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February 3, 2010

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Swiss miss. Switzerland's Supreme Court reluctantly rules that "Baby Doc" Duvalier can claim millions of dollars -- but its government vows to block the transaction.

An injection of common sense. Yesterday, The Lancet retracted a study linking the MMR vaccine with autism -- a misconception Dr. Paul Offit has fought for years.

Shoot first -- answer questions later. The police officer who killed eighteen-year-old Fredy Villanueva appears at a coroner's inquest in Montreal.

Confection is good for the soul. But when a British candy company is bought by an American company, a two-hundred-year sugar high ends.

He hasn't the Vegas idea. When U.S. President Barack Obama's makes an offhand remark about Sin City, Nevada politicians think he's shooting craps.

And...stolen basses. Halifax musicians are especially high-strung when a wave of instrument thefts leaves performers out of a jam.

As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that believes organ donation should be voluntary.


BABY DOC FUNDS Duration: 00:07:24

Haiti has had insult added to its injury.

Switzerland's Supreme Court says the country's former dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier -- also known as "Baby Doc" Duvalier -- has the right to millions of dollars stashed in a Swiss bank account. The Court says the money is certainly the result of illegal activities, but that, because Duvalier had not been convicted of any crimes, its hands are tied -- and he can claim the money.

But the Swiss government says it isn't going to let that happen.

Paul Seger is a legal advisor with Switzerland's foreign ministry. He is in Bern.


OH ME, OH MY Duration: 00:00:16

Album:ABIGAIL WASHBURN & THE SPARROW QUARTET/ABIGAIL WASHBURN & THE SPARROW QUARTET

Label:NETTWERK, 06700307922(8)

Persons/Roles:
ABIGAIL WASHBURN - COMPOSER
ABIGAIL WASHBURN & THE SPARROW QUARTET - ENSEMBLE

VILLANUEVA INQUIRY UPDATE Duration: 00:07:54

Those voices belong to a group of protestors, who gathered this afternoon outside a Montreal courthouse. Inside the courthouse was an inquiry into the death of Fredy Villanueva, the eighteen-year-old who was killed on August tenth, 2008 after a scuffle with police. His death sparked riots in the city.

The protestors are calling the officer who shot the teenager an "assassin" -- and adding that the people will have his skin.

Today, that officer - Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe - continued his testimony at the inquiry.

Will Prosper is a former RCMP officer, and the founder of Montreal-North Republic, a citizens' group that pushed for the inquiry and was involved in today's rally. We reached him in Montreal.


MARIANNE'S WALTZ Duration: 00:00:24

MATHIAS LANDAEUS

CD: FRINGE PEOPLE

CUT: MARIANNE'S WALTZ


INSTRUMENT THEFT Duration: 00:06:55

There's a minor crime wave rolling across Halifax, and local musicians are getting worried. Over the past month, intruments have gone missing at an alarming rate.

Serge Samson is a Halifax musician who has lost some equipment himself. And he has a theory about the recent spurt in instrument thefts. We reached Mr. Samson in Halifax.


PATSY CLINE Duration: 00:02:30

Album:THE GUTHRIES: OFF WINDMILL

Label:BROBDINGNANIAN, BROB 003 CD

Persons/Roles:
MATTHEW MAYS - COMPOSER
MATTHEW MAYS - WRITER
GUTHRIES - ENS IN-V

CLOSING WEDNESDAY Duration: 00:00:50

We're about to reach the end of the first part of tonight's program. The news is coming up next, and then there's a lot more As It Happens to come. And we'll be back with these stories.

The needle research and the damage done. Dr. Paul Offit tells us why he's written about, and railed against, the misconception that vaccines cause autism.

When killing a story becomes one. In Zagreb, Croatia, four men are put on trial for the murder of a journalist who exposed corruption.

Freedom of espresso. A long-percolating report on the spending of some Nova Scotia M-L-As shows that liberties were taken -- and paid for by taxpayers.

Stay tuned. I'm CO.

And I'm BB.


RETURN WEDNESDAY Duration: 00:00:28

Hello again, I'm CO.

And I'm BB. This is As It Happens, Part Two.

Coming up:

When an American company takes over Cadbury, some British candy lovers refuse to cocoa-operate.

In the country of Georgia, a cartoon family of bright yellow people with big eyes, one of whom drinks a lot, is not based on "The Simpsons" at all.

Those stories are still to come on As It Happens.


AUTISM MMR FOLO Duration: 00:07:50

One doctor discredited, another vindicated.

This week, the General Medical Council in Britain slammed the author of a study that found a link between vaccines and autism. Last night, we spoke with the editor of the medical journal The Lancet, which published that study in 1998, and has now retracted it.

It was welcome news for Dr. Paul Offit. He's the author of Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure, which includes an account of the vaccine scare and its impact.

We reached Dr. Offit at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he's Chief of Infectious Diseases.


GOIN' OUT WEST Duration: 00:00:15

Album:BONE MACHINE/WAITS, TOM

Label:ISLAND, 314-512580-2

Persons/Roles:
KATHLEEN BRENNAN - COMPOSER
TOM WAITS - COMPOSER
KATHLEEN BRENNAN - PRODUCER
TOM WAITS - PRODUCER
TOM WAITS - VOCALS

BTN: NOVA SCOTIA SPENDING Duration: 00:02:30

No politician wants to be called "excessive" or "inappropriate". So M-L-As in Nova Scotia are smarting today, after both those words -- and others -- were used by the province's Auditor General, Jacques Lapointe.

He was describing the spending habits of some of the province's politicians in a report, which was released today. The report audited the expenses claimed by members of Nova Scotia's legislature -- and paid out of the public coffers --- between 2006 and 2009. Now, Mr. Lapointe didn't publish the names of any of the offending MLAs. But who needs names when you've got numbers? Here, by the numbers are some of the more devious digits:

Twenty-eight: that's the number of Nova Scotia's fifty-one M-L-As who made multiple claims on a single purchase.

There were sixty-four instances of these kind of redundant claims, which cost the province a total of fourteen-thousand, one-hundred-and-twenty-three dollars.

One hundred and fifty: that's the price tag claimed by one M-L-A for the purchase of three MP3 players -- all purchased on the same day.

Seven-hundred-and-ninety: theamount, in dollars, claimed by one M-L-A for a boat. A good price, you say? Well, consider this: it was a model boat used to decorate the MLA's office.

Seven-hundred-and-thirty-eight dollars: the asking price for an espresso maker, claimed by one MLA.

One-thousand, two-hundred-and-sixty: the amount one M-L-A paid to have a parking lot sanded by a local company. The owner of that company...was the M-L-A's brother.

And finally: one M-L-A claimed seventeen-thousand, two-hundred-and-forty dollars for the purchase of thirteen thousand calendars. So, while we may not be able to count on that particular politician to keep track of his or her spending habits, we can rest assured that he or she will never, ever, miss an appointment.


AT HOME Duration: 00:00:15

Album:FILMOTHEQUE/LEMONGRASS

Label:LEMONGRASS MUSIC

Persons/Roles:
ROLAND VOSS - COMPOSER
LEMONGRASS - PERFORMER

KRAFT CADBURY TAKEOVER Duration: 00:06:12

For British candy lovers, 2010 is proving to be an annus horribilis.

Yesterday, the monarchy of British chocolate -- the creator of Mini-eggs, Caramilk, and the Curly Wurly -- fell. Cadbury, which has been making sweets for nearly two hundred years, was officially taken over by Kraft -- which is decidedly not British.

But Birmingham is decidedly British, and the city played a great role in the history of Cadbury.

Maggie Burns is a librarian in Birmingham. She works at the Archives and Heritage Service at the Birmingham Central Library. We reached her at home.


THE CALL Duration: 00:00:03

Album:PATH/TORONTO JAZZ ORCHESTRA

Label:CUSTOM, TJO003

Persons/Roles:
DAVID BRAID - COMPOSER
ANDREW JONES - ARRANGER
TORONTO JAZZ ORCHESTRA - JAZZ GROUP

SC: NO LAS VEGAS SPENDING Duration: 00:03:22

Even President Barack Obama's many foes recognize that he is a talented speaker. Although the foes tend to believe that, without the help of a Teleprompter, he's only capable of staring into space and repeating the word "Hope".

With the help of a Teleprompter, he can be both compelling and persuasive. But it might be time for him to brush up on his skills -- possibly by joining a group like Toastmasters. Because he's forgotten some fundamentals.

For example: yesterday, at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, President Barack Obama said the following:His point is: be fiscally responsible. And he made it clearly. But he's ignoring Toastmasters Public Speaking Tip Number Three: "Know your audience".

By which I mean that, since he's the president of a whole country, the whole country is his audience. And therefore, if he's even slightly negative about a place in that country, he will immediately be condemned as an enemy of that place. Especially by its furious, unforgiving mayor.That's Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. And when he refers to the President being a "real slow learner", he's referring to Barack Obama's relentless habit of disparaging Las Vegas. For example, there was also this remark, made in a speech given a year ago:Do you see a pattern? That's two times. Those are the only two times, but they're enough. Mayor Goodman will not put up with these unfounded criticisms connecting unwise spending and his city.

Oh, incidentally: did you know that slot machines in Las Vegas pay out six per cent of the time? Does that sound like a bad investment to you?

Anyway, the Mayor had more stern words for the President yesterday. Here are some of them.That's right. Mayor Goodman thinks everyone should come and invest their life savings in Texas Hold 'Em and Wayne Newton -- except for the President. So at least they agree on that.

President Obama has issued a clarification, in which he wrote that "There is no place better to have fun than Vegas, one of our country's great destinations." Which might mollify Las Vegans, but is insulting to every other place in the United States that thinks it's fun. Oh well. As anyone who's ever been to the "Entertainment Capital of the World" knows, you can't win 'em all. Or, really, more than six per cent of 'em.


VIVA LAS VEGAS Duration: 00:02:10

Album:BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: THE ESSENTIAL

Label:COLUMBIA, C2K 90773

Persons/Roles:
DOC POMUS - DESIGNER
MORTIMER SHUMAN - DESIGNER
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - SINGING

MURDERED CROATIAN JOURNO Duration: 00:07:40

Ivo Pukanic swam in dangerous waters. The journalist and founding editor of the weekly Croatian magazine, Nacional, investigated the corruption and organized crime that is rife in his country. It was the kind of work that made him enemies.

In 2008, Ivo Pukanic was killed by a car bomb along with Nacional's head of marketing. The bomb is thought to have been planted in retaliation for Pukanic's journalistic prying. Today, in Zagreb, the trial of four men charged with his murder began -- and along with it, a growing sense that Croatia may finally be taking a decisive stand against organized crime.

Olivier Basille is the Chief Representative of Reporters without Borders for the European Union and the Balkans. We reached him on his cell phone, in Brussels.


ONE MORE CUP OF COFFEE Duration: 00:00:29

Album:BOB DYLAN: DESIRE

Label:COLUMBIA, CK 92393

Persons/Roles:
BOB DYLAN - COMPOSER
BOB DYLAN - WRITER
BOB DYLAN - SINGING

FTR: CHILCOT BROWN BUDGET/EMAIL: CLARE SHORT Duration: 00:04:05

There have been more bombshells at the UK inquiry into the Iraq War.

On the stand today, former British Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary Sir Kevin Tebbit accused current Prime Minister Gordon Brown of grossly slashing much-needed military funds, just months after the invasion began. At the time of the war, Mr. Brown was the country's Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Tebbit called the cuts "arbitrary" -- and said that they significantly hampered the war effort, and the ability to implement a long-term plan for Iraq.

Here is some of what Sir Kevin Tebbit told the Chilcot Inquiry 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

SOD: MEET THE SAMSONADES Duration: 00:03:20

For more than twenty years now, television audiences across North America have descended upon the town of Springfield, U-S-A, to peer into the lives of its residents -- in particular, the extraordinary misadventures of one nuclear family, The Simpsons.

And while it's still impossible to pinpoint the exact location of The Simpsons' hometown on a map -- there are of course several Springfields throughout many states -- at least now we know where their cousins live: in Georgia.

No, I'm not talking about Springfield, Georgia, U S of A -- although that town does exist. I'm talking about Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, the country.

Get ready to meet "The Samsonadzes" -- Georgia's answer to America's favourite dysfunctional family.Since the series' debut just months ago, it has proven extremely popular -- despite criticisms that it is an awkward knock-off of its American archetype. But despite a familiar look to the characters, who all share the distinctive bright yellow skin and bulging eyes of their distant relatives, the creators maintain The Samsonadzes are clearly Georgian.

"They are as different as American and Georgian families can be", the chief scriptwriter said, in an interview with Russia's English-language broadcaster, Russia Today. "We just took an average family, and made a parody of the common traits -- like laziness, or the love of alcohol."

Laziness and the love of alcohol. That doesn't sound anything at all like the Simpsons.

One thing's for sure, this promo for the show certainly doesn't:


STOMPING AT THE REX Duration: 00:00:11

Album:YALLA YALLA!/SULTANS OF STRING

Label:CUSTOM, MCK 2045

Persons/Roles:
KEVIN LALIBERTE - COMPOSER
CHRIS MCKHOOL - COMPOSER
DREW BIRSTON - BASS GUITAR
ANDREW COLLINS - MANDOLIN
KEVIN LALIBERTE - GUITAR
ROSENDO CHENDY LEON - PERCUSSION
CHRIS MCKHOOL - PRODUCER
CHRIS MCKHOOL - VIOLIN
SULTANS OF STRING - FOLK GROUP

ANWAR TRIAL Duration: 00:07:28

Malaysia's most charismatic and polarizing politician is on trial again.

Anwar Ibrahim was once Deputy Prime Minister with Malaysia's ruling BN Party. But after a political falling-out in the late 'Nineties, Mr. Ibrahim became a persistent thorn in the establishment's side. He's now the leader of the country's opposition, and a staunch critic of his former friends.

Anwar Ibrahim is no stranger to prison. And now, he's again facing trial, charged with sodomy -- a charge that can carry a twenty-year sentence in Malaysia. Opposition members and rights groups are saying this is just another "show trial" -- that the charges are unfounded and politically motivated.

Dr. Thomas Pepinsky is an Assistant Professor in Government and South East Asian Studies at Cornell University. We reached him at his home in Ithaca, New York.


ENTER SANDMAN Duration: 00:00:22

Album:AMPLIFIED: A DECADE OF REINVENTING THE CELLO/APOCALYPTICA

Label:ISLAND

Persons/Roles:
KIRK HAMMETT - COMPOSER
JAMES HETFIELD - COMPOSER
LARS ULRICH - COMPOSER
APOCALYPTICA - INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE

EMAIL: KD LANG SONG Duration: 00:01:47

Sometimes it's hard to quit. You tell yourself, "This is it -- my last smoke ever." Then, the next thing you know, you're celebrating having quit successfully with a cigarette.

And sometimes it's equally hard to quit singing about your last cigarette.

Last night, we told you about an Indonesian man who finally decided to stop smoking after his cigarette exploded mid-drag, blowing out six of his teeth and leaving him with fifty-one stiches in his face. And after that, we played a tune sung by kd lang called "Last Cigarette."

Well, it turns out that Ms. lang has something of an addiction to songs about kicking addiction -- as we learned from Kristin McKinnon in Courtice, Ontario. She writes:

"I enjoyed your explosive story about how to quit smoking. However, I was surprised when you played kd lang's 'Last Cigarette.' The song you played was not what I was expecting, in any way, shape or form.

"Did you know Ms. lang has two songs about her last cigarette? She sang the song I know (and was ready to bop to tonight) in her earlier years before she, in my humble opinion, started to take herself so seriously.

"Maybe you could play us a snippet of her first 'Last Cigarette?'"

Well, Kristin McKinnon from Courtice, Ontario, yes, we could.

Last night, we played kd crooning "My Last Cigarette" from her 1997 album, Drag. Here, now, is kd lamenting "I'm Down To My Last Cigarette" on her 1988 album Shadowland.


I'M DOWN TO MY LAST CIGARETTE Duration: 00:02:46

Album:K D LANG: SHADOWLAND

Label:SIRE, CD 25724

Persons/Roles:
HARLAN HOWARD - COMPOSER
HARLAN HOWARD - WRITER
BILLY BANG WALKER - COMPOSER
BILLY BANG WALKER - WRITER
K D LANG - SINGING


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