Cross-border murder. In Beirut, a former finance minister and critic of the Syrian regime is killed by a car bomb -- exacerbating an already unstable situation in Lebanon.
The media is the menace. A Ukrainian journalist who doggedly covered government corruption is hospitalized after being brutally beaten -- and in response, hundreds of furious protesters return to the streets.
Sign language. An artist travels around New York City paying homeless people for their cardboard signs -- and turns them into an exhibit.
Papa, can you hear me? Well, he can, for a change, thanks to two new hearing aids -- which prompts his son to write him a special Christmas song called "I Liked You Better Deaf".
Something is rotten in the place right next to Denmark. It's called surströmming, it's rotten herring, and we'll find out why it's a delicacy in Sweden in tonight's edition of "As It Happened".
And...bending over barkwards. Ornithologists and enthusiasts have strained themselves, and credulity, looking for the legendary ivory-billed woodpecker -- but the evidence indicates the endangered bird has eaten its last grub.
There is a black crater in a Beirut street tonight -- a dark sign that the conflict in Syria shows no respect for international boundaries.
It is the site of the bomb blast that killed Lebanon's former Finance Minister this morning. Mohamad Chatah had been a longtime critic of Syrian President Bashar el-Assad, and of his influence in Lebanon. Mr. Chatah had been on his way to meet with his colleagues in Lebanon's main opposition party, the Freedom Movement.
Doctor Basem Shabb is a Freedom Movement MP. He was also a friend of Mr. Chatah. We reached Doctor Shabb in Beirut.
|WOLF MYER ORCHESTRA/FEMME FATALE|
|MARCUS FUREDER|| - ||COMPOSER|
|EVA KLAMPFER|| - ||COMPOSER|
|WOLF MYER|| - ||COMPOSER|
|WOLF MYER ORCHESTRA || - ||JAZZ GROUP|
A horrific attack has reinvigorated protests in Ukraine.
On Christmas Day, a prominent Ukrainian journalist named Tetyana Chernovil was run off the road in her car, and then severely beaten by a group of men. Ms. Chernovil often writes about government corruption in Ukraine -- and many believe the assault was politically motivated.
Following the attack, hundreds of people have come out to protest, clutching pictures of Ms Chernovil.
Today, two men were arrested over the assault.
Maria Lebedeva is a friend and colleague of Tetyana Chernilov at the Ukraiyinska Pravda online newspaper. We reached Ms. Lebedeva on her mobile phone in Kiev, Ukraine.
|UNITED FUTURE ORGANIZATION: NO SOUND IS TOO TABOO|
|VERVE, 314 526722-2|
|EARL DEROUN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|EARL DEROUN|| - ||WRITER|
|LINDA MURIEL|| - ||SINGING|
|UFO || - ||ENS INSTR|
Andrew Rice says: "It was just -- mind blown."
You've probably heard people say that about some pretty non-mind-blowing things. A surprisingly good latte, maybe, or an amusing cartoon someone posted on Facebook. But Mr. Rice's figurative aneurysm was well-deserved. Because there he was, hunting for geese in Oklahoma, when he saw something genuinely mind-blowing.
"My buddy all of a sudden goes, 'What is that?'" he told a local TV station. "We thought it was a coyote, maybe a deer."
It was neither. Here's the sound from a video Andrew Rice made. The cussing has been removed. And I'll remind you: he's in Oklahoma.
|RIPOSTE/BUKE AND GASS|
|ARONE DYER|| - ||COMPOSER|
|ARONE DYER|| - ||LYRICIST|
|ARON SANCHEZ|| - ||COMPOSER|
|BUKE AND GASS || - ||POP GROUP|
|BUKE AND GASS || - ||PRODUCER|
Millions walk by them every day without even a glance. But one New York artist saw something in the battered cardboard signs held up by homeless people asking for money.
Andres Serrano decided to stop to talk -- and offer to buy hundreds of signs from the homeless people he met around the city. Now they're part of a video and exhibition called "Sign of the Times".
We reaches Andres Serrano in New York City.
|HELLO, AVALANCHE/OCTOPUS PROJECT|
|JOSH LAMBERT|| - ||COMPOSER|
|YVONNE LAMBERT|| - ||COMPOSER|
|TOTO MIRANDA|| - ||COMPOSER|
|RYAN HADLOCK|| - ||PRODUCER|
|JOSH LAMBERT|| - ||PRODUCER|
|YVONNE LAMBERT|| - ||PRODUCER|
|TOTO MIRANDA|| - ||PRODUCER|
|OCTOPUS PROJECT || - ||POP GROUP|
It sounds harsh -- but at least his dad can hear it.
This Christmas, Danny Hamilton serenaded his father with a song he'd written himself. A song he was moved to write after his father got two new hearing aids. An affectionate song called..."I Liked You Better Deaf".
Of course, someone was holding up a camcorder or smart phone. And since it was posted on YouTube, the Internet has been holding its ear trumpet up to the computer speakers, and listening to it on repeat.
Here's Danny Hamilton debuting the song for his family -- our sound of the day.
|I LIKED YOU BETTER DEAF|
|DANNY HAMILTON|| - ||LYRICIST|
|DANNY HAMILTON|| - ||GUITAR|
|DANNY HAMILTON|| - ||VOCALS|
|CURRIED SOUL 2.0 (SINGLE)/SOCALLED|
|MOE KOFFMAN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|MOE KOFFMAN|| - ||SAMPLED PERFORMER|
|SOCALLED || - ||INSTRUMENTALS|
|SOCALLED || - ||REMIXER|
You know the rulers they gave you in elementary school? Those rulers are thirty centimetres long. Which is precisely how thick the Rideau Canal has to be before it's safe for skaters.
Unfortunately, current measurements indicate the Canal ice won't be thick enough until the New Year. But there are plenty of local rinks and ponds where you can strap on your skates and enjoy a centuries-old Canadian pastime.
First published in 1901, here's "The Skater," by Confederation poet Charles G. D. Roberts -- read by Jeff.
|SIGUR ROS: MEO SUO I EYRUM SPILUM ENDALAUST|
|XL, XLCD 364|
|SIGUR ROS || - ||COMPOSER|
|SIGUR ROS || - ||WRITER|
|SIGUR ROS || - ||ENS IN-V|
It's one of the most rare and elusive species in North America. But it's one of the most frequently covered animals here on "As It Happens".
Over the last two decades, we've done numerous interviews about reported sightings of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, which, assuming it exists at all, occupies the forests of America's Deep South. The giant bird was long believed to have gone extinct, before some grainy footage of it appeared in 2004 -- after a canoeist reported spotting one in Arkansas's Deep Woods area.
That led to a formal study by ornithologists at Cornell University, which -- in a study published in the journal Science -- confirmed that at least one bird.
Our possibly-too-extensive coverage of the ivory-bill inspired Nova Scotia musician, actor, director and writer Tom Gallant to write a novella about the woodpecker.
In June 2012, Carol spoke to Tom Gallant about his book, The Lord God Bird, in our Halifax studio. Here, now, is an encore presentation of their conversation.
At the beginning of their conversation, Tom mentioned a particular interview he'd heard on this program with a Cornell ornithologist about the ivory-billed woodpecker in 2005. He scribbled down some notes, and, seven years later, The Lord God Bird was born.
We've dug into our archives to find that inspirational interview, so you can hear it again, too. Here, from April, 2005, is guest host Gillian Findlay's conversation with John Fitzpatrick.
Professor Fitzpatrick was, and still is, the director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York. And when Gillian spoke to him, he had just published his evidence supporting the existence of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the journal, Science. Here's a shortened version of their interview.
|ANDY CREEGGAN * ANDIWORK III/CREEGGAN, ANDY|
|BONGO BEAT, BB 2017-2|
|ANDY CREEGGAN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|MELINA ARGUIN|| - ||VOCALISE|
|ANDY CREEGGAN|| - ||INSTRUMENTALS|
|NATACHA HEBERT|| - ||VOCALISE|
|HELENA SKROTZKY-BOISVERT|| - ||VOCALISE|
Well, we're halfway through the holidays. Chestnuts are still roasting on an open fire -- Jack Frost nipping at our noses. But pretty soon, we're going to run out of chestnuts, and Jack Frost is going to stop nipping and start gnawing. Winter -- the really nasty part -- is really just beginning. Soon it will be January. The fun will be over. And all we'll be left with is...cold.
While I'm telling you things you don't want to hear, I may as well go farther: sometimes I think that, for a northern country, we don't do winter very well. Complaining about it seems to be our main survival tactic. And the truth is, I think we might be able to learn something from our Nordic neighbours in Scandinavia.
This summer, we brought you an episode of As It Happened: The Archive Edition all about things Nordic. And several of the interviews in it really show the Scandinavians' pleasantly skewed take on things.
So here again is that episode from As It Happened: The Archive Edition.