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Iraq - Iraqi Christians - 7' min 30'' sec [23 December 2010]

Yazidi death toll exceeds 500

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As the US plans a rescue for Iraq's besieged Yazidis, we revisit this incisive report from 2010. Crucial background to the Islamic extremist threat to Christians that has slowly gripped this fractured country.

"I dont want to leave the country. But now this has happened, I fear for my daughters", says the mother of Uday, a four-year-old boy killed by Islamic extremists. Over 1000 families fled Baghdad after Islamic extremists burst into a church in October 2010, murdering two priests and holding the entire congregation hostage. Now few Christians in Iraq will even attend religious ceremonies for fear of violence. At the church where the violence occurred a few still come to worship, the walls behind them stained with bloody hand prints. "They say to us the Americans are your people, they're Christians. They say you brought them here. And they kill us for it."

Studio 9 Films

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Africa - Elephant Refuge - 10' min 54'' sec [20 December 2010]

Elephant underpass opens in Kenya

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As the elephant is constantly under the threat of poaching and drought, the Daphne Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been playing the role of adoptive family to orphaned baby elephants for over 30 years.
Nurturing elephants at the sanctuary is far from being an easy job. Traumatised and angry, it takes keepers a long time to establish a relationship with an elephant; "They're very aggressive because humans killed their mothers". A lifetime's work by David Sheldrick's widow has ensured that the baby elephants have somewhere to grow strong. But everyone at the Trust is worried about the decline in biodiversity in eastern Africa. "What you can see in the nursery is a microcosm of what is going on in the bush".


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Turkey - Christian Retreat - 8' min 00'' sec [20 December 2010]

A vanishing community tries to survive in Turkey

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Diba is a Christian who left Turkey 23 years ago after Muslims killed her brother. Today she returns , hoping she can live there in peace. What she finds is a smaller Christian community still living with fear and uncertainty?
"It was much better here before. We were with thousands. All churches were full. But now our people are gone", says Diba as she pores over her photos of a now disappearing culture. Her face expresses the immeasurable sadness of a vanishing people. Despite her return the future looks bleak for the remaining Assyrian Christians in Turkey. While Turkey claims to be a secular country intolerance still abounds. "What the issue is here, is that there is no real mentality of freedom of religion. There is just one religion here, Islam". says Ria Oomen-Ruijten, a representative of the European Union in Turkey, as she explains the frequent attacks on Christians in Turkey; one man was attacked by a fundamentalist with a knife in broad daylight on a street in Istanbul. It is this culture of intolerance that is driving the remaining Monks from Dor Gabriel, one of the oldest sanctuaries of the Turkish Christian community. Yet Diba is not about to give up. She sees a different future for Christians in Turkey and is willing to fight for it. "Our dream? We will fight for our land. We will stay on our land. That is what we will try".

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South Korea - Learning Liberty - 21' min 15'' sec [25 October 2010]

Tension mounts as South Korea holds live-fire exercise in disputed area

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The number of defectors entering South Korea from the North continues to grow, but escape from the regime is only the start of their battle for a better life. Can they adjust to life in the modern peninsula?
A school has been set up to help the defectors adjust to their new life despite opposition from local residents who saw "communists as having horns or being scary", or indeed being "criminals". As the principal of the school says "everything is a challenge", from physical ailments caused by famine to having to "unlearn" a lifetime's worth of indoctrination. Many fled because the famine proved too much to bear. Around 80% have seen close relatives starve. The school does what it can to help these people adjust but the "culture shock" as the school's Director describes it, is "vast". We can only hope that having survived the famine, they can now survive their free and competitive new home.

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