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May 12, 2010

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The non-pardoner's tale. The Minister of Public Safety explains why he's proposing to make criminal pardons a thing of the past.

A tale of two prisons. For prisoners at a secret, second detention facility on Bagram air base, it is always the worst of times.

Absence does not make the court grow fonder. Iran sentences journalist Maziar Bahari to thirteen years in jail -- so it's a good thing he's in England.

Arsenic and old race. The legendary Australian thoroughbred Phar Lap died suddenly after a victory in Mexico -- and now, scientists know why.

Thar she almost blows. When a Scottish fisherman hauls in a live Second World War mine with his catch, there's a pretty significant catch.

And...hot on their heels. A footwear-coveting fox is once again stealing shoes in Germany -- and his victims are feeling the agony of de feet.

As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that knows there are no atheists in a foxhole -- but there's at least one fetishist.


FTR: GRAHAM JAMES Duration: 00:01:48

He's been the subject of a lot of discussion, but he hasn't spoken publicly in years. But even while holding his peace, Graham James sparked new outrage in many Canadians last month, when it was revealed that he'd been quietly pardoned in 2007.

Back in 1997, the former hockey coach pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two of his teenaged players, including ex-NHL-er Sheldon Kennedy. And earlier this year, former pro Theo Fleury alleged that he, too, had been sexually assaulted by Mr. James.

Tonight, in a joint CBC/Globe and Mail investigation, "The National" will air a documentary that includes a short interaction with Graham James, who now lives and works in Mexico. Here's some of that conversation, for the record.


PARDONS - VIC TOEWS Duration: 00:07:40

In April, when it was revealed that Mr. James had received a pardon, there was a public outcry for changes to Canada's pardon legislation.

Vic Toews is the Minister of Public Safety, and yesterday he tabled the bill outlining his proposed changes. We reached Minister Toews in Ottawa.


SOULGATE Duration: 00:00:20

Album:WOLF MYER ORCHESTRA/FEMME FATALE

Label:ETAGE

Persons/Roles:
MARCUS FUREDER - COMPOSER
EVA KLAMPFER - COMPOSER
WOLF MYER - COMPOSER
WOLF MYER ORCHESTRA - JAZZ GROUP

MAZIAR BAHARI Duration: 00:09:19

If he were in Iran, he'd be receiving seventy-four lashes before being sent to prison for thirteen years.

Fortunately, Maziar Bahari is in England. The Canadian-Iranian reporter for "Newsweek" has now been sentenced in absentia, for his reporting on the protests that followed the Iranian elections. After four months in the notorious Evin prison, Mr. Bahari was released on bail, and allowed to leave Iran to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter in England. And that's where he has remained ever since.

We reached Mr. Bahari in London.


YARA, FILM MUSIC: SUITE/IMMINENT JOURNEY Duration: 00:00:13

Album:YARA

Label:ENJA, ENJ 9360

Persons/Roles:
RABIH ABOU-KHALIL - COMPOSER
VINCENT COURTOIS - CELLO
DOMINIQUE PIFARELY - VIOLIN
NABIL KHAIAT - DRUMS
RABIH ABOU-KHALIL - OUD
RABIH ABOU-KHALIL - PRODUCER
WALTER QUINTUS - PRODUCER

FISHERMAN LIVE MINE Duration: 00:06:37

Some people are very different from me. For example, unlike Andrew Innes, I am not a prawn fisherman from Shandwick in Scotland. But that's just a minor difference. The major difference between me and Andrew Innes is that, if I caught a live World War Two mine in my night, I would definitely not dismantle it.

Mr. Innes did. And then police evacuated the village of Shandwick.

We reached Andrew Innes at home.


CLOSING WEDNESDAY Duration: 00:00:37

That music means we're about to take a break from As It Happens so you can hear the latest news. But we'll be back in just a few minutes with more -- including these stories:

A "black site" comes to light. The American government said it was cleaning up a prison at an Afghanistan air base -- but now its dirty secret is exposed.

They're not even leaving enough sand to draw a line in. Singaporean officials are importing tonnes of sand from other countries -- and it's eroding more than international relations.

Kelpful and helpless. It seems that seaweed isn't just the result of coral destruction -- it's actually responsible for it.

Stay tuned. I'm CO.

And I'm DJ.


RETURN WEDNESDAY Duration: 00:00:21

Hello again, I'm CO.

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

Coming up:

Taking a grain check: Singapore is importing sand to expand its girth -- but it's getting fat at the expense of the environment.

And residents of Föhren, Germany, beware: a thief is after your shoes -- so long as they bring out the orangey-brown in her fur.

Those stories are still to come on As It Happens.


BAGRAM TORTURE JAIL Duration: 00:07:10

For many Afghans, the name "Bagram" has become synonymous with abuse. The U-S airbase at Bagram, Afghanistan was the site of a jail notorious for allegations of prisoner torture. After those reports emerged, the United States government promised changes. And last year, the American military opened a new detention facility at the base. But that hasn't put an end to the allegations of abuse. A BBC investigation has heard new stories of torture from prisoners who say they were held at a separate, so-called "black jail".

Hilary Andersson is the BBC reporter who has been investigating the detention facilities at Bagram Airbase.


YALA Duration: 00:00:17

Album:AWARDS FOR WORLD MUSIC 2004

Label:UNION SQUARE, MANTDCD223

Persons/Roles:
OUMOU SANGARE - COMPOSER
OUMOU SANGARE - VOCALS

SEAWEED KILLS CORAL Duration: 00:06:43

It's easy to relax if you live by the ocean. But not if you live in it.

And that's always been the case. I mean, first, there was the Leviathan. Referred to in the Bible, it was a giant, fire-breathing sea monster with a heart as firm as stone. Then, there was the Kraken, a mythic dragon-like creature rumoured to haunt the waters of Scandinavia. Finally, when we managed to get rid of all those large, free-loading sea monsters, killer sharks took over, and nearly ate Richard Dreyfuss.

So the latest underwater threat seems positively banal. It's just seaweed, after all. But we underestimate it at our peril. Its victim is coral, but humans might end up paying the price.

Mark Hay is a professor, and is also the Harry and Linda Teasley Chair in Environmental Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. We reached him in Atlanta.


MAKING A CASE FOR MAGIC Duration: 00:00:26

Album:UPHILL CITY/I AM ROBOT AND PROUD

Label:DARLA, DRL215-2

Persons/Roles:
SHAW-HAN LIEM - COMPOSER
I AM ROBOT AND PROUD - POP GROUP

FOX SHOE THIEF RETURNS Duration: 00:06:35

Once you develop an addiction to shoes, it's a hard habit to break. And before you know it, you're just snatching up any pair that isn't too rank to carry in your mouth.

At least, we assume that's the approach taken by the footwear-filching fox of Föhren, Germany.

Last summer, we told you about the fox, who had been stealing shoes from residents of the German village for months. Its cache of ill-gotten loot was discovered on the estate of the local count, who promptly returned them to the townsfolk.

But getting busted didn't stop the fox. So we reached Count Rudolf von Kesselstatt on his cellphone, on the road to Budapest, to explain.


FOX ON THE RUN Duration: 00:01:01

Album:BOUND FOR MOVIN' ON; A RETROSPECTIVE OF CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC

Label:BMG, 74321-88294-2

Persons/Roles:
TONY HAZZARD - COMPOSER
MIKE FRANCIS - PRODUCER
GOOD BROTHERS - COUNTRY GROUP
GOODS - COUNTRY GROUP
JILL SNELL - COMPILER

FTR: OBIT CHARLIE FRANCES Duration: 00:03:16

Charlie Francis was a national sprint champ who made it to the Munich Olympics in 1972. But he didn't become a household name in Canada until years later -- as the man who coached Ben Johnson to gold on the track, and to use drugs to get there.

Charlie Francis died of cancer earlier today in Toronto.

Mr. Francis coached the sprinter to victory at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. For a short time, the nation was elated. Then, very quickly, it was disillusioned, when Mr. Johnson tested positive for steroids.

The runner denied using drugs to win. But, on March 1, 1989, at the Dubin Inquiry into the scandal, Mr. Francis contradicted the athlete's claim. Here is part of Charlie Francis's exchange with Inquiry counsel Robert Armstrong that day, for the record.


IN OUR BLOOD Duration: 00:00:20

Album:WORDS ARE DEAD/HORSE FEATHERS

Label:LUCKY MADISON, LMD 35

Persons/Roles:
PETER BRODERICK - COMPOSER
JUSTIN RINGLE - COMPOSER
HORSE FEATHERS - POP GROUP

SINGAPORE HOGS SAND Duration: 00:06:43

If I asked you to name a valuable natural resource, you might say oil, or diamonds or maybe even elephant tusks. But sand probably wouldn't be at the top of your list.

But if you're a tiny, booming nation-state located on an island, sand is a precious commodity. Singapore can't expand its territory without it. So, for decades now, it has been, in a sense, eating away at the coasts of its neighbours.

According to a new study, the sand trade is a dirty business. George Boden works for the NGO Global Witness. We reached him in London.


TEMPERANCE SOCIETY CHOIR Duration: 00:00:13

Album:OPERATION INFINITE JOY/TIELLI, MARTIN

Label:SIX SHOOTER, SIX09

Persons/Roles:
MARTIN TIELLI - COMPOSER
JON GOLDSMITH - PRODUCER
MARTIN TIELLI - VOCALS

FTR: LANDSLIDE FAMILY SCHOOL Duration: 00:02:09

Today, the small community of Saint-Jude is grieving.

Last night, almost a full day after a landslide plunged a farmhouse underground, rescue workers found the bodies of the Prefontaine family, sitting together on the couch in their basement.

Among those in mourning today are classmates of the youngest member of the Prefontaine family -- nine-year-old Anais.

Earlier today, CBC Radio's Jeanette Kelly spoke with Chantal Chagnon, the principal of Anais's school, Ecole au Quatre Vents, about how the students are dealing with the loss of their friend. Here's part of that conversation, for the record.


IT'S A FIRE Duration: 00:00:13

Album:DUMMY

Label:GO, 422 828600

Persons/Roles:
ADRIAN UTLEY - COMPOSER
GEOFF BARROW - COMPOSER
BETH GIBBONS - COMPOSER
PORTISHEAD - POP GROUP
PORTISHEAD - PRODUCER
ADRIAN UTLEY - PRODUCER

LONGITUDE BOARD Duration: 00:06:33

It's one of the enduring stories of British naval history: the competition to find an accurate way of measuring longitude at sea. The competition was won by self-taught clockmaker John Harrison, who trumped dozens of scientists and astronomers with his simple marine chronometer. Now, the long-hidden archives of the committee overseeing the competition, the Board of Longitude, are now going to examined.

Simon Schaffer is a professor of History and the Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, and he's leading the research. We reached him in Brighton, England.


ON THE WING Duration: 00:00:36

Album:OCEAN EYES/OWL CITY

Label:REPUBLIC, B001314102

Persons/Roles:
ADAM YOUNG - COMPOSER
OWL CITY - POP GROUP

TB: COYOTE TRAPPER Duration: 00:01:20

Equipped with ripened meat, a carefully constructed burrow, and foot clamp, Gary Smith is a premier coyote trapper. And, as you heard on our program last night, the province of Nova Scotia has a bounty on coyotes -- which means there's a market for Mr. Smith to teach Maritimers how to outsmart the clever canids. But trapping wild animals is not a sport for the faint of heart or faint of stomach.

Talkback wanted us to know how much it appreciates the icky stuff Gary Smith deals with.


SC: PHAR LAP POISONED Duration: 00:04:10

There aren't many songs about horses that can make grown men cry. But that's one that will invariably get even the toughest "Crocodile Dundee"-type welling up: "Phar Lap -- Farewell To You", by the late Australian singer Jack Lumsdaine.

In Australia and New Zealand, Phar Lap is an equine hero. He was named for the Thai word for lightning. And in the gloomiest depths of the Great Depression, the chestnut gelding raised human spirits, by racing to victory in thirty-seven of his fifty-one races. He even got better as he went on; of his final thirty-five races, he won a stunning thirty-two. The last of his victories took place at a track called Agua Caliente, in Mexico -- where he won the biggest cash prize ever awarded in North America, to that date.

On April sixth, 1932, news arrived in Australia that Phar Lap had died -- just two weeks after his galvanizing win at Agua Caliente. And in the Antipodes, his death is remembered with the same sense of shock and sorrow that North Americans felt at the death of President Kennedy.

DJ:

It happened so suddenly that most people assumed foul play. After all, before a Melbourne Cup race in 1930, someone staged a drive-by, firing a double-barreled shotgun at Phar Lap. The shot missed -- but the attempt demonstrated that there were people who wanted him dead.

Today, the conspiracy theorists are chattering once again. Because two scientists have proven that Phar Lap died of arsenic poisoning. And they got their evidence straight from the horse's mouth.

Not literally, of course. Literally, they got their evidence straight from the horse's neck. The stuffed body of Phar Lap occupies a glass case at Museum Victoria, in Melbourne. So the scientists took a hair sample, and found it contained arsenic. And because arsenic may have been used in the process of stuffing the thoroughbred, they also took hair samples from various taxidermized animals, including horses, from the Museum of Scotland. They also contained arsenic. But the scientists were able to differentiate the arsenic that had been applied externally, in the cases of the Scottish animals, and arsenic that had been ingested, in the case of Phar Lap.

Of course, that doesn't bring us closer to knowing who killed the horse -- or even whether it happened by accident. It's been theorized that gangsters administered the dose -- but it's also been said that Phar Lap's loving trainer, Tommy Woodcock, unwittingly provided him a poison-laced drink.

Whatever the case, the revelation will lend even more poignancy to a trip to the National Museum of Australia, in Canberra, where Phar Lap's heart is on display. A heart which, incidentally, is nearly twice as big as that of a normal horse.


MY SADDLE HORSE HAS DIED Duration: 00:02:11

Album:CORB LUND: HORSE SOLDIER! HORSE SOLDIER!

Label:STONY PLAIN, SPCD 1327

Persons/Roles:
DUG BEVANS - DESIGNER
MIKE CALDWELL - DESIGNER
TERRY JOHNSON - DESIGNER
CORB LUND - DESIGNER
CORB LUND - SINGING


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