* Syria - Canadian Doctor. Ontario trauma surgeon, Dr. Anas al Kassem, helps to save lives at a new field hospital in Syria.
* Musical Parrots. Franck Péron researches how parrots engage with music, and found that they too have their preferences.
* John Irving Encore. A rebroadcast of Carol's interview with the American writer about his latest book, In One Person.
* Patti Page Obituary. We pay tribute to the US singer of "Tennessee Waltz". She died yesterday, aged 85.
Practice made imperfect. I'll speak to a Canadian trauma surgeon in Syria, about the risks of working at a field hospital in a country where medical facilities are regularly attacked.
Covering their tracks. CN Rail goes to court to try to stop Idle No More protesters from continuing a blockade that's interfering with train service.
The gift that keeps on giving. The state of Kansas bills a sperm donor for the social assistance paid out to the child who resulted from his offering.
Reprises re: prizes. We'll flip through our interviews with award-winning authors from the past year -- including conversations with Nino Ricci and Seamus Heaney.
Let bi guys be bi guys. We'll also revisit my conversation with John Irving -- whose latest novel, In One Person, has a bisexual protagonist at its centre.
And...they like their music Polly-phonic. Scientists turn their attentions to the musical tastes of African grey parrots -- and find sometimes they dig New Age sounds and sometimes they like to shake their tailfeathers.
As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that knows, for bird test subjects, you're either parrot of the solution or parrot of the problem.
It seems that even the activists in Syria have underestimated the loss of life.
According to a new report for the United Nations, at least sixty thousand people have died in the nearly two-year-old uprising. The number is far higher than any previous estimate.
Sometimes the difference between life and death in Syria comes down to whether it's possible to find medical attention in time. It's not an easy business: both hospitals and ambulances in the rebel-held parts of Syria are regularly targeted by government forces.
Doctor Anas al Kassem is a trauma surgeon from Oakville, Ontario. We reached him in Idlib province in northern Syria, where he and other doctors have just set up a new field hospital.
|PUTUMAYO, PUT 282-2|
|SOUAD MASSI|| - ||COMPOSER|
|SOUAD MASSI|| - ||VOCALS|
As the Idle no More movement grows, so does the tension.
Today, lawyers for CN were in a Sarnia, Ontario court, trying to put a swift stop to a railway blockade by the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, which has been disrupting some service since December twenty-first.
The protesters have been ordered to dismantle the blockade by this evening. But they're not the only ones facing possible legal action. The chief of Sarnia's police was also ordered to appear in court today.
Mike Bradley is the mayor of Sarnia. We reached him at home earlier today.
|MARK KNOPFLER: KILL TO GET CRIMSON|
|MARK KNOPFLER|| - ||COMPOSER|
|MARK KNOPFLER|| - ||WRITER|
|MARK KNOPFLER|| - ||SINGING|
William Marotta wasn't looking to be a father. But he did answer an ad placed by two would-be mothers. The women needed sperm. Mr. Marotta agreed to provide some. They all signed a contract which gave Mr. Marotta neither the responsibilities nor the rights of a parent.
And that was that...until the State of Kansas got into the mix.
Next Monday, state lawyers will ask a judge to hold Mr. Marotta responsible for paying child support.
We reached William Marotta in Topeka, Kansas.
|PINWHEEL, PM 101|
|GEORGES BRASSENS|| - ||COMPOSER|
|ANDREW DOWNING|| - ||DOUBLE BASS|
|COLIN KINGSMORE|| - ||DRUMS|
|ELIZABETH SHEPHERD|| - ||ARRANGER|
|ELIZABETH SHEPHERD|| - ||PRODUCER|
|ELIZABETH SHEPHERD|| - ||VOCALS|
Imagine your music library is made up of just two songs. You have no ability to get more music, and you actually don't even have access to the whole songs. Just a few seconds of each.
Here are your choices: The Scissor Sisters, with a they co-wrote with Elton John: "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'":Or "La petite fille de la mer," from contemporary Greek composer Vangelis:There's nothing wrong with either of those songs per se, but I have a hunch that if they were your only choices, you would quickly stop being into music. Period.
But two musical enthusiasts --- Léo and Shango --- did okay with that limited play list. They are African grey parrots that Frank Péron has been studying. And Mr. Péron is an animal behaviour researcher, and he is about to publish a paper on the parrots' musical preferences. We reached him in Amiens, France.
|BABYDADDY || - ||COMPOSER|
|ELTON JOHN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|JAKE SHEARS|| - ||COMPOSER|
|ELTON JOHN|| - ||PIANO|
|SCISSOR SISTERS || - ||POP GROUP|
|SCISSOR SISTERS || - ||PRODUCER|
|VANGELIS || - ||COMPOSER|
|VANGELIS || - ||KEYBOARDS|
|VANGELIS || - ||PROGRAMM|
When Irish poet Seamus Heaney won the Griffin Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement this year, he said it was the work itself that was the reward. But for the next half hour, we're going to revisit some of our 2012 interviews with authors who were, instead, rewarded for their work.
And the topics of discussion are diverse -- from Nino Ricci's Italian immigrant experience in the Lives of the Saints trilogy, to Will Ferguson's Giller-winning novel about a Nigerian e-mail scam. We begin, however -- as so many things do -- with a retirement home for chimps in Quebec.
In March, Andrew Westoll was awarded the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction for a book entitled The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary. Fauna Sanctuary is the home for chimps once used in biomedical experiments. And Mr. Westoll spent months at the sanctuary as a volunteer caregiver. His experiences at the shelter are the foundation of his award-winning book.
Carol began her conversation with Andrew Westoll by asking how he first learned about the chimps of Fauna Sanctuary.
|BLUEGRASS TRIBUTE TO NEIL YOUNG/MAY, TIM|
|CMH, CD 9531|
|NEIL YOUNG|| - ||COMPOSER|
|CHARLIE CHADWICK|| - ||DOUBLE BASS|
|BRIAN CHRISTIANSON|| - ||MANDOLIN|
|SHAD COBB|| - ||FIDDLE|
|SUSIE COLEMAN|| - ||VOCALS|
|AL GOLL|| - ||DOBRO|
|CHRIS JOSLIN|| - ||BANJO|
|TIM MAY|| - ||ARRANGER|
|TIM MAY|| - ||PRODUCER|
|TIM MAY|| - ||VOCALS|
|GRETCHEN PRIEST-MAY|| - ||FIDDLE|
|KYLE WOOD|| - ||VOCALS|
A horse plays a key role in Linda Spalding's novel, The Purchase. Ms. Spalding is the winner of last year's Governor General's Literary Award for English Fiction.
The story is set in the American South in the early eighteen-hundreds, when slavery was still a fact of life. The main character is Daniel Dickinson, a Quaker and a young widower who sells his horse in order to buy a young slave -- an act that sets off a chain of events over several decades.
Here's an excerpt of Linda Spalding's conversation with Carol, which originally aired in November.
In November, Mr. Ricci was given the Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award, which honours the body of work of a writer who is mid-career. The prize is named for the late Canadian authors Timothy Findley and Marian Engel.
Nino Ricci spoke with Carol from his home in Toronto.
|ALL-EARS REVIEW, VOL. 4|
|ROM, ROM 1004|
|DON PULLEN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|GREENE STRING QUARTET || - ||STRING QUARTET|
Will Ferguson is best known for his humour writing. But his latest novel takes a more serious tone, tackling the story of a man caught up in a Nigerian e-mail scam. That novel, entitled 419, was named the Scotiabank Giller Prize winner in October. Here's part of Will Ferguson's conversation with Carol, recorded the day after the Giller gala.
Our final award-winning writer is known in Ireland as "Famous Seamus". His fans are called "Heaney-boppers". And he was the deserving recipient of the 2012 Lifetime Recognition Award by the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry.
Seamus Heaney is a poet, playwright, lecturer and Nobel Prize winner. He spoke with As it Happens guest host Rick MacInnes-Rae in June.
|INFINITE ARMS/BAND OF HORSES|
|COLUMBIA, 88697 69110 2|
|BEN BRIDWELL|| - ||COMPOSER|
|BAND OF HORSES || - ||POP GROUP|
|BAND OF HORSES || - ||PRODUCER|
|PHIL EK|| - ||PRODUCER|
A lot of American politicians were happy -- or at least temporarily relieved -- today. Following a last-minute vote in Congress last night, a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff passed.
But some politicians were unhappy. In fact, you might say the governors of New York and New Jersey were livid.
That's because last night, as the fiscal cliff drama was playing out, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, pulled a bill on aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The Senate has already passed the sixty-billion-dollar package. With the current session of Congress ending tomorrow, the move will, at the very least, delay relief funding for those hit by the storm.
This afternoon, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie -- a Republican himself -- spoke to the media. Here is part of what he had to say, for the record.
|BLACK DUB/BLACK DUB|
|DANIEL LANOIS|| - ||COMPOSER|
|BLACK DUB || - ||POP GROUP|
|DANIEL LANOIS|| - ||PRODUCER|
He is one of America's pre-eminent living novelists. And John Irving has made a brilliant career out of creating sympathetic characters whose identities -- and proclivities -- lie outside the mainstream of society.
This year, the man who brought us such iconoclastic and iconic characters as T.S. Garp, Owen Meany and Homer Wells brought us the story of Billy Abbott, a bisexual man who comes of age surrounded by the social prejudices of postwar America, and faces down the AIDS epidemic of the nineteen-eighties.
The book is called In One Person. And last May, John Irving sat down with Carol to talk about. Here's an encore presentation of taht conversation.
|NEW ANCIENT STRINGS|
|TOUMANI DIABATE|| - ||ORIGINATOR|
| TRADITIONAL|| - ||COMPOSER|
| - ||COMPOSER|
|TOUMANI DIABATE|| - ||KORA|
| BALLAKE SISSOKO|| - ||KORA|
| LUCY DURAN|| - ||PRODUCER|
She was born Clara Ann Fowler, but the world came to know her as "The Singin' Rage", Ms. Patti Page.
Patti Page died yesterday at a nursing home in Encenitas, California. She was eighty-five.
Born in Oklahoma, Miss Page got her start at a radio station in Tulsa, on a fifteen-minute show sponsored by the Page Milk Company -- hence her stage name.
In 1947, just after signing with Mercury Records, she recorded her first hit, "Confess". But with the label refusing to spring for back-up singers, it was decided Patti would overdub the harmonies herself.
She was the first recording artist to use the technique, one that proved so successful her producer convinced Mercury to do four-part harmony on what would become her next hit, "With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming". She received full credit, with vocals attributed to "The Patti Page Quartet: Patti Page, Patti Page, Patti Page, and Patti Page". The song made her a household name.
But it was her version of this song -- one that first appeared on the B-side of a Christmas single -- that clinched her status as the best-selling female artist of the 'fifties. From 1950, here is The Singin' Rage, Ms. Patti Page, with her all-time greatest hit, "Tennessee Waltz".
|YOUR HIT-PARADE - 1950|
|TIME LIFE, 000232|
|PEE WEE KING|| - ||CREATOR|
| REDD STEWART|| - ||CREATOR|
|PATTI PAGE|| - ||SINGING|