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April 26, 2010

Tonight:

A new prognosis. After seven years in prison for a crime she didn't commit, a Dutch nurse tells us about her ordeal, her present, and her future.

They won't look a grift horse in the mouth. Confusion about American health-care reform gives scam artists plenty of room to operate.

Wanted, in more ways than one. The International Criminal Court has a warrant for Omar al-Bashir's arrest -- but the people of Sudan still voted him President.

Sofa, so bad. After a chemical puts the "ouch" in couch, burned British consumers win a whopping settlement in court.

Frost bitten. When he sets out to visit the graves of the best dead American poets, a living American poet takes the roads less traveled by -- and hopes it make all the difference.

And...apparently, even people who remember history are doomed to repeat it. A British expert on Russian history is exposed for his Soviet-style tactics, after he writes anonymous, scathing reviews of his colleagues' work.

As It Happens, the Monday edition. Radio that assumes he's now questioning his "Nyet" worth.



DUTCH NURSE EXONERATED Duration: 00:07:43

Guilty, guilty and guilty.

That was the ruling from three courts in The Netherlands in the case of Lucia de Berk. But many years later, there's an epilogue, and a new verdict: not guilty.

In 2003, a court in The Hague sentenced the Dutch nurse to life in prison for murdering patients. Ms. de Berk spent seven years in jail -- but she has her freedom now.

We reached her at her home in The Hague.


(SOMETHING'S GOING DOWN ON) ZAVADOVSKI ISLAND Duration: 00:00:08

Album: KNEE DEEP IN THE NORTH SEA/PORTICO QUARTET

Label: VORTEX

Persons/Roles:
PORTICO QUARTET - COMPOSER
PORTICO QUARTET - JAZZ GROUP

SUDAN ELECTIONS Duration: 00:07:05

Sudan's President, Omar al-Bashir, is the only sitting head of state indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. But that didn't prevent him from winning his country's first multi-party elections in twenty-four years.

Sudan's Election Commission announced today that President Bashir had won his first election since taking power in a military coup in 1989. In the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan, the former rebel leader Salva Kiir was also re-elected president.

These were the first elections since a 2005 peace agreement between the north and the south brought an end to more than two decades of civil war. Next up is a referendum on southern independence, scheduled for next January.

Fabienne Hara is a vice-president with the International Crisis Group think tank. We reached her via Skype in New York City.


DRUMHELLER Duration: 00:00:17

Album: CARIBOU: THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS

Label: DOMINO, DNO 050CD

Persons/Roles:
DANIEL SNAITH - COMPOSER
CARIBOU - ENS INSTR

OBIT: ALAN SILLITOE Duration: 00:03:50

His was not a romantic view of post-war Britain. Come to think of it, his was not a romantic view of pre-War Britain.

Alan Sillitoe rose to fame by writing about what he knew best -- the poor and disillusioned people of England. His two most famous books -- "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, " and the "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" -- forever linked him to the group of writers known as the "Angry Young Men. " Together with John Osborne, Kingsley Amis and John Braine, among others, Mr. Sillitoe is credited with revolutionizing British fiction in the 1950's.

Alan Sillitoe died yesterday in London. He was eighty-two.

He was born in Nottingham to an abusive and often unemployed father, and grew up during the Great Depression. His mother sometimes worked as a prostitute in an effort to feed her family.

When he was fourteen, Mr. Sillitoe left home to work at the local Raleigh bicycle factory. Perhaps as a result, transcendent bike rides were a theme carried throughout his novels. And the factory was also the place he first learned about socialism -- because he worked for the first time as part of a trade union.

At sixteen, he joined the RAF and worked as a wireless operator in what is now Malasyia. He'd planned to join the Royal Canadian Air Force, but was diagnosed with tuberculosis. And it was in his recovery from TB that he became a writer.

While still recovering, Alan Sillitoe lived in Mallorca. There he met Robert Graves, who told him to write about what he knew best. To our good forture, it was advice Mr. Sillitoe followed, writing about grim working-class life and rebellion against authority.

In 1982, Sillitoe was interviewed about politics and literature for the CBC Radio program "Ideas". Here he is, talking about his rise from the working class, for the record.


CLUMSY COUPLE Duration: 00:00:30

Album: THE NEIL COWLEY TRIO: LOUD LOUDER STOP

Label: CANDID, CACD78551

Persons/Roles:
NEIL COWLEY - COMPOSER
NEIL COWLEY - PIANO
EVAN JENKINS - DRUMS
NEIL COWLEY TRIO - ENS INSTR
RICHARD SADLER - CONTRABASS

WHEELCHAIR MARATHON WINNER Duration: 00:05:35

Nobody expected Josh Cassidy to cross the finish line first.

This weekend, Mr. Cassidy of Oakville, Ontario won the London Wheelchair Marathon -- beating out the world record-holder, and overcoming some serious bumps along the way. It was Mr. Cassidy's biggest title ever.

We reached him in Oakville.


CLOSING

That music means we're just about to step aside for the news. But we'll be back in mere moments with more As It Happens. And when we return:

Health care reform has its pros -- and cons. A new breed of American scammers preys on people's uncertainty about the changes to medical coverage.

An extremely sticky wicket. The bats are out for the head of an Indian cricket league, who's been up to no good -- and tweeting about it.

Because she could not stop for Death, Walter Skold will stop for her. An American poet plans to visit the graves of every major deceased American poet -- including Emily Dickinson.

We'll be back. I'm CO.

And I'm BB.


OBAMACARE SCAM Duration: 00:06:38

There have been rancourous debates, complicated timelines, and a general lack of information available about American President Barack Obama's new national health insurance program. All of which has made it very easy for scam artists to take advantage of public uncertainty around the reforms. And take advantage, they have.

Kim Holland is the Oklahoma state insurance commissioner and the co-chair of the Anti-Fraud Task Force for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. She's in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


L.A. FREE HEALTH CLINIC Duration: 00:05:43

As that story shows, there are still many people who aren't covered by the American health care system. This week, RAM -- the Remote Area Medical organization -- is providing a free seven-day clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena for those who can't afford health insurance, or have plans that don't cover the procedures they need.

Don Manelli is the organizer of the clinic. We reached him on his mobile phone in the heart of the Los Angeles Sports Arena.


S***, S***, S*** Duration: 00:00:45

Album: OCEAN'S THIRTEEN, MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE

Label: WARNER, 2 147964

Persons/Roles:
DAVID HOLMES - COMPOSER

FTR: NFLD AIR AMBULANCE Duration: 00:02:54

Newfoundland and Labrador's premier, Danny Williams, has the highest popularity ratings of any provincial leader. But some cracks are starting to show in that popularity.

People from the Great Northern Peninsula, more than a thousand kilometres from St. John's, drove into the capital today to protest the province's plans to move an air ambulance from the northern peninsula to Labrador. Labrador currently has no air ambulance.

Access to health care is an emotional issue for people in remote rural communities, as you'll hear. Here are some of the voices of those who protested in the province's legislature today, for the record.


ELEVEN, TWELVE AND THIRTEEN Duration: 00:00:28

Album: OCEAN'S THIRTEEN, MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE

Label: WARNER, 2 147964

Persons/Roles:
DAVID HOLMES - COMPOSER

SC/MUSIC: PLANTING BAD REVIEWS Duration: 00:03:00

The career of one British historian is in critical condition -- because of his critical condition.

The historian is named Orlando Figes. He's the author of several critically celebrated books about Russian history, including "The People's Tragedy", "Natasha's Dance", and "The Whisperers". Furthermore, his works have garnered praise on the bookselling website Amazon, where "The Whisperers" was described as "a rich and deeply moving history, which leaves the reader awed, humbled, yet uplifted." That same review concluded, "I hope he writes for ever."

That review was posted by someone with the username "Historian". But "Historian" was no pushover when it came to other books on Russian history. On the Amazon site, he or she called "Comrades" by Robert Service "an awful book." And of a book called "Molotov's Magic Lantern", by Rachel Polonsky, "Historian" wrote: "This is the sort of book that makes you wonder why it was ever published."

Well, that was the sort of review that made Rachel Polonsky wonder who might have written it. So she did a little research and found that Amazon user "Historian" had trashed several writers of Russian history -- and spared only Orlando Figes' work.

So she clicked on "Historian"'s online profile, and found that "Historian" had also posted under the name "orlando-birkbeck". You know how people are always warning you about lame passwords and usernames? This is what they're talking about.

Because Orlando Figes is a professor of history at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Rachel Polonsky contacted Robert Service -- another recipient of a bad review by "Historian". Mr. Service was livid, and sent an email to a group of other historians, exposing Mr. Figes. Thus exposed, Mr. Figes apologized and admitted he was a creep.

Just kidding. What he actually did was have his lawyer threaten legal action. Then he changed all his usernames and pleaded ignorance. And then he announced that his wife had written the reviews.

And now, a week after the kerfuffle began, Orlando Figes has admitted that in fact he wrote all the negative reviews himself. In a statement released to the Daily Mail, he wrote, "I have made some foolish errors and apologize wholeheartedly to all concerned." He specifically apologized to Mr. Service, Ms. Polonsky, and his wife. And now, according to the University of London, he's on sick leave.

And presumably, his future -- like his past -- is under review.


DAMN ALL THOSE CRITICS Duration: 00:02:45

Album: GOODNIGHT YOUNG NOVELIST/GRAYDON JAMES

Label: CUSTOM

Persons/Roles:
GRAYDON JAMES - COMPOSER
GRAYDON JAMES - POP GROUP
GRAYDON JAMES - PRODUCER
GRAYDON JAMES - VOCALS
LAURA SPINK - PRODUCER

PTSD HOUSE Duration: 00:06:47

A home away from home.

That's the idea behind Honour House -- a place for veterans to stay along with their families while they're getting treatment, whether physical or psychological. And while providing this kind of transition between the trauma of battle and everyday life might seem precisely the sort of thing the military might provide its veterans, it isn't. Honour House is just one of a growing number of civilian initiatives of this kind.

Allan De Genova is the civilian behind the organization. He's the founder and President of Honour House, and we reached him at his office in Vancouver.


FACE THE FUTURE Duration: 00:00:18

Album: WOLF MYER ORCHESTRA/FEMME FATALE

Label: ETAGE

Persons/Roles:
MARCUS FUREDER - COMPOSER
GABRIELLA HANNINEN - COMPOSER
WOLF MYER - COMPOSER
WOLF MYER ORCHESTRA - JAZZ GROUP

CRICKET SCANDAL Duration: 00:06:52

Bribes, corruption, movie stars, politicians and Twitter. As if those five things aren't compelling enough on their own, they're all elements of a major corruption scandal in India.

Lalit Modi, the chairman of a cricket league called the "Indian Premiere League" -- or "IPL" -- is being accused of rigging team auctions, and all sorts of other inappropriate behaviour. Mr. Modi is denying the accusations. But over the past two weeks, there have been several revelations of his unethical behaviour, and that of other members of the IPL.

It's a complicated story with lots of players - kinda like cricket. So we called up Faraz Sarwat, a columnist for the Toronto Star, and the author of "The Cricket World Cup: History, Highlights, Facts and Figures". He's in Toronto.


HOORAY! HOORAY! HOORAY! Duration: 00:00:23

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

TOXIC SOFAS Duration: 00:07:10

It was a choice in decor that turned out to be hazardous to the health of many people in Great Britain.

Leather couches, manufactured in China, with a toxic chemical in them have caused severe chemical burns to a number of furniture buyers. Now more than two-thousand victims of those toxic sofas will receive combined payments totalling up to thirty million dollars Canadian -- in one of the largest consumer-group litigations in British legal history.

Richard Langton is a Lawyer and Managing Partner of Russell Jones & Walker. He's in Birmingham.


LOOK WHAT LOVE HAS TURNED US INTO Duration: 00:03:53

Album: NOTES TO AN ABSENT LOVER/BARZIN

Label: MONOTREME, MONO-35

Persons/Roles:
BARZIN - COMPOSER
BARZIN - VOCALS

DEAD POETS MOBILE Duration: 00:06:17

Walter Skold has promises to keep. And miles to go before he sleeps. He won't rest until he's paid a visit to several old mentors, who've been resting for some time now.

Mr. Skold is a poet. And the founder of Dead Poets' Society of America. He wants to establish a Dead Poets' Remembrance Day. So on Friday, to raise awareness for the cause, Walter Skold embarked on a journey across the United States -- during which he intends to visit the graves of America's greatest dead poets. And it's no coincidence he chose to begin the trip on the day England's greatest bard, William Shakespeare, died.

We reached Mr. Skold en route, on his cellphone, in his Poemobile.


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