Wide Angle's new season starts 7/1

Program: Wide Angle
Date: Wednesdays
Time: 9 p.m.

The new season of Wide Angle begins July 1. This series delivers up-to-the-minute reports from global hotspots to give American television viewers a unique forum for understanding the complex, often dramatic, sometimes explosive and always relevant stories that are shaping the present and future of the world. Each program focuses on a single subject, bringing to life international events and issues that matter to Americans today — from global epidemics to economic development and matters related to the war on terrorism.

July 1 the series premiers with “Crossing Heaven’s Border.” This documentary focuses on North Korean defectors who take life-threatening journeys, some traveling thousands of miles from their homeland through China and Laos, in the hope of settling as free citizens in South Korea. Intrepid South Korean journalists with hidden cameras risk their own lives capturing the action and emotion.

The Wide Angle web site features web only video related to each of the films. In this clip, watch the vivid story of a woman, Myong Hui Eom, who was a model North Korean citizen before being arrested for practicing Christianity, a crime punishable by prison, torture and even death.

Other upcoming episodes:
Heart of Jenin
When a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed in the West Bank city of Jenin by Israeli soldiers who mistook his toy gun for the real thing, something extraordinary happened that turned Ahmed Khatib’s tragic 2005 death into a gift of hope for six Israeli children whose lives were on the line: while overwhelmed with grief, Ahmed’s parents consented to donating their son’s organs.

Birth of a Surgeon
In sub-Saharan Africa, where doctors are in short supply, a woman’s chances of dying in childbirth are a shocking 1 in 22. But in Mozambique, a midwife named Emilia Cumbane is doing something radical to stem the trend. She is part of an extraordinary grassroots initiative in which midwives, otherwise untrained in conventional medicine, are learning to perform advanced life-saving surgery. Among the first of its kind in the world, Cumbane’s program may offer a working alternative to the life-threatening lack of doctors in other developing countries. In this 2009 update, WIDE ANGLE host Aaron Brown travels to a rural hospital in Mozambique to meet with Cumbane to see how both she and the program are faring.

The Market Maker
WIDE ANGLE travels to East Africa to tell the dramatic story of an Ethiopian economist on a mission: Seeking a market-based solution to end hunger in her famine-plagued country, she creates Ethiopia’s first commodities exchange. What she didn’t count on was a world financial crisis getting in the way.

Contestant No. 2
How far can one young woman push a conservative culture? Duah Fares is an Arab-Israeli teenager and member of the Druze minority, a religious sect living predominantly in Israel, Syria and Lebanon. She longs to be an international superstar like Angelina Jolie, but when she changes her name to Angelina and sets her sights on the Miss Israel pageant, her tight-knit religious community balks. Miss Israel requires a bathing suit competition; to appear that way in public would disgrace her family and even put her in danger from those who would rather see her dead than see the community dishonored. “Israel’s Next Top Model” follows Fares and her family as they navigate the boundaries of traditional values as she tries to reach her dream.

Burning Season
As temperatures and sea levels rise, the world is scrambling to stop global warming — a threat the UN Secretary General has described as “the defining issue of our era.” But international consensus is slow to emerge, and debate over how to slow climate change continues. WIDE ANGLE travels to Indonesia, where rainforest areas equivalent to 300 soccer fields are cut down and burnt every hour to clear land for crops such as oil palms. New studies show that the devastation of Indonesia’s forests has helped to make it the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide — exceeded only by the U.S. and China. How to reduce these harmful greenhouse gas emissions?

Victory Is Your Duty
Dominating the field of Olympic boxing for the past quarter-century, Cuba’s gold medal-winning athletes have propelled their tiny nation onto the world stage and served as an unconventional tool of foreign and domestic policy. The legendary Havana Boxing Academy — where physical training and revolutionary indoctrination go hand in hand — opened its doors to a foreign film crew. As Fidel Castro’s faltering health throws the future into question, this program reveals the academy as a microcosm of Cuban society, where grade-school boys are groomed to fight for the honor of the revolution.