Setting things riot. Despite being sentenced to two years in prison, members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot feel they've stuck it to Vladamir Putin.
United they stand, divisive their call. The United Church of Canada votes to boycott goods produced in the occupied West Bank.
Double standard. The president of Ecuador offers Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, asylum, but is accused of repressing journalistic freedom in his own country.
Prisoners of war. A Palestinian refugee and his family are seeking asylum in Canada, but they can't make their way out of Syria.
Into the breeches. After a decade of debate, the RCMP finally grants female officers the right to wear pants as part of their formal dress uniform.
And...not exactly a Copernican revolution. Scientists have discovered that the sun is round -- really round. And apparently, that's a surprise.
As It Happens, the Friday edition....Radio that knows all good stories come full circle.
They laughed in defiance as their sentenced was read.
As you heard on the news, three members of the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot have been sentenced to two years in prison.
The band was officially convicted of hooliganism after they performed what they call a "punk prayer" in Moscow's Russian Orthodox Christ Savior Cathedral.
Tanya Lokshina works for Human Rights Watch. She's been following the trial. We reached her in Moscow.
|PSAPP: THE ONLY THING I EVER WANTED|
|DOMINO, DNO 095|
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|PSAPP || - ||WRITER|
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Feras Saidam and his family are desperate to leave Syria, but they can't.
The Saidams are stateless Palestinians. Without valid travel documents, no neighbouring country will allow them in.
They had applied to come to Canada as refugees. A group in British Columbia has agreed to sponsor them -- and Immigration Canada had invited them to come for an interview at the Embassy in Damascus. But then the Embassy shut down and Canada ordered its officials out of the country.
Mr. Saidam and his family tried to follow the Canadians' lead. But they were stopped at the border.
We've reached Feras Saidam in the Al Hol refugee camp in Syria, near the border with Iraq.
|YEAH GHOST/ZERO 7|
|HENRY BINNS|| - ||COMPOSER|
|SAM HARDAKER|| - ||COMPOSER|
|MARTHA TILSTON|| - ||COMPOSER|
|MARTHA TILSTON|| - ||VOCALS|
|ZERO 7 || - ||POP GROUP|
It has taken nearly fifty years of scientific effort. But for the first time, astronomers have accurately measured the dimensions of the sun. And they have learned that it is........ round.
Actually, it is incredibly round -- the most perfectly spherical object ever measured anywhere in nature. Ever.
Strangely, this is not at all what scientists were expecting to find.
Jeffrey Kuhn is the astronomer at the University of Hawaii who led the team responsible for measuring the sun. We reached him at work in Maui, Hawaii.
|HELIOCENTRICS || - ||COMPOSER|
|HELIOCENTRICS || - ||JAZZ GROUP|
The R.C.M.P. have always made it clear who wears the pants: its men.
I'm not speaking figuratively here.
The Mounties first swore in female officers in 1976. Since then, there's been a clear divide between what men and women in the force have been allowed to wear. Specifically, their respective dress uniforms...more specifically, from the waist down.
The RCMP's most formal dress uniform -- what it calls its Walking Out Order -- consists of dark blue breeches, highly-polished knee-high boots and spurs. Paired with the famous red surge and topped off with felt hat, it's a look that says: "I'm a man of authority. And also a dashing air of polite, je ne sais quoi." It's a good look. An enviable look. A look that female officers couldn't pull off -- because they weren't allowed to. At least until very recently.
The Walking Out Order for women has always stipulated a long blue skirt, hosiery and black leather pumps. That is, for formal occassions. Women are allowed to wear pants, but not as part of their full, formal regalia.
That said, the Walking Out Order was a kick in the proverbial pants for at least one unnamed member of the force. About ten years ago a female officer filed a greivance with the RCMP's External Review Committee -- this was after being told she couldn't wear breeches and boots. Her view was that the Walking Out Order was impractical and out-of-date. Despite this, the complaint was dismissed. So, she kept at it. And now, after years of insistance, she's finally gotten a leg up. Two of them, so to speak.
The RCMP confirmed this week that, while the official Walking Out Order for women remains a skirt and heels, female officers may now sport breeches and boots, if they wish.
All of which goes to show that while the Mounties have always gotten their men, they're only just starting to get their women.
Now here's "Dancin' Pants" -- some funk rock from the Rock's Funky Dory:
|FISTS OF FUNK/FUNKY DORY|
|JOSH WARD|| - ||COMPOSER|
|ADAM FORAN|| - ||PRODUCER|
|FUNKY DORY || - ||POP GROUP|
|FUNKY DORY || - ||PRODUCER|
This afternoon in Ottawa, the United Church of Canada willingly stepped into a proverbial mine field.
The General Council of the Church voted to boycott products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The Very Reverend David Giuliano is a former moderator of the United Church. He chaired the working group that proposed the boycott.
We reached Mr. Giuliano in Ottawa.
|FOR GREAT JUSTICE, FGJ001|
|OWEN PALLETT|| - ||COMPOSER|
|OWEN PALLETT|| - ||PRODUCER|
|OWEN PALLETT|| - ||VOCALS|
One of Bahrain's most prominent and outspoken pro-democracy activists has been silenced.
Yesterday, Nabeel Rajab, the founder of the Bahrain Centre for Huamn Rights, was jailed for three years for his involvement in anti-government demonstrations.
In April last year, when the demonstrations were in full swing, several activists were killed while in the custody of government security. We spoke with Mr. Rajab when he was called in for questioning after posting images of one body, which showed signs of severe torture.
From our archives, here is part of that interview with Carol, on April 11, 2011.
|MULATU ASTATKE / THE HELIOCENTRICS: INSPIRATION IN|
|MALCOLM CATTO|| - ||COMPOSER|
|JAKE FERGUSON|| - ||COMPOSER|
|ADRIAN OWUSU|| - ||COMPOSER|
|MALCOLM CATTO|| - ||DRUMS|
|MALCOLM CATTO|| - ||ELECTR INSTR|
|JAKE FERGUSON|| - ||EL BASS|
|ADRIAN OWUSU|| - ||EL GUIT|
|OLIVER PARFITT|| - ||KEYBOARDS|
|THE HELIOCENTRICS || - ||ENS INSTR|
|JACK YGLESIAS|| - ||PERCUSSION|
As you we told you on last night's show, Ecuador has granted asylum to Julian Assange.
The Wikileaks founder is facing extradition to Sweden. He fears Sweden will send him to the United States, where he'll be prosecuted for leaking diplomatic cables.
Our interview with Mr. Assange's friend, Vaughan Smith, prompted Eve Schnitzer from Ottawa to write this:
"Hasn't anyone noticed the irony of Julian Assange seeking asylum in Ecuador? Given President Rafael Correa's attacks on the Ecuadorian media, it is hard to see how his Foreign Minister can claim to be acting in defense of freedom of expression."
That's from Eve Schnitzer in Ottawa. She's not alone in her concern.
Emilio Palacio is an Ecuadoran journalist seaking asylum in the United States. He claims he's being persecuted by President Correa's government. Mr. Palacio was fined a million dollars and sentenced to jail time for writing articles criticising President Correa.
Sandra Grossman is Mr. Palacio's lawyer. We reached her in Miami, Florida.
|TELLINGS FROM SOLITARI/EMBEE|
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|EMBEE || - ||PERFORMER|
Admittedly, his was a strange kind of literary aspiration.
Guy Foisy wanted to write sentences that were bad enough, meandering enough, and just plain awkward enough to win him accolades. And, as you heard on last night's show, his efforts were duly rewarded. Mr. Foisy is the winner of this year's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. The contest rewards the very best of bad writing; it's named after the author of a notoriously bad sentence -- the notoriously bad sentence -- the one that begins, infamousy with: "It was a dark and stormy night".
Well, Anne Spencer from Victoria heard our interview with Guy Foisy and rose to the defense of that particular passage. She writes:
"Very few people are aware of the origins of the 'dark and stormy night' sentence. It begins the novel by Edward Bulwer Lytton, Paul Clifford (which happens to be the name of one of my sons). I have an 1860 copy of this novel and here is the original opening to Chapter One:
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents- except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that straggled against the darkness."
The competition which invites people to surpass the supposedly bad quality of this sentence is fun, but I do think that the original author is somewhat maligned. His sentence isn't that terrible! The first few words are, though, easy to remember and have become devalued by repetition."
Thanks for that email, Anne.
If you'd like to comment on anything you hear on the show, write to us in whatever style you like. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call us: 1-866-481-5718.
|BECK: MELLOW GOLD|
|BECK || - ||CREATOR|
|KARL STEPHENSON|| - ||CREATOR|
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In case you missed the 'nineties altogether, that was from the single "Loser" by Beck.
"Loser" first aired on Santa Monica College's local radio station, KCRW, in 1993, well before Beck Hansen -- the alt-rocker who's real name is Bek David Campbell -- became a household name. The song was an immediate hit and it became an unofficial anthem of sorts for Gen-X slackers. It also prompted a bidding war between recording companys, eventually landing Beck a deal with Geffen Records.
A dozen albums later, "Loser" is probably still his most recognizable song -- and for a good reason. It's super-catchy. Beside that, it's also a good example of what makes Beck Beck. More or less everything he's put out since "Loser" is characterized by the same mashup of otherwise incongruous musical styles. It also features surrealistic and ambiguous lyrics that may or may not make serious points about social issues. And it prefigures his various collaborations with other artists, from hip-hop producers to country singers. Then there's Beck's own prodigious talent as a multi-instrumentalist, his technical proficiency as a producer and his creativity as an experimentalist. All of which make his albums fun to listen to.
All except his upcoming one, Beck Hansen's Sound Reader. The album is scheduled for release this fall. But "album" might not be the right word here. Beck is releasing his new material in the form of sheet music. The songs have never been recorded. Not by Beck. Not by anyone.
The idea is that you buy the sheet music and perform the songs yourself. It's kind of the ultimate exchange between a musician and his fans. Or the ultimate musical DIY project. Or an artistic statement. Or a joke. Or something.
One thing's for sure. Sound Reader is definitely not "Loser." And it's still too early to know whether or not it will be a winner.
|BECK: MELLOW GOLD|
|BECK || - ||CREATOR|
|KARL STEPHENSON|| - ||CREATOR|
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Her name is Djemila Benhabib. She's is a candidate for the Parti Québecois, and this week, her name made the news.
As we told you on the show earlier this week the mayor of Saguenay, Jean Tremblay, has taken issue with Ms. Benhabib's stance on secularism. He sees her as an opponent to his culture, and his religion. Ms. Benhabib is originally from Algeria.
He has also taken issue with Ms. Benhabib's name -- Mr. Tremblay has described it as as "unpronounceable." That comment, among others, have led some to accuse Mr. Tremblay of having xenophobic views.
It has also led to some comeupance. Thierry St-Cyr -- who is a PQ canditate as well -- asked his four-year-old daughter, Cloé, if she had any trouble pronouncing Ms. Benhabib's name. He then posted Cloés attempt on YouTube. Here some of that conversation: