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August 6, 2010

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FRIDAY BILLS Duration: 00:01:40

Hello, I'm Laura Lynch.

Good evening. I'm Dara McLeod.

This is As It Happens.

Tonight:

The devouring inferno. Forest and peat fires ravage Russia -- and an ongoing heat wave is causing hundreds more to spring up every day.

Creating the tension with a knife. The beleaguered community of Flint, Michigan confronts the possibility that a series of stabbings might be the work of a serial killer.

Making a re-general-ization. In 1972, U.S. General John Lavelle was demoted in disgrace -- but this week, President Obama has asked that his rank be posthumously restored.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy apes of summer. Well, "lazy" isn't really fair -- because the truth is, orangutans are masters of energy conservation.

Flat, flat, flat -- banana. Tourists driving through Melita, Manitoba are about to get an eyeful of an unusual landmark: a nine-metre-tall roadside banana statue.

And...have Gund, will travel. Even during a recession, a sightseeing service for stuffed animals flourishes -- proving that when the going gets tough, the stuffed get going.

As It Happens, the Friday edition. Radio that assumes they're guaranteed plush accommodations.


RUSSIAN FIRES Duration: 00:07:50

This has been a hot summer all over the world. But in Russia, a month-long heat wave is having a catastrophic effect, as wildfires continue to spread throughout the central and western regions of the country. Thousands of villagers have lost their homes, and at least fifty people are dead. The government says it's getting the fires under control; images of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev seemingly fighting the fires appear on local TV. But in reality, people are being left in limbo while Moscow is covered in a thick smog -- and its nearby suburbs are still in flames.

Miriam Elder is a foreign correspondent based in Russia who has been covering the wild fires for the Global Post. We reached her in Moscow.


NOCTURNE Duration: 00:00:31

Album:MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD: COMBUSTICATION REMIX EP

Label:BLUE NOTE, 7243 4 99503 2 0

Persons/Roles:
BILLY (BATT/PERC) MARTIN - COMPOSER
JOHN MEDESKI - COMPOSER
CHRIS WOOD - COMPOSER
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD - ENS INSTR

FTR: NIXON/ KISSINGER Duration: 00:03:18

He always insisted he was acting on orders. Now, nearly forty years after his reputation was destroyed, the American Air Force General John D. Lavelle has been vindicated.

In 1972, General Lavelle was demoted and forced to retire in disgrace. The Pentagon and Congress claimed he had ordered unauthorized bombing missions in North Vietnam, and then tried to cover them up. General Lavelle said the order for the air strikes came from the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, as well as Defense Secretary Melvin R. Lard. He maintained this defence until he died of a heart attack in 1979

In the end, he was right. This week, following a re-examination of the incident, President Barack Obama asked the Senate to restore General Lavelle's honour, and his rank.

The investigation began after two biographers discovered audio recordings from 1972 of conversations between President Richard Nixon and his senior staff. The tapes show that General Lavelle did indeed have authorization to conduct the air strikes from senior military officials, and from President Nixon himself.

On June 14, 1972, President Nixon had a conversation in the White House Oval Office with his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger. Tapes of the conversation reveal that the president thought it was unfair that General Lavelle was being made a scapegoat. However, Mr. Nixon didn't learn about the incident until after the general had already been removed by Defense Secretary Laird.

Here now is an edited portion of that conversation between Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, for the record.


VIETNAM GENERAL REDEEMED Duration: 00:05:37

But despite the president's obvious frustration with what had been done to General Lavelle, when he was asked about it during a press conference on June 29, the President reaffirmed the official line that the bombings had not been authorized.

Brigadier General Carl S. Miller served with General Lavelle in 1972. We reached him in Aurora, Colorado.


ARKANSAS/ARKANSAS: PART 2 Duration: 00:00:16

Album:DISFARMER/FRISELL, BILL

Label:NONESUCH, 478524-2

Persons/Roles:
SANFORD FAULKNER - COMPOSER
BILL FRISELL - ORIGINATOR
BILL FRISELL - GUITAR
VIKTOR KRAUSS - DOUBLE BASS
GREG LEISZ - GUITAR
GREG LEISZ - MANDOLIN
JENNY SCHEINMAN - VIOLIN
LEE TOWNSEND - PRODUCER

MELITA GIANT BANANA Duration: 00:06:03

Tomorrow, in the small farming town of Melita, Manitoba, citizens will gather together and bow their heads in awe and respect before a nine-metre-tall banana wearing a wrestling belt.

The banana will be unveiled as part of the town's "Banana Days" festival, and is meant to attract tourists to the a-peeling southwestern town.

Now, if you're thinking: "I didn't know we grew bananas in Canada" -- well, we don't. But if you're a regular listener of As It Happens, you'll know that the giant piece of fruit comes from the town's nickname, the "Banana Belt" -- so named because of Melita's slightly warmer temperatures. And by slightly warmer, we mean three or four degrees warmer than Winnipeg.

In light of the unveiling, we thought the time was ripe to check in with Keith Jones, a member of Melita, Manitoba's tourism board.


CHIPS-CHICKEN-BANANA SPLIT Duration: 00:02:20

Album:JAMAICA TO TORONTO: SOUL FUNK & REGGAE, 1967-1974

Label:LIGHT IN THE ATTIC, LITA019

Persons/Roles:
WAYNE MCGHIE - COMPOSER
JO-JO AND THE FUGITIVES - POP GROUP

CLOSING



RETURN BILLS Duration: 00:00:20



FLINT SERIAL KILLER Duration: 00:07:26

It's the last thing the people of Flint, Michigan want to hear.

After a series of police layoffs and a growing number of violent crimes, residents in and around Flint have got a new challenge to deal with: a possible serial killer who is still on the loose.

Since May, thirteen men have been stabbed -- and police believe they were all stabbed by the same person. Five of the victims died. And, all of them, except for one, are black. Which has led many in the community to believe the attacks are racially motivated.

Reverend Phil Schmitter is the pastor of Christ The King Roman Catholic Church in Flint's southeast side. That's where we reached him.


GO SLOW Duration: 00:00:09

Album:ULTRA-LOUNGE, VOL 6

Label:CAPITOL, 7243 8 36128 2 6

Persons/Roles:
TAMMY COCHRAN - COMPOSER
TAMMY COCHRAN - WRITER
JULIE LONDON - SINGING

WHEELCHAIR LOCK INVENTION Duration: 00:05:58

Their mission -- and they chose to accept it -- was to help Canada's aging population. And for a group of high school students at this summer's Shad Valley enrichment camp, it was a successful mission.

The students, who attended the camp at the University of British Columbia site, worked together to develop a safer wheelchair for seniors. For their efforts, they won the overall design contest at the UBC camp, and are now preparing for a national competition.

Nicholas Schiefer helped develop and build the wheelchair. He lives in Pickering, Ontario, but today we reached him on vacation in North Carolina.


KALEIDOSCOPE Duration: 00:00:11

LES FINNIGAN : COMPOSER

KALEIDOSCOPE

ALL OVER THE MAP/FINNIGAN, LES

LES FINNIGAN : GUITAR

STRING PLUNKER SPRCD 16842 Disc 01 Track 13 00:00:11


LOW ENERGY ORANGUTANS Duration: 00:06:12

When you go to the zoo, there is an expectation that you'll see animals in action -- even if that action is throwing their own waste at you. But in that way, and most others, orangutans fail to live up to that expectation.

Orangutans are the long-haired, lanky teenagers of the animal world. They just hang out, all day, every day. The most you're likely to see them do is move slowly to get some food. Or move slowly to do pretty much anything.

But it turns out those orangutans aren't being lazy. They're conserving energy.

Herman Ponzter is an anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and he's been studying the action -- or rather inaction -- of organutans. We reached Mr. Pontzer on the road in Wyoming.


DOUCE AMBIANCE Duration: 00:00:14

Album:SWING GUITAR

Label:CHANT DU MONDE, 000014

Persons/Roles:
DJANGO REINHARDT - COMPOSER
RAPHAEL FAYS - GUITAR
LAURENT BAJATA - GUITAR
CLAUDE MOUTON - DOUBLE BASS

SC: PLUSH TOYS TRAVEL AGENT Duration: 00:02:29

Summer is hard for plush toys. While the kids are off at camp, or setting up lemonade stands, or otherwise leaving us blissfully alone, their bedraggled, stuffing-challenged bears, elephants, and unicorns just lie there on the floor, abandoned. And on a hot August night, those old toys are too furry to sleep with -- so they get tossed dismissively across the room, where they all grimly reflect on the terrible lessons of "The Velveteen Rabbit".

Well, good news, inanimate objects! If you're at loose ends, and your owners or their parents are absurdly wealthy and also just absurd, you may soon be travelling around Europe -- courtesy of the "Teddy-In" travel agency. This agency, which shouldn't be real but is, offers stuffed animals the opportunity to visit Hamburg, Munich, Rome, Barcelona, and Romania.

Now, when it comes to your daughter's teddy bear, you're probably more concerned that she'll swallow one of its eyes than that it's not worldly enough. But if, in fact, you want to expose that bear to other cultures, here's what you do: you book the tour; you pack the bear in a box; you send it to Ulrike Böhmler of "Teddy-In"; and then you wait for the bear's safe return, along with a set of holiday snaps Ms. Böhlmer will take to document the toy's journey. And then, the next time one of your friends remarks about his summer travel, you can off-handedly remark, "Well, Sally's bear, Mr. Cuddlers, spent ten days in Barcelona." This is guaranteed to end the discussion, and your friendship.

Oh, and "Teddy-In" is not the only stuffed-toy travel service. There are, apparently, several, sprinkled all over Europe.

One such service, "Teddy Tour Berlin", doesn't just offer fabulous tours of the German capital -- for an extra seven bucks, it also seems to offer your plush toy a "relaxing massage".

That's part of the deluxe package, which costs a mere one-hundred-and-eighty-six Canadian dollars. Throw in another forty bucks, and your bear can go on "Teddy's Gay Tour", which will take it to "the heart of queer Berlin".

In answer to your tearful question: yes, all of the things I'm saying are actually true. Which means that, if you want your children's stuffed animals to see Europe, you'd better book soon. Because it's pretty clear we're on the cusp of the apocalypse.


TEDDY BEAR Duration: 00:02:07

Album:BILLY COWSILL LIVE/COWSILL, BILLY

Label:INDELIBLE, NIRC 0007

Persons/Roles:
BERNIE LOWE - COMPOSER
KAL MANN - COMPOSER
BILLY COWSILL - VOCALS



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