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December 24, 2009
Top 15 Worldfocus Signature Stories of 2009

Worldfocus presents video highlights from our team of producers and correspondents.

Our signature stories delve into issues around the world — from the long-term effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam and gang violence in Mexico to discrimination against whites in South Africa and Afghan immigrants in Iran.

Here are the 15 Signature stories most popular with viewers in 2009:


Moroccan single moms cope with hostility, shame

Young Muslim women who become pregnant out of wedlock face intense pressures. They are often shunned and scorned. Hoda Osman, Rebecca Haggerty, Megan Thompson and Reda Fakhar report on how mothers are coping.

Dirt poor Haitians eat cookies made of mud

The cookie recipe — dirt, butter and salt — has been passed down through the generations, despite a lack of nutritional value. Benno Schmidt and Ara Ayer report on how these dirt cookies are managing to keep Haiti’s poor alive.

Oprah brings taboo topics to Middle East

The Middle East’s MBC-4 began airing “The Oprah Winfrey Show” more than four years ago, and the program now reaches about 6 million viewers in the Arab world each day. Kristen Gillespie reports from Jordan on the “Oprah effect.”

Agent Orange devastates generations of Vietnamese

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. dropped millions of gallons of Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant. Generations of Vietnamese civilians have suffered the consequences. Mark Litke and Ara Ayer report on the devastating effects the toxin has left behind.

Gangsters spill blood and spread fear in Tijuana, Mexico

Over the last year, more than 6,000 people have been murdered in Mexico’s drug wars, more than 700 of them in Tijuana alone. John Larson, Bryan Myers, Megan Thompson and Ivette Feliciano report from Tijuana.

Poor white South Africans blame reverse discrimination

To some extent, the economic playing field has been leveled since the end of apartheid 15 years ago. Martin Seemungal reports on South Africa’s white community, where poverty has doubled since 1994.

One island, two Jamaicas and a ‘whole heap’ of difference

A public debate erupted when graphic Dancehall music lyrics and images were banned from Jamaican radio and TV. Lisa Biagiotti, Micah Fink and Gabrielle Weiss report on how the ban highlights the divide that dates back centuries.

Israeli company builds infrastructure for world’s electric cars

One Israeli company is designing an entire system to service electric cars with battery charging stations. Many other countries are expressing great interest. Michael Greenspan, Yuval Lion and Ara Ayer report from Israel.

Liberia, “America’s stepchild,” searches for own identity

Liberia was settled by freed American slaves, and now, as Lynn Sherr and producer Megan Thompson report, the nation is trying to re-shape its identity. Liberia, a small country in West Africa, has longstanding ties to the U.S.

Empty stores, offices tell tale of Latvia’s economic fall

Until the global recession, Latvia was experiencing rapid economic growth. During the past year, it has tumbled down, with unemployment around 14.5 percent. Daljit Dhaliwal, Sally Garner and Ara Ayer report on the scope of Latvia’s fall.

Afghan immigrants find refuge in oil-rich Iran

Though the West has branded Iran a nuclear outlaw and supporter of terrorism, Iran is a model of stability compared to its neighbors. Three million Afghan immigrants in Iran are low-skilled laborers. Richard O’Regan reports from Tehran.

Taxes curb Danish oil use, promote energy independence

In Denmark, a Ford Focus costs $51,000 — $34,000 of which is in taxes. John Larson explains how taxing energy and subsidizing alternative technologies have reduced the country’s dependency on oil and created thousands of jobs.

India’s “untouchables” trudge through sewers

While India has largely transformed into a modernized economy, the country remains strongly tied to the traditions of the caste system, which often governs the jobs that people hold. Martin Himel reports on India’s lowest class of laborers.

Rising Islamist movements challenge secularism in Turkey

Secular critics are branding Turkey’s growing conservative groups as fundamentalist. Gizem Yarbil and Bryan Myers report on how traditional religion and modern democracy are trying to coexist.

Journalists risk their lives reporting in the Philippines

Today in the Philippines, journalism is robust. But more than 70 journalists have been murdered since 1986. Mark Litke and Ara Ayer report on the risks that many reporters face doing their jobs — from Manila to rural areas.




it was a great happiness to see Mrs ECHENNA the President of Solidarité Féminine win the Opus Prize for her long struggle against the injustices done to single mothers and their children. It is an international recognition of her efforts and bravery of there women who were trapped in insecure relationships.
Well i wish there will be less poor wrtetched single mothers in the world,it’s not easy at all to be a single mother in a society where there are many uncontrolled contradictions.


vay kardesim


awesome. i love summations and such.

I wish WF would address the depleted uranium issue and make clear the point that obama is using white phosphorus. yes, he is responsible for what our military does.

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