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Thursday: Middle East Winter, Australia Gay Marriage, MP Staffer Rules and more

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Tonight:

"Discontent" doesn't begin to cover it. For millions of refugees from Syria in the Middle East, now is the winter of their deepest fears -- and a terrible storm may be just a harbinger of worse to come.

Extra, extra -- redact all about it. If you work for a Canadian MP, there's a form the Board of Internal Economy wants you to sign. No big deal -- it's just a lifetime gag order.

Much "I do" about nothing. When a court overturns a law allowing same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory, dozens of couples are suddenly unwed.

Black's shades of grey. Yesterday, Carol spoke with Conrad Black -- and after her talk with the Lord about his talk with Ford, some thought she scored, and some thought it untoward . . . but no one was bored.

Polar opposites. When wildlife scientist Charles Monnett saw drowned polar bears in 2004, he told the world -- and started a lengthy, painful legal battle with his employer, which happened to be the American government.

And . . . gone in a flash. A new study suggests that an everyday item can interfere with your memory -- which is distressing, because the item is -- you know, it's -- give me a minute . . . it's small, you take pictures with it -- man, this is going to drive me crazy.

As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that lacks focus.

 


Show:AS_IT_HAPPENS
Date:2013/12/12
Time:17:30:01

PART ONE


MIDDLE EAST STORM Duration: 00:00:34

It is named Alexa. And it may be the worst winter storm to bear down on the Middle East in decades.

From Israel, to Iraq, to Turkey and Lebanon, there are freezing temperatures and mountains of snow. And for the more than two million refugees who have fled the war in Syria, it is an ominous development -- forecasters are predicting that the region will see the worst winter on record.

Lisa Abou Khaled is with the UNHCR in Lebanon. We reached her in Bekaa Valley in northern Lebanon, where the refugee population is concentrated.


THE WORDS Duration: 00:00:19
Album:PSAPP: THE ONLY THING I EVER WANTED
Label:DOMINO, DNO 095
Persons/Roles:
PSAPP - COMPOSER
PSAPP - WRITER
PSAPP - ENS IN-V

TB: CONRAD BLACK Duration: 00:06:45

When we talk about Conrad Black, we get a lot of response. When we talk to Conrad Black, we get more. And when we talk to Conrad Black about talking to Rob Ford, things get really hectic around here.

Last night, Carol did indeed speak with Conrad Black about his controversial conversation with Toronto mayor Rob Ford. That interview aired Monday on the Vision TV program, "The Zoomer."

In the interview, Lord Black, who is renowned for suing journalists he feels haven't properly represented the facts about him, let two serious insinuations from the mayor go unchallenged.

In one case, Mayor Ford suggested Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale was a pedophile, after he chased Mr. Dale from a park next to the mayor's house -- a parcel of land Mr. Ford was attempting to purchase. Police determined that, contrary to the mayor's allegations that Mr. Dale had been photographing his children, the only photograph on his phone was of the park in question.

Mr. Ford also insinuated that the police investigation into his friend Sandro Lisi -- who is currently facing trial for extortion -- was Police Chief Bill Blair's revenge for his refusal to increase the police budget.

Here is part of Carol's conversation with Lord Black, from yesterday:

From last night's program, that was Conrad Black explaining why he did not challege Toronto mayor Rob Ford's allegation that the police targeted him in response to his refusal to increase the city's police services budget.

Well.

That interview certainly caught a lot of attention on social media, e-mail, and our website. And also from Talkback.

Thanks for your calls.

While the response to the interview was overwhelmingly positive, not everyone thought we were being fair. John Sollows of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, sent this e-mail:

"Carol, you're a great interviewer, but you overdid it with Conrad Black tonight. When he accused you of badgering him, he was right. I didn't see his interview with Rob Ford, but there's a place in journalism for comfortable interviews with public figures who wish to speculate.

"When Black was buying up media all across the country, I was worried. Now he's no longer a danger, just a bright guy with thoughts and viewpoints to contribute. Let him do it."

That e-mail was from John Sollows of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Our interview also managed to become a "trending" topic on Twitter last night, where Robin Marwick opined, "Conrad Black has been in the media business for easily 50 years but he has no clue about the responsibilities of a journalist, evidently." And Talisman Belgraves tweeted, "So when Conrad Black refers to a 'conversation' what he means is an opportunity to spread dishonest rhetoric unchallenged. Got it."

Those were just two of more than a thousand references to Carol's interview with Conrad Black on Twitter. And in case you missed it, you can find it at on our website at cbc.ca/asithappens. And you can find us on Twitter @cbcasithappens.


ANTHEM WITHOUT NATION Duration: 00:00:19
Album:BEYOND SKIN/NITIN SAWHNEY
Label:OUTCASTE RECORDINGS
Persons/Roles:
NITIN SAHWNEY - COMPOSER
DEVINDER SINGH - COMPOSER
NITIN SAHWNEY - PROGRAMMER
STEVE SHEHAN - PERCUSSION
DEVINDER SINGH - VOCALS

AUSTRALIA GAY MARRIAGE OVERTURNED Duration: 00:00:23

Last Saturday, Ivan Hinton got married. Today, his marriage is no longer valid.

Mr. Hinton is gay. He lives in Australia. And on the weekend, his wedding was legal in the Australian Capital Territory, where it was performed. But this morning, the country's highest court struck down the local law allowing same-sex marriages.

We reached Mr. Hinton at home in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory.


KALEIDOSCOPE Duration: 00:00:11
Album:ALL OVER THE MAP/FINNIGAN, LES
Label:STRING PLUNKER, SPRCD - 16842
Persons/Roles:
LES FINNIGAN - COMPOSER
LES FINNIGAN - GUITAR

FROM OUR ARCHIVE: GOLF BALL DOG Duration: 00:03:50

It happens all the time: someone walks up to me and says, "Hey, Jeff, I just broke the world record for eating mayonnaise." And I say, "Oh really? You broke Oleg Zhornitskiy's record of four thirty-two ounce bowls of mayonnaise in eight minutes, did you?" And the person -- the imposter -- mutters something like, "Well, I ate four teaspoons in six minutes, so that's still...pretty good".

What I'm saying is: if you approach me with a story of some consumption-related feat, you'd better be prepared to eat a record amount of crow.

But listen, I don't mean to scold all of you at once. I'm really just scolding Wilson, the eighteen-month-old Chocolate Labrador in East Sussex, England.

Recently, Wilson's owner rushed his pet to the vet, because he thought Wilson had swallowed a golf ball. But an X-ray revealed that he had actually swallowed seven -- which, according to the local newspaper, left him "feeling under par."Well, pardon me for not laughing at your exquisite pun, East Grinstead Courier and Observer. Because I don't find fraud very funny.

Now, maybe Wilson's not claiming to have broken any records. But by reporting a story about a dog eating a mere seven golf balls, the newspaper is misleading the public -- and giving Wilson the false impression that he's anywhere near the level of a true golf-ball eating pioneer: the German shepherd known as Libby.

Back in 2004, "As It Happens" guest host Mark Kelley spoke with Libby's owner, Mike Wardrop. Listen and learn, Wilson.


NOT ABOUT TO LOSE Duration: 00:01:56
Album:RETRIEVER/SEXSMITH, RON
Label:WEA, 2 61600
Persons/Roles:
RON SEXSMITH - COMPOSER
RON SEXSMITH - VOCALS
MARTIN TEREFE - PRODUCER

PART TWO


CURRIED SOUL 2.0 Duration: 00:00:51
Album:CURRIED SOUL 2.0 (SINGLE)/SOCALLED
Label:CUSTOM
Persons/Roles:
MOE KOFFMAN - COMPOSER
MOE KOFFMAN - SAMPLED PERFORMER
SOCALLED - INSTRUMENTALS
SOCALLED - REMIXER

MP STAFFERS RULES Duration: 00:00:26

First rule of working on Parliament Hill: you don't talk about working on Parliament Hill.

Soon, political staffers will be asked to sign new iron-clad confidentiality agreements. The sweeping new rules, put out by the Board of Internal Economy, limit staffers from talking about politically sensitive and confidential information -- for their entire lives.

Anthony Salloum is an NDP Parliament Hill staffer, and head of the party's union. We reached him in Ottawa.


LITHOGRAPH LIZARD Duration: 00:00:25
Album:SOUNDTRACK/CREAKING TREE STRING QUARTET
Label:CUSTOM, ABJ 0303
Persons/Roles:
JOHN SHOWMAN - COMPOSER
CREAKING TREE STRING QUARTET - INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE
BILL VORNDICK - PRODUCER

POLAR BEAR WHISTLEBLOWER Duration: 00:00:49

He did what scientists are supposed to do.

On a flight over the Arctic in 2004, U.S. wildlife researcher Charles Monnett reported seeing drowned polar bears -- a finding that he later published in a scientific journal. His sighting became a symbol of the melting Arctic, and a focal point for campaigners like Al Gore.

Everyone was unhappy about his discovery. But some people were just unhappy because he wrote about it. Mr. Monnett's employer -- the U.S. federal government -- launched a years-long investigation of him. And, he claims, tried to silence work that challenged oil and gas development in the Arctic.

Charles Monnett has now received a cash settlement from the federal government -- and no longer works there. We reached Mr. Monnett in Seattle.


CARAVAN (DJ SMASH'S SMASHISH REMIX) Duration: 00:00:26
Album:RE-BOP: THE SAVOY REMIXES
Label:SAVOY JAZZ
Persons/Roles:
DIZZY GILLESPIE - COMPOSER
DJ SMASH - PRODUCER

PHOTOS & MEMORY STUDY LM Duration: 00:00:26

Why don't you take a picture, it'll last longer. Although if you do, I should advise you that your memory of the thing you're taking a picture be affected adversely.

A new study published in the online edition of Psychological Science suggests that point-and-shoot photography could have a negative impact on your memory.

Linda Henkel headed up the study. She's a professor of psychology at Fairfield University. We've reached her in Fairfield, Connecticut.


LITTLE FLUFFY CLOUDS Duration: 00:01:05
Album:INSTRUMENTAL/ACOUSTEK
Label:BIG CHILL
Persons/Roles:
M GLOVER - COMPOSER
A PATERSON - COMPOSER
S REICH - COMPOSER
INSTRUMENTAL - STRING SEXTET

PART THREE


MANDELA: BABB Duration: 00:00:37

In Pretoria today, people waited hours for just a glimpse of Nelson Mandela's casket. And tributes continue to pour in from around the world -- from leaders past and present.

In a moment we'll speak with one of the those leaders past: former Prime Minister Joe Clark. As External Affairs Minister under Brian Mulroney, Mr. Clark took charge of Canada's push for sanctions against the apartheid regime.

First though: the man who fought against those sanctions. Glenn Babb was South Africa's Ambassador to Canada from 1984 through 1987. We reached him in Cape Town.


MANDELA: CLARK Duration: 00:00:20

From Cape Town, former South African Ambassador to Canada Glenn Babb.

While Glenn Babb worked to undermine anti-apartheid sanctions, Joe Clark was working to build them up. Mr. Clark was then Brian Mulroney's Minister of External Affairs. We reached the former Prime Minister in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.


PRELUDE AND RICERCARE Duration: 00:00:25
Album:VESPER/NEW TANGO ORQUESTRA
Label:HOOB, HOOBCD015
Persons/Roles:
PER STORBY - COMPOSER
NEW TANGO ORQUESTRA - INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE
PER STORBY - PRODUCER

TAPE: SANTA BUS DRIVER Duration: 00:00:45

For the past sixteen years, every December first, Kirk Rockwell jumps head first into Christmas cheer.

Mr. Rockwell drives a city bus in Vancouver and for him getting festive is an elaborate affair. First, he puts on a Santa suit. Then, there are the stuffed Santas, placed on the dashboard of his bus each morning with care.

But this year, Mr. Rockwell was told to reign in the christmas cheer -- for good. The bus company withdrew its permission for Mr. Rockwell to dawn his festive garb. One of the reasons it gave for telling him to hang up his suit was to protect Mr. Rockwell's safety.

Mr. Rockwell spoker earlier today with CBC Vancouver's Bell Puri. Here is part of their conversation.


BEEN THERE, VERIFIED Duration: 00:00:25
Album:IS THERE NOTHING WE COULD DO?/BADLY DRAWN BOY
Label:BDB
Persons/Roles:
DAMON GOUGH - COMPOSER
BADLY DRAWN BOY - POP GROUP

SNOWY OWLS AND AIRPORTS Duration: 00:00:26

To a snowy owl, it seems like the perfect perch. But it's REALLLY not.

As we told you earlier in the week, the East Coast is seeing a mass influx of snowy owls this winter. And it turns out the birds are choosing to hang out at major airports -- which tend to resemble the wide open Arctic tundra.

Some of those airports have opted to kill the birds. But Boston Logan Airport just calls Norman Smith. He's with the Massachusetts Audubon Society. We reached him in Boston.


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