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Icarus Film
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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Price of Food Aid in Kenya
As US Congress debates a revised farm bill, poor, hungry farmers in Africa who were promised food for work on an irrigation project are awaiting payment that may never come. The New York Times reports that the Bush administration is advocating allowing purchase of food in foreign countries, to deliver aid quickly and give a boost to local economies. But opposition from agricultural states is firm to the current policy of only shipping US food, which benefits American farmers and shipping interests. The impasse leaves hundreds of thousands hungry and dying.

THE PRICE OF AID goes in depth to the bureaucratic process of US food aid policy.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Rearming Japan
The NY Times reports that the militarization of Japan is continuing with recent practice bombing of a tiny island in the Pacific. Japan's pacifist constitution bans offensive military action but slowly the country's leadership has turned the tides of public opinion. JAPAN'S PEACE CONSTITUTION explores in depth the political maneuvering that continues.

The article also notes that while the rearming of the country might be understandable given current potential threats, it is "causing anxieties in a region where distrust of Japan has deepened in direct proportion to Japanese tendencies to revise the past," including the massacre of China's capital, Nanjing in 1937, and its wartime sexual slavery. SENSO DAUGHTERS is made by a Japanese filmmaker who reveals this history through eyewitness testimony, which stands in stark contrast to the Japanese denial.

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Golden Lion Goes to Malick Sidebé
According to BBC News, Venice Biennale's prestigious Golden Lion lifetime achievement award has been presented to a photographer for the first time, Malick Sidibé from Mali. "Organisers of the Biennale said Sidibe was 'the signal portraitist of his city and nation and the intimate observer of the Malian musical scene.'" For more on Sidibé, check out Susan Vogel's MALICK SIDIBÉ.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Israel set to release 250 Palestinian prisoners
Nearly 11,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons. Israel considers them security threats while Palestinians view the imprisonments as political. This week, BBC News reports Israel will release 250 prisoners as a goodwill gesture toward negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, an emergency government set up in response to the popular election of Hamas, which is widely regarded as a terrorist organization.

HOTHOUSE by Shimon Dotan goes inside some of these highest security prisons in Israel to reveal first-hand the stories of men and women being held.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

10 Million Refugees in the World
Ben Harper of the AP reports on Israel's recent struggle with Sudanese refugees escaping the genocide in Darfur and trekking through Egypt and the Sinai desert to enter Israel, a country without mechanisms for harboring the refugees. WAITING by Marie-Claude Harvey chronicles the situation in Sudan in the early days which has gotten worse, with now nearly 2.5 million who have fled the violence in Sudan.

This news follows on the heels of World Refugee Day on June 20th when the United Nations refugee agency reported there are nearly 10 million refugees world-wide.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reverend Billy Arrested
Profiled in CULTUREJAM, Reverend Billy is a long-time performance activist as the head of The Church of Stop Shopping. Taking his unique blend of evangelist preacher and anti-consumer culture message to a recent Critical Mass gathering of bicycle enthusiasts in New York City's Union Square, the Reverend was arrested reading the First Amendment into a bullhorn. The police site harassment as the charge. Tom Hayes reports on the story for the Associated Press, NYC Man held for reciting 1st Amendment.

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