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March 26, 2010

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INT MONCTON DAUGHTERS Duration: 00:01:10

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.


US- RUSSIA NUKE TREATY Duration: 00:00:57

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 in Prague.

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.


DIVERTISSEMENTS FOR PERFORMING BEARS Duration: 00:00:32

Album:PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT/PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT

Label:KILL ROCK STARS

Persons/Roles:
COURTNEY VON DREHLE - COMPOSER
3 LEG TORSO - ENSEMBLE
PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT - ENSEMBLE

PEAHEN CAPTURED Duration: 00:00:40

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.


ECUADOR MINE TRIAL Duration: 00:00:55

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.


MATH GENIUS Duration: 00:00:52

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 Fields Medal.

We reached the head of the Clay Mathematics Institute, Jim Carlson, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


SC/MUSIC: URINAL ART Duration: 00:03:08

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 disappeared.

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 was furious.

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 all.

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.


STALL TACTICS Duration: 00:03:44

Album:THE TWO-MINUTE MIRACLES - VOLUME III: THE SILENCE

Label:TEENAGEUSA, TEEN3032-2

Persons/Roles:
TWO-MINUTE MIRACLES - COMPOSER
TWO-MINUTE MIRACLES - WRITER
TWO-MINUTE MIRACLES - ENS IN-V

TARANA Duration: 00:08:06

Album:ALCHEMY/TASA

Label:CUSTOM, TASA004

Persons/Roles:
SHEKHAR SEN - COMPOSER
CHRIS GARTNER - PRODUCER
SAMIDHA JOGLEKAR - VOCALS
RAVI NAIMPALLY - PRODUCER
TASA - FOLK GROUP

FTR: MPS FOR HIRE Duration: 00:01:07

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".


BLUE BASS Duration: 00:00:13

Album:ROLLING/REST AREA

Label:SELECT, JAJCD 817

Persons/Roles:
PATRICK DUBUC - COMPOSER
PATRICK DUBUC - PRODUCER
REST AREA - INSTRUMENTAL

LIBERIAN REBEL LEADER Duration: 00:01:27

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 widespread.

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.


RIDE 'EM HIGH Duration: 00:00:28

Album:GREAT UNCLES OF THE REVOLUTION: STAND UP!

Label:BLACK HEN, BHCD 10262

Persons/Roles:
ANDREW DOWNING - COMPOSER
GREAT UNCLES OF THE REVOLUTION - ENS INSTR

FOA: IMELDA MARCOS SENATE Duration: 00:01:49

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 law.

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.


POWERS OF FIVE Duration: 00:00:27

Album:PLACE BETWEEN PLACES/HAYDN, LILI

Label:NETTWERK, 0 6700 30788 2 5

Persons/Roles:
LILI HAYDN - COMPOSER
LILI HAYDN - VIOLIN
LILI HAYDN - VOCALS
ADAM MACDOUGALL - ORGAN
MANOSE - FLUTE

GUM DRAWINGS Duration: 00:00:58

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.


SEQ JOE BIDEN'S CUSSING Duration: 00:02:30

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.


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