This fall in Afghanistan, voters will go back to the polls. Inside and
outside the country, watchers are hoping there won't be a repeat of last
year's presidential election. At the time, the country's election
watchdog, the Electoral Complaints Commission, or E-C-C, helped expose
an enormous fraud, in which nearly a million ballots were faked -- most
of them votes for Mr. Karzai. Now, that same body is the subject of
controversy. President Karzai issued a new decree last week that gives
him full control over the Complaints Commission.
Grant Kippen was the head of the E-C-C during last year's election.
That job ended last month. Now, he's back at home in Ottawa. We reached
him there earlier today.
|DO MAKE SAY THINK/DO MAKE SAY THINK|
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Northern Ireland was feeling hopeful. Two weeks ago, the Democratic
Unionist Party and the Republican Sinn Fein party had reached what was
heralded as a "historic deal". Differences of opinion over policing and
justice systems had been ironed out, paving the way for power to be
devolved from London and placed in the hands of the Northern Irish. This
deal came as all of the province's paramilitary group's weapons were
confirmed as being decommissioned. The country had taken a further step
away from its troubled past.
Today, the mood has changed -- as communities come to terms with a car
bomb attack in the province's fourth largest city, Newry. The bomb
detonated outside the city's courthouse, damaging buildings in the area.
Luckily, no one was killed.
The Downshire Road Presbyterian Church was one of the buildings
damaged in the blast. Reverend Brian Colvin is the minister at that
church. We reached him in Newry, Northern Ireland.
|F#A#/GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR!|
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DALET - TB: N.S. CROSS BURNINGar
|DEVENDRA BARNHART: REJOICING IN THE HANDS|
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Those of you who have visited Bosworth Field in the U.K. -- the site of
the battle in which Richard the Third died -- may be feeling some
measure of discontent after this story. Perhaps not a whole winter's
worth -- but discontent nonetheless. Because it turns out that that site
isn't actually the field where the famous battle took place.
A research project undertaken by the Battlefield Trust has located the
actual site of the battle, two-and-a-half miles away from "Bosworth
Field". And the experts have got the goods to prove it.
Dr. Glenn Foard is the lead archaeologist of the Battlefield Trust
project. We reached him at his home in Northampton, England.
A great deal went right last weekwhen a Canadian ship sank off the
coast of Brazil. But there are lingering questions about what went wrong
with the rescue.
The Concordia, a floating classroom from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is
lost at sea, but all sixty-four students, teachers and crew are safe and
Although everyone's relieved, there are serious concerns about the way
Brazil's Search and Rescue crews handled this crisis. From the time the
ship sent its first distress signal to the time that everyone was
rescued, more than forty hours ticked by.
Nigel McCarthy is the Chief Executive Officer of the school, Class Afloat. We reached him in Lunenburg.
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|MARCUS FUREDER|| - ||COMPOSER|
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It's becoming a sadly familiar story.
A Canadian man is held in prison in a foreign country. The man is
Muslim. There are vague allegations of connections to terrorism. The man
is tortured, eventually released, and he returns to Canada. Soon after
he returns, we learn of his ordeal. But then, in the months and years
that follow, we learn, bit by bit, about the involvement, or inaction,
of Canadian officials.
The case of Ahmad Abou El Maati follows this same unhappy trajectory.
He was detained in Egypt, following the attacks of September eleventh.
In June of 2002, officials with Canada's spy agency CSIS informed Egypt
that they suspected Mr. El Maati was connected to a plan to commit a
terrorist act in Canada. Officials then travelled to the country with a
list of questions. None of which addressed whether Mr. El Maati had been
Mr. Justice Frank Iacobucci released the details of Canada's
involvement today in Ottawa. These details come nearly a year-and-a-half
after the publication of his final report on the cases of three
Canadian men detained abroad and allegedly tortured -- one of whom was
Ahmad Abou El Maati.
Judge Iacobucci found that Canadian officials indirectly contributed to the detention and torture of Mr. El Maati.
The federal government blocked the release of Judge Iacobucci's
information until today. After the release of this supplemental report,
Mr. El Maati spoke to reporters in Ottawa. Here he is, for the record.
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This story's from the Better-Late-Than-Never Department, Military Division.
It's the story of a war hero named Jeremiah Jones. He died sixty
years ago, but he didn't get his due until yesterday -- when he was
awarded a posthumous medal for distinguished service.
Lynn Jones is Jeremiah Jones' granddaughter. She's in Truro, Nova Scotia.
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|ROBERT JONNUM|| - ||PRODUCER|
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|KINGS OF CONVENIENCE || - ||PRODUCER|
Dateline... Dyersville, Iowa.
You might not remember when. You might not remember who you were
talking to. But at some point, you've probably agreed to do something
unlikely at a later date. Specifically, "when pigs fly." Well, be
warned: your debtor might come collecting. Because pigs in Dyersville,
Iowa have recently been taking to the air, reaching heights as lofty as
thirty metres -- although, admittedly, they haven't done it on their
An especially snowy winter has left regular dining options off the menus
of Iowa's eagles. So they've begun to sink their talons into some fresh
piglet -- sashimi-style.
The eagles circle above farms, waiting for a curious piglet to emerge.
Then, before they know it, the hapless piglet is briefly savouring the
wonder of flight -- before the piglet itself is savoured. And with a
market price of six-hundred dollars for a full-grown pig, those eagles
are enjoying the equivalent of a ten-course meal at one of those
"molecular gastronomy" restaurants where everything is foam.
Local Dyersville pig farmer Jude Becker has said that this
piglet-plucking happened last year -- but not to this degree. As he told
a reporter for the Des Moines Register: "Last year, it was noteworthy
and entertaining. Now it's growing. It's pretty impressive, but
destructive to my business."
Because the birds are federally protected, and pastures are too
spacious to patrol, Mr. Becker and his fellow pig farmers are at a loss
as to how they can safeguard their farms, and save their bacon.
So we wish Jude Becker good luck, and send out this song: from 1971, this is "Johnny Reggae", by The Piglets.
Freedom isn't always in your best interests.
Last month on As It Happens, we told you about the Newfoundland
teenager who was being held in hospital -- while a court-room battle
erupted about whether the sixteen-year-old girl has the capacity to
decide on her own treatment. Though the province says she's old enough,
others -- including the girl's mother -- disagreed. The girl -- whose
identity is protected under a publication ban -- has been confined,
treated and released dozens of times over the past two years after
swallowing sharp objects, such as knives and razor blades. She has had
nine surgeries to remove these objects.
Now, a judge has ruled the girl unfit to make her own health-care decisions. And many are applauding the decision.
Among them is Dr. John Bradford, Associate Chief of Forensic
Psychiatry at Royal Ottawa Hospital. We reached him in Fort Lauderdale,
In Canada, mosquitoes are typically a mild nuisance -- a pest we do our
best to repel by slathering on the DEET and covering up. But in many
parts of the world, they are much more than pests -- they bring disease
and death. Dengue fever, for instance, threatens more than one-third of
the world's population, and afflicts as many as one-hundred milliion
people a year.
But scientists are working on a new superweapon against
dengue-carrying mosquitoes -- one that attempts to beat the insect at
its own game. Picture it as a kind of Mosquito Terminator: a
genetically-altered mosquito, that targets and destroys future
generations of mosquitoes.
Dr. Luke Alphey is the lead scientist of the project. We reached him
at his home in Kidlington, just outside of Oxford, England.
|UP AND AT 'EM|
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|EDUARDO LIS|| - ||COMPOSER|
|KEVIN BREIT|| - ||GUITAR|
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Toughness and adaptability are usually thought of as admirable
qualities. But somehow the Cane Toads have failed to win the hearts of
Back in the 1930s, about a hundred cane toads were imported from
Hawaii to tackle the country's cane beetle problems. Since then, their
population has increased exponentially. The toads have made themselves
at home, and made a lot of enemies.
Now researchers from the University of Sydney have a new plan with
dealing with the country's cane toad problem. And all that's needed is a
bit of cat food.
Rick Shine is a professor of Evolutionary Biology and one of the researchers of the study. We reached him in Sydney.
|TOMMY PEOPLES: THE QUIET GLEN/AN GLEANN CIUIN|
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Here's a bit of chicken soup for the windows to the soul.
We all know that chickens have great eyesight, if only because none of
us has ever seen a hen wearing glasses. But scientists have now
discovered that chickens have colour vision that is far superior to that
Scientists mapped light receptors in the eye of the chicken, which
maximize the bird's ability to see multiple colours in any given part of
the retina. These receptors are apparently arranged in a way that makes
their vision more sensitive. The scientists have speculated that this
vivid colour vision may help chickens focus on the colourful plumage of
mates, improve their experience of watching "Chicken Run" on Blu-Ray,
and help them seek out brightly coloured berries at feeding time.
And that brings us to the other chicken-related study released
recently -- although we're not really sure which research came first.
The folks at Campbell's Soup released a new business plan to boost the
performance of condensed soup. And part of the company's new approach
comes from extensive consumer research into soup label design.
Shoppers were outfitted with special vests to measure skin moisture
levels, heart rate, and eye movements, to gauge the emotional reactions
associated with buying soup. Researchers were shocked to find that
consumers thought the soup pictured on the can didn't look very "warm".
And that the soup-filled spoon on the label provoked very little
emotional response of any kind. They also found that the bright red
label of the Campbell's logo made all the soup cans blend together on
the shelf. As a result, the company will now introduce new colour-coded
soup categories; the logo will be made smaller; and cans will feature
larger, more vibrant pictures of soup without spoons.
However, the labels on cans of Campbell's three hottest sellers --
tomato, cream of mushroom, and chicken -- will remain exactly the same.
Campbell's thought those soup labels, immortalized by Andy Warhol, were
just right. Which only goes to show that if you're colourful enough, you
can have more than your allotted fifteen minutes of fame. And you don't
have to be a chicken to see that.