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Keeping the Colorado

The Colorado River runs through seven US states and crosses into Mexico, helping sustain tens of millions of people along the way. It’s been dammed 15 times, part of an effort to capture its waters for the people living along its banks. But the Colorado is drying up, and communities along the river will soon…

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A Nation’s Two Sides

Peru has long struggled with political, cultural, racial, and economic divides, a source of tension that propelled the leftist former schoolteacher Pedro Castillo to the Presidency last year. In the city of Lima, the complex social jigsaw puzzle manifests itself physically: the “Wall of Shame” is three meters high and ten kilometeres long, separating the…

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Tribe and Prejudice

Tribal identities continue to play a role in social and political rifts in many parts of the world, even erupting into outright conflict. In the southern African nation of Zambia, a younger generation now attempts to bridge the gap between different tribes. But long-held stereotypes make it difficult for Zambians to discard their tribal identity…

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When a Frozen Conflict Wakes Up

For several decades now, the region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been a source of tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan, occasionally resulting in a real war, like in 2020. But along the shores of lake Joghaz, there are villagers old enough to recall what it was like to live together when both countries were Soviet republics. Today…

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Spy on the Mediterranean

Europe is prosecuting human rights activists that help save lives in the Mediterranean Sea, where thousands of migrants and refugees have drowned as they attempt to evade some of the world’s most powerful naval forces and reach European shores in search of a better life. The charges, allegations of human trafficking that could land activists…

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Surrogacy, War, and Survival in Ukraine

Guest Host Nadene Ghouri tells the story of how her search for a surrogate mother for her child brought her to Ukraine, and how she found herself repaying the ultimate kindness by helping one woman flee the war there.

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Fortress Europe is a House of Cards

The French town of Calais is at the heart of a massive security infrastructure program meant to keep refugees and migrants from crossing the English Channel into the United Kingdom. Over the past 20 years, French and British authorities have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on walls, fences, different types of cameras, more police…

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Collaboration / Objectivity in the Times of Fake News (with Suno India)

Suno India speaks with journalists Prachi Pinglay and Kunal Shankar, who produced On Spec’s Season 3, Episode 4 – Love in Times of Hate. They discuss what the impact of fake news has been on India, and what it was like reporting and putting together the episode for On Spec.

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Pandemic Treatments that Paralyze

In Africa, herbal treatments are used to heal viruses in the absence of modern medicine, but disinformation about these treatments and how they can cure COVID-19 is having a deadly impact. Government officials and local healers out to make money sell these treatments with fake news. Congolese journalist Patrice Chitera, who has used these treatments for his ailments in the past, adds his own story as well as those impacted by these herbal meds. Patrice questions who to hold accountable for the loss of lives in a country where there’s little trust of those in power.

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The Death of Hong Kong

Hong Kong protesters were on the streets for more than a year to fight for their freedom of expression after China announced laws to further curb their rights in 2019. Police violently attacked protestors, threw opposition politicians in jail and the country has been polarized as disinformation spreads. Journalist Lisa Jane Harding, based in Hong Kong for 19 years, reports through the eyes of a politician and a chef supporting opposing sides on how the protests split Hong Kong, and if the city can regain lost freedoms.

This episode features music and sound from Yum Cheok, an audio-visual project making documentary music from nothing but field recordings of Hong Kong.

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