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January 16, 2007

The Great Orphan Rescue

Last year should have been a time of rebuilding for people in Sri Lanka, where over 35,000 people died when a tsunami crashed ashore two years ago.

Since then, a lot of foreign aid has been pledged to help them, but only a small amount has made it to those in greatest need. The reason: much of the east coast of Sri Lanka, the 200 miles of beach and palms that was hit by the tsunami, is enmeshed in a civil war.

Children, who just two years ago lost parents and fled in fright from the monster wave, now fear the attacks of Tamil rebels and government soldiers.

One man, an American, thought he might be able to make a difference. Pius Gabriel grew up in Sri Lanka, and then moved to the US to attend college. He had just retired from a career in the US military when he heard the news of the tsunami. In late December 2006 -- the anniversary of the disaster -- Pius joined Dick to talk about "his" orphans, and his work there.

Since that interview, Pius has returned to Sri Lanka. He managed to survive what embassy officials called a suicide mission. Pius went behind enemy lines intending to rescue five or six children. He ended up rescuing 42 children. He tells Dick about the nighttime rescue, which included ferrying children across the rain-swollen river and a three-mile jungle trek to safety.

And it brought a scene to me, like when I was watching one of these Holocaust movies, the parents would run up and hand their children to the people in the train? That is the image that came to my mind.
- Pius Gabriel

AHMED'S DIARY

President Bush says he has finally figured out how to solve the fighting in Iraq: he will not only send more soldiers and more guns, but more money to kick-start the nation's economy.

Ahmed files his latest diary, a skeptical response to the one billion dollars in aid announced by the Bush administration.

TOUGH JOB - PAT PATTERSON

Imagine a job that requires you to actually rate the tastiness of dog food. 

Dick meets Pat Patterson, a sensory tester. Pat is featured in a book about odd jobs, or in this case "Odder Jobs." 

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