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June 2005





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Introducing the "Rough Cut" Series

The Death of a Journalist

Lebanon: What the election meant

Iran: The Mars Connection

Bolivia: Rebellion Rises Again



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Introducing the "Rough Cut" Series

Karzan Sherabayani

Karzan Sherabayani, the subject of our first "Rough Cut" in the series, returns to Kirkuk to vote in historic elections.

This week, FRONTLINE/World launches "Rough Cut," a new weekly series of Web-exclusive videos from around the world.

One of our biggest challenges at FRONTLINE/World has been deciding which stories we will broadcast, among the hundreds of videos and proposals we receive each year.

So far, in 16 episodes, we have aired 41 stories from more than 30 countries. But we have turned down countless documentaries by talented reporters and producers simply because we don't have the air time to broadcast them.

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The Death of a Journalist

Samir Kassir

Samir Kassir.

Samir Kassir, 45, a respected journalist and outspoken critic of Syria's domination of Lebanon, was killed in a car bomb in Beirut on June 2. His murder sent shockwaves through the Lebanese pro-democracy movement trying to create a country free of Syrian control.

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Lebanon: What the election meant

Reporter Kate Seelye

Kate Seelye interviews opposition supporters in Beirut.

Just two and a half months ago, I witnessed a heady celebration in Beirut's Martyrs' Square, the site of the many anti-Syrian protests that helped force Syrian troops to leave after a 29-year occupation. Lebanese diva Majida Rumi was singing about freedom and liberty and the crowd of thousands -- mainly young Lebanese who had joined the string of protests -- were going wild. Syrian forces were on their way out and the Lebanese were giddy with a sense of empowerment.

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Iran: The Mars Connection

Space Conference Attendees

Space aficionados gather in Graz old town, Austria, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program could cripple the International Space Station and it wouldn't need a nuclear weapon to do it. I came across this fact while working on our Iran nuclear story, which aired in May.

It turns out that legislation signed by Clinton just before he left office in 2000 prevents the U.S. from trading with countries found supplying nuclear weapons technology to Iran. It's no secret that in recent years Russia has been doing just that.

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Bolivia: Rebellion Rises Again

Bolivian Mineworkers

Bolivia is Latin America's poorest country but rich in minerals and natural gas.

The violent protests that forced the resignation of Bolivia's president last week were the latest in a series of political upheavals, which have rocked Latin America's poorest country since 2000. Back then, the subsidiary of a U.S. company, Bechtel, privatized the public water system in Cochabamba, one of Bolivia's largest cities, and attempted to raise water fees. Impoverished residents resisted and their protests sparked a national uprising, forcing Bechtel to leave the country.

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Russia: Khodorkovsky's Fall


Khodorkovsky behind bars.

After spending the last 17 months in jail, Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been sentenced to 9 years in prison on an assortment of corporate crimes. The political trial, which has become a public spectacle in Russia over the last 11 months, has left the rest of the country's business elite wondering who's next for the Kremlin's wrath. The 41-year-old Khodorkovsky epitomized the young oligarchs who became super-wealthy in the early 1990s when Russia began chaotically selling off its state-owned industries.

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Iran: Nuclear Reactions

Sirus Naseri

Iran's Sirus Naseri at the IAEA in Vienna.

"We are the only country to use nuclear weapons against another country -- two times! Now we have the audacity to ask if others should use nuclear technology. We are in a morally untenable position."

One of your reactions to our May 24 broadcast on Iran's secretive nuclear program. Since the show aired last week, Iran's nuclear aspirations have hardly been out of the headlines. European persistence paid off when they convinced Iran to continue postponing its uranium enrichment; while the month-long nuclear treaty review conference at the U.N. drew heat but not much light.

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