Costa Rica - Plastic Ban (Harris Whitbeck) - The Central American nation of Costa Rica has long been at the forefront of progressive environmental policies. But it's lagged behind in one crucial area, the safe disposal of solid waste. But that could all change with their goal to end "single use" plastics by the year 2020 along with a new motto, "Say no to plastic". Our correspondent Harris Whitbeck reports from San Jose, Costa Rica. Brazil - Samba Empire (Lucrecia Franco) - Some call it the greatest show south of the equator: the Samba parade in Rio.
Guatemala - Unearthing Answers - Guatemala is one of the Central American countries that suffered the most during the Cold War - a time of post-World War Two tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. In particular a civil conflict in Guatemala from 1960 to 1996 that left hundreds of thousands dead -- and tens of thousands missing. More than two decades after the end of the conflict, forensic anthropologists are helping families who have been searching for their disappeared loved ones. Harris Whitbeck explains from Guatemala City.
Chile - Buried Alive (Harris Whitbeck) - They spent 69 grueling days in collapsed copper mine in Chile before being brought to safety. Thirty-three miners endured claustrophobia, heat and near-starvation. There are no reported cases of anyone being trapped beneath the earth for so long. But miraculously, every man in the group emerged alive. The rescue was one of the most challenging ever attempted especially at such a low depth. One of the men who played a key role in that rescue operation was a Naval Medic named Andres Llarena.
Brazil - Black Pride (Stephen Gibbs) - Brazil is sometimes portrayed as one of the world's harmonious, multi-ethnic "rainbow nations." But the truth is more complicated. For generations, white Brazilians have enjoyed preferential treatment over their black counterparts. It's been especially noticeable in higher education. Most publicly-funded universities are filled by white students, even though half of all Brazilians are of African descent. To reverse that trend, the government has adopted a quota policy.
Peru- Amazon Contamination (Dan Collyns) - Our first story is from Peru's Northern Amazon rain forest. There generations of indigenous peoples have used knowledge passed down from their ancestors to watch their territory and the well-being of their community. But that vigilance changes when a new neighbor is a multi-national oil company. Now they're using state-of-the-art technology to protect their families and their land from pollution. Correspondent Dan Collyns takes us there.
Argentina - White Gold (Joel Richards) - The stunningly beautiful salt flats that span the north of Argentina and Chile as well as the south of Bolivia form what's known as the Lithium Triangle. More than half of the world's reserves of lithium are found there. The metal is a vital component in batteries and with the electric car market growing at a rapid rate, demand for lithium is expected to triple by 2025. But there are environmental concerns. Especially the effect extraction could have on local indigenous communities.
Mexico - Smuggled Arms (Mike Kirsch) - The gun laws in Mexico are among the toughest in the world. There's only one gun store in the entire country which is run by the military. But every year 250-thousand firearms are being sold on the black market. As Correspondent Mike Kirsch reports from Mexico City they're being smuggled into the hands of criminal organizations by an unknown third-party from the United States. Belize - Endangered Reef (John Zarrella) - One of the world's great treasures lies just off the coast of the Central America the nation of Belize.
Mexico - Housing Nightmare (Mike Kirsch) - Back in 2001 some in Mexico called it a "miracle." Millions of low wage, factory workers were promised new, affordable homes under an ambitious residential construction boom. It was set in motion by then-President Vicente Fox and the World Bank. Today that "miracle" is being described as a social and financial catastrophe. According to a recent in-depth investigation by the Los Angeles Times citizens in these developments have been dealing with daily hardships and hazards across Mexico.