Canada: Death on the Rails - In July, disaster struck the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic when 47 people died in a rail accident. A freight train laden with crude oil exploded right in the middle of the town. The train came from Bakken, North Dakota. Its destination was a refinery on Canada's east coast. Experts say that if oil companies and train operators had invested more in rail safety, the Lac-Megantic catastrophe could have been prevented. They charge that the train cars were dangerous and needed a safety overhaul. But the oil lobby's attempts to keep costs down prevented repairs from being carried out. Israel: Eli Beer - Saving Lives and Overcoming Boundaries - In emergencies, sometimes the ambulance arrives too late. Enter Beer's "United Hatzalah". The organization offers a rapid first aid response and typically shows up long before the ambulance arrives. The Israeli organization has built a network of voluntary paramedics across the country -- equipped with mopeds. Hatzalah's volunteers come from every class and represent every religion in Israel. A personal trauma awoke Beer's passion for saving lives. As a child, Beer witnessed a bus bombing. He couldn't get gruesome images of the blast out of his head. He dedicated himself to "Hatzalah" - or rescue in Hebrew. An organization with the same name already existed in Jewish communities around the world. So Beer set up Israeli not-for-profit "United Hatzalah of Israel," which has been setting new records in emergency-response times. Global Living Rooms: Tajikistan - Maramatsho Asisov is a retiree and a passionate flute player from Tajikistan. He lives in Khorugh, in the Pamir Mountains, not far from the Afghani border. His living room is part of a "chid", as traditional homes in the Pamir Region are known. St. Lucia: Hurricane Insurance Policies - On the Caribbean islands, tropical storms are wreaking havoc. Climate change is leading to larger and larger hurricanes. It's the poor who suffer the most; a storm can wipe out everything they have in a matter of hours. Now, a new insurance plan aims to secure island residents' belongings and livelihoods. St. Lucia is one of those Caribbean islands. There the United Nations University has joined a local insurer and the German government's environment ministry to create an insurance plan. The policy aims to protect people against damage from the storms.
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Episode #539 / Length: 26 minutes