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January 7, 2010

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Improve conditions? Easier said than Don. A paraplegic former inmate at Toronto's notorious Don Jail files a lawsuit -- claiming, among other things, he was deprived of his wheelchair.

From harmful to armless. Ireland's Ulster Defense Association -- responsible for hundreds of murders during The Troubles -- announces it has has fully disarmed.

Perceiving a veiled threat. Controversy over a proposed French plan to ban women from wearing a niqab in public.

The unconsoled. Researchers in Halifax find that grief counsellors may not really be helping students in mourning.

The nth degree. When the Canadian Press removes a capital "N" from "Northern Ontario", reporters get on the case of the case.

And...fashionable suspenders. Prorogation's all the rage -- but since Talkback wasn't put on hold, Talkback callers told us what they would put on hold.

As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that knows being prorogued to excess leads to the palace of wisdom.


DON JAIL FOLO Duration: 00:07:36

In recent months, two men have died inside the walls of Toronto's Don Jail.

In November, Jeffrey Munro was beaten to death in the jail. And on Saturday, Don inmate Kevon Philip became Toronto's first homicide of 2010. Now, a new lawsuit has been bought against the province of Ontario, and against medical staff in the institution -- and with it come new and disturbing claims about conditions inside.

Venkat Milligan, who is paraplegic, was arrested for drug possession back in 2007, and was held at the jail between October and December of that year. And during that time, Mr. Milligan's lawyer, Julian Falconer, says his client suffered humiliating and negligent treatment.

We reached Mr. Falconer at his office in Toronto.


METAL SPIDER WEBS (SHORT) Duration: 00:00:21

Album:SNOW BLINDNESS IS CRYSTAL ANTZ/BLACK MOLD

Label:FLEMISH EYE, FLCR019

Persons/Roles:
CHAD VANGAALEN - COMPOSER
BLACK MOLD - INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE
CHAD VANGAALEN - INSTRUMENTAL

BRIT SNOW LESSON Duration: 00:02:38

It might be snowy across the pond, but Europe is not a winter wonderland. Severe storms have closed schools across the U.K. and caused major delays in transportation. Extreme weather warnings kept residents of Britain indoors, wondering how they would manage even the simplest trip outside. And this is what those snowed-in listeners hear on the BBC today.


SMALL TOWN Duration: 00:00:15

Album:DISFARMER/FRISELL, BILL

Label:NONESUCH, 478524-2

Persons/Roles:
BILL FRISELL - COMPOSER
BILL FRISELL - GUITAR
VIKTOR KRAUSS - DOUBLE BASS
GREG LEISZ - GUITAR
GREG LEISZ - MANDOLIN
JENNY SCHEINMAN - VIOLIN
LEE TOWNSEND - PRODUCER

FRANCE NIQAB BAN Duration: 00:07:10

Women who cover their faces in public in France may soon face a fine -- to the tune of seventy-hundred-and-fifty Euros. That's about one-thousand, one hundred dollars Canadian.

Members of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's party have said that they plan to introduce a bill outlawing the public wearing of the niqab -- the Muslim head-to-toe covering.

Saadia Boussana is a writer and head of PR and communications with My Woman Magazine -- a webzine in France dedicated to Muslim women. We reached her in Trappes, just outside of Paris.


SHOT IN THE DARK Duration: 00:00:18

Album:ROLL ON/FOUR80EAST

Label:NATIVE LANGUAGE, NLM-0975-2

Persons/Roles:
ROB DEBOER - COMPOSER
TONY GRACE - COMPOSER
ROB DEBOER - PRODUCER
FOUR80EAST - POP GROUP
TONY GRACE - PRODUCER

TB/EMAIL: PROROGUE WISHES Duration: 00:03:31

It appears that Canadians are not happy with Stephen Harper's decision to prorogue the federal Parliament. Two separate polls released today show that support for the Conservatives has fallen since the Prime Minister's announcement that he would put everything on hold until March.

But as we suggested on yesterday's program, perhaps Canadians are looking at prorogation the wrong way. Just think how nice it would be if you could prorogue something in your own life. So we asked Talkback. And Talkback responded. At length, and in droves. We received dozens of responses -- and it wasn't long before we saw a few common themes emerge.

Proroguing taxes...you might want to think twice about that.

And when it comes to things you'd be happy to do with out, it seems that many of you have failed to get caught up in a certain "fever" that is supposed to be sweeping the nation right about now.

Perhaps "Higher, Faster, Stronger, Shorter", might be a more apt motto for future Olympics - or at least for the build-up to the games.

We also received some responses from our younger listeners, whose wishes were quite charming -- if a bit predictable.

These are just some of the many calls we received. And, sadly, there were also a few of you who said you wanted to prorogue the CBC. But as you are listening to our program, we'd like to think that you didn't mean us.

We also received many emails with your ideas. And while several of the emails we received echoed the sentiments of our callers, there were one or two different suggestions.

Zeke Livingston, in Victoria B.C., sent us the following email:

"As a long suffering fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, I suggest we prorogue this team for the remainder of this season. Just as Stephen Harper doesn't like how Parliament is functioning, I just don't like how the Leafs are functioning! So let's prorogue them! Or maybe dissolution is the answer in both cases."

That was from Zeke Livingston in Victoria B.C.

And from Calgary, we received this wish from Janet Sinclair:

"If I could prorogue any event in my future, it would be the birth of my fourth child -- at least until science discovers a stress-free method of giving birth."

Prorogation has inspired Rick in Guelph, Ontario to ponder a possible book deal for our Prime Minister. He writes:

"I hear that Stephen Harper needed the time off to work on an autobiography. The rumour is that he has a ghost writer from Alaska helping him. The working title is 'Going Pro-Rogue'."

That's from Rick, in Guelph, Ontario.

And finally, our dalliance with prorogation hasn't alienated everyone. In fact, one of our American listeners thinks prorogation sounds pretty good. Chris Metz, in Ephrata, Washington sent us the following email:

"Can the prorogue maneuver be used south of the border? The U.S. Congress seriously needs to be prorogued long enough for President Obama to highlight their minuscule work schedule, lack of attentiveness to the citizenry, and predilection for simply blocking solutions instead of offering a compelling or competing solution. When the break is over, the Congress would have had to endure days or weeks of media and public feasting on their soiled reputations. And all this would start with a tip from our progressive neighbours...the proroguing Canadians!"

That email is from Chris Metz, in Ephrata, Washington.

Well, we here at As It Happens hope that the one thing you won't prorogue is your feedback. If you'd like to comment on anything you hear on the show, please call our tollfree Talkback line. The number is 1-866-481-5718. Or you can email us at aih@cbc.ca.


CLOSING

Here at As It Happens, I can assure you, our work ethic doesn't permit us to slack off for even five minutes.

Now we'll take a five-minute break so you can listen to the news. But then we'll be back with much more -- including these stories.

A peace treaty on the precipice. Violence in southern Sudan puts an already-shaky truce in jeopardy.

Fire alarm. Another deadly house fire in Manitoba raises serious questions about emergency services in the province's First Nations communities.

The lizard of "AAAAH!"'s As if it isn't bad enough that it's very cold in Florida, now frozen iguanas are falling out of the trees.

Those stories and more, still to come on As It Happens. Stay tuned. I'm CO.

And I'm BB.


FTR: UDA STATEMENT Duration: 00:02:10

Northern Ireland has taken a further step toward establishing an effective lasting peace.

The Ulster Defence Association -- more commonly known as the UDA -- says it has completely disarmed. Established in 1971 the paramilitary arm of Ulster Unionism carried out numerous attacks throughout the so-called "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, until a ceasefire in 1994. And the group officially ended its armed campaign in November 2007.

Yesterday, Frank Gallagher of the Ulster Political Research Group read a statement on behalf of the UDA. Here is an excerpt from that statement.


UDA DISARMS Duration: 00:06:56

That was Frank Gallagher of the Ulster Political Research Group, reading a statement on behalf of the UDA. The loyalist paramilitary group has announced it has decommissioned all of its weapons.

The UDA's statement comes five weeks before a government deadline to disarm. And subsequently, the international decommissioning body has verified the group's claims of weapons deactivation.

General John De Chastelain is the head of the international decommissioning body. We reached him in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


BACK IN 5 Duration: 00:00:10

Album:ROLL ON/FOUR80EAST

Label:NATIVE LANGUAGE, NLM-0975-2

Persons/Roles:
ROB DEBOER - COMPOSER
TONY GRACE - COMPOSER
ROB DEBOER - PRODUCER
FOUR80EAST - POP GROUP
TONY GRACE - PRODUCER

SUDAN TRIBAL CLASH Duration: 00:07:20

What peace Sudan has known has been short-lived and fleeting. It's a country that has seen only fifteen years of peace since 1956, including the fragile respite since a 2005 agreement between the country's north and south. But that peace may very well be deteriorating.

On Saturday, at least a hundred-and-forty people were killed when two southern tribes clashed in a remote region of southern Sudan. The concern is that this clash -- one of several over the past year -- is the result of a larger plot to destabilize the region, prior to this spring's coming elections.

Mading Ngor is a journalist from southern Sudan, and the founder of the news site, new-sudan-vision-dot-com. We reached him in Victoria, British Columbia.


YOU, YOU'RE AWESOME Duration: 00:00:15

Album:YOU, YOU'RE A HISTORY IN RUST/DO MAKE SAY THINK

Label:CONSTELLATION, CST045-2

Persons/Roles:
OHAD BENCHETRIT - COMPOSER
DAVID MITCHELL - COMPOSER
JAMES PAYMENT - COMPOSER
JUSTIN SMALL - COMPOSER
CHARLES SPEARIN - COMPOSER
DO MAKE SAY THINK - POP GROUP

S.O.D.: FROZEN FLORIDA IGUANAS Duration: 00:02:31

There are those smug "snowbirds" who'll call you up on a Sunday and make small talk. And then they'll ask you how cold it is wherever you are. And then they'll mention -- as though it wasn't the whole reason they called -- that it's been thirty degrees Celsius every day where they are, and they're having a wonderful time.

But snowbirds currently vacationing in central Florida will not be placing any calls this weekend. Temperatures have been unbalmy -- reaching about nine degrees Celsius at mid-day, and plunging to near-freezing at night. Which is creating a threat so terrifying that you should immediately call up your friends at the time-share in Orlando and mock them.

That threat is: falling lizards.

To explain, here's a report by reporter Jonathan Vigliotti, that aired on WPLG Local 10 in Miami, last night.

I'm just going to stop the tape there to describe the image that goes with that sound. It's an iguana silently mouthing, "Aw, nuts," and falling, gently, out of a tree, at which point it lies prone. Mr. Vigliotti refers to them as...

Once again, that story aired yesterday on Miami's WPLG Local 10 News.

So, next time you walk past a "Danger: Falling Ice" sign and get cranky about Canadian weather, remember the tumbling iguanas -- and thank your lucky stars you're not in Florida.


THE DAWN Duration: 00:00:12

Album:JAZZ BRAKES VOLUME 5/DJ FOOD

Label:NINJA TUNE

Persons/Roles:
MATT BLACK - COMPOSER
PATRICK CARPENTER - COMPOSER
JONATHAN MORE - COMPOSER
COLDCUT - PERFORMER
PC - PERFORMER

EMAIL LOBSTERS Duration: 00:01:46

Ask and you shall receive. And then just keep on receiving.

Last night, we brought you the story of hundreds of lobsters that had washed up in the town of Petit-Rocher, New Brunswick. Residents ate them -- you know, because they were lobsters -- and then the Department of Fisheries and Oceans got cranky about it.

So the lobsters posed a challenge for the townsfolk -- and a separate challenge for us. We wondered what exactly a group of lobsters should be called. So we asked you, our listeners, to weigh in. And we ended up with a lengthy list of good suggestions:

Among them: a "scrabble"; a "thermidor"; a "pot"; a "boil"; a "feast"; and a "trap".

Also: Damon Schreiber writes that, because the lobsters were stranded on a beach, perhaps a "suicide of lobsters" might be apropos.

Peter with no surname in Carp, Ontario says that, since the lobsters were beached just after Christmas, it stands to reason that the collective name would be a "sandy claw" of lobster.

And 12-year-old Elise, in Guelph, Ontario, suggests that many lobsters in a group could be referred to as a "claw-ster".

But the overwhelming majority of Talkback callers and emailers responded with what is supposedly the "correct" answer. At least, according to Wikipedia. Apparently, the collective noun for a group of lobster is...wait for it...a "risk". Which -- given the number of pinching claws that would be present in said group -- seems appropriate.


PORCELAIN Duration: 00:00:25

Album:ALTERNATIVE CLASSICAL CHILLOUT ALBUM/ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCH

Label:N2K RECORDS

Persons/Roles:
MOBY - COMPOSER
ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - ORCHESTRA

CMAJ TRAUMA COUNSELLING Duration: 00:06:11

A new study is questioning the value of what has become a standard response to a tragedy at a school: the arrival of trauma counsellors. According to researchers in Halifax, they may be doing more harm than good.

Dr. Stan Kutcher is a co-author of the study. He's also the head of adolescent mental health at Dalhousie University in Halifax.


ISOLATE Duration: 00:00:22

Album:WAIT FOR ME/MOBY

Label:MUTE, 724596941621

Persons/Roles:
MOBY - COMPOSER
MOBY - PRODUCER

FTR: POLICE FUNERAL Duration: 00:03:12

Seen from the sky, the line through the streets of Ottawa formed a tight column of blue, black, red and brown that stretched for more than a kilometre-and-a-half. Four thousand police officers dressed in full uniform marched this afternoon behind the casket of Constable Eric Czapnik.

On December 29th, Constable Czapnik was filling out paperwork in his cruiser outside an Ottawa hospital when he was suddenly attacked and stabbed to death. He was fifty-one years old, a father of four, and a husband.

His family joined police from across Canada and the United States at a funeral service earlier this afternoon. Colleagues and friends reminisced about his love of policing -- a profession he came to at the age of forty-eight. He was the oldest recruit in his class at police college.

Speakers shared memories from his tragically short career in policing -- and his family remembered his legacy as a father. For the record, here is Eric Czapnik's stepson, Lukasz Galaska' speaking today in Ottawa.


REMEMBRANCE Duration: 00:00:20

Album:BOMBAY DUB ORCHESTRA

Label:SIX DEGREES, 657036-1120-2MJ

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

MANITOBA FIRE FOLO Duration: 00:06:33

When the fire that killed an eleven-year-old boy in Shamattawa, Manitoba was tearing through his grandparents' home, there were no firefighters there. The police tried to call the fire chief, but he wasn't home. The building was razed.

Today, the RCMP arrested a local youth in connection with the fire -- which they're now calling an arson and homicide case.

That firefighters were not immediately on hand when the blaze broke out was unfortunate -- but, perhaps, not surprising. After the Shamattawa fire, CBC Manitoba called the fire services in ten remote First Nations communities in the province. In seven, there was either no answer, or no help available.

Curtis Smith is the head of the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters. We reached him in Winnipeg.


THIS WORLD Duration: 00:00:14

Album:ZERO 7: SIMPLE THINGS

Label:PALM PICTURES, QMG 5007-2

Persons/Roles:
HENRY BINNS - DESIGNER
SAM HARDAKER - DESIGNER
ORVILLE WRIGHT - DESIGNER
ZERO 7 - ENS IN-V

AFGHAN MP Duration: 00:06:54

At the moment, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government resembles nothing so much as a house of cards.

That's largely due to August's fraud-ridden national elections -- after which, Mr. Karzai's credibility is pretty flimsy. That was illustrated very clearly this past weekend, by the Afghan Parliament's near wholesale rejection of Mr. Karzai's cabinet choices. On Saturday, MPs rejected seventeen of his twenty-four candidates.

Now, Mr. Karzai is preparing to re-shuffle his cabinet -- assigning many of the same rejected candidates to different positions.

Sabrina Sagheb is a member of the lower house of the National Assembly in Afghanistan, and one of the MPs who rejected Mr. Karzai's cabinet choices. We reached her in Kabul.


HORSE TRADE Duration: 00:00:17

Album:PALE AIR SINGERS/PALE AIR SINGERS

Label:FLEMISH EYE, FLCR018

Persons/Roles:
JEFF MACLEOD - COMPOSER
CLINTON ST. JOHN - COMPOSER
PALE AIR SINGERS - POP GROUP
PALE AIR SINGERS - PRODUCER

FTR: NORTHERN ONTARIO STYLE Duration: 00:03:11

Residents of Northern Ontario have been shocked to discover that their region has, quite quietly, lost some status.

Now, you probably heard in my inflection that I capitalized the first "N" in "Northern Ontario". One simply does. So you can imagine how surprised CBC Sudbury reporters were when they discovered that the Canadian Press had downgraded that capital "N".

The Canadian Press, or "CP", creates a style guide for Canadian media. And CP -- both letters capitalized, by the way -- has decided we should no longer spell "Northern Ontario" with a capital "N". Officials with the agency say that, since northern Ontario is not a distinct geographical region, it doesn't warrant an uppercase name.

Patti Tasko is the Senior Supervising Editor with Canadian Press based in Toronto. This is what she had to say about the style change to CBC Sudbury, for the record.

CP Senior Supervising Editor Patti Tasko, speaking with CBC Sudbury, for the record.

The style change might well make for consistency across Canada media. It might prevent newspaper readers who are deeply concerned about the distinctness of geographical regions from shaking their heads at the unfounded capitalization of an "N". And for journalists, it means one less exception to the rules to remember while writing. But old habits die hard, and some reporters accustomed to tradition would rather keep the capital in "northern Ontario".

John Hunt has been writing for the North Bay Nugget since 1951. He spoke to CBC Sudbury earlier today. Here he is now, for the record.


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