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December 30, 2009

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Hostage no more. A British consultant is released from confinement in Iraq after spending two years, seven months, and one day in captivity.

Defying eggpectations. A New York soup kitchen receives an eleven-hundred-dollar tin of sturgeon roe and serves up caviar blinis with lunch.

A top-draw-er fellow. Paying tribute to David Levine, one of the century's best political caricaturist, who died yesterday at the age of eighty-three.

Rage against the machine gun. A Mexican journalist defies death threats and carries on, even as her colleagues are assassinated for their reporting.

Keep on strumming in the free world. Twenty years ago, he was a folk singer exiled from East Germany. Wolf Biermann reflects on how Communism betrayed him.

And . . . The scene of the caprine. A traditional holiday goat statue in Sweden is destroyed, yet again, by arsonists, despite beefed-up security.

As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that will not be goated by inflammatory incidents.


IRAQ HOSTAGE RELEASED Duration: 00:06:58

Two years, seven months, and one day. That's how long Peter Moore was held hostage in Iraq.

If you want to break it down, that's nine hundred and forty six days -- or twenty two thousand, seven hundred and four hours -- or eighty one million, seven hundred and thirty four thousand, four hundred seconds.

It's likely that the British I-T consultant counted every one of those seconds he spent in captivity. But today, Peter Moore is free.

To tell us more, we reached his stepmother, Pauline Sweeney, in Lincoln, England.


IT KILLS Duration: 00:00:12

Album:FACE THE TRUTH/MALKMUS, STEPHEN

Label:MATADOR

Persons/Roles:
STEPHEN MALKMUS - COMPOSER
JICKS - POP GROUP
STEPHEN MALKMUS - VOCALS

FTR DAVID LEVINE Duration: 00:03:13

You might have trouble attaching a face to the name of David Levine. But no doubt you've seen his name attached to faces more famous than his own -- faces he rendered ludicrously larger than life, ballooning up from incompatibly puny bodies.

For more than forty years, David Levine's biting caricatures served as graphic pepper for The New York Review of Books. Over his career, he supplied the magazine with a who's who portfolio -- of more than thirty-eight-thousand depictions of notable figures from around the world. His work also appeared in other publications, from The New Yorker to The New York Times, and Playboy to Rolling Stone. Levine died yesterday at the age of eighty-three.

In describing the artist, writer John Updike -- a frequent subject of Levine -- wrote "...in a confusing time, he bears witness. In a shoddy time, he does good work."

Last year, David Levine joined CBC's Michael Enright in The Sunday Edition studio. Here is part of their conversation.


OBIt DAVID LEVINE Duration: 00:06:07

Jules Feiffer is a Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist, and a longtime friend of Mr. Levine's. We reached him in New York.


DUST Duration: 00:00:18

Album:BOMBAY DUB ORCHESTRA

Label:SIX DEGREES, 657036-1120-2MJ

Persons/Roles:
GARRY HUGES - COMPOSER
ANDREW MACKAY - COMPOSER
BOMBAY DUB ORCH - ENS INSTR

FTR: GAVLE GOAT BURNS Duration: 00:01:50

Don't you just love Sweden at Christmas time? All those lovely Swedish holiday traditions -- eating meatballs, listening to ABBA's greatest hits, shopping at Ikea. Oh wait, that's all year long.

But at Christmas, the Swedes do do something quite unusual. They break out the Giant Goat of Gavle.

The building of the forty-foot-high and twenty-foot-wide goat is a tradition which started with local shopkeepers in Gavle who wanted to attract people downtown during the holidays. The goat has been visited by people around the world for more than four decades now.

Unfortunately, there is another tradition that follows the construction of the straw and wooden goat -- burning it down.

Out of the forty three years it has been constructed, it h

[0]as been burned down by arsonists twenty three times.

Three weeks ago, Helen spoke with Ana Ostman from the committee to construct the goat, and Ms. Ostman told us about the extra special precautions her team was taking this year to protect their festive beast. Here she is, for the record:


LUZ Duration: 00:00:09

Album:PATATO/CHANGUITO/ ORESTES: RITMO Y CANDELA

Label:TONGA, TNGCD 7300

Persons/Roles:
ENRIQUE FERNANDEZ - COMPOSER
CARLOS "PATATO" VALDES - COMPOSER
ENRIQUE FERNANDEZ - FLUTE
REBECA MAULEON-SANTANA - PERCUSSION
CARLOS "PATATO" VALDES - CONGA
CHANGUITO QUINTANA - BONGO
ORESTES VILATO - KETTLEDRUMS
JOE SANTIAGO - CONTRABASS

FOOD BANK CAVIAR Duration: 00:05:48

Tomorrow night, as we ring in the New Year, many of us will celebrate with a little indulgence -- a chocolate truffle or maybe filet mignon.

Well, today for lunch, one-hundred-and-fifty people in New York were treated to a special extravagance -- blinis made using a tin of Petrossian Malossol sturgeon caviar worth about eleven-hundred U.S. dollars.

But the feast wasn't served at Le Cirque or the Oak Room. In fact, diners didn't even pay for their meal. The venue for the menu? A soup kitchen on Broadway.

Chef Michael Ennes is with Broadway Community, located in the Broadway Presbyterian Church, where we reached him earlier today.


CLOSING

We've got to take a short break for the news now. When we return:

The pen may be mightier than the sword. But guns are another matter. A Mexican journalist on why she continues to write in a country where a dozen journalists have been killed this year.

The Communist's son. Wolf Biermann was the child of a West German communist killed by the Nazis. He moved to East Germany and became a folk singer -- only to be exiled for speaking truth to power.

Stay tuned. I'm CDJ.

And I'm HM.


RETURN BILLS Duration: 00:00:50



TB: BAH HUMBUG Duration: 00:01:48

As you might expect, we here at As It Happens have been partaking in our fair share of holiday cheer. As a result our minds are not quite as sharp nor our memories quite as steel-trap-like as they normally are. In any case, sometime in the past little while, we apparently mentioned something about "humbugs."

Now, none of us remember the exact context in which we made this festive reference, but no worries -- Talkback picked up the conversation where our noggier noggins failed. This call came from Shelley Nokins in Antrim, New Hampshire:


J'AI TOUT VU, TOUT CONNU Duration: 00:00:14

Album:PAULE-ANDREE CASSIDY: METIS

Label:TRILOGIE, TLGCD 1371

Persons/Roles:
EDDIE BARCLAY - COMPOSER
MICHEL LEGRAND - COMPOSER
BERNARD DIMEY - WRITER
PAULE-ANDREE CASSIDY - SINGING

REPEAT: PEN HUMANITARIAN AWARD Duration: 00:01:46

It has not been a good year for journalists working in some of the world's most dangerous places. I'm not talking about war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. Those places are indeed risky. But reporters are frequently targeted because of the work they do in countries we tend to think of as peaceful.

Places like Mexico.

Late last month, Mexico's top-selling newspaper, El Universal, released this tally: cumulatively, twelve reporters, photographers, editors and radio hosts had been murdered in Mexico in 2009. That number -- and numbers from years past -- makes Mexico the most dangerous place for journalists to work in the Western hemisphere.

That's not news to Lydia Cacho.

Six years ago, Ms. Cacho wrote a series of articles for the Cancun newspaper, Por Esto. The articles examined allegations of child sexual abuse made by social service organizations like UNICEF. They claimed that some popular Mexican tourist destinations, including Cancun, were becoming centres for child pornography. Ms. Cacho's reporting was fearless -- she dug deep, and exposed high-level officials implicated in these rings.

A couple of years later, she published a book about her work entitled The Demons of Eden: The Power That Protects Child Pornography. And that book made her a target.

Eight months after its release, Lydia Cacho was arrested. Police picked her up in Cancun and drove her from Cancun to a beachfront twenty hours away. They tortured her, and told her that, unless she retracted her allegations and renounced her book, she would die.

On November 19th of this year, the Mexican journalist came to Toronto to receive PEN Canada's One Humanitarian Award. PEN Canada is a not-for-profit organization that defends freedom of expression for writers and journalists around the world.

Lydia Cacho joined Carol in our Toronto studio the day she received the award and tonight we replay that conversation:


ELEGIE Duration: 00:01:35

Album:HISTOIRES REVEES

Label:STAR, STRCD 8130

Persons/Roles:
ANDRE GAGNON - COMPOSER
JACQUES LACOMBE - CONDUCTOR
ANDRE DI CESARE - PRODUCER
ANDRE GAGNON - PRODUCER
ANDRE GAGNON - PIANO

REPEAT: THE RISE AND FALL OF COMMUNISM Duration: 00:00:57

Twenty years ago -- in 1989 -- the Communist system in Europe finally came to an end.

The Cold War ended with a series of upheavals in Eastern Europe. The most visible -- and symbolic -- was the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Earlier this year, As It Happens marked the anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down.

On November 9th, 1989, the Wall seemed to fall almost by accident. There was confusion, reports that the checkpoints that had kept East Germans out of the West for decades were open. Then rumour became reality, and before long thousands of young Germans -- from East and West -- were dancing on the wall and smashing it to bits.

Perhaps more than anything else, it demonstrated that the Communist system was finally, truly falling apart. Two decades later, the reasons why are still up for debate.

Archie Brown studied the Soviet system up close during the Cold War. He's now written a book called The Rise and Fall of Communism. Carol spoke to him in early November. Professor Brown was in Oxford, England.


REPEAT: EAST GERMAN FOLK SINGER Duration: 00:02:07

One of the consequences of that historic event, of course, was that Germans could, after decades, finally cross back and forth between the East and West parts of their divided nation.

On November 29th, 1989, As It Happens reached one of those Germans who had been longing for the Wall to fall for years.

Yes, As It Happens did reach Wolf Biermann in what was then West Germany back in 1989. It was just after he received news that he would finally be allowed to return to the East to play a concert in Leipzig, the city that had been the site of mass protests in the weeks and months before the Wall came down.

Twenty years later, Mr. Biermann is still performing and recording his music. Carol spoke with him last month, when he was in Boston, on the North American leg of his latest tour.


Nur wer sich andert...bleibt sich treu Duration: 00:05:22

Album:NUR WER SICH ANDERT...BLEIBT SICH TREU/WOLF BIERMANN

Label:VIRGIN

Persons/Roles:
WOLF BIERMANN - COMPOSER
WOLF BIERMANN - PERFORMER

GOODBYES Duration: 00:00:10

That brings us to the end of As It Happens for this Wednesday, December 30th. Coming up next, the news...

As It Happens will be back again tomorrow. I'm HM. Goodnight.

And I'm CDJ. Goodnight.



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