Episode 144: Eyewitness in Damascus, Coca-Cola's Health Initiative, Remembering Elmore Leonard and more

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Horror in Damascus | Proving Chemical Warfare | Coca-Cola And Dieticians | What Bradley Manning Revealed | Elmore Leonard 1925 - 2013

massacre_pub.jpgEarly Wednesday morning, 3 a.m. local time, as residents slept in the Damascus suburbs, rockets hit the area and it appears that a deadly gas could have been released. The images of the aftermath are among the worst seen yet from the two year old sectarian war.

Children and adults convulse, gasping for breath. They lie on floors of buildings, wet and trembling. The dead are lined up in makeshift hospitals, many of them very young. 

Humam Husari, A Syrian journalist covering the alleged chemical attack went to a field hospital and made a gruesome discovery. He found the body of his friend among the dead. He talks to us about what happened on the outskirts of Damascus.

Some experts are reluctant to attribute the deaths to chemical weapons. They find inconsistencies in the images and question the strategic value of this kind of attack. We talk to Dr. Amy Smithson, a Senior Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, who is more convinced chemical weapons have been deployed.

coke_pub.jpgCoca-Cola Instructs Dieticians

Soft drink companies are feeling the heat.

They spend a lot of money marketing their product, and many of their consumers are kids. But childhood obesity is epidemic in Canada and other countries, and health problems caused by obesity in the U.S. cost $190 billion a year.

Coca-Cola has launched an advertising initiative to portray their company as partners in consumers' pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. But it doesn't stop there.

The soft drink giant is also targeting health care professionals, networks and associations and they even have a hand in education. Registered dietitians are taking Coke sponsored webinars that they would normally have to pay for and some dieticians don't like the content of Coke's classes.

We have a closer look at the relationship between Coke and health care professionals.

manning222_pub.jpgBradley Manning's Place in History

Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday, convicted of charges stemming from the unprecedented release of 700,000 military documents, many of them classified.

Manning biographer Denver Nicks argues the sentence was a rebuke to the U.S. government, a result of an overzealous prosecution that sought a much harsher penalty.

He says the argument over whether Manning is a hero or a traitor is a distraction. It obscures the meaning of  Manning's actions which have huge consequences.  Denver Nicks tells us why he thinks Bradley Manning casts a long shadow. 

elmore_pub.jpgElmore Leonard 1925- 3013

A great literary stylist: Elmore Leonard died this week at the age of 87.

You have to know what you're doing to write 46 novels and be consistently good. Leonard once worked up 10 rules for good writing as a kind of joke and then found they were a pretty decent guide to excellent prose.

Elmore Leonard was hailed as a master of the mystery and his novels inspired the films Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown and the new hit TV series Justified.

We spoke to Mr. Leonard last year and we re-edited that interview to include some new material for all of those who admired him. This week Elmore Leonard in his own words on Day 6.

And that's it for this weekend. We're back in seven for the last Saturday in August. See you then.

Brent Bambury, @CBCDay6

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