AMAZON FEAST: Andrew Downie found today's story on massive Amazon land schemes one of the most complicated pieces of reporting he's ever done. "Brazil's byzantine system of land registration going back 350 years, combined with a legal morass, made it almost impossible to understand what was happening," he says. He read documents from government investigators, met with them for several hours, and went away thinking he understood. "I called back to confirm a few things, and they told me I'd got it turned around," he says. The only bright spot in the assignment, says Andrew, was a trip to a remote area where farmers were trying to persuade local politicians to protect their land. "It was a humble place. But they'd prepared all this locally grown food. "On a wooden table, there were a dozen different Amazon fruits, it was amazing!" Andrew didn't recognize most items, and they had names he couldn't find a translation for.
BEST OF THE REST
WEST AFRICA SLAVERY: Authorities in Benin are still not sure if they've found the right ship, reportedly carrying up to 250 child slaves. But there's no question that such slavery exists on the west coast of Africa. National Post correspondent Corinna Schuler traveled to Mali and Ivory Coast in pursuit of the child traffickers. In a special report published April 17 (www.nationalpost.com), the National Post offers an in-depth look at the business, noting that Mali's modern-day slave traders do not bother with abductions any more. They lure victims with smiles and job offers. The promise of enough money for a bicycle or a pair of blue jeans is all it takes. Children as young as eight are shipped to the Ivory Coast to work in gold mines or on cocoa plantations. Yesterday, Cadbury, a British chocolatemaker, called for an international effort to stamp out use of child slaves on cocoa plantations.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor