After four grueling weeks, a family in Moncton, New Brunswick is
finally together again. And it's a reunion that is still sinking in.
This week, we've been telling you the story of a fifty-four-year-old
mother who was allegedly kidnapped on February 26th. The RCMP say she
was held in a basement apartment before escaping on Wednesday, when she
flagged down a driver who passed her on the road.
Since her escape on Wednesday, Romeo Jacques Cormier, a
sixty-two-year-old man who lives in the rooming house where the woman
was being held, is facing a number of charges. They include kidnapping,
unlawful confinement, stealing money using violence, assault using a
knife, uttering a death threat and sexual assault.
We cannot broadcast the name of the kidnapped mother or any of the
members of her family because we are prohibited by a court order.
Today, As It Happens reached two of the daughters of the alleged victim. They're both in Moncton.
It's being called a landmark treaty, but the leftover weapons could still leave some pretty big land marks of their own.
Today, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart,
Dmitry Medvedev, agreed to the terms of a new deal aimed at preventing
nuclear weapon proliferation. Over the next ten years, each has agreed
to reduce its number of nuclear weapons from two thousand, two hundred
to one thousand, five-hundred-and-fifty.
If approved by Congress and the Russian Duma, the new agreement would
form part of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, next month
Robert Norris has been studying the proliferation of nuclear warheads
for several decades. He's a senior research associate with the Natural
Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C.
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As the host of an Edmonton morning radio show, Dylan Wowchuk makes his
living capturing people's attention. But now he can add a new skill to
his resume: capturing peafowl.
For most of the past week, a fugitive peahen -- which is a female
peacock, F.Y.I. -- made headlines as it eluded capture by the city's
animal control officers. Until yesterday, that is, when Mr. Wowchuk and a
colleague decided that catching the wild bird was clearly a job for a
mild-mannered radio DJ, and his trusty intern.
We reached Dylan Wowchuk in Edmonton.
Marcia Ramirez is a long way from her home, high in the Andean
mountains of Ecuador. But defending that home is precisely what has
brought her here to Toronto.
Ms. Ramirez and two of her fellow villagers are suing Copper Mesa
Mining Corporation, a Canadian company with plans to excavate in the
Intag region where they live. They are also suing the Toronto Stock
Exchange, as a financier of the mining company. The villagers claim that
Copper Mesa has resorted to intimidation and violence in its efforts to
develop an open-pit mine near their community.
Marcia Ramirez joined us in our studio, and spoke with Robert through
interpreter Carlos Zorrilla, who also lives in the Intag region. To save
time, we have removed his original translation.
When it comes to the Poincaré Conjecture, most of us don't even
understand the question. Which isn't surprising, since it's a math
riddle that's eluded the brightest minds for decades. But, after
ninety-nine years, a Russian genius finally found the answer.
For his trouble, the Clay Mathematics Institute recently awarded
Grigory Perelman a prize worth a million dollars. What remains
unanswered now is whether Mr. Perelman will accept the money. The
Russian mathematician has a reputation as an eccentric recluse -- and he
has already turned down the world's most prestigious math award, the
We reached the head of the Clay Mathematics Institute, Jim Carlson, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In 1917, a guy bought a urinal. He put someone else's name on it, and
submitted it to an art exhibition. It was never shown. And then it
The guy was artist Marcel Duchamp. He was messing with artistic
conventions by putting his name on things that, first of all, weren't
aesthetically pleasing, and second, he didn't make. He called these
things "readymades". They included a piece he called "Bicycle Wheel",
which was a bicycle wheel mounted on a stool, and a piece entitled "In
Advance of the Broken Arm", which was a snow shovel. But the urinal,
which he called "Fountain", was really out there: he bought it from a
New York iron works, and he didn't even sign it with his own name.
Instead, he signed it "R. Mutt", and submitted it to some peers for
exhibition. They didn't get it, so they didn't show it. Monsieur Duchamp
He later defended
"Fountain", writing that it wasn't important that Mr. Mutt didn't make
the urinal: he chose it. And in choosing it, Monsieur Duchamp argued, he
"created a new thought for that object."
Thirty or so years later, everyone decided Marcel Duchamp was right,
and a genius, and everyone wanted to own their own genius art urinal.
Except the original "Fountain" was gone. So in the 'fifties, Mr. Duchamp
told several curators it would be okay to just buy some urinals, and he
would put his name on them. And then, in the 'sixties, he teamed up
with a guy named Arturo Schwarz, to actually replicate "Fountain".
Twelve copies were made from one prototype -- so there were thirteen in
Marcel Duchamp died four years later, possibly smothered by layers of
meaning. This is where things get really confusing, and contentious.
Because it seems that the authenticity of the replicas of the artwork
created to challenge traditional notions of authenticity is in doubt.
It seems that Arturo Schwarz made some extra copies of the
urinal, that no one knew about. Three of these replicas are in private
collections. And Mr. Schwarz is offering one of them for sale --
reputedly at the price of two-point-five million dollars.
The Duchamp estate, and Duchamp experts, have a wee problem with these
newly discovered replicas. They say these "Fountains" are unauthorized,
and therefore not the artist's work at all. So, either they're real
pieces of Dadaist art -- or a bunch of rich people paid hundreds of
thousands of dollars for urinals they can't even pee in. Or both. So
Marcel Duchamp was a genius. And Arturo Schwarz is currently engaged in
stall tactics, of one kind or another.
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Last week, British voters weren't happy with their MPs. This week, they're positively furious.
Last week, people were still fuming about last year's expenses
scandal. And now, as we reported on Tuesday, the British electorate is
coming to terms with a whole new mess. In a documentary aired on Channel
4, several senior MPs stating that they would happily lobby the
government on behalf of American companies, if the price was right --
that price being around seven-and-a-half thousand dollars a day. Three
former government ministers were suspended from the Labour party as a
result of the sting.
Today, in an interview with the BBC, one of those ministers, Geoff
Hoon, tried to explain his actions. He admitted, "I certainly got it
wrong. I should've known better."
Here is an excerpt of former British Defence Minister Geoff Hoon
speaking with James Naughtie, host of the BBC radio program "Today".
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From 1989 to 2003, Liberians suffered through two brutal civil wars.
Hundreds of thousands were killed, and atrocities including mass
killings, rape, cannibalism, and the use of child soldiers were
But seven years later, very few people have been called to account for
their crimes. The country established a truth and reconciliation
commission, which recommended that some of the worst offenders be
prosecuted. And the former president, Charles Taylor, who led the rebel
group known as the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, is currently on
trial at the Hague for war crimes. But most of the rebel leaders have
managed to slip quietly back into society. And at least one has found
his refuge here in Canada.
This week, Maclean's Magazine published a story about Bill Horace -- a
former general in Charles Taylor's N-P-F-L army. Bill Horace currently
lives in Toronto. But as Maclean's discovered, many in Liberia have
stories to tell about the role that Bill Horace played during Liberia's
civil war. And most of those stories are horrific.
Michael Petrou is a journalist with Maclean's Magazine, and the author of the story on Bill Horace. We reached him in Ottawa.
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She was forced to flee her homeland in 1986, with barely enough time
to pack her things. Three years later, her husband died. Then, five
years after her hasty departure, she was finally able to return home.
Since then, she's faced some nine hundred accusations in civil and
criminal court. Despite all that, she's never spent a day in jail.
But the thing she's most notorious for is her shoes.
Now, Imelda Marcos wants to be known as an elected official.
Today, the former First Lady of the Philippines began her official
campaign for a congressional seat ,with a trip to her husband
Ferdinand's tomb in the country's north. She vowed to have the former
despot's body moved to the national heroes' cemetery in Manila. After,
of course, clearing his name of all those accusations of corruption and
human-rights abuses that took place under his two decades of martial
Ms. Marcos also argued that she is ready to represent the people,
despite her age and her poor health. As she put it: "It's true I'm
eighty years old, but I can run and be a grandmother who can love and
embrace the people more than a mother can."
Perhaps she means more than she did when she was just a mother, and not yet a grandmother.
From our archives, here's part of an interview that aired on As It
Happens not long after the Marcoses fled the country. Guest host Susan
Reisler spoke with Bing Rojas, one of three people taking inventory at
the former presidential palace, on March 10th, 1986.
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The Royal Society of Chemistry in the U.K. is on the hunt. Not for a
new element, or some new chemical composition? or even for new novel
polymerization catalysts and hydride clusters from rare-earth metal
dialkyls. The Royal Society is searching for an elusive artist.
The Society is offering a hundred-and-seventeen pounds to anyone who
can put them in contact with Ben Wilson -- an artist who is getting a
lot of attention for the pictures he paints on discarded chewing gum.
The significance of the hundred-and-seventeen pound reward is that they
want Mr. Wilson to paint miniature depictions of every one of the
one-hundred-and-seventeen elements in the periodic table. On gum.
The idea is the brainchild of Society member Brian Emsley. We reached him at his home in Knebworth, England.
Time now for "Let's Make A Insert-curse-word-here Deal".
When you work in radio, you know that every microphone is an open
microphone. And as many of you may already know, American
Vice-President Joe Biden has trouble remembering that advice. As U.S.
President Barack Obama prepared to sign the health care reform bill
earlier this week, Mr. Biden issued a careless whisper, in front of the
open microphones, that "this is a big (throat clear) deal." And once
somebody cranked up the volume on that careless whisper -- well,
everyone is making a meal out of that big deal.
Soon after the event, press secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted "yes Mr.
Vice President, you're right." A New York Daily News front page headline
called it "The Curse of Joe Biden". And almost overnight, buttons and
T-shirts were available for sale.
But while there was some tut-tutting, others thought the whole
fuddle-duddle might be a good thing. In Mr. Biden's home state of
Delaware, a radio commentator remarked, "Did blue-collar Joe just make
an intricate healthcare reform package more accessible to the average
Joe?" It's just possible -- and they didn't even need to call in a
plumber. Further to that, Mr. Biden told supporters at a fundraiser that
President Obama had said the best thing about the bill-signing was
"Joe's comment". And it wasn't taken too seriously in Washington, where
the best one-liner went: "FDR had the New Deal. Truman had the Fair
Deal. Now Joe Biden gives us the big (throat clear) deal."
But not everyone was amused. McKay Hatch, a teenager who persuaded the
California assembly to approve a No Cussing resolution earlier this
month, held a press conference today, and asked the vice president to
apologize for his profanity.
Perhaps Mr. Hatch needs to watch an episode of "Schoolhouse Rock" to
remind him just how big a deal it is to get a bill passed. The
educational short films ran during American children's programming in
the 'seventies, to help teach kids about everything from the function of
conjunctions to legislative process. In that spirit, from "Jimmy Kimmel
Live", here's an updated version of Schoolhouse Rock's 1975 episode
"I'm Just A Bill" -- done à la Joe Biden. This one is not really for the
schoolhouse set. But don't worry -- it's really no big deal.