What is the secret to living large in old age? This week Dateline meets a squad of octogenerian Japanese cheerleaders and a famous TV writer challenging assumptions about people in their 90s. Can old age be as exciting as youth? On this week's Dateline we meet people in their 80s and 90s who are looking to the future, not the past - leading fulfilling lives and staying active as they approach their centenary. In Cheerleading Grannies, we meet 86-year-old Fumie Takino, the founder of Japan Pom Pom, a cheerleading squad with an average age of 70. In Not Dead Yet, the writer of The Jeffersons and All in the Family, Norman Lear, lets us into his daily life, which still involves producing TV show - on the day we visit him he's watching auditions for a new sitcom, focused on the lives of elderly people.
Dateline meets the first all-women car racing team in the Middle East, as they swerve through the cities of the West Bank and break down cultural barriers. Marah Zahalka has car racing in her blood. For Marah, the realisation that engines, steering wheels and gear sticks would be a big part of her life came even earlier. But as a Palestinian living in the West Bank city of Jenin, her path to racing glory has involved one barrier after the other. For decades the city has been a centre of violent confrontations between Israeli and Palestinian nationalist groups. During and after the Second Intifada - a Palestinian uprising against Israel in the early 2000s - Jenin became known as the 'suicide bomber capital', due to their disturbing frequency.
Why are so many Syrian refugees dying of treatable diseases? We hear shocking stories from Lebanon's refugee camps where more than a million Syrians live with little or no healthcare. As Syrian families flee the country in search of safety and security, many are finding life as a refugee is just as fraught as living in a war zone. In this week's Dateline, Syrian-born reporter Sarah Abo goes inside Lebanon's refugee camps, which are overflowing with Syrian arrivals and struggling to meet their basic human needs; food, water, medical supplies. The huge influx of refugees has led to an undersupply of medical services, which can be deadly - even for people with treatable illnesses.
Across rural California, more than five years of severe drought turned lakes into dust bowls and made farmland arid. The drought was declared over in April 2017 after heavy rains in January, but it hasn't solved the water crisis across the state. A fierce battle is continuing over who has access to water, and how the resource is managed. It mirrors a similar water usage fight in Australia's Murray-Darling Basin. Here the issue centres around upstream irrigators taking excess water - water that is owned by taxpayers and has been earmarked for environmental use. In California, the hub of the fight is the Owens Valley, three hours north of Los Angeles, which for more than a century has been the centrepiece of a heated conflict between the city and local farmers - after water from the Valley's lake began being piped to LA in 1913.
Can you stop terrorism with empathy? Under a program run by police in Denmark's second largest city, Aarhus, a unique approach is being tested - offering assistance to radicalised youths and adults, rather than treating them as criminals. The police running the program believe helping young extremists is the best way to keep the peace. Treating them harshly and with suspicion only isolates them further - making them more of a danger to society. The program has been referred by some in the media as the 'hug a terrorist' model of deradicalisation. So far, it's been remarkably effective. In this week's Dateline, reporter Evan Williams meets Jamal, who several years ago says he was so angry with society he almost became a terrorist.
Les Murray, recognised by many as the "face of football" in Australia, began his love of the world game as a young boy growing up in communist Hungary. But in 1956, when Murray was just 11 years old, his family fled the country escaping persecution because of his father's anti-regime views. They were smuggled across the border into neighbouring Austria before eventually being settled in Australia. In this special and final episode of Dateline for 2011, host Mark Davis joins Murray as he returns to Hungary.
This week we meet the French farmer rebelling against authorities to help refugees find a better life in Europe. Is he a good Samaritan helping those in desperate need, or a dangerous people smuggler? Olive farmer by day, people smuggler by night. In a small French village nestled in the mountains near the southern border with Italy, Cedric Herrou is operating a makeshift refugee centre from his rural property. In contravention of French laws banning citizens from assisting illegal arrivals, Herrou has found himself the focus of a national debate. Are his actions those of a benevolent outlaw helping people in need, or those of a criminal? Over the past several years he has helped hundreds of mostly young refugees cross the border from Italy to France. Many of the young people he takes in have journeyed across the Mediterranean from Africa, fleeing war, poverty, persecution and dictatorial regimes, looking for a new, safer life in Europe. He feeds and takes care of them at his property - he says he once had 60 people staying there - and helps them seek refuge elsewhere in France, or other countries. But his work has found him in the government's crosshairs. Will the French government imprison someone for helping them make their dreams a reality?
Sexual slavery, suicide bombings and forced killings. For many young children in IS-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria, this is what they're exposed to daily. Earlier this year the Iraqi army, Kurdish militia and Western forces retook control of most of the city of Mosul, after more than two years of IS rule. Once parts of the city were liberated, survivors of the IS regime told of methods leaders of the self-proclaimed caliphate used to indoctrinate the city's people and in particular, its young people. One disturbing report details training camps for kids, where children as young as 12 - so-called "cubs of the caliphate" - are tutored to become soldiers. They're taught how to plant explosives and use firearms, made to appear in propaganda videos and forced to adhere to strict daily routines. In this week's Dateline we enter what's left of the IS caliphate in Mosul and talk to children once trained to kill or trafficked by jihadis for sex.
Bangkok is known as much for its smell as its sights. For decades the noisy bustle of street vendors selling papaya salad, braised duck, grilled chicken, fish, noodles and other local delicacies, has been a constant presence across the city. Many sidewalks are densely crowded with stalls selling food and drink, clothes and jewellery, toys and lottery tickets - an energetic constant the city has become known for. But soon this could become the Bangkok of years past. In a bid to "clean up" the city, the authorities have already cleared away thousands of vendors. At the same time a major riverfront development will see whole communities evicted. In one small community on the Chao Phraya River, local families are preparing for the day they'll be moved away, to be replaced by a concrete promenade. "It's like they want to wipe out the poor," one woman tells Dateline reporter Amos Roberts. On the streets, there is a growing sense of emptiness - many popular markets have already been shut down and previously busy sections of the city are now noticeably quiet. Thai-American food writer Chawadee 'Chow' Nualkhair takes Dateline to Thong Lor road, where the sidewalks have been cleared.
The mayor of Los Angeles has declared a homelessness crisis. As the city struggles to respond, one man has his own unique solution. But can he evade authorities to get people off the streets? Los Angeles is one of the richest cities in the richest country in the world. But underneath its sprawling highways, in the shadows of the bright lights of Hollywood, a large homeless community is struggling to survive, and given little support by local government. While hope is difficult to come by, one man is trying to put a roof over the heads of people and give them a new life. For several years Elvis Summers has been building 'tiny homes' - essentially single-room, portable cabins - and providing them to homeless people. His work is part of a broader tiny homes movement that has been adopted by NGOs and charities in other cities and countries, as a cheap way of providing short-term shelter to people living on the streets. Elvis has brought the idea to LA through his own enterprise and a successful crowd funding campaign.
Filipino kids as young as seven are being sexually abused by their parents and sold for sex to paedophiles from the West. We follow an undercover team trying to infiltrate this murky world and stop the abuse of children. In the Philippines, primary school-aged children are being sold for sex to travelling paedophiles, in a black market facilitated by secret online chat rooms. This week on Dateline, reporter Stacey Dooley follows a team made up of local authorities and investigators from the US, as they try to take down families who are illegally offering sexual acts with their children in return for money. Many of these families are selling their children's bodies as a response to impoverishment - almost a quarter of Filipinos are living in poverty, according to government statistics. Our film crew embeds with a team who has spent two years deep undercover trying to catch a pair of sisters, who advertised sex with their own children to foreign paedophiles. To infiltrate the families a special agent for the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arm of US Customs poses as a paedophile online. This case is one of 64 that his team is currently working on involving child sexual exploitation in the Philippines.
In the slums of Delhi, a group of impoverished Indian children are making their voices heard and their stories told. They're publishing their own newspaper, which is now being read around the globe. Print media around the world is suffering from declining readership and revenues, and journalists and editors continue to be laid off. But in Delhi, a group of kids from the city's sprawling slums are proving how to buck the trend - making a niche publication, and doing it successfully. Balaknama has grown in circulation in more than the decade and a half of its existence. More importantly it is giving young kids, such as 16-year-old reporter Jyoti, a chance to tell the stories of those around them. While many of these kids know little of life in the rest of the world, their articles are making headlines that reach from their local communities all the way to Britain and the US.
When parents are in jail they don't stop loving their children. In the second part of Lost Children Of China, we look at how Chinese kids adapt to life at an orphanage when parents are locked away, and how their relationships are impacted by separation. How do parents care for their children from prison? And how to kids become adults without the support of their parents? At a small group home in Beijing, the children of criminals are growing up by parenting each other. One of the few shelters for children whose parents are in jail for violent crimes, Sun Village is helping raise China's most vulnerable young people - teaching them to cook and clean, and helping them process their trauma. The children living in Sun Village carry more psychological baggage than many adults will in their entire lives. For some, one parent was killed by the other; some stay temporarily while their parents await trial, and others were simply abandoned. Children leave Sun Village if their parents or other relatives are able to take them home. But many parents are on death row or serving life sentences. Those without family stay in Grandma Zhang's care until they are old enough to look after themselves. Grandma Zhang, a former prison officer, says the nurturing environment she's tried to create has a specific goal in mind for all the children she takes in.
When parents go to prison who takes care of their children? The first part of this story goes inside a unique orphanage in China, sheltering the kids of murderers and domestic violence victims and abusers. At Sun Village, a chain of orphanages across China, the children of criminals and convicts - left by their extended families to fend for themselves - are learning to become adults. Grandma Zhang used to be a prison officer, before opening Sun Village in 1995 - there are now nine across the country, caring for 500 children who don't have a home to go to. In this week's Dateline, the first of two films looking at the lives of children at Sun Village in Beijing, we meet three young siblings who had just arrived at the orphanage after their father was convicted of murdering his girlfriend's niece and sentenced to life in prison.
The Brexit vote has driven a wedge between migrants and British-born citizens. In a small town that voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union, one Brexit voter is trying to bring these communities together. Almost a year after Britain voted to leave the EU, the issues and anxieties that led to Brexit continue to create a wedge in communities across the UK. The east-coast town of Boston is one of the most segregated and violent places in Britain. Among residents who voted in the Brexit referendum, 76 percent favoured leaving the EU, against a national average of 52 per-cent. Many attribute the town's pro-Brexit stance to concerns about first generation Eastern European immigrants from Poland, Latvia and Lithuania taking jobs, in what was once a 98 percent British-born town. This divide between new migrants and Boston-born Britons has created an uneasy and hostile mood. Recognising these tensions, one man is trying to bridge divides and bring his town together. Sixty-one-year-old Julian Thompson is a lifetime Bostonian. After noticing growing negative attitudes towards immigrants he started the group Boston More in Common late last year, hoping to provide a forum for discussing and resolving issues within the town.
A year into its fledgling democracy, many in Burma fear the political freedoms and peace Aung San Suu Kyi brought to the country are already under attack. In November 2015, after years of military rule a civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi was elected in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Hopes were high at the time, but many in the country now fear the peace and freedom they were promised is already slipping away. Earlier this year, the shaky foundation of Myanmar's new democracy was revealed in a brutal way, when a close adviser to Suu Kyi was murdered. While waiting for a car outside Yangon airport, U Ko Ni was shot in the back of the head twice, at almost point blank range, while holding his three-year-old grandson. He died instantly. Myanmar's government called the killing a terrorist act, carried out with the direct purpose of undermining the country's stability. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) said it was aimed at the party's policies. Many in Myanmar believe Ko Ni was killed as a result of his opposition to the military's continued control of the country's defense, home affairs and border security - and that the hit was ordered by a former military officer. In this week's Dateline, human rights lawyer Robert San Aung tells reporter Krishnan Guru-Murphy he suspects Ko Ni's murder was an act of vengeance from prominent figures in military intelligence.
Under Vladimir Putin's government, Russian families are being rewarded for displaying 'orthodox' values, including one family that has 18 children. Nadezhda Osyak has either been pregnant or raising a baby without interruption for the past 28 years. She had her first child at 18. Since then she's had 17 more. Nadezhda and her husband Ioanna Osyak embody a growing trend in present-day Russia - families that espouse the traditional values of the Russian Orthodox Church and are being rewarded by their government for it. The couple were awarded the Order of Parental Glory by President Vladimir Putin - essentially a reward for bearing many children and displaying patriotism through their ties to the church.
In the Amazon jungle criminal groups are illegally trafficking thousands of endangered monkeys, crocodiles and big cats every year with impunity. One of the world's most beautiful places is home to one of its ugliest industries. The Amazon rainforest is the most important ecosystem on earth. But each year, thousands of animals are illegal captured and trafficked, with criminal enterprises making billions selling often endangered animals on the black market. They're rarely prosecuted. The hub of this illegal trade is Iquitos, Peru, a port city on the Amazon River. It is where Dateline hears of Senora Nati, who is known as a seller in the exotic pet trade. At the location where Dateline reporter Ade Adepitan meets Senora Nati, she shows off a collection of baby snakes, tortoises and several caimans - a species of Alligatoridae that is under threat of becoming endangered.
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