds. This year's update of Time for School will feature the newly shot story of a 12-year-old girl in Afghanistan who is attending classes for the first time with the hope of making up for years of schooling denied her under the rule of the Taliban. Time for School introduces viewers to some of the challenges - poverty, child labor, and violence - that millions of children around the world face on a daily basis, providing rich insight into the striking disparities of circumstance and opportunity around the globe. [56 minutes]

  • A State of Mind (#208)

    In 2003, as the United States confronted North Korea over its impending resumption of nuclear weapons production, North Koreans prepared to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their supposed "victory"over the South in the Korean War. This documentary tells the story of two teenage girls and their families as the girls prepare to participate in the Mass Games, an intricately choreographed display of dancers, acrobats, and karate-chopping soldiers, celebrating North Korea's statehood and revolutionary zeal in one of the last surviving Communist showcase pageants. North Koreans rehearse for millions of hours in preparation for this unique extravaganza. We'll see the girls and their schoolmates practice their routines in Kim Il Sung Square, their diligent efforts leading toward an awe-inspiring public performance. This film yields surprising insights into family life and daily activity in the little known world of the "hermit kingdom." [56 minutes]

  • The Dammed (#209)

    On the banks of the holy Narmada river, farming families have lived for centuries - illiterate and using traditional herbal medicines, but self-supporting in small village communities. One young village healer, Luhariya Shonkariya, now faces an impossible choice: " Government officials came here. They said they are constructing a dam and water will come. 'So your village will be drowned.' Our village is ours. We won't leave." The Sardar Sarovar dam, a keystone in the Indian government's development plans, has been rising in the Narmada Valley for decades. Recently work on this dam - one of the world's largest - has reached the point where dozens of villages are being submerged by the rising reservoir, forcing their inhabitants to flee or drown. Proponents of the dam argue that while it will displace more than 300,000 people, it will provide electricity, irrigation, flood control and drinking water to an estimated 40 million. Critics maintain that the benefits could have been achieved in other ways, with far less human cost. Wide Angle reports on the decision Luhariya and his family have made - to stay put and face drowning in the rising waters. THE DAMMED raises important questions about the costs and consequences of modernization and development, as the global community re-evaluates the social and environmental impacts of large dam projects. [56 minutes]

  • Dying to Leave (#210)

    A reprise of one of last season's most significant films, Dying to Leave explores the current worldwide boom in illicit migration and human trafficking. Every year, an estimated two to four million people are shipped in containers, shepherded through sewage pipes, secreted in car chassis, and ferried across frigid waters. Others travel on legitimate carriers but with forged documents. An alarming number of these migrants end up in bondage, forced to work as prostitutes, thieves, or as laborers in sweatshops. By listening to the voices of those who pulled up their roots and risked all, the film puts a human face on what might otherwise be seen as statistical, overwhelming and remote and reveals the circumstances that drove these migrants from their homes, the difficulties involved in their epic journeys, and what awaits them in their new world. [116 minutes]

  • Suicide Bombers (#301)

    In a series of unique, powerful, and revealing interviews from inside Israeli prisons, this film examines the minds of Palestinian suicide bombers. Three failed suicide bombers, one recruiter, and one bomb builder captured by Israeli security forces speak openly of their training, motivation, operational methodology, and profound belief in the idea of entering paradise by becoming a shahid, a martyr killed in the cause of Islam. They talk of their hatred of Jews and Israel, their determination to die and personal motivations that have influenced them - including a failed love, a sense of personal revenge, the frustration of living under Israeli occupation, and envy for the prosperous Israeli style of life. [56 minutes]

  • The Russian Newspaper Murders (#302)

    During the last five years, more than a dozen journalists have been killed in Russia, yet none of their murderers has been brought to justice. Facing fierce political and economic pressure, Russia's few remaining independent journalists risk their lives to expose organized crime and government corruption. Wide Angle examines the industrial city of Togliatti, whose main automobile factory is allegedly run by corrupt oligarchs and where killings attributed to organized crime occur nearly every week. In 2002, Valery Ivanov, editor in chief of the Togliatti Observer, the city's only independent newspaper, was shot to death after reporting on local corruption. Eighteen months later, Alexei Sidorov, Ivanov's successor at the newspaper, was stabbed to death. This film reports on the risks that journalists run in modern-day Russia and explores the tangled web of wealth, power, and politics that defines Russia today. [56 minutes]

  • The Saudi Question (#303)

    The question facing Saudi Arabia, and those dependent on its oil exports, is whether the kingdom will find a path to democratic reform or succumb to a rising tide of Islamic extremism. The Saudi kingdom, today dangerously at war with itself, controls approximately 20 percent of the world's oil. It is the fulcrum on which the global economy teeters and the home of Islam's holiest sites - and of terrorists whose recent attacks against Westerners living on Saudi soil have provoked international outrage. Despite stringent restrictions on Western media, Wide Angle has obtained unusual access to the kingdom and its ruling elite at a time when the kingdom's rulers have themselves come under attack by extremists. With an introduction to the Saudi royal family from Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi Chief of Intelligence and a leading royal reformer, The Saudi Question explores whether the Saudi government is capable of making lasting democratic reforms in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the US-led invasion of Iraq. The film includes access to an extraordinary emergency council session convened by Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler of the desert kingdom. Also featured is Jamal Khaleefa, Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law and former close friend who is well acquainted with the threat that Islamic radicalism poses to the kingdom and to the royal family. Wide Angle also speaks with ordinary Saudis, both those who encourage the ruling elite to initiate progressive reforms and the Wahhabist hardliners who preach the destruction of all infidels. The Saudi Question sheds valuable light on the obstacles Saudi Arabia faces on the road to reform and the rising dangers of Islamic extremism. [56 minutes]

  • Ladies First (#304)

    Ten years after the bloody genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 people in just 100 days, Rwanda's women are leading their country's healing process and taking their society forward into a different future. They are playing a remarkable role in politics and are also emerging as prominent figures in the business sector. In spring 2004 -as Rwanda commemorates the 10th anniversary of the genocide - WIDE ANGLE travels to this fractured nation to make a film that looks forward instead of back. Profiling women on the forefront of change, Women Rebuilding Rwanda reveals the challenges facing them and their country as Rwanda struggles to build a sustainable peace between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis - a peace that has eluded the country for almost half a century. [56 minutes]

  • Sahara Marathon (#305)

    This film is the story of a unique marathon that is staged annually -in one of the world's most punishing deserts - in the hope of drawing attention to the plight of the Sahrawian people. Torn by years of bitter guerilla warfare fought against Morocco's annexation of Western Sahara in 1976, the Sahrawis are still waiting for the referendum on sovereignty promised in a UN-brokered cease-fire over a decade ago. The story focuses on two competitors - Abdullah, a self-trained Sahrawian runner determined to win the race for his people, and Jorge Aubeso, a top Spanish athlete sympathetic to the cause -who race through brutal heat and infamous sirocco sandstorms with winds up to 60 mph. The filmmakers - ironically, one of only two media crews covering the event - have full access to this unusual race and to the all-but-forgotten story of a quarter-million people who sense that the global spotlight is no longer theirs and fear that their problem may never be resolved without a return to armed conflict. This poignant story is representative of the aspirations of small, forgotten minorities throughout the world. [56 minutes]

  • Young, Muslim and French (#306)

    France's recent decision to ban the wearing of traditional Muslim headscarves in public schools - a law widely perceived in the Muslim community as an undemocratic expression of "Islamophobia" - has increased tensions between the French Republic and its largest minority population, numbering about five million people. Wide Angle explores this conflict in the town of Dammarie-les-Lys, a racially diverse, working-class community on the outskirts of Paris, where young Muslim women face a choice to obey the ban - or flout it. Also featured is the local high school principal who, as a member of the commission charged with reviewing the use of religious symbols in public life, voted for the ban against headscarves. In nearby Evry, we see the rector of the grand mosque leading Friday prayers and conducting the conversion of a young French man to Islam. Europe's Muslim population has doubled in the last decade, with the largest numbers settling in France. Their presence is challenging traditional French notions of nationhood and citizenship, and their increasingly vocal demands for integration and recognition - on their own terms - is creating a crisis in the republic. The Suburbs of Islam reveals the hopes, frustrations, and political aspirations of second-and third-generation French-born Muslims - and explores their potential to alter the landscape of France's national identity. [56 minutes]

  • Hell of a Nation (#307)

    As Afghanistan struggled to adopt a new constitution, Wide Angle filmed behind the scenes at the December 2003 loya jirga. The documentary profiles two aspiring Afghan delegates who face political opposition and physical intimidation as they literally risk their lives to participate in the future of their country. Both labor to deliver their political messages in communities with no mass media and very little infrastructure. Hell of a Nation also examines the frantic preparations of the international and Afghan logistics team as it scrambles to register potential delegates, distribute copies of the newly drafted constitution, and hold elections for delegates. The film provides a rare opportunity to observe the difficulties of defining the role of religion in a new democracy and to witness the practical implementation of nation building in a war-torn country. The broadcast is scheduled to coincide with the national presidential and legislative elections planned for September. [56 minutes]

  • An Honest Citizen (#308)

    What could be more dangerous than trying to bring law and order to Colombia, a country mired in a brutal civil war funded by a six-billion-dollar-a-year cocaine trade? WIDE ANGLE follows Maria Cristina Chirolla, the courageous head of the attorney general's anti-drug unit. Her actions in seizing the lavish homes of drug lords and ordering military raids on drug laboratories ultimately drive an assassination plot against her. Shaken, she ponders whether the battle is worth fighting - and at what personal cost? [56 minutes]

  • Red Lines and Deadlines (#309)

    Twenty-five years after the Islamic Revolution, Iran is struggling for political reform. WIDE ANGLE films behind the scenes with the young reporters at one of Iran's new pro-reform newspapers as they grapple to report the news without incurring the "blade of censorship"that is an ever-present threat in Iran today. Shargh is one of the leading reformist papers and has built a loyal readership among Iran'sintellectuals, opinion-makers, politicians, and the young. This update features footage of Shargh reporters covering Iran's recent, controversial presidential elections. [56 minutes]

  • Beslan: Siege of School No. 1 (#401)

    As the trial of the only terrorist to survive the school siege in Beslan begins, this wrenching film examines the bloodiest act of terrorism in Russia since Chechnya declared independence in 1991. The three-day ordeal saw Chechen gunmen and suicide bombers take more than l,000 hostages. The standoff came to a tragic end in a chaotic firefight in which several hundred children and adults were killed. Based on firsthand testimony and unprecedented video from inside the school, Beslan: Siege of School No. 1 explores the motivation of the hostage-takers, the Russian government's failed effort to manage the crisis, and the legacy of the incident - for surviving hostages, bereaved families and Russia's future stability. [56 minutes]

  • Future for Lebanon (#402)

    The assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on Valentine's Day 2005 prompted hundreds of thousands of Lebanese to take to the streets in a powerful show of national unity. Their 'Cedar Revolution' drove out Syrian troops after 29 years of occupation, just ahead of the parliamentary elections in May and June. Can Lebanon, a country of 18 different ethnic groups that fought a 15-year civil war, now achieve true independence and overcome renewed divisions within? WIDE ANGLE witnesses the clash between the new, idealistic politics of those too young to remember the civil war, and the tough retail politics of religious and clan factions in Future for Lebanon. Future for Lebanon takes viewers to the oldest democracy in the Middle East as voters go to the polls in a new era. This film features a democracy advocate who organized the sit-in in Martyr's Square, a Hezbollah candidate running on anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment, and a youth organizer for the Future Movement inherited by Rafik Hariri's son Sa'ad. In Future for Lebanon, the new politics of Lebanon grapples with old sectarian loyalties as this election plays out over four weeks and four rounds of voting. From the beaches of Beirut to the radical rallies of Hezbollah, WIDE ANGLE explores political change in one of the pivotal nations of the Arab region - critical for Lebanon's future and for its neighbors. [56 minutes]

  • Gutted (#404)

    For generations, the West family and thousands of other fishermen in the Scottish Fleet have trawled for cod in the North Sea. But as commercial overfishing has decimated the whitefish population off the coast of Scotland, their livelihood is on the verge of collapse. The European Union's decision to tighten restrictions on cod catches in Scottish waters is the fatal blow, forcing Sandy West to decommission the family boat. Joining him on his emotional final voyage, WIDE ANGLE connects trade policies and environmental realities with a year in the life of one hard-hit fishing community. [56 minutes]

  • Pickles, Inc. (#405)

    In the Arab Israeli village of Tamra, in Galilee, widows lead a cloistered and restricted life, and often live below the poverty line, struggling to raise their children on a monthly social security allowance from the state. But in February 2003, eight widows of Tamra decided to challenge convention by starting up a business venture -the Azka Pickle Cooperative - seeking financial independence for themselves and their children. Wide Angle follows these women as they establish a tiny factory for pickling vegetables and develop a market for their product in local stores. With little formal education or work experience outside the home, the women face numerous hurdles as the business struggles to expand to stores throughout Israel - while their personal lives reflect the joys and sadness of family weddings, bereavement, and loneliness. "Pickles, Inc." portrays this unconventional business start-up and offers rare insight into the lives of courageous women striving to overcome extraordinary obstacles to achieve a better life. [56 minutes]

  • Unfinished Country (#406)

    Battered by hurricanes, embroiled in political turmoil, overrun by armed gangs and largely ignored by the international community, Haiti is trying, yet again, to create democracy. As the Western hemisphere'spoorest country attempts to organize for November presidential elections, hardened veterans of its endless cycle of uprisings and downfalls are trading guns for voter registration cards, warily giving the election process their support. Through unfettered access to political strongmen, newly-reformed gangsters, presidential hopefuls and potential voters, Wide Angle reveals life on Haiti's streets and among its power-brokers as the country attempts to fashion a true representative government out of a volatile failed state. [56 minutes]

  • 1-800-INDIA (#407)

    Over the past decade, India has emerged as the leader in the global market for white-collar "outsourcing" jobs - a notable component of India's rapid economic growth. A dramatic and personal film, 1-800-INDIA explores the experience of young Indian men and women who have been recruited into these new jobs requiring 80-hour work weeks and a westernized mindset. The film reveals the human and cultural impact of a sweeping global trend, exploring its effect on Indian family life, on the evolving landscape of Indian cities and towns, and on the aspirations and daily lives of young Indians, especially women, entering the work force. [56 minutes]

  • H5n1 - Killer Flu (#408)

    The next global human flu epidemic may begin with a sick duck in Vietnam's Mekong River Delta, now the epicenter of the current outbreak of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus. The World Health Organization estimates that in a worst-case scenario a global epidemic of bird flu might claim between 50 and l00 million lives. Wide Angle travels to Vietnam to portray the nation's response to outbreaks in its cities and provinces, following doctors, epidemiologists, and veterinarians as they battle the evolving virus both in laboratories and in peasant villages that traditionally raise chickens, ducks and pigs. As the government tries to halt the virus and educate its people to reduce the risk of infection, the slaughter of millions of chickens and ducks is wreaking havoc with rural farmers who depend on the animals to eke out a living. [56 minutes]

  • 18 with a Bullet (#501)

    Six months in the life of a notorious gang in El Salvador that is seeped in Los Angeles culture. [56 minutes]

  • Mixed Blessings (#502)

    The once violence ridden city of Limerick, Ireland has recently transformed into a flush society. [60 minutes]

  • Class of 2006 (#503)

    The first contemporary group of women officially trained as religious leaders in the Arab world. [60 minutes]

  • Flying Down to Kabul (#504)

    Artist and pilot Simone Aaberg Kaern helps a young Afghan girl fulfill her dream of flying a plane. [56 minutes]

  • Turkey's Tigers (#505)

    See the unexpected face of Islam, as this country shifts its gaze from the East to the West. [60 minutes]

  • Back to School (#507)

    Revisit students in Afghanistan, Benin, Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya & Romania to see their progress. [56 minutes]

  • Democracy in the Rough (#508)

    Follows the events as the Democratic Republic of Congo holds its first elections in 45 years [56 minutes]

  • The People's Court (#601)

    Go inside the China's courtrooms & law schools to explore the nation's rapidly growing legal system. [56 minutes]

  • Victory Is Your Duty (#602)

    The legendary Havana Boxing Academy is revealed as a microcosm of Cuban society. [56 minutes]

  • The Sand Castle (#603)

    A Norwegian architectural firm bids to create a city on the sand dunes in the United Arab Emirates. [56 minutes]

  • Dishing Democracy (#604)

    Go behind the scenes at Arabic television channel MBC in Cairo and its hit all-female talk show. [56 minutes]

  • Gold Futures (#605)

    Romanian villagers stand up to a Canadian company with plans to excavate a large gold mine. [56 minutes]

  • The Dying Fields (#606)

    A tragedy is unfolding in the cotton-growing region of Vidarbha, central India, where crop failures, sinking global cotton prices, spiraling debts and a forbidding bureaucracy are driving farmers to unbearable levels of despair. In 2006, in Vidarbha alone, 1,044 suicides were reported – one suicide every eight hours. Wide Angle captures the tense relations between farmers and illegal money lenders, traveling salesmen hawking expensive "miracle seeds" that often require irrigation few farmers have and a businessman-turned-activist who's staking a political career on the cause of Vidarbha's farmers and farm widows. [56 minutes]

  • Brazil in Black and White (#607)

    Are you black enough? New affirmative action quotas in Brazil, one of the world’s most racially diverse nations, launch a controversial dialogue about race and identity. Wide Angle follows the lives of four students of diverse backgrounds competing to win a coveted spot at the elite University of Brasilia, where 20 percent of the incoming freshmen must qualify as Afro-Brazilian. Brazil has long presented itself as a colorblind “racial democracy,” but deep disparities in income, education and employment have finally prompted a campaign for equal treatment for Afro-Brazilians. Brazil in Black and White captures a unique moment as a nation looks in the mirror. [56 minutes]

  • A Woman Among Warlords (#609)

    Follows the parliamentary campaign of Malalai Joya, one of Afghanistan's most famous women. [56 minutes]

  • Heart of Darfur (#701)

    An eyewitness account of what has been called the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. [56 minutes]

  • Japan's About-Face (#702)

    A look at Japan's National Defense Academy showcases the military's new role in a post-war society. [56 minutes]

  • Birth of a Surgeon (#703)

    First time, midwives in Mozambique are receiving medical training in advanced life-saving surgery. [56 minutes]

  • Burning Season (#704)

    Captures both sides of the global warming divide & explores whether commercialism can step to help. [56 minutes]

  • Lord's Children (#705)

    Follows Ugandan children who were kidnapped by a rebel group and turned into soldiers and slaves. [56 minutes]

  • China Prep (#706)

    Five Chinese students are followed through their final high-pressure year at an elite high school. [56 minutes]

  • Iraqi Exodus (#707)

    Follows aid workers from the Syrian-Iraqi Red Crescent as they help refugees cope with the crisis. [56 minutes]

  • Crossing Heaven's Border (#801)

    In the past decade, up to 100,000 refugees have crossed the waters of the Tumen River into northeast China to escape the repressive regime of North Korea, the world's last closed Communist state. In Crossing Heaven's Border, WIDE ANGLE tells the moving and dramatic stories of a few of them. In China, the refugees' fate is grim. They must live in hiding, working illegally and with no access to education or medical care. If caught by Chinese authorities, they are repatriated back to North Korea, where they face severe punishment: persecution, torture, and even death in labor camps. Only a lucky few reach their goal: asylum in South Korea. Crossing Heaven's Border reveals the plight of North Korean defectors from the point of view of intrepid South Korean journalists who risked their lives filming undercover for ten months to capture the refugees' haunting stories first-hand. The reporters introduce us to a mother working illegally as a tour guide to support her six-year-old son, who is sick with cerebral palsy and in dire need of medical care. And we follow the grueling 10-day journey of a little boy smuggled overland across China and Laos into Thailand, which accepts North Korean defectors as refugees. Following the film, an Aaron Brown interview will examine the specter of a possible flood tens of thousands of more refugees out of North Korea as dire food shortages, and mounting concerns about regime collapse threaten the country's stability. [56 minutes]

  • Heart of Jenin (#802)

    When a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed in the West Bank city of Jenin by Israeli soldiers who mistook his toy gun for the real thing, something extraordinary happened that turned Ahmed Khatib's tragic 2005 death into a gift of hope for six Israeli children whose lives were on the line: while overwhelmed with grief, Ahmed's parents consented to donating their son's organs. [56 minutes]

  • The Market Maker (#803)

    Eleni Gabre-Madhin is a woman with a dream. The charismatic Ethiopian economist wants to end hunger in her famine-plagued country. But rather than relying on foreign aid or new agricultural technology, hers is a truly radical plan: she designed the nation's first commodities exchange, which she hopes will revolutionize an age-old market system whose inefficiencies have been partly responsible for the country's persistent food shortages. In April 2008, after more than a decade of planning, the starting bell first rang on the trading floor. Gabre-Madhin has been running frantically ever since. Having established a system of trading sites in rural villages, she is trying to maintain the machinery that keeps her country fed while facing daunting obstacles ranging from leaky warehouses to powerful special interests to antiquated farming practices, poor infrastructure, and an unpredictable climate. And that's not to mention a global economic crisis. WIDE ANGLE travels to East Africa for Ethiopia's Exchange (working title), hosted by anchor Aaron Brown, to tell the dramatic, intimate story of a woman on a mission - and a world of trouble standing in her way. [56 minutes]

  • Contestant No. 2 (#804)

    How far can one young woman push a conservative culture? Duah Fares is an Arab-Israeli teenager and member of the Druze minority, a religious sect living predominantly in Israel, Syria and Lebanon. She longs to be an international superstar like Angelina Jolie. But when she changes her name to Angelina and sets her sights on the Miss Israel pageant, her tight-knit religious community balks. Miss Israel requires a bathing suit competition, but to appear that way in public would disgrace her family and even put her in danger from those who would rather see her dead than see the community dishonored. "Contestant No. 2" follows Fares and her family as they navigate the boundaries of traditional values while she tries to reach her dream. [56 minutes]

  • Eyes of the Storm (#805)

    A Burmese filmmaking team tells the story of orphaned children in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. [56 minutes]

  • Once Upon A Coup (#806)

    A failed coup attempt...a British mercenary in a notorious African prison...a dictator suspicious of Western powers...and beneath it all, a spectacular underwater oil reserve that the world's major powers would love to get their hands on. It may sound like the latest John LeCarr bestseller, but in fact it's the real-life intrigue of Once upon a Coup, WIDE ANGLE's penetrating look at the mysterious goings-on in Equatorial Guinea, a tiny West African nation newly rich with oil and infamous for corruption. The story begins in 2004, when a group of mercenaries, including a British ex-special forces officer named Simon Mann, is arrested in Zimbabwe. Equatorial Guinea's president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, accuses them of plotting a coup against him. When Mann is sentenced to 34 years in Equatorial Guinea's notorious Black Beach prison, he claims to be only one piece of an international plot to control the country's vast oil resources. Once upon a Coup travels the globe to unravel that plot, which stretches from Africa to the U.K., from a prime minister's son to Zimbabwean arms dealers, from South Africa to Spain. But as this all plays out, another actor is bidding for a share of the oil: China. The Chinese government has showered the country with glittering new buildings and a new administrative capital. If President Obiang has grown skeptical of Western intentions, he has welcomed China as a new business partner. Starting with a small West African nation and stretching around the globe, Once upon a Coup sheds light on the uncomfortable realities of oil politics in the 21st century. [56 minutes]

  • Time for School 3 - Part 1 (#807)

    WIDE ANGLE's unprecedented, award-winning 12-year documentary project, Time for School, returns in 2009 with visits to seven classrooms in seven countries to offer a glimpse into the lives of seven extraordinary children who are struggling to get what nearly all American kids take for granted: a basic education. We started filming in 2002, watching as kids first entered school in Afghanistan, Benin, Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya and Romania, many despite great odds. Several years later, in 2006, we returned to film an update-and now, three years later, we travel to check in on our young teenagers who are making the precarious transition to middle school. Among the highlights: in Afghanistan we reunite with 16-year-old Shugufa, who resolutely remains in school despite the Taliban's recent acid attacks on young women her age. "If they continue attacking schools, our country won't progress. Without an education you can't get anywhere," says Shufuga, whose own education was delayed when her family lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan during years when the Taliban ruled her country. We also visit the biggest slum in Nairobi, Kenya, where 15-year-old Joab's mother has died and his father has abandoned the family. We watch as, incredibly, Joab manages to stay at the top of his class while also raising and feeding his two younger siblings. And in the blazing desert of Rajasthan, India, we encounter Neeraj, 15, only to learn that she has been unable to realize her dream of making it to 10th grade: since our last visit her night school has closed, and she now helps support her family by grazing the livestock full-time while her brothers continue their education. These children's stories put a human face on the shocking fact that more than a hundred million children are currently out of school; of these, two thirds are girls. One in four children in developing countries does not complete five years of basic education, and there are nearly one billion illiterate adults - one-sixth of the world's people. WIDE ANGLE plans to continue revisiting all the children, and their peers and families, through 2015, the year they should graduate - and, not coincidentally, the UN's target date for achieving universal education, a Millennium Development goal endorsed by all 191 members of the United Nations. While each child in Time for School 3 has a unique story, taken together their lives tell an epic tale, shedding light on one of the most urgent and under-reported stories of our time. [56 minutes]

  • Time for School 3 - Part 2 (#808)

    WIDE ANGLE's unprecedented, award-winning 12-year documentary project, Time for School, returns in 2009 with visits to seven classrooms in seven countries to offer a glimpse into the lives of seven extraordinary children who are struggling to get what nearly all American kids take for granted: a basic education. We started filming in 2002, watching as kids first entered school in Afghanistan, Benin, Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya and Romania, many despite great odds. Several years later, in 2006, we returned to film an update-and now, three years later, we travel to check in on our young teenagers who are making the precarious transition to middle school. Among the highlights: in Afghanistan we reunite with 16-year-old Shugufa, who resolutely remains in school despite the Taliban's recent acid attacks on young women her age. "If they continue attacking schools, our country won't progress. Without an education you can't get anywhere," says Shufuga, whose own education was delayed when her family lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan during years when the Taliban ruled her country. We also visit the biggest slum in Nairobi, Kenya, where 15-year-old Joab's mother has died and his father has abandoned the family. We watch as, incredibly, Joab manages to stay at the top of his class while also raising and feeding his two younger siblings. And in the blazing desert of Rajasthan, India, we encounter Neeraj, 15, only to learn that she has been unable to realize her dream of making it to 10th grade: since our last visit her night school has closed, and she now helps support her family by grazing the livestock full-time while her brothers continue their education. These children's stories put a human face on the shocking fact that more than a hundred million children are currently out of school; of these, two thirds are girls. One in four children in developing countries does not complete five years of basic education, and there are nearly one billion illiterate adults - one-sixth of the world's people. WIDE ANGLE plans to continue revisiting all the children, and their peers and families, through 2015, the year they should graduate - and, not coincidentally, the UN's target date for achieving universal education, a Millennium Development goal endorsed by all 191 members of the United Nations. While each child in Time for School 3 has a unique story, taken together their lives tell an epic tale, shedding light on one of the most urgent and under-reported stories of our time. [56 minutes]

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