* UN Drought Convention. Canada becomes the first and only country to leave the Convention to Combat Desertification.
* Labrador Resettlement. The tiny community of Williams Harbour wants to take the government's offer of money to move.
* Tommy Douglas Files. Reporter Jim Bronskill on the top court ruling that the secret RCMP dossier on Tommy Douglas will remain secret.
* Cyprus Bank Reopens. A Cypriot baker shares how he's dealing with the country's financial crisis.
* Yukon Medical Council. All six members of Yukon's medical regulatory body have resigned.
* Syria: UN Ambassador. A feature interview with UK Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant on the UN's role during Syria's civil conflict.
The end of a long anti-dry spell. Every country in the world was a signatory to a U.N. Convention to fight drought -- that is, until Canada decided it would drop out.
The redacted, redacted tale of the redacted about Tommy redacted. A reporter loses his fight to have the RCMP's files on Tommy Douglas uncensored and made public.
Take it, and leave it. The seventeen residents of Williams Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador say they'll accept the provincial government's offer to pay people to move out of their isolated communities.
Um's the word. It's good, uh, in a way, you know, but, but, in another, in another way it's, well, the thing is, two guys have, they edited together this, this video of every onscreen stammer that, that, that Woody Allen ever, you know, made.
They'd like to bank on a secure future. But as Cyprus tentatively re-opens its financial institutions, its citizens remain nervous and uncertain about what comes next.
And...the peeps de resistance. Every year at this time, friends and family gather together -- to construct elaborate dioramas made with the baby bird- and rabbit-shaped marshmallows known as "Peeps".
As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that figures it's a great way to pick up chicks. And then carefully arrange them.
A hundred-and-ninety-four countries, and the European Union, agree it's an important convention. One country doesn't.
Canada has become the first and only country in the world to pull out of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The Convention is seen as a global instrument to fight drought, especially in Africa.
It came into being after the nineteen ninety-two Rio Earth Summit. Three years later, Canada became a signatory -- reportedly contributing three-hundred-and-fifty thousand dollars annually.
For many scientists and water policy experts, this decision is hard to understand. Our next guest is one of them.
Bob Sandford is the Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of United Nations "Water for Life" Decade. We reached him today in Amman, Jordan.
|AWARDS FOR WORLD MUSIC 2004|
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|TRILOK GURTU|| - ||COMPOSER|
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It's an offer they can't refuse.
As you might have heard on "As It Happens", this week, the Newfoundland and Labrador Government made a tempting offer to people living in the provinces' struggling outport communities: 275,000 dollars to each household, if a community votes to completely shut down, and move out.
And already, people in one outport have raised their hands -- asking for resettlement.
George Russell is one of the 17 residents of Williams Harbour, Labrador. That's where we reached him.
|THE QUIET GLEN|
|TOMMY PEOPLES, 000021|
|ANONYME ETATS-UNIS|| - ||COMPOSER|
|TOMMY PEOPLES|| - ||VLN PRNC|
If you like the now-defunct rock band "Girls", you may have already made a crucial mistake. You may have typed "girls" into Google. And got more than two billion results.
Same goes for the band "fun." Or the band "Cults". Or the band "The Men".
It doesn't take long to refine your search -- this is 2013, after all -- but just typing these band names in on their own probably won't get you where you want to go. And there's a word for this type of band name. The word is "ungoogleable".
Each year, the Swedish Language Council releases a list of new words. And this year, the Council included a recently coined Swedish word meaning "ungoogleable". It's "ogooglebar". And it means something "that cannot be found on the Web with a search engine."
Seems fine, right? Language is fluid, after all. But to the folks at Google, I guess it's too fluid, and it's leaking all over the place, and they want to put it in a container they designed themselves. Google officials insisted that the Swedish Language Council's definition be changed to indicate that the term only applied to Google's search engine. And they wanted it noted that Google is a registered trademark.
The Swedish Language Council was having none of that, though. Instead they took "ogooglebar" off the word list completely.
Ann Cederberg, the head of the Council, said, quote, "If we want to have 'ogooglebar' in the language, then we'll use the word and it's our use that gives it meaning -- not a multinational company exerting pressure. Speech must be free!" Unquote.
Only one question remains: if you're playing Swedish Scrabble, can you play 'ogooglebar'?
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|WILLI GARTNER|| - ||COMPOSER|
|KUNO SCHMID|| - ||COMPOSER|
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As a piece of art, it's tender and sweet. Which are two of the same words you might use while you're eating it.
The work is called "Rest in Peeps". And it's what's called a "Peep Diorama". Which, for a series of complicated reasons, has become an annual Easter-time project for people across the United States.
Every year around this time, these artists create dioramas using the marshmallow chicks and bunnies known as "Peeps". And for the past seven years, the Washington Post has hosted a competition that attracts hundreds of entries.
Leslie Brown is one of the co-creators of "Rest in Peeps" -- this year's winner. We reached her at the school where she works, in Corzet, Virginia.
|MONSIEUR GAINSBOURG REVISITED|
|SERGE GAINSBOURG|| - ||COMPOSER|
| BORIS BERGMAN|| - ||ADAPTOR/LYRICIST|
| PAUL IVES|| - ||ADAPTOR/LYRICIST|
|RAKES|| - ||POP GROUP|
| PAUL HUSSEY|| - ||PRODUCER|
SCR: JAY SMITH OBITJWMAR 28/13
JD:His band was once referred to as "rock personified". And for him, there could have been no higher praise.
Today, music fans from coast to coast -- but especially out east -- are struggling to come to terms with the news that Jay Smith, guitarist extraordinaire, had died overnight on Tuesday, while on tour with Matt Mays and El Torpedo. He was thirty-four.
Before hooking up with El Torpedo, Jay Smith was best known back home in Cape Breton for fronting Rock Ranger -- a band that lived up to its name.
He was a natural band leader, but he was also happy to play sideman, when the opportunity came up to tour with Matt Mays,
Yesterday, the band released a statement on Matt Mays' Facebook page. It read, quote:
"As you can all imagine, we are completely devastated. However, in our heart of hearts we know that we need to play on. Jay's family, as well as the band, know he would have wanted it that way. All the proceeds from the remaining shows will be put into a trust for his two beautiful children. Jay's wit, charm, and unparalleled love of music will never be forgotten."
Here is some of the evidence of that love of music: this is "Hurts Like Hell" from Jay Smith's self-titled 2011 album.
|JAY SMITH/SMITH, JAY|
|JAY SMITH|| - ||COMPOSER|
|DAMIEN MOYNIHAN|| - ||DRUMS|
|JAY SMITH|| - ||ELECTRIC GUITAR|
|JAY SMITH|| - ||INSTRUMENTALS|
|JAY SMITH|| - ||VOCALS|
He was so revolutionary, the intelligence file on him will remain secret. Even though he's been dead for twenty-seven years. And was voted the Greatest Canadian in a CBC poll.
Today, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Canadian Press reporter Jim Bronskill to have the RCMP's intelligence dossier on Tommy Douglas released publicly.
Back in 2006, nine volumes of surveillance reports were made public, but much of the content was redacted. Mr. Bronskill went to court to overturn the redaction.
During that process, which has spanned seven years, Carol spoke to Tommy Douglas's daugher, actor and activist Shirley Douglas, about why the files hadn't been released. Here's part of that conversation.
As I said earlier, today, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Canadian Press reporter Jim Bronskill. He was fighting to have more information in the RCMP's file on Tommy Douglas made public.
We reached Jim Bronskill in Ottawa.
|THERE WILL BE A LIGHT/HARPER, BEN/BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA|
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|BOB DYLAN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|DANNY O'KEEFE|| - ||COMPOSER|
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|BEN HARPER|| - ||PRODUCER|
|BEN HARPER|| - ||VOCALS|
They vowed to do no harm. And a court in Bahrain has decided that they didn't do any.
Today, an appeals court dropped the charges against twenty-one medical workers who were accused of trying to overthrow the Gulf island kingdom. They were all arrested and charged after treating injured protesters who were participating in pro-democracy demonstrations. The medical workers have always maintained they were being persecuted.
In September, 2011, we spoke with Dr. Fatima Haji, who was at home, waiting for the police to pick her up to serve a five-year prison term.
|ZIG ZAG ZIMFONI/DORGE, PIERRE & NEW JUNGLE ORCHESTRA|
|PIERRE DORGE|| - ||COMPOSER|
|PIERRE DORGE|| - ||CONDUCTOR|
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Keeping bankers' hours has taken on a whole new meaning in Cyprus.
As the nation grapples with a major financial crisis, the country's banks have been shut for almost two weeks to prevent people from withdrawing all their money. Today, they finally reopened -- with tight restrictions on how much money customers can take out.
Kyriacos Karaiskakis owns a bakery in Larnaca, Cyprus. We reached him there.
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Woody Allen is one of the most iconi- -- nope, not going to say that. Woody Allen is one of the most celebrated and distinctive film directors of the last half-century. But he's also one of the most inimitable screen presences there is -- capable of high comedy and deep poignancy. Who could forget his performance in the first film he directed and starred in -- "Take The Money and Run"?Or his leading role in the film that won the 1978 Academy Award for Best Picture, "Annie Hall".You've probably noticed that there's not very much in the way of dialogue in these clips I'm playing. That's because we live in the year 2013, when two editors with the Huffington Post have compiled a video entitled "Every Woody Allen Stammer from Every Woody Allen Movie".
It's forty-four minutes and twenty-one seconds long. It's exhaustive. It's got his stammers from "Stardust Memories":It's got "Broadway Danny Rose".And it's got his searing turn in the 1992 film "Husbands and Wives".I said, it's exhaustive. And exhausting.
You can find that video on the Huffington Post website -- and we've also posted a link on our Facebook page. Forty-four minutes and twenty-one seconds of nothing but Woody Allen searching for words. It's, it's -- I mean, you know, it, it's -- there's just, you know, I, uh, don't, I mean, you, you --
Don't watch it.
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|DENIS RAOUL HEBERT|| - ||PRODUCER|
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The Yukon Medical Council is taking a stand against the Yukon government.
Last Friday night, every member of that regulatory body resigned.
Dr. Bruce Beaton, is the now-former chair of the Yukon Medical Council. He worked as a general practitioner for over thirty years. We reached him at his home in Marsh Lake, about sixty kilometers south of Whitehorse.
|FRIENDS HELP FRIENDS HELP FRIENDS|
|SANDRO PERRI|| - ||COMPOSER|
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The I-R-S is not an agency known for its sense of humour. Especially when it comes to misspent tax dollars.
That's why it was so surprising to learn that, in advance of its 2010 training and leadership conference, the tax service spent sixty thousand dollars on a "Star Trek" parody video.
The video has been criticized by lawmakers and -- most painfully -- even by William Shatner himself as an example of frivolous spending by a government agency.
Here is part of that video. It's our Sound of the Day.
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|TROMBONE SHORTY || - ||COMPOSER|
|BEN ELLMAN|| - ||PRODUCER|
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The signs were clear. And there was never much doubt about the cost of inaction.
But as Syria spiralled steadily from peaceful protests into the war that it is today, the world stood by. And watched.
A conservative estimate is that seventy thousand have now been killed. Many millions of lives have been uprooted, families torn apart. And there's no end in sight.
In the two years since the uprising in Syria began, the United Nations Security Council failed to act. At every escalation of violence, every new and horrible benchmark of violence against civilians, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been shown there is no red line.
As part of our special coverage of Syria on the second anniversary of the uprising in Syria, we have a feature interview with Britain's Ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant. We spoke with him last week in New York.