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Spirits of the Rainforest

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(Discovery Channel, 8-10 p.m.): ``If there's one place on the planet Earth that you had to protect to safeguard the greatest biological diversity,'' says zoologist Charles Munn, ''Manu would be it.''

It may be a bit of hype for the documentary in which Dr. Munn appears, but Peru's Manu Biosphere Reserve is the largest and most diverse tropical rain-forest park of its kind, and the remark helps convey how remote, pristine, and spellbinding the place is.

As TV cameras follow researchers into the area, viewers will be getting their first look at the Machiguenga, one of four tribes of Manu. They will also get their first look at giant otters, brilliant macaws, jaguars, and - not least - at the forest itself, an enchanted world 3,000 miles inland from the Amazon River, where life has not changed much for thousands of years. * WEDNESDAY

The American Experience

(PBS, 9-10 p.m.): ``Amelia Earhart'' is a profile of the independent, promotion-savvy woman whose feats made her such a celebrated flier (although one who was not as technically skilled, it seems, as her fame might suggest). Among the impressive accomplishments described here are the first solo flight by a woman across the Atlantic and the first solo flight across North America by anyone.

The program also looks closely, of course, at her most most ambitious effort: flying around the world along the equator, east to west. When her plane disappeared - proven remains have never been found - she became a legend, and the speculation that began about her fate hasn't stopped yet.

The program also relates - partly through interviews with those who knew her - how Earhart met and married George Putnam, publisher of her book ``Twenty Hours, Forty Minutes,'' which made her famous; her barnstorming promotional tours; her interest in women's rights, and lots more.

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Evening News From Moscow (C-Span, 7:25-8 a.m., E.T.): A Russian broadcast with simultaneous English translation.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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