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March 15, 2010

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Border murders cross a line. When three people linked to the American consulate are killed in Mexico, the U.S. vows to crack down on the drug trade.

Detroit crop city. The home of the formerly Big Three automakers prepares to turn vacant lots into farmland.

Going public about privacy. Matthew Vienneau says his three-year search for a sister missing in Syria is being hindered by confidentiality-obsessed Canadian officials.

They don't observe standard hours; they just sleep after they eat. Turns out Arctic reindeer are the lazy teenagers of the animal world.

The collapse of a house of curds. The venerable Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling contest is cancelled -- and some feel cheated out of the choice to chase cheese.

And...the rest isn't silence. A British scholar finds the truth about a play called "Double Falsehood": it was likely the last play written by William Shakespeare.

As It Happens, the Monday edition. Radio that can hit the broadside of a bard.


SEQ MEXICO DRUG WARS Duration: 00:09:21

There are thousands of murders in Ciudad Juárez each year. Located near the Texas border, Juárez is a hotspot for drug-related violence, and ranks as Mexico's deadliest city.

But while many of those deaths go under-reported, three murders this weekend have drawn considerable condemnation from both Mexico and the United States. All three victims had ties to the U.S. consulate in Juárez.

Diana Washington Valdez is a reporter for the El Paso Times, in Texas. We reached her at work.

Today, we also reached Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz. Her opera --- which premiered this weekend in Mexico City --- is based on a folk ballad, or corrido that tells the story of a woman, Camelia la Tejana, who sets out to smuggle marijuana across the border.

Corridos are ballads initially written to celebrate the accomplishments of Mexican revolutionaries. But in the fairly recent past, corridos have taken a twist, and now they often celebrate drug barons. Here is part of our interview with Gabriela Ortiz, whom we reached in Mexico City.


CAMELIA LA TEJANA Duration: 00:00:59

Album:INTERNACIONALES PANTERAS DE NUEVO LEON/LOS TIGRES DEL NORTE

Label:DIMSA

Persons/Roles:
ISMAEL - COMPOSER
MARTINEZ - COMPOSER
LOS TIGRES DEL NORTE - PERFORMER

CASSANDRA'S WALTZ Duration: 00:00:22

Album:EDGAR MEYER & CHRIS THILE/EDGAR MEYER & CHRIS THILE

Label:NONESUCH

Persons/Roles:
EDGAR MEYER - COMPOSER
CHRIS THILE - COMPOSER
EDGAR MEYER - DOUBLE BASS
CHRIS THILE - MANDOLIN

INT VIENNEAU SISTER UPDATE Duration: 00:08:39

It's been nearly three years since Matthew Vienneau has heard anything from his sister, Nicole. She disappeared while travelling in Syria on March 31st, 2007. Since then, Matthew and his family have been desperately trying to find out what might have happened to his sister, whose full name is Jacqueline Nicole Vienneau.

When we first spoke to Matthew in 2007, he was in Syria searching for his sister, with assistance from Canadian officials. Now, though, more often than not, he feels that his family's efforts are being thwarted by bureaucrats in Canada -- in the name of "privacy".

We reached Matthew Vienneau in Toronto.


DISTRACTIONS Duration: 00:00:18

Album:ZERO 7: SIMPLE THINGS

Label:PALM PICTURES, QMG 5007-2

Persons/Roles:
HENRY BINNS - DESIGNER
S FURLER - DESIGNER
SAM HARDAKER - DESIGNER
ZERO 7 - ENS IN-V

CLIP: FOA: CHEESE ROLLING Duration: 00:04:04

There are few things more quintessentially British than chasing a wheel of Double-Gloucester cheese down a steep hill. And there are few things more quintessentially As It Happens than doing interviews about Brits chasing wheels of Double-Gloucester cheese down a steep hill.

But alas, those two great traditions appear to be coming to an end.

The Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling And Wake, which has been going on annually for some three hundred years, has been cancelled, because of safety concerns.

As it has gone on, and as As It Happens has talked about it, it has become more and more popular. Last year, fifteen thousand people showed up to chase, or watch people chase, a three-kilogram, thirty-centimetre-wide roll of cheese down a very steep hill.

That, police say, is more than three times as many people as the site, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, can handle. Roads leading to the site have become too congested, making it impossible for emergency vehicles to get out with the inevitably injured.

So unless organizers can find a way to make the cheese-rolling less popular, it won't be held again.

If that makes you sad -- because it certainly makes us sad -- try not to feel so blue. Principally, because Double Gloucester is a firm, almost brittle cheese that is nothing like a Stilton or other blue cheese. And because we've prepared this retrospective of our coverage over the years:


CLOSING

I'm not crying -- I just have some Parmesan in my eye. Garvia will help me get it out during the news, and then we'll be back with more As It Happens. When we return:

They unpaved parking lots, and put up paradise. The city of Detroit gets ready to turn disused land into farmland.

The grim repo. A new American report details the dangers of car repossession -- and it's not just repo people at risk.

It's sort of stodgy -- but tonight it'll be Stooge-y. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame prepares to induct one of the filthiest bands in music history.

Stay tuned. I'm CO.

And I'm GB.


RETURN BILLS Duration: 00:00:50

Hello again, I'm CO.

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

Coming up:

Overdue Bill: after three centuries, a scholar identifies a play called "Double Falsehood" as the work of William Shakespeare.

And when a dog swallows a three-carat gem, a jeweller has to wait for it to emerge -- giving new meaning to the phrase "Diamonds are forever."

Those stories are still to come on As It Happens.


INT DETROIT FARMING:JOURNO Duration: 00:09:50

The city of Detroit is in rough shape.

With the American auto industry in shambles, the Motor City isn't what it used to be. Back in the nineteen-fifties, when things were booming, the city was teeming with two million inhabitants. Today, the population has dipped below nine-hundred thousand. And keeping a large, relatively empty city running is expensive.

Which is why Mayor David Bing is taking some steps to downsize. Later this month, Mayor Bing will announce his strategy to shrink the city of Detroit, and that plan will include a transformation towards agriculture. Vacant lots will be converted to farmland.

Mark Dowie is an investigative historian. He spent some time in Detroit documenting the new urban landscape of that city for Guernica Magazine. We reached him at his home, in Point Reyes Station, California.


MASTER MAQUI Duration: 00:00:17

Album:11:11/RODRIGO Y GABRIELA

Label:ATO, ATO0080

Persons/Roles:
GABRIELA QUINTERO - COMPOSER
RODRIGO SANCHEZ - COMPOSER
ARDESHIR FARAH - GUITAR
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA - GUITAR DUO
RODRIGO SANCHEZ - PRODUCER
JORGE STRUNZ - GUITAR

INT SHAKESPEARE'S LOST PLAY Duration: 00:07:24

All right, Shakespeare scholars. Put your powdered wigs on, and tell me which of The Bard's plays this quotation comes from.

Nothing? Well, don't get your codpiece in a twist. The play featuring that speech hasn't been performed since the eighteenth century.

Scholar Lewis Theobald first billed the play "Double Falsehood" as an original Shakepeare play back in 1727. Unfortunately for Mr. Theobald, most of his contemporaries derided the play as a forgery -- not Shakespeare at all. But now, nearly three hundred years later, Nottingham University Professor Brean Hammond may well have exonerated Mr. Theobald. Professor Hammond has uncovered evidence that "Double Falsehood" is. in fact. a genuine Shakespeare piece. Well, mostly.

And as a result, respected Shakepeare publisher Arden is going to issue a fully annotated version of the play next week.

We reached Professor Brean Hammond earlier today at his office in Nottingham, England.


AIH PHONE CHECK Duration: 00:00:45

Now, when we record an interview, we usually leave some things on the cutting room floor. Carol often shares a little conversation with a guest before the interview starts, just to ensure the telephone line is acceptable. That usually elicits a generic response from our interviewees -- perhaps a count to ten, or a brief weather forecast.

Today, Professor Hammond gave us something a little different.


LION'S TEETH Duration: 00:00:16

Album:SINGER MUST DIE/PAGE, STEVEN

Label:PHEROMONE, PHER CD 1013

Persons/Roles:
JOHN DARNIELLE - COMPOSER
ART OF TIME ENSEMBLE - INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE
ANDREW BURASHKO - PIANO
ROBERT CARLI - CLARINET
ROBERT CARLI - SAXOPHONE
JONATHAN GOLDSMITH - PRODUCER
MARGARET JORDAN-GAY - CELLO
ELISSA LEE - VIOLIN
JIM MCGRATH - ARRANGER
STEVEN PAGE - VOCALS
JOSEPH PHILLIPS - DOUBLE BASS
ROB PILTCH - GUITAR

COPY: DIAMOND DOG Duration: 00:01:19

You know those days that, no matter what you do, just turn out to be a dog's breakfast?

Well, consider George Kaufmann. Last week, the Washington, D.C. jeweller was about to examine a beautiful, three-carat diamond. It had been brought into his shop by a dealer. But, as the dealer reached to show Kaufmann the $20,000 rock, it, unfortunately, got dropped.

And more unfortunately, it was dropped right next to the snout of Sollie, Kaufman's Golden Retriever.

Who, most unfortunately, promptly gobbled it up.

You can imagine the scene. A moment of shock, followed by panicked attempts to reach down poor Sollie's throat to recover the gem. But that proved unsuccessful; dogs, as anyone who has ever fed one knows, are not typically thoughtful gourmands who savour their food.

So a vet was called. And the vet said, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the only way to recover the valuable piece of kibble was to, um, let nature take its course -- and sift through the results.

Which meant Mr. Kaufmann couldn't let Sollie out of his sight. And be very thankful for the invention of latex gloves.

After due course, and a lot of careful examination, the diamond, we're pleased to say, was recovered. And polished. Thoroughly. And returned to a very grateful dealer.

All this, of course, merely demonstrates Mr. Kaufman's skill as a jeweller -- because as everyone knows, it takes a special talent to identify a diamond in the roughage.


DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND Duration: 00:00:59

Album:TWENTY TWENTY: THE ESSENTIAL T BONE BURNETT/BURNETT, T-BONE

Label:COLUMBIA, 82876 93670 2

Persons/Roles:
JOSEPH FIELDS - AUTHOR
ANITA LOOS - AUTHOR
LEO ROBIN - LYRICIST
JULE STYNE - COMPOSER
T-BONE BURNETT - PRODUCER
T-BONE BURNETT - VOCALS
REGGIE FISHER - PRODUCER

SEQ OBIT: DAVID AHENAKEW Duration: 00:02:21

With one hateful diatribe, David Ahenakew offended millions of people, and destroyed his reputation.

Mr. Ahenakew, a longtime aboriginal-rights activist, died on Friday night at the age of seventy-six, after a battle with cancer.

Mr. Ahenakew was a sergeant in the Canadian Forces, and a former Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He received an Order of Canada for his work. But that order was taken away. And the truth is, David Ahenakew is now best-remembered for his Anti-Semitic remarks in 2002, when he sympathized with Hitler and the Nazis' extermination of the Jews.

At a meeting that was supposed to be about health care for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Mr. Ahenakew decided to share stories of serving in Germany in the nineteen-fifties. And he also shared his opinion that Jews had started the Second World War.

Saskatoon Star Phoenix reporter James Parker challenged David Ahenakew on his views on the war -- and here is what the former Grand Chief said:

Mr. Ahenakew continued his anti-Semitic rant for several minutes. And by the time his rant was finished, so was his reputation. His remarks forced him to resign from his post as the chairman of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

In 2005, he was convicted of inciting hatred for those statements -- but that conviction was eventually overturned.

Before his infamous outburst, David Ahenakew had spent decades dedicating his life to advocating for the rights of First Nations people in Canada.

In 1985, Canada was on the verge of a new agreement on native self-government. Ottawa, seven provinces, Métis groups and non-status Indians approved an accord -- but Canada's status Indians did not support it, because it didn't go far enough, and it allowed the provincial governments to interfere with aboriginal sovereignty.

On April 3rd, 1985, As It Happens spoke with David Ahenakew, when he was the Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, opposing the agreement. Here's part of what he had to say, for the record.


AVA Duration: 00:00:15

Album:TRILOGI/FREDRIK

Label:THE KORA RECORDS

Persons/Roles:
FREDRICK - COMPOSER
FREDRICK - POP GROUP

AUTO REPO DEATHS Duration: 00:08:13

The lethargic United States' economy has actually enlivened certain industries. Among them, the repo industry.

There has been a spike in car repossessions, because people can't make their car payments. Many small dealers rely on repo companies to get their cars back from negligent owners. And a new report from the National Consumer Law Centre says that the repossessions can be hazardous to your health -- whether you're repossessing a car, having a car repossessed, or just standing around while a repossession occurs. Over the past three years, dozens of people have been injured, and six people killed, during repo jobs. The report says that states need to change their laws to offer both vendors and buyers more protection.

John Van Alst is the principal author of the report, and a lawyer for the National Consumer Law Centre. We reached him in Winchester, Massachusetts.


AUBERGE LE MOUTON NOIR Duration: 00:00:12

Album:WINTER HYMN COUNTRY HYMN SECRET HYMN/DO MAKE SAY THINK

Label:CONSTELLATION, CST025

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

S.O.D.: BAMBOO DANCE Duration: 00:01:49

You've got the graceful elegance of ballet. The complicated, sultry tango. The forbidden dance, which I'm scared to mention: the lambada. We have dances celebrating the belly, the chicken, and the line. And now, there's a dance that's just been officially recognized for its popularity -- even though it's been around for a long time. It's called "The Bamboo Dance" -- and on Friday, that dance made the Guinness Book of World Records.

In the state of Mizoram, in north-eastern India, ten thousand, three hundred and seventy-eight young dancers set the record for the "largest and longest bamboo dance". To give you an idea of what that looked like -- bamboo dancing is sort of like jump-rope.

Picture thousands of boys with long bamboo sticks, keeping them low to the ground and snapping them together as girls in sarongs jump in between the snapping bamboo sticks. The dancers maintain the beat extra-carefully, so their feet don't hit the bamboo, which is creating the rhythm.

Last Friday, the lines of dancers went on as far as the eye could see, performing the dance in unison for eight minutes. And tens of thousands of spectators from around the region came to watch the spectacle.

Those rhythmic bamboo sticks are our Sound Of the Day.


TAKE ME HOME Duration: 00:00:17

Album:GOOD LIFE GOOD LIVING/MADAGASCAR SLIM

Label:CUSTOM, MS0901

Persons/Roles:
MADAGASCAR SLIM - COMPOSER
MADAGASCAR SLIM - GUITAR
MADAGASCAR SLIM - PRODUCER
MADAGASCAR SLIM - VOCALS

ARCTIC REINDEER Duration: 00:06:32

After springing forward for daylight saving time, many of us are falling back. Turns out missing an hour of sleep can really...um...wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah: a lot of us are finding our body clocks have been thrown way out of whack by the time change.

Well, Arctic reindeer may not understand the clocks going forward. But you might guess that their body clocks are a real mess, from living in a land of such extremes. Bright half the year, dark the other half -- you'd think it would wear on them. Well, it doesn't. According to new research, Arctic reindeer may have actually managed to turn off their natural body clocks. Which allows them to rock and roll all night and party every day --or at least join in all the reindeer games, without the aid of a triple espresso.

Professor Andrew Louden is a professor of Animal Biology with the University of Manchester in England.


DAKONCERTO Duration: 00:00:20

Album:UNFINISHED SYMPHONY/DAKAH HIP HOP ORCHESTRA

Label:KUFALA

Persons/Roles:
GEOFFREY GALLEGOS - COMPOSER
DAKAH HIP HOP ORCHESTRA - PERFORMER

OBIT: PETER GRAVES Duration: 00:01:13

He was a spy in Stalag 17, Agent Phelps in Mission: Impossible, and the voice of Biography. And in one role, he played off his reputation as a straight man to portray a truly bizarre pilot.

Film and television actor Peter Graves has died at the age of eighty-three.

Mr. Graves starred in more than seventy films and television series. With his rugged look and calm demeanour, he was normally cast as the wholesome good guy. But he was not afraid to stretch out of that typical role and spoof his own image, as he famously demonstrated when he took on the role of a pilot in the 1980 comedy Airplane!

When he first read the script for the disaster spoof, with his character making jokes about Turkish prisons, Mr. Graves was concerned that the role might cause his career to self-destruct, and turned down the part. But he did agree to meet with the filmmakers, who explained their idea to have an actor of his stature and dignity to play the comic role absolutely straight -- a request they also made of Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Nielsen, and Robert Stack. That idea appealed to Peter Graves and he took a chance and jumped in the pilot's seat.

Here's Peter Graves as Captain Clarence Oveur, along with his co-pilots Roger and Victor. And you may remember those names leading to a bit of confusion in the cockpit...


PHENOMENA Duration: 00:00:22

Album:FUZZBOX/THE SECTION QUARTET

Label:DECCA

Persons/Roles:
BRIAN CHASE - COMPOSER
KAREN ORZOLEK - COMPOSER
NICK ZINNER - COMPOSER
THE SECTION QUARTET - STRING QUARTET

SC/MUSIC: STOOGES HALL OF FAME Duration: 00:02:08

It doesn't seem to matter how transgressive, hostile, or disgusting you are in your youth -- at some point, you want some recognition from the establishment. Here's one example: in 1975, John Lydon was approached to join the Sex Pistols, because he was wearing a T-shirt that read, "I Hate Pink Floyd". He became Johnny Rotten, one of the most anti-social, angry figures in punk rock. Now, in the twenty-first century, he's appeared on a reality show called "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!", and in TV commercials for Country Life butter. And in a recent interview, he admitted that he loves Pink Floyd. Especially Dark Side of the Moon. "Dave Gilmour I've met a few times," John Lydon said, "and he's an all-right bloke."

Here's another example: in the late 'sixties and early 'seventies, no band was more anti-social than The Stooges. And what made them especially compelling was that their jerkishness seemed to be only partly a gimmick -- and mainly a reflection of their genuine contempt for everyone.

The Stooges' singer, Iggy Pop, was a weird combination of Jim Morrison, an oversexed Komodo dragon, and Satan. In 1973, Iggy and The Stooges performed at a club called "Max's Kansas City" in New York. After a while, the stage was littered with broken glass -- so Iggy threw himself down on it. Over and over again. And, despite the ensuing gore, he refused to stop the show. After performing a full concert, the singer graciously allowed Alice Cooper to take him to the emergency room. And on his way out, the only thing he had to say to the crowd was, "Is there a professional photographer in the house?"

Well, that was then, and this is now. Tonight, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, there will be a slew of professional photographers in the house, and no broken glass whatsoever. And among tonight's inductees -- who include The Hollies, Jimmy Cliff, Genesis and ABBA -- are the Stooges.

They'll be represented by the two members of the band who are still alive: Iggy Pop and drummer Scott Asheton. And if it seems bizarre that members of one of the loudest, nastiest rock bands ever will be celebrated at the same ceremony as the group that sang "Chiquitita" -- well, that's just what happens. Sooner or later, you stop searching and destroying, and start accepting and thanking.


SEARCH AND DESTROY Duration: 00:01:34

Album:RAW POWER/IGGY AND THE STOOGES

Label:COLUMBIA, CK 32111

Persons/Roles:
IGGY POP - COMPOSER
JAMES WILLIAMSON - COMPOSER
IGGY AND THE STOOGES - POP GROUP
IGGY POP - PRODUCER
IGGY POP - VOCALS
STOOGES - POP GROUP


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