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Monday: Alberta minister: child welfare, Syria opposition: deputy head, Noah's Ark tablet, Grammy-winning children's music artist, and more...

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Tonight:

A big effort to save the small. After revelations that hundreds of children known to Alberta's child welfare services have died since 1999, the province launches a project to fix the system.

The uncomfortably bare minimum. Ontario's minimum wage hasn't budged in four years -- and a new report concludes it's time it got a raise.

In the same room -- but not on the same page. Peace talks between members of the Syrian opposition and the Syrian government bog down fast. We'll hear from a 26-year-old opposition leader, once imprisoned by the regime.

It's either no big deal -- or it's a "capostrophe". After our interview about punctuation vigilantes re-inserting apostrophes on signs, some of you praise those who are leaving their marks -- and some of you suggest we leave the mark behind.

Extremely full circle. A British archaeologist believes an ancient clay tablet contains instructions for building an ark -- and unlike that the Biblical boat this one was supposed to be completely round.

And...they're giving no quarter -- because they can't reach. In St. John's, paying for parking has become a tall order for some people -- because the new meters are just too high.

As It Happens, the Monday edition. Radio that knows: sometimes, no matter how much cash you have, you still come up a little short.


Show:AS_IT_HAPPENS
Date:2014/01/27
Time:17:30:01

PART ONE


ALBERTA MINISTER: CHILD WELFARE Duration: 00:07:15

It's an effort to improve and protect the lives of Alberta's most vulnerable children.

Tomorrow, the province's Minister of Human Services will host a two-day roundtable discussion on improving the child welfare system. Earlier this month, he revealed that seven-hundred-and-forty-one children known to child welfare authorities have died in Alberta since 1999.

Last week, we told you about similar numbers from Saskatchewan, where more than five hundred children have died while under provincial care since 1992.

Manmeet Bhullar is the Minister of Human Services for Alberta. We reached him in Edmonton.


LUCKY ONE Duration: 00:00:23
Album:BIRD OF MUSIC/AU REVOIR SIMONE
Label:CUSTOM
Persons/Roles:
HEATHER D'ANGELO - COMPOSER
ERIKA FORSTER - COMPOSER
ANNIE HART - COMPOSER
AU REVOIR SIMONE - POP GROUP
ROD SHERWOOD - PRODUCER

SYRIAN OPPOSITION COALITION Duration: 00:07:48

Just over a year ago, Noura al-Ameer was being tortured inside Syria's most dreaded prisons. Today, she is in Geneva -- one of the lead delegates now attempting to negotiate a political solution to the war.

It is the first time since the start of the uprising in Syria that the regime and opposition have even sat in the same room. But making headway is another matter: today, the talks ended with another impasse.

Ms. al-Ameer is the vice-president of the delegation representing Syria's political opposition. We reached her in Geneva through an interpreter.


TROUBLE AND WOE Duration: 00:00:22
Album:THESE WILDER THINGS/MOODY, RUTH
Label:TRUE NORTH, TND577
Persons/Roles:
RUTH MOODY - COMPOSER
RUTH MOODY - VOCALS
DAVID TRAVERS-SMITH - PRODUCER

NEWFOUNDLAND PARKING METERS Duration: 00:05:53

For some drivers in St. John's, Newfoundland, paying for parking now involves a lot of stretching, standing on tippy-toes -- and sometimes, jumping up and down.

That's because the city's new parking meters are too tall for many residents.

Emma Butler is one of them. We reached her in St. John's.


BANJO AND VIOLIN Duration: 00:00:22
Album:BETWEEN LAST NIGHT AND US/AUDREYS
Label:TRUE NORTH, TND 451
Persons/Roles:
DANIKA COATES - COMPOSER
TAASHA COATES - COMPOSER
TRISTAN GOODALL - COMPOSER
AUDREYS - POP GROUP
AUDREYS - PRODUCER
SHANE O'MARA - PRODUCER

LISTENER RESPONSE: APOSTROPHES Duration: 00:01:50

They're making a series of marks.

On Friday, we aired an interview about a group of vigilante grammarians who were replacing apostrophes on signs in Cambridge, England -- after officials had removed them in the name of "expediency." And that had some of you feeling a bit possessive about your punctuation. Eva Van Loon, of Powell River, BC, sent this e-mail:

"The apostrophe's purpose is to alert the reader that something is missing. E.g., 'It's' for 'it is'; 'you're' for 'you are'. What a useful little squiggle it is!

"For possessives, however, it's less useful, as we have long ago ceased to stick an extra word between the possessive adjective and its noun (e.g., Jeff his book). Eliminating the possessive apostrophe probably wouldn't confuse, much less kill, anybody. "However, I'm with the vigilantes on keeping our beloved upper squiggle and giving it protected-species status!"

Thanks, Eva Van Loon of Powell River, BC. Stephen Methot added his thoughts in this note:

"Your story on Friday about the apostrophe vigilantes in Cambridge England reminded me of my duties as a card-carrying (well, t-shirt wearing actually) member of Canada's very own Punctuation and Spelling Police Department - Apostrophe Squad. This is the creation of Saskatchewan singer-songwriter, storyteller and spouse of an Apostrophe vigilante, Norm Walker. Norm wrote a 'Fight Song' for the apostrophe, and it is found on his album 'Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts'. It's called 'The Apostrophe Squad Theme Song.'"

Thanks, Stephen. Here is Regina's Norm Walker, with that very song.


APOSTROPHE SQUAD THEME SONG Duration: 00:02:18
Album:DEAR FRIENDS AND GENTLE HEARTS/WALKER, NORMAN
Label:CUSTOM, PPM 02
Persons/Roles:
NORMAN WALKER - COMPOSER
KEN HAMM - PRODUCER
NORMAN WALKER - VOCALS

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

MINIMUM WAGE REPORT Duration: 00:07:23

For the last four years, minimum wage in Ontario has been frozen. And according to a new report, it's time for it to thaw.

The report prepared for the Ontario government, issued today, suggested it be raised from ten-twenty-five an hour -- although it doesn't say exactly what that minimum wage should be.

The Ontario Minimum Wage Advisory Panel suggests that minimum wage should go up with inflation. But for some groups, that isn't good enough.

Deena Ladd is from the Workers' Action Centre. We reached her at in her office in Toronto.


FRENCHY'S Duration: 00:00:33
Album:HOLY FUCK: LP
Label:YOUNG TURKS, 000033
Persons/Roles:
HOLY FUCK - COMPOSER
HOLY FUCK - ENS INSTR

FROM OUR ARCHIVES: ST. ANNE'S DECISION Duration: 00:03:52

The Canadian government is finally willing to share some painful secrets.

A judgment issued on January 14th ordered the government to hand over documents from a 1990s Ontario Provincial Police investigation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Independent Assessment Process -- which is an out-of-court system for seeking compensation for abuse at residential schools. Federal officials had tried to keep documents about survivors of St. Anne's residential school private and sealed, but last Friday, they decided to drop that battle.

This is a major victory for the victims of abuse at the Fort Albany school, and for Fay Brunning. She represents many of the people who attended the school. We spoke to her earlier this month when the original judgment was passed. Here's part of what she had to say from our archives.


UNDER THE KNIFE Duration: 00:00:35
Album:DEPARTING/RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE
Label:PAPER BAG
Persons/Roles:
PAUL BANWATT - COMPOSER
AMY COLE - COMPOSER
NILS EDENLOFF - COMPOSER
ROGER LEAVENS - PRODUCER
RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE - POP GROUP

NOAH'S ARK TABLET Duration: 00:07:47

One of the best-known tales in the Bible is the story of Noah's Ark -- built to save people and two of every animal from an impending flood. And if you're familiar with that story, you probably have an idea of what the ark looks like: long, wooden and pointy on the ends.

But now a researcher in England says a prototype looked nothing like the Biblical boat. And he has a 4,000 year-old clay tablet to prove it.

Irving Finkel is the curator at the British Museum who translated the ancient Mesopotamian tablet. We reached Mr. Finkel at home in London.


IF I HAD A BOAT Duration: 00:00:19
Album:CLUCK OLD HEN/FAFARD, JOEL
Label:OUTSIDE, JFV-1
Persons/Roles:
LYLE LOVETT - COMPOSER
JOEL FAFARD - PRODUCER
JOEL FAFARD - VOCALS

NATURE OF THE BEAST Duration: 00:00:50
Album:LA NOTTE/BIRD
Label:LOST METROPOLIS
Persons/Roles:
BIRD - COMPOSER
BOOK - COMPOSER
DEAN TZENOS - COMPOSER
BIRD - INSTRUMENTALS
BIRD - PRODUCER
BOOK - PRODUCER

PART THREE


ROHINGYA MUSLIM VIOLENCE Duration: 00:06:18

There are more reports of violence against Muslims in Burma.

In 2012, we told you about clashes between Muslims and Buddhists in the country's western Rakhine State. Now a Bangkok-based human rights group called Fortify Rights says it has evidence that dozens of Muslims were massacred earlier this month in the region. And this week, it's getting worrying reports of further abuses against Muslims.

Matthew Smith is the executive director of Fortify Rights. We reached him on his mobile phone in Rangoon.


UKU Duration: 00:00:31
Album:DENGUE FEVER: CANNIBAL COURTSHIP
Label:FANTASY
Persons/Roles:
DENGUE FEVER - COMPOSER
DENGUE FEVER - WRITER
DENGUE FEVER - ENS IN-V

FOR THE RECORD: TIM JONES MEMORIAL Duration: 00:03:56

Tim Jones dedicated his life to saving the lives of others. As a volunteer team leader with Vancouver's North Shore Rescue service, Mr. Jones helped save well over a thousand people.

And because of that, thousands gathered for a public parade and celebration of his life in North Vancouver on Saturday.

As we told you last week, Mr. Jones died on January 19th, after suffering a heart attack on Mount Seymour. He was 57.

He had spent the day with his team, conducting avalanche awareness and training exercises, when he collapsed on the trail to the rescue cabin. His daughter Taylor and dog Abbi were by his side.

Taylor and her brother Curtis -- who also volunteers with North Shore Rescue -- paid tribute to their father at his memorial service in Vancouver's Centennial Theatre. Here's some of what they had to say. You'll first hear Taylor, followed by Curtis. And, as you can imagine, what you're about to hear is quite emotional.


TIE DOWN THE DYING Duration: 00:00:27
Album:PLAN YOUR ESCAPE/HEY ROSETTA
Label:CUSTOM
Persons/Roles:
TIM BAKER - COMPOSER
TIM BAKER - PRODUCER
DON ELLIS - PRODUCER
HEY ROSETTA - POP GROUP

SPANISH FLU STUDY Duration: 00:06:50

The Spanish Flu of 1918 reportedly killed up to five per cent of the entire world's population -- after a third of the world was infected. That makes it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. But it's never been clear where the deadly strain of H1N1 virus -- which is still with us today -- originated.

Now, a Canadian historian is pretty sure he has the answer.

Mark Humphries is an assistant professor of history at Memorial University of Newfoundland. We reached him in St. John's.


LAGRIMAS MEXICANAS Duration: 00:00:20
Album:LAGRIMAS MEXICANAS/FRISELL, BILL
Label:EONE, EOM-CD-2110
Persons/Roles:
VINICIUS CANTUARIA - COMPOSER
BILL FRISELL - COMPOSER
VINICIUS CANTUARIA - VOCALS
BILL FRISELL - GUITAR
LEE TOWNSEND - PRODUCER

TAPE: PEEL WATERSHED Duration: 00:02:25

Much of Yukon Territory is already open to mining and industrial development. But most of the Peel Watershed, a huge region in northeast Yukon, remains undisturbed. And defenders of the watershed want to keep it that way.

Today, two First Nations and two environmental groups from Yukon launched legal action against the Yukon government at a news conference in Vancouver. The lawsuit challenges the territorial government's plan to open development of nearly three-quarters of the Peel Watershed to industrial development, announced last week.

Tom Berger is a former justice of the BC Supreme Court and an expert in aboriginal law. He represents the groups challenging the government. After today's announcement, he spoke with Leonard Linklater, the host of CBC Yukon's noon-hour show, Midday Cafe. Here is part of that conversation, for the record.


GRAMMY WINNER Duration: 00:06:38

It was a good night for Daft Punk, and Jay-Z...and for a lesser-known Canadian artist: Jennifer Gasoi.

The Vancouver-raised, Montreal-based musician won the Grammy for Best Children's Album of the year -- "Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well."

We reached her in Los Angeles.


THROW A PENNY IN THE WISHING WELL Duration: 00:01:27
Album:THROW A PENNY IN THE WISHING WELL/GASOI, JENNIFER
Label:PACIFIC, PM 1 8032
Persons/Roles:
JENNIFER GASOI - COMPOSER
JENNIFER GASOI - VOCALS

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