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France - The Marseilles Motif - 27 min 45 sec [30 April 2012]

Millions attend unity rallies in France

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The city of Marseilles was once a symbol of multiculturalism. Now plagued by gangs and crime, it is central to debates around immigration and security, and emblematic of France's fraught relationship with Islam.
A third of Marseilles' population are Muslim. Many remain sceptical about France's unity as an explosion in violent crime tears apart this melting pot, exacerbated by the killings in Toulous by Islamist Mohammed Merah and Sarkozy's controversial anti-halal campaign. "There has been increasing stigma... especially with the recent branding of Muslims by politicians", a senior Muslim representative explains.


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Italy - The Almighty Dollar - 24' min 43'' sec [30 April 2012]

Scandals stack up for Vatican bank

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As Italy battles through economic gloom, even the previously untouchable Vatican's finances are finally under scrutiny. As the scandals mount, we revisit a report that digs into accusations of Church tax evasion.
"According to estimates of the councils, 95% of the taxes that should be paid by the Church are never actually paid." The Vatican insists it's playing by the rules, but while it enjoys generous legal tax exemptions there are also accusations of deliberately exploiting loopholes. "We're not talking small sums of money. Church hotels, masquerading as places to house pilgrims, have earnings of 5 billion Euros a year."
ABC Australia

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Kenya - Abandon the Knife - 31 min 32'' sec [16 May 2011]

Award-winning report fresh insight to FGM controversy

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This outstanding film lays bare the complex issues at the heart of the struggle over female circumcision. Winner of best single episode documentary at The Webby Awards 2012 and finalist at the Rory Peck Awards.
Nancy is about to face a terrifying transition to womanhood. "My parents are putting pressure on me to get cut, but I am refusing". Nancy is bright, ambitious and determined to break this painful tradition that has brutalised women for generations. A moving story of remarkable bravery, the bold actions of Nancy and other girls have started to shatter taboos in their communities, offering a new freedom for young Kenyans.

Laurel Winner - The Webby Awards, Documentary Individual Episode

For more on this story:
The Guardian

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Germany - Power Play - 13' min 47'' sec [30 April 2012]

Germany's green revolution stifled by subsidy cuts

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In villages across Germany the people have seized power by generating enough renewable energy to supply their needs. But with the government cutting subsidies to small producers will this green revolution run out of steam?
Following the Chernobyl disaster a community around Schönau in the Black Forest decided to buy their local plant and turn it into a co-operative. Now the villagers power themselves with solar or wind energy and then sell the excess to the national grid. "We started because we wanted to help, but then it became ecoomically interesting for all those who invested." After the Fukishima incident, Chancellor Merkel pledged to close the country's nuclear reactors and naturally, this boosted interest in the Schönau scheme. However, the government recently announced a 30% reduction in subsidies to small energy producers, stifling similar green communities across the country. "The phasing out of nuclear energy cannot be achieved without subsidising renewable energy”. As anger amongst environmental activists swells, has the influence of large energy companies again infected national politics?

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Egypt - Frontrunners for President (HD) - 12' min 02'' sec [30 April 2012]

Egyptian presidential campaign begins today

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As the Egyptian presidential elections loom, two candidates are moving well ahead in the polls. Progressive Islamist Dr. Abel Fotoh and former regime man Amr Moussa are now leading an increasingly close race.
Dr. Abel Fotoh has a broad range of support, crossing old political divisions in Egypt. One follower describes how, "Liberals support him. Islamists endorse him. Lots of political parties support him". But rival Amr Moussa has a well-funded and prominent campaign. Although for many he is a 'felool', a remnant of the old corrupt regime, his popularity is growing. As the campaign gets underway, the one thing everyone agrees on is that this election is critical to Egypt's troubled transition to democracy.
Reed Lindsay and Jihan Hafiz

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