* Daraya Massacre. A Syrian reporter describes the mass killings in a suburb of Damascus -- some of the worst violence since the uprising began.
* Burns Lake Inspections. The workers union at the B.C. wood mill that exploded is furious that the mill never received a fire safety inspection.
* Haiti: Isaac Cholera. Tropical storm Isaac brings havoc to Haiti. A Plan International worker describes providing relief to those affected.
* Paralympic Flag Bearer. Wheelchair rubgy player Garett Hickling will carry Canada's flag for the Paralympic Games' opening ceremonies.
New depths in Syria. A clearer picture emerges of what happened in the town of Daraya -- a picture of a massacre unprecedented since the uprising began.
The panic after the storm. When Tropical Storm Isaac hits Haiti, it creates new fears of a fresh cholera outbreak, especially among those still living in tent cities.
Further inspection reveals no inspection. Eight months after a deadly explosion at a sawmill in Burns Lake, BC, new evidence shows its safety was never assessed.
Those with the console are inconsolable. After twenty-four years, "Nintendo Power" magazine meets the same fate as Mario when he runs into a Goomba -- which is to say, it dies.
He's done a banged-up job. And for his successes playing wheelchair rugby -- and the many injuries he's sustained -- Garett Hickling is Canada's flag-bearer at the Paralympic Games.
And...putter-fingers. How a sixty-three-year-old B.C. man wound up serving as caddy for the youngest golfer ever to win an LPGA event.
As It Happens, the Monday edition. Radio that's glad he didn't strike while the irons were hot.
Videos filmed by activists in the town of Daraya in Syria show mass graves filled with piles of body bags.
The opposition accuses government forces of shelling the community on the outskirts of Damascus. They say soldiers then entered, raided homes and killed both rebels and civilians indiscriminately.
One British diplomat said the massacre of hundreds of people, if confirmed, would be an atrocity on a new scale.
Thabet Salem is a Syrian journalist who lives in Damascus. We reached him at home via Skype.
|FRAGILE STATE/VOICES FROM THE DUST BOWL|
|BAR DE LUNE|
|NEIL COWLEY|| - ||COMPOSER|
|BEN MYNOTT|| - ||COMPOSER|
|FRAGILE STATE || - ||POP GROUP|
Canada's military has a new top gun.
As you heard on the news, this morning, the defence minister, Peter McKay, annouced a new chief of defence staff, Lieutenant-General Thomas Lawson.
Lieutenant-General Lawson is currently the deputy head of NORAD, the North American Aerosapce Defence Command. He's a former fighter pilot. And a former fighter for the government's controversial plan to buy the F-35 aircraft.
Two years ago, Ottawa dispatched him on a nationwide tour to explain the purchase.
Today, he said his priority in the new post will be to continue to support, train and equip Canada's troops as well as possible.
When questioned by the media about the F-35s, this is what Lt-Gen Lawson had to say, for the record.
|HELIOCENTRICS || - ||COMPOSER|
|HELIOCENTRICS || - ||JAZZ GROUP|
According to newly released documents, the sawmill that exploded in Burns Lake, British Columbia in January had apparently never been inspected for fire safety.
The mill, owned by Babine Forest Products, is on a First Nation reserve, and slipped through regulatory cracks -- with none of the provincial, federal, municipal or First Nation governments believing they were responsible for the inspections.
This isn't sitting well with the union representing the workers at the mill, two of whom died in the explosion on January twentieth.
Bob Matters is the chair of the United Steel Workers Wood Council. We reached him in Burnaby, B.C.
|JEAN-BENOIT DUNCKEL|| - ||COMPOSER|
|NICOLAS GODIN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|AIR || - ||POP GROUP|
|NIGEL GODRICH|| - ||PRODUCER|
It is, perhaps, a sign of the times: next month, the Royal Canadian Legion Carleton Branch Number Two is closing up shop in Saint John, New Brunswick.
The branch was formed in 1926 and is one of the oldest in Canada. But Carleton Branch Number Two been struggling financially, so officials have decided to sell their building. They hope to be able to salvage and move the cenotaph that sits just outside the branch.
Paul Durant is the president of Carleton Branch Number Two, and he explained the legion's closure to the CBC's Matt McCann, for the record.
|RARE BIRD ALERT/MARTIN, STEVE|
|STEVE MARTIN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|STEVE MARTIN|| - ||BANJO|
|STEEP CANYON RANGERS || - ||BLUEGRASS GROUP|
|TONY TRISCHKA|| - ||PRODUCER|
By the time Lydia Ko drained her putt on the seventeenth hole, it was clear she was going to win the Canadian Open golf tournament. She had a five-stroke lead. And at fifteen years old, Ms. Ko is the youngest golfer ever to win an LPGA event.
She wasn't the only one celebrating.
Her caddy at the Vancouver Golf Club, which hosted the event, was sixty-three-year-old Brian Alexander. Mr. Alexander was one of a number of local volunteers who offered their time to make the tournament run smoothly.
Little did he know, he'd end up carrying a bag of clubs for the record-setting winner.
We reached Brian Alexander in Burnaby, BC.
|FOR TRUE/SHORTY, TROMBONE|
|MIKE BALLARD|| - ||COMPOSER|
|TROMBONE SHORTY || - ||COMPOSER|
|MIKE BALLARD|| - ||ELECTRIC BASS|
|BEN ELLMAN|| - ||PRODUCER|
|PETE MURANO|| - ||GUITAR|
|JOEY PEEBLES|| - ||DRUMS|
|TROMBONE SHORTY|| - ||TROMBONE|
|DWAYNE WILLIAMS|| - ||PERCUSSION|
Right now, as you do something normal, science is doing something weird.
I'm not saying science doesn't have good reason to be doing a bunch of weird stuff. But I'm telling you: it is doing weird stuff, and it's doing a lot of it.
For example, if I asked you, "Do you think science exposed a female white-handed gibbon to helium and then recorded its voice?" you'd probably say, "I don't think so, because why would anyone do that?"
I understand your answer. It would be weird to expose a female white-handed gibbon to helium. And yet, here's a recording of a gibbon call:
And here's a recording of a gibbon call after that gibbon has breathed in helium.
Now, science will tell you that it routinely gets animals to inhale helium, because it makes it easier to record and assess their voices. It will tell you that, in the case of this gibbon call, the helium has shown that gibbons use their voices in a way that's surprisingly similar to human soprano opera singers.
Science is probably right. But it's possible to be right and weird at the same time. And whenever science tries to tell you it's not weird, just remind it of this sound:
Today, Haitians are dealing with yet another blow to the country's reconstruction efforts.
Over the weekend, tropical storm Isaac blew through the country, killing at least nineteen people. Luckily, the storm was not as fierce has had been expected. But for the Haitians still living in tents -- just under half a million people -- the high winds and fierce rain created nothing short of a nightmare. And according to one charity operating in Haiti, the worst fallout from the storm may be yet to come. John Chaloner is the country director for Plan International. We reached him him Port-au-Prince.
|BQE, SOUNDTRACK/STEVENS, SUFJAN|
|ASTHMATIC KITTY, AKR 278|
|SUFJAN STEVENS|| - ||COMPOSER|
|SUFJAN STEVENS|| - ||INSTRUMENTAL|
Dateline: Greaaker, Norway.
It's good to pinch pennies. But sometimes the pennies pinch back.
The Soli Brug Gallery in Greaaker has an admirable collection of European masters including works by Albrect Dürer, Francisco Goya and Salvador Dali. These are important pieces of art -- expensive pieces of art. And so it's understandable that the gallery looks for ways to economize here and there.
Recently, it acquired an etching by the Dutch master, Rembrandt. It's a small portrait called Lieven Willemsz, van Coppenol, Writing-Master.
By art-world standards, it's a modest piece -- about eighty-five-hundred Canadian dollars. The gallery bought it from a British collector and had it shipped overseas. But here's where the story gets penny-wise and pound-foolish.
The etching never showed up. In an attempt to save a few kroner, the gallery's chairman had the etching sent to him by regular mail. Without insurance.
The Norwegian postal service has apologized for the error. But it also had some advice for the chairman: "We have advised him," it said in a statement, "to use a more appropriate form of mail when sending items that are worth as much as this, with the appropriate insurance connected."
And to be fair, the post office is offering some compensation: somewhere between eighty and a hundred-and-fifty Canadian dollars.
Meanwhile, we assume the gallery chairman is suffering from post-purchase regret.
|GROOVE ALLA TURCA|
|NIGHT & DAY, 000016|
|BURHAN OCAL|| - ||COMPOSER|
|JAMAALADEEN TACUMA|| - ||BASS GUITAR|
| BURHAN OCAL|| - ||PERCUSSION|
| JAMAALADEEN TACUMA|| - ||PRODUCER|
| NATACHA ATLAS|| - ||VOCALS|
Sometimes, the best part about opening a package is the anticipation before you actually open the package.
For about a hundred years, the people of the small Norwegian town of Otta felt that anticipation. Because back in 1912, the town's mayor sealed a package -- and left instructions not to open it until 2012.
The parcel itself was unremarkable. It was covered with thick brown paper, wrapped in a few pieces of string and sealed with red wax. But however dull it looked on the outside, as long as it remained unopened, it provoked speculation. What was inside? Jewels? Gold? Priceless art?
That speculation peaked on Friday, just before two local historians revealed the contents of the package, live on the Internet. They were there to provide an explosive resolution to a century of anticipation.
And here's what the big reveal sounded like. This is one of the historians explaining what they've uncovered.
|ROLAND VOSS|| - ||COMPOSER|
|LEMONGRASS || - ||PERFORMER|
It's now less than two days until the opening ceremonies of the London Paralympic Games. And when the Games begin, wheelchair rugby star Garett Hickling will be the bearer of the Canadian flag.
A BC native, now living in Ontario, Mr. Hickling has been to four Paralympic Games, and has three medals to show for it -- two silvers and a bronze.
He's also got plenty of bumps and bruises -- and respect from those who watch and play the notoriously hard-nosed game he competes in. When the sport got its start in Winnipeg, wheelchair rugby was referred to as MurderBall.
We reached Garett Hickling in London, England.
|SEUL AU PIANO/BEAUDET, JEAN|
|JEAN BEAUDET|| - ||COMPOSER|
|JEAN BEAUDET|| - ||PIANO|
|JEAN BEAUDET|| - ||PRODUCER|
Let's go back to 1988. The hair was big. The shoulder pads were bigger. And video game cartridges were gray.
It was the era of "Super Mario Brothers", "Duck Hunt", and "Tetris". And 1988 was also the year "Nintendo Power" was first publised. It was a magazine about all things Nintendo, published for a long time by Nintendo, and devoured by Nintendo addicts. Remember, this was pre-Internet -- so, "Nintendo Power" was the place to discover new games and find cheat codes for the games you were already playing. It was also, arguably, one of the first places that incubated gaming culture.
Last week, the magazine announced it will stop publishing in December.
Video game designer Cliff Bleszinski is lamenting this news. We reached him in Cary, North Carolina.
|MODERN GRASS QUARTET/MODERN GRASS QUARTET|
|TOM TERRELL|| - ||COMPOSER|
|DONALD MACLENNAN|| - ||VIOLIN|
|MODERN GRASS QUARTET || - ||FOLK GROUP|
|ADAM PYE|| - ||DOUBLE BASS|
|ANDREW SNEDDON|| - ||GUITAR|
|TOM TERRELL|| - ||GUITAR|
|TOM TERRELL|| - ||VOCALS|
And now, Quote/Unquote.
In English, we call it "the silly season". Throughout Europe -- in languages including Hungarian, Estonian, and Polish -- it's called "cucumber season". And in Swedish and Finnish, the term for the news at this time of year translates to "rotting-month stories".
Traditionally, the late summer is a time when the media leaps on even the most ridiculous, unformed story and torques it until it seems fascinating. And sure, every culture has a name for this time -- but that doesn't mean journalists actually acknowledge it to their readers.
Well, apparently Raphael Sutter of the Associated Press wants you to know that we're smack-dab in the middle of cucumber season. And the evidence is the rotting-month story of a lion on the loose in Essex, England.
Yesterday, reports from anxious Essexites that a lion was prowling around resulted in heat-seeking helicopters being deployed, and experts with tranquillizer guns patrolling the village. It also resulted in dozens of vaguely hysterical stories being filed, each quoting a different vaguely hysterical eyewitness.
But today, Essex police announced the search had been called off because the lion was likely just a large cat.And then Mr. Sutter, the Associated Press reporter, thoughtlessly exposed a media secret. He writes, quote:
"It seems the mysterious 'Essex Lion' will join a number of other mythical beasts that at times appear and then disappear into Britain's forests and seaside -- particularly in the dead of summer, when journalists struggle to fill papers and news bulletins."