A high-stakes game of hide and seek. When Ecuador grants Julian Assange asylum, the U.K. is furious -- and I'll speak with a friend of the Wikileaks founder about his next move.
The pest things in life are free...for now. Upon discovering a gang of rats living in the province, Alberta's rat patrol prepares to do battle.
The sound of one hand playing. Pianist Nicholas McCarthy was born without a right hand -- but what he can do on the keyboard with his left is astonishing.
Overnight sensations. How the male pectoral sandpiper goes for days without sleep -- but still manages to get busy with a truly remarkable number of females.
Emission: impossible. If you thought it was easy to transport a container of frozen elephant sperm from Africa to Europe, then I politely suggest you haven't really thought it through.
And...fiction that has the ring of tooth. An Ottawa man knows a few things about crafting prose -- but ignores those things to write a sentence so terrible, so strangely mouth-fixated, that it won an award for its awfulness.
As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that recognizes a dental man and a scholar.
Until a few hours ago, Julian Assange had an asylum problem. Now, he has a travel problem.
As you heard on the news, today Ecuador granted the founder of Wikileaks political asylum. Mr. Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since June.
The move has rankled the British government. The foreign office has vowed to that if Mr. Assange leaves the embassy, it will extradite him to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault allegations. And the office has even warned it could enter the building to do so.
Vaughan Smith is a journalist and friend of Julian Assange. We reached him in London.
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ng news out of Alberta tonight that the borders of that pristine province have been breached.
In 1951, the province set up a squad of brave souls to patrol the province, to keep out the rats. And over the decades, that squad has done a remarkably effective job. But now, rats have been discovered making their home at Medicine Hat's landfill.
Not for long, mind you -- the rat patrol is on it. And we'll get to that.
But first -- George Servage was hired as a rat patroller back in 'fifty-one, when the team was set up. Nearing retirement in 1977, he spoke to "As It Happens".
From our archives, this is George Servage being introduced by Alan Maitland, and speaking with Barbara Frum.
As we told you, Alberta, rats, and the province's patrollers are back in the news.
Vaugh Christensen heads up Alberta's rat patrol service. He's coordinating the response to the rats found at the landfill in Medicine Hat. We reached Mr. Christensen in Olds, Alberta.
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a dark and stormy night."
Those seven words begin one of the great turgid, overwritten sentences in literature. And that sentence has become such a renowned example of purple prose that its author now has a contest named after him.
It's called the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest -- named for Edward Bulwer-Lytton. And as we've told you many times over the years, in order to win, your writing has to be bad. Like, so bad it's good.
Guy Foisy's writing is just that. But don't take our word for it.
We reached Mr. Foisy in Ottawa.
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ured the manuals. They pored over the legislation. They emptied filing cabinets. But still, they couldn't find a way of dealing with the figurative elephant in the room. Which, literally, was the frozen elephant sperm in the room.
The elephant sperm once belonged to a wild elephant in Africa. That elephant had been sedated, and the sperm acquired through a process called "electro-ejaculation", about which the less we know the better. And then that sperm had been frozen. Because frozen sperm can be stored longer and transported greater distances to inseminate female elephants.
That's how the whole project got its name: "Operation Frozen Dumbo". I'm serious.
Next, the stuff was shipped to France. At which point, things got complicated. Because -- it won't surprise you to learn -- customs officials in France had no precedent for handling a container of frozen elephant sperm. Apparently, the rules regarding gelato did not apply.
In the end, it took eight months of meetings, research, and negotiations for officials to clear the sample. Then it was sent to a zoo in Vienna. Where -- for the first time ever -- it was used to impregnate a female elephant. Her name is Tonga. She's twenty-six. And she's expecting a calf sometime next August.
This marks a breakthrough in the artificial insemination of elephants. Because African and Asian elephants are endangered, the success of "Operation Frozen Dumbo" could mean more elephants will be born in captivity.
It's just lucky the stuff kept so long. Because, not to put too fine a point on it, the...delivery of the frozen elephant sperm was anything but premature.
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Tony Nicklinson wants to kill himself -- and he wants help doing it.
The U.K. man suffered a massive stroke in 2005. It left his mind intact, but robbed him of the ability to move from the neck down, to speak, and perform the rest of life's tasks independently. His physical condition has deteriorated since then. So Mr. Nicklinson petitioned a court to allow someone to help him end his life, without facing a murder charge as a result.
This afternoon, the U.K.'s High Court denied that request.
Afterwards, Mr Nicklinson and his wife Jane met with reporters in their Wiltshire home. Mr. Nicklinson had prepared a statement using a voice synthesizer that he operates by carefully moving his eyes. But the machine is harder to control when his eyes are filled with tears.
Here is some of that press conference, for the record.
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Maybe it's not so uncommon to sacrifice a little bit of sleep for sex.
In almost all cases, however, there are limits. At some point, you know, you yawn, and that pretty much puts a stop to anything amorous. Unless you are a pectoral sandpiper -- an unusual bird which has caught the attention of the Avian Sleep Unit at the Max Plank Institute for Ornithology.
John Lesku has been working with the institute. He's a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Western Australia. We reached him at home.
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In the northern Labrador village of Nutak, there is a new monument marking a dark chapter in Newfoundland's history.
In 1956, the government of Newfoundland cut off services in the Inuit community, forcing the people of Nutak to relocate further south.
Seven years ago, former premier Danny Williams offered a formal apology for the forced relocation. And yesterday, a plaque was unveiled in the former village, with the names of those who used to live there engraved on it.
Many former residents came back to Nutak for the unveiling. It was an emotional return.
Here are some of their voices -- recorded by Peter Cowan of CBC Labrador.
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They sound like a couple of extras from a "Harry Potter" movie. But "Owl 30" and "Owl 77" were actually the stars of their own serial drama.
Those numbers were assigned by the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation, after the two snowy owls turned up injured. They've since gone through rehab in Alberta -- and now they've been released back into the wild, near Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
The owls' return to the wild is a happy ending to a story that could have ended badly. And that happy ending is due, in part, to Kevin McCarthy of Blackie, Alberta -- who was driving down the road and came across one of the injured birds.
Here is Kevin McCarthy, recalling his encounter with Owl 77.
That's the sound of British pianist Nicholas McCarthy, performing Scriabin's Prelude for the Left Hand, Opus 9.
Mr. McCarthy is hoping to perform for athletes at the closing ceremony of the upcoming Paralympic games in London, England. At the moment, he's rehearsing for a concert in Malta. And that is where we reached him on his mobile phone.
Oh -- and it will be helpful for you to know that Nicholas McCarthy only has one hand.
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It was like a Canadian "Jaws". Only instead of a man-eating shark, the dead-eyed fish villain was a metre-long muskie. And instead of tearing its victims apart mercilessly, it bit a guy's foot really hard.
Jon Olson survived to tell the tale, which you heard on last night's show. And then Mary Parrott in Calgary wrote in with this story:
"Three summers ago, we were backpacking with friends to Aster Lake in Kananaskis Country in Southern Alberta. After a hot, grueling hike up a steep headwall to the lake, we were relaxing by the water. While some of us explored the lakeshore, my husband Ray put his hot, tired feet into the murky stream. It was full of glacial silt, making the water anything but clear.
He felt something bump his little toe. On the second bump, he pulled his foot out of the water to find a small trout holding on to his pink appendage, and which then dropped back into the stream, realizing its mistake.
"Of course, there were no photos or witness to the event, but ever since then we have joked about Ray's fishing in the park without a licence! Meanwhile the fish tells stories to his grandchildren about the 'big one that got away'!"
Thanks to Mary Parrott for that email.
If you have a fish tale you'd like to share -- or a comment about anything you hear on the show -- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us, toll-free, at 1-866-481-5718.