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February 22, 2010

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A burning question. A Nova Scotia couple is stymied and shaken when they find a flaming cross on their front lawn.

A feather in their cap-sizing. The first mate of the tall ship Concordia tells us why everyone on board is safe and sound, despite a nautical disaster.

Pros, and cons. The NHL has taken two weeks off for these Winter Games -- and the league commissioner says he may not be willing to give the next Games a break.

Tilting near windmills. The Dutch government teeters, then topples, over the future of the country's role in Afghanistan.

Sleuth and consequences. A feature interview with crime writer Henning Mankell -- whose latest book investigates murder and imperialism.

And...nastiness, brutishness, and shortness. Three overzealous Russian officials are fired -- for trying to keep their diminutive president isolated from potential insult.

As It Happens, the Monday edition. Radio that stresses: Gnome Man is not an island.


N.S. CROSS BURNING Duration: 00:07:23

Before we share this story with you tonight, I'd like to tell you that it takes place in present-day Nova Scotia, Canada. I mention that because, as you listen to the interview, you may feel as though you're in a time-warp.

We reached Michelle Lyon in Hant's County.


I COULD BE NOTHING Duration: 00:00:22

Album:BODIES AND MINDS/GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS

Label:WEEWERK, MSR035

Persons/Roles:
TONY DEKKER - COMPOSER
GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS - POP GROUP

INT NHL VS. IOC Duration: 00:07:59

Today in Canada, the phrase "it's Miller time" is not a triumphant call to crack a beer. It's a glum acknowledgement of one astonishing goaltender. Last night, Ryan Miller -- the goalie for Team USA -- made forty-two saves to carry the Americans to a stunning 5-3 win over Team Canada.

And while that victory has hockey fans wondering who will be in the finals at the Vancouver games, some are already wondering what players will actually be going to the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Because NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league hasn't made a decision about whether NHL players will be allowed to participate.

Jay Feaster writes a blog for The Hockey News, and is the former General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He's in Brandon, Florida.


RACE THE MOON 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

DUTCH GOV'T FALLS Duration: 00:07:07

Maybe you haven't noticed because you've been too busy watching the Olympics, but Parliament has fallen apart.

Not our parliament, mind you. It's just prorogued. I'm talking about the Dutch parliament. This weekend, after sixteen hours of tense negotiations, the Dutch government collapsed, after coalition members failed to reach a decision concerning the the country's role in the war in Afghanistan.

Boris Dittrich is a former Member of Parliament for the Social Liberal Party D66 -- or Democrats 66 -- in the Netherlands. He now works for Human Rights Watch in New York, which is where we reached him.


CLOSING MONDAY Duration: 00:00:41

There's a CBC Sports update from Vancouver coming up next, followed by the news. And then we'll be back with more As It Happens. When we return:

A matter of lifeboats or death. The first mate of the capsized Concordia tall ship tells us what happened -- and how everyone was rescued.

Breaking news. The editor of a Tamil newspaper in Toronto is shattered by a pointed incident of vandalism.

Politics is a ditty business. In the midst of a scandal, the president of Indonesia unleashes his latest album of pop songs.

Stay tuned. I'm CO.

And I'm MW.


RETURN MONDAY Duration: 00:00:29

Hello again, I'm CO.

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

Coming up:

Henning Mankell talks about his latest book -- which goes beyond a standard procedural to investigate geopolitics.

And faced with a tall order, officials in one Siberian city go to great lengths to protect the feelings of Russia's short-ish president.

Those stories are still to come on As It Happens.


TALL SHIPS FOLO Duration: 00:07:53

It's not often the tale of an outright disaster has a happy ending. But fortunately, that's how the sinking of a Canadian tall ship off the coast of Brazil turned out.

The Concordia capisized last week. And all sixty-four people aboard the ship -- students, teachers and crew -- have lived to tell the tale of their survival, and their rescue.

Kim Smith was the First Mate on board the Concordia, second-in-command only to the Captain of the ship. He arrived home in Lunenburg just a few hours ago, and we reached him there.


OBIT ALEXANDER HAIG Duration: 00:03:08

He was a political player during some of the dirtiest dealings in American politics, but Alexander Haig emerged largely untainted. The army general who served in the highest ranks of the U.S. government died this weekend at the age of eighty-five.

Mr. Haig's beginnings were in the military, not in politics. He was a West Point graduate who served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and he won many honours, including the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. In the mid-nineteen-seventies, his military career served him well once again, when he served for five years as the Commander of NATO Forces in Europe.

His political trajectory began in the 'sixties, first under Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, then under National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. Alexander Haig went on to serve as White House Chief of Staff under both Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, then as Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan.

It was during the Reagan Administation that Mr. Haig did something he would never live down. After an assassination attempt on the President, Mr. Haig infamously told the American people, "As of now, I am in control here in the White House, pending the return of the vice-president." He was not. At the time, there were a few people ahead of him in the political food chain.

About five years ago, Alexander Haig appeared on As It Happens to talk about Deep Throat, the mole who leaked information to the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal. Until Mark Felt revealed himself, many people believed Alexander Haig was Deep Throat. Here's part of Alexander Haig's conversation with Mary Lou Finlay, in May 2005 -- in which he talks about what he thought of the legendary informant.


BLACKEST CROW Duration: 00:00:09

Album:NO NEVER ALONE

Label:SIX SHOOTER, SIX 018

Persons/Roles:
TRADITIONAL - COMPOSER
JUSTIN RUTLEDGE - ORIGINATOR
JUSTIN RUTLEDGE - VOCALS
JUNCTION FORTY - COUNTRY GROUP
GLEN SALLEY - PRODUCER
JUSTIN RUTLEDGE - PRODUCER

TAMIL PAPER VANDALIZED Duration: 00:05:36

Tamil-Canadian Leaders met with Sri Lankan Leaders this week, in what they claimed were efforts to help support Tamils in Sri Lanka -- and develop ways to rebuild the war-scarred Northern regions. But their actions haven't met with the blessings of all Canadian Tamils.

Many are angry that these leaders spoke to a government they see as oppressive to their people -- a government they consider to consist of war criminals. A Toronto Tamil newspaper appears to have borne the brunt of this anger. Yesterday, the offices of the Uthayan Newspaper, a Canadian Tamil paper, were the target of a premeditated attack with a clear message.

Logan Logendralingam is the editor of the Uthayan Newspaper. We reached him at his Toronto office.


MUSIC SC/MUSIC: MEDVEDEV GNOME Duration: 00:02:06

Here's something for Canadians to be grateful for: when the Prime Minister comes to town, we don't have to get gussied up. When the PM's motorcade rolls into Anytown, Canada, we put on our least ketchup-splattered jeans, and a shirt, if we feel like it, and head to the Tim Hortons where he's eating a ceremonial cruller, or whatever. Stephen Harper understands.

That is not the case in Russia. When a Prime Minister or President makes an official visit, towns are expected to be presentable and welcoming. You've got to put the best face on things, no matter how much cosmetic surgery that requires.

So, earlier this month, when President Dmitri Medvedev paid a visit to the Siberian city of Omsk, city officials did a thorough clean-up. They trucked in fresh snow, to cover up the grey stuff. They cleaned the streets. And then they made two mistakes.

There was a billboard in Omsk, emblazoned with an extra-large photo of President Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Omsk officials evidently wanted the President to know that he was the focus of their attention. Because they airbrushed Mr. Putin right out of the picture. Mistake Number One.

Mistake Number Two resulted from oversensitivity. Mr. Medvedev is not a statuesque man, unless the statue in question is quite small. He's about five-foot-three. So those same city officials felt the President might not appreciate a poster that appeared on his motorcade route. It was a poster advertising a children's play being put on at a local theatre. And it read: "We Await You, Merry Gnome!"

Authorities in Omsk felt that poster might be misinterpreted, so they took it down. People found out about the censorship, and the story went viral. The three people responsible for the overzealous Omsk makeover were fired. Because, in trying to protect Dmitry Medvedev's feelings, they accidentally alerted the world that he might be considered gnomelike. Also, nobody messes with a picture of Vladimir Putin.

The whole thing could have been avoided. After all, Dmitry Medvedev has presented himself as a laid-back guy, and a fan of 'Seventies rock bands like Pink Floyd. Probably even that band's psychedelic debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. And probably even this song, from that album.


GNOME Duration: 00:02:14

Album:PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN/PINK FLOYD

Label:EMI, 7243 8 59857 2 0

Persons/Roles:
SYD BARRETT - COMPOSER
PINK FLOYD - POP GROUP
NORMAN SMITH - PRODUCER

LCM Duration: 00:01:47

Album:TOWA TEI: LAST CENTURY MODERN

Label:EAST WEST, 8573-82962-2

Persons/Roles:
TOWA TEI - COMPOSER
HIMAWARI KIDS - CHOIR
TOWA TEI - INSTRUMENTS

FTR: AMANDA LINDHOUT Duration: 00:02:28

She was held for fifteen months in Somalia, before being released last November. Last night, freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout has spoken publicly for the first time.

She was the guest of honour at a dinner organized by members of Calgary's Somali community. Here is some of what Amanda Lindhout had to say, for the record.


HENNING MANKELL Duration: 00:20:01

Henning Mankell is one of the the most prolific and well-regarded crime fiction writers in the world. The Swedish author's books featuring detective Kurt Wallander have sold more than forty million copies -- and were made into a PBS series starring Kenneth Branagh.

But Mr. Mankell is more than a crime writer; a part-time resident of Mozambique, he is also an outspoken critic of the West's role in African development. Now, Mr. Mankell has a new book out.

The Man From Beijing introduces us to Birgitte Roslin, a tough-minded judge trying to solve the murders of nineteen people in a northern Swedish town. Against the backdrop of a vast imperialist conspiracy, her investigation takes her from the Sweden to China, and Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Henning Mankell joined Carol in our studio for a feature intervew, earlier today.


SC: INDONESIAN PRESIDENT MUSIC Duration: 00:01:47

Occasionally -- and mostly unfortunately -- politicians sing. They think you will find it charming and, therefore, find it hard to hate them.

Here in Canada, we were recently subjected to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's rendition of the Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends." Which, at least, was an improvement on Brian Mulroney's tone-deaf sing-a-long with Ronald Reagan back in 1985. Irish eyes may have been smilin', but Canadian ears were scowlin'.

And Americans have the likes of Senator Orrin Hatch -- an accomplished songwriter whose catchy "Eight Days of Hannukah" we played for you over the holidays. And, of course, former Attorney General John Ashcroft -- whose haunting, unforgettable "Let The Eagle Soar" you were just deeply moved by.

But few of these Western leaders are as prolific as Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. President Yudhoyono -- or "SBY" as he's known in his home country -- has just released his third pop album.

The album collects nine songs, all penned by the president, sung by some of Indonesia's most popular performers. The title track, "I'm Sure I'll Get There," is an ode to his own political commitment, but the others are more sentimental. "For You Sweet Children" is dedicated to kids who fall victim to natural disasters. And "Longing My Love" is, you guessed it, a yearning ballad.

Perhaps the timing of the album's release has something to do with the fact that President Yudhoyono's reputation as a corruption-fighter has come into question of late. Two scandals involving abuse of power have recently been exposed in Indonesia.

As a result, SBY's approval rating has dropped from ninety percent to seventy-five -- the kind of popularity that would have his North American counterparts singing from the rooftops.

Here's President Yudhoyono, with a song from an earlier album -- one that he sang himself. It's called "Merajut Damai" -- a song about peace.



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