CO: Hello, I'm Carol Off.
JD: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
CO: Put your money where your health is. In the U.K., hackers take control of thousands of National Health Service computers, demanding a ransom -- as part of a cyber-attack that has hit dozens of countries.
JD: Ignoring the siren song. Rather than risk a long wait for an ambulance, a former nurse in northern Saskatchewan drives her husband to the hospital -- and now she's calling for better emergency health services for her community.
CO: A hit-and-run where everyone ran. First Hugh David stopped to help one driver. Then another struck and killed him, and fled. Then the first driver took off too. Now, charges have finally been laid -- but his friend tells us he's far from satisfied.
JD: It was the fest of times, it was the worst of times. The disastrous Fyre Festival in the Bahamas turned out to be no fun at all -- and now, workers have learned that the people who ran it have no funds at all.
CO: Two years ago, Lam Wing Kee was one of five booksellers who mysteriously went missing from Hong Kong. Tonight, Mr. Lam tells us what he experienced during his detention in China -- and why he's now fighting for free speech.
JD: And… he, the extremely under-signed. A California bookseller fears his state's strict new rules about autographs will interfere with book signings and business -- so he's throwing the book at them, by suing for a repeal.
As It Happens, the Friday edition. Radio that hopes the state pulls its signature move.
Part 1: NHS cyber attack, hit and run, autograph law
NHS cyber attack
Guest: Chris Macguire
JEFF DOUGLAS: The health care system in the United Kingdom is being held ransom by hackers. This afternoon thousands of computers across the National Health Service suddenly locked up and messages appeared demanding money to release the files. The attack has closed doctors offices and patients are being told to avoid emergency rooms except in the most urgent cases. And now there are reports that the hack has also spread to dozens of other countries.
Chris Maguire is a pharmacist. We reached him in Liverpool.
CAROL OFF: Mr. McGuire When did you first realize that computers were being attacked.
CHRIS MACGUIRE: We were sent a... we were running around 2:45 p.m., to let us know that there was an issue with the computer system that we needed to get off it a.s.a.p. And we then had to download a lot of our patients’ patient notes and care summaries to hardcopy so then we could still see some patients in the afternoon who were ready, but then we've had to turn everything off so we're not sure where we stand with our computers at the moment because most of the other areas have been affected.
CO: So you just shut down at this point. You're just you're back to the early 20th century.
CM: Yeah pretty much. We’ve had to find pens again and paper and start recording things and hopefully they'll be good enough for today and we can start recording back online all the electronic records. Maybe next week if everything gets back up and running.
CO: Well in some respects that might be a healthier lifestyle but at the same time all those records are very important. What how has it affected your practice or your patients?
CM: I think for my clinics, we haven't been too badly affected. We have lost obviously the ability to look at communications from the hospitals so we’ve lost consultant letters because we couldn't view those today. We haven't been able to see any updated blood tests that have been done. It's been more of an issue for, I think the hospitals on any patients that were coming in with an acute illness that wasn't planned because if they have come in, and we haven't been able to look at any histories for those patients, we haven’t been able to find any back story, look at the bloods that have come through, so we've had more issues with those patients in terms of how to actually treat them rapid case.
CO: Yikes. The hospitals, this is really where it's been huge because they were the first to see what was going on. Their descriptions of somebody seeing their computer go down and then someone next to them go down and the next one go down and suddenly they realized that they were under attack. And but they, those doctors those hospitals, they saw a pop up note, a message before they turned off their computers. Do you know what that said.
CM: Yeah, we've been sent that from a couple of the other GP practices as well. And it's that “Oops, your files have been encrypted.” It's got a time stamp on it for when we need to send payment and then it's got a timestamp for when the files will be lost. It's got I think three days from about 3pm UK time today. And until we need to pay, and then seven days after or from now is when the files will be lost. And it asked for three hundred dollars worth of bitcoins so I assume it's popped up on every computer which I think works out in U.K. money about £400,000 to send through for I guess every computer which could be in the millions. I think one hospital probably has about 500, 600 computers. So that's a sizable amount of money that they're obviously asking for.
CO: Well as this is known as ransomware, isn't it. You're basically, your files are held for ransom and you don't get them back until you pay this money usually in Bitcoin which is something that’s can't be traced and so that's what's happened to the United Kingdom's health care system today.
CM: Yeah I don't think it's only been NHS that’s been targeted. I’ve heard Telefonica because the telephone company in Spain has been targeted as well. I think a lot of other international companies but I think obviously, the NHS has probably taking the limelight because it is the bread and butter of all health care within the UK for millions upon millions of people so it probably has a more devastating effect.
CO: Well one of your colleagues, a doctor he tweeted “This is unprecedented. It will be a miracle if no one comes to harm.” So how might this put patients at risk?
CM: And the fact that we've had to cancel operations already. Some patients have been refused to come into the hospital. I think that's where the main patient care is going to be an issue. The patients can't have an operation that they've waited six months for, if they’re coming in with a newly acute issue where they've had a stroke and we’re not able to look at the records to find medication or what bloods they’ve had from their own GP practices. It just, it leaves I think a lot of doctors at medical legal risk, it leaves the patients at risk. I think whoever's behind this, if they've intentionally targeted the NHS is despicable and just an absolutely disgusting attack to take on something like the NHS which is obviously there to make patients’ lives better.
CO: So why do you think hackers would target the National Health Service in Britain?
CM: I think it's actually quite a lucrative thing if it's put to a standstill. It's one of the government's main stays with the UK. So if they can't, we need it to survive GP, needed nurses need it, patients need it. It's it's just a 24/7 organization that works all the time so without it, we're kind of lost.
CO: It must have been something of a shock to realise how completely vulnerable the National Health Service’s computers are, and that this is the world in which you live and work and require. And yet they could be, I don't think easily hacked, but they were they were hacked thoroughly and totally.
CM: Yeah, I've read a few different articles, I've seen a few different people tweet and say [unintelligible] things to social media in terms of the fact that we didn't upgrade our security two or three years ago due to government cuts, so I think if there is things like that, then I think the government may have a lot to answer to, the fact that they've left NHS just so susceptible. But it is quite a worry. We obviously got some sort of fragile protection looking after all this.
CO: All right we'll keep those pens out and find that typewriter someplace, and if you can get it, find a ribbon you might have to hold onto that and get ready.
CM: Yes I think so.
CO: Mr. Maguire, thank you.
CM: No problem. Thank you very much.
JD: Chris Maguire is a pharmacist. We reached him in Liverpool, U.K. As we go to air, the cyber-attack has spread to dozens of countries, and you can find more on this story on our website cbc.ca/aih.
Hit and run
Guest: Jason Doherty
JD: When Hugh David was killed in a hit-and-run last November in Calgary, his friends were shaken. It was bad enough that their gregarious, East Coaster friend, known by his nickname "Nikko", was flung into a ditch by a passing truck, who fled the scene. What's even more disturbing is that the other driver at the scene that day, who saw it all happen, also drove away.
This week, six months after that hit-and-run, police in Calgary laid charges against the truck driver who allegedly hit Nikko.
Jason Doherty is a fellow East Coaster, transplanted in Calgary, and a close friend of Nikko's. We reached Mr. Doherty in Calgary.
CO: Jason, first of all, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend Nikko.
JASON DOHERTY: Thank you so much.
CO: And just take us back to what happened and how did this hit and run happened last November? What was he doing? What was Nikko doing when it happened?
DOHERTY: He was moving to a new place. He had an RV parked on some land and he had got evicted from it so he was in the process of moving it. And he had a bunch of, the last load of stuff, like a bunch of restaurant equipment from our store. We were going to build a fish and chips bus for him to do. And he was moving that last load of stuff.
CO: So he was driving along. And what did he see?
DOHERTY: A motorist had flagged him down for help.
CO: And was Nikko the sort of guy that would do that? He'd stop?
DOHERTY: Nikko was the type of guy that, no matter what his life situation, like his life was in a complete chaos, he had no place to live. He lived homeless, he lived in an RV on a vacant piece of land. No matter how his life was, he was always put everybody else to for himself.
CO: So he was driving along and then he gets waved down. And so what happened then?
DOHERTY: So then he was giving help to the person that flagged him down and out of nowhere a black Dodge Ram came and struck him and flung him into the ditch. And the motors that he was pulled over helping, took off as well as the truck that hit him, leaving him for to die.
CO: The hit and run truck driver took off but also the person he had stopped to help didn't even, didn't get out?
DOHERTY: Nope they took off and left him.
CO: What do we now know about the person driving the truck that hit Nikko?
DOHERTY: What do I know now about it? Yeah what's been revealed? He's a 47 year old man. He went to court yesterday and got released on a $2000 cash bail. He's in charge but he’s not been convicted and he's not been found guilty. So they've said it could take years to get through it. But they want to get through it as fast as they can.
CO: And what about the man who that Nikko had stopped to help who also took off?
DOHERTY: Now that’s a whole another story. I talked to the police officers in charge here. The investigators, they came and they spoke to me, and they said to me that they've been in contact with the person, and that the person is in his 30s, male and that they are dealing with the apparent driver of that truck first and then they will deal with the other person that left the scene.
CO: All right so it's possible that that man might be charged as well.
DOHERTY: He should be charged as well because he failed to provide the necessities of life. He failed to remain at the scene of an accident. Nobody called 911.
CO: How long did Nikko lie there before anyone came to his help?
DOHERTY: Within the hour is all I can really say. And when I asked the officer, I said was he dead when you guys found him? And they said no he was still alive but passed shortly after. So I know that if these people, how heartless, cruel as this world has become, and it has really shown me that if they would have made that one phone call at the time of the accident, Nikko would have been able to get to the hospital and probably he would be here today because he's stubborn. You know, I mean he wouldn't he gave up without a fight.
CO: It sounds like Nikko had a lot of friends are. What are you all saying and thinking and feeling about him now?
DOHERTY: The thing is, Nikko never spoke of any family. The only family he ever spoke of those was up here at Scotian Style, the restaurant that I own. He come here every day after work and his full time job in the daytime, driving gravel truck to help us at the store. And he always put everybody before himself like I offered to pay him, he would take $20 here. He’d take maybe 50 bucks here. He would want food. I’d give him food. You know what I mean, whatever he wanted he could have. He knew that we would take care of him right. The same as he took care of us. We had a pretty good family of people here that at Scotian Style that are all Nova Scotians. They’re from back home and that's how Nikko fitted in our family. You know what I mean, is because he loved Nova Scotia and he was proud to be a Nova Scotian and being out here.
When the accident happened, after I was I found out because of a news article, we had been trying to call him all day that Saturday, nobody could get a hold of him. And then all of a sudden the news clipping came on that there was a 54 year old man on 17th Avenue in a hit run and was killed. And as soon as that news clipping came up, Kevin called me and said you should look at the news. And as soon as I looked at the news I told and called Gino. That’s Nikko’s daytime boss for driving gravel truck. And then, yes, they come to find out it was Nikko, and that's why he wasn't answering our phone calls or he didn't come to the store or he didn't see anybody. I seen him the day before he died. He came in to talk to me at the store and I was so busy with customers that he left and I never got to see him that night.
CO: He was 54 when he was killed.
DOHERTY: Today is his birthday, 55.
CO: I know you and some friends are planning a little tribute to him. What are you going to do?
DOHERTY: What we're going to do is we're going to go we're going out, we’re going to place across the memory of Nikko on the highway and to just allow everybody to know that Nikko was never alone and that he has a huge family here in Alberta. And the thing is too, is Nikko never spoke of any family so this is what makes it even more worse for me, is that the police reached out to see if he had any family after he passed away because he had no next of kin listed. So they needed somebody to identify the body. And me and Gino and Kevin went down and identified the body and found that it was our brother Nikko.
CO: Jason again, I'm so sorry about what happened to your friend and your brother Nikko, and I just I really appreciate you telling us about him. He sounds like a great guy.
DOHERTY: He was an awesome guy. He's so missed every day, like every time we hear a dump truck coming around the corner we look to see if it’s Nikko. You know I mean we see random people walking that look like him, and we turned and looked and we’re like is that Nikko? You know I mean, that's how missed he is. He’s missed by everybody. So much that what else can you do but expect for justice to be served.
CO: It sounds like you're all great guys and I really appreciate you telling us about him. Thanks Jason.
DOHERTY: No problem.
CO: Take care of yourself.
DOHERTY: Thank you so much.
DOHERTY: OK bye-bye.
JD: Jason Doherty was a close friend of Hugh David, also known to his friends as Nikko. Nikko died last November in a Calgary hit and run. We reached Jason Doherty also in Calgary.
JD: Well, today’s Donald Trump was tweeted up a storm this morning. He tweeted at 7:53 am, "The Fake news media is working overtime today!" Then, 14 minutes later at 8:07 am, he tweets: "...Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future 'press briefings' and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???" Three question marks on the end of that statement, I guess.
And then, about twenty minutes after that, he tweeted about the recently-fired FBI Director: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
Well, despite Mr. Trump's 8:07 tweet, today's White House press briefing was not canceled and so reporters had a lot of questions for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Here were the first ones:
REPORTER: Did President Trump record his conversations with former FBI director Comey.
SEAN SPICER: I assume you’re referring to his tweet, and I've talked to the president. The president has nothing further to add on that.
REPORTER: Why did he say that? Why did he tweet that? What should we interpret from that?
SS: As I mentioned, the president has nothing further to add on that.
REPORTER: Are there recording devices in the Oval Office or in the residence? As I’ve said for the third time, there is nothing further to add on that.
SS: Does he think it's appropriate to threaten someone like Mr. Comey not to speak
REPORTER: I don't think that's not a threat. He's simply stated a fact. The tweet speaks for itsself. I'm moving on.
JD: And that was white house spokesperson Sean Spicer refusing to confirm or deny whether the president had recorded conversations with former FBI Director James Comey as the president himself implied on Twitter earlier today.
Mr. Spicer's was also asked about the continuation of the Russia investigation.
REPORTER: Yesterday, Sarah told us that the president expects the FBI investigation will be wrapped up with integrity that. The White House wants. Today the president tweeted and called it a witch hunt. How does tweeting and calling it a witch hunt to help wrap that investigation up with integrity?
SEAN SPICER: The president, you know, no one wants this done. He wants to know very clearly. There's two pieces of this, right? Which is what was Russia's involvement? The president is obviously very concerned about any entities’ attempts to influence the United States election. And that's one investigation. I think the second, this false narrative that we continue to fight every day that has been debunked by intelligence individuals, members of Congress who have been briefed over and over again. That's where I think he's growingly concerned as well as a number of American people who are growing the concern that there is this perpetuated false narrative out there. That's that's I think the nut of this.
REPORTER: I talked to a former FBI official today who said the president's tweet, the implicit threat to former FBI Director James Comey in the case of the president, in his words, is simply out of control. I’d like to get you to respond to that. Is he?
SS: That's frankly offensive.
JD: That was White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer fielding questions at a press briefing earlier today.
Guest: Bill Petrocelli
JD: Getting a book signed by your favourite author could be one of the simple pleasures of life. You line up, you move forward, you have your book in your sweaty hands, you practice smart things to say. And you get to the front, you stand there bewildered while the author fills out the necessary paperwork to be allowed to affix a signature. Legally witnessed by two people, of course.
Now that process may not sound that familiar to you, but in California, a state law could turn this simple pleasure into a nightmare of red tape for booksellers.
Bill Petrocelli is the co-owner of Book Passage bookstores in San Francisco. He is launching a legal challenge to this law, which has been in place since January. We reached Mr. Petrocelli in San Francisco.
CO: Bill, how complicated has it become for an author to sign a few books?
BILL PETROCELLI: Well if we try to follow the requirements in the new California law, it would be very very complicated, complicated to the point where you couldn't have an author event. It would require extensive record keeping, bonding, certificates of authenticity, special invoicing. Just all kinds of things that are totally inappropriate for a simple author event at a bookstore.
CO: Well run us through what would happen. Let's say you're having an author to read and then of course stick around to sign people's books that they buy at your bookstore. What, in order to verify that event, what do you have to do?
BP: Well you'd have to come up with a particular certificate of authenticity. We'd have to find out from the publisher, get them to sign off on it to make sure that the author is who the author claims to be. We’d have to attach this particular express warranty which would have to be part of the book that has to be near as I can tell, pasted into the book. It would have to have our resale number for the State Board of Equalization. We would have to have a special invoicing number which would be attached to the book, and have, it that would also require a witness statement to witness the authenticity of the signing. There would have to be a particular serial number attached to it. Each sign would have to be tracked individually and an extensive record keeping process and we'd have to maintain all of these records for about seven years. And if we made any mistake in the record keeping process we would be subject to very draconian legal penalties. Ten times actual damages, plus attorney's fees and expert witness fees and the sort. It would simply make a simple autograph and author event signing in a bookstore untenable.
CO: What on earth is the purpose of this law?
BP: Well it was originally designed for sports memorabilia and apparently there's all kinds of problems with fraud and sale of sports memorabilia. Last year, an Assemblywoman in Southern California was approached by Mark Hamill claiming that there was some fraud in the sale of his movie star memorabilia and asked her to sponsor a bill which would change it. So instead of simply adding movie star memorabilia to the sports memorabilia covered by the law, they removed all restrictions entirely so it applied to any autographed item sold in the state of California.
This woman was defeated for re-election. Later on someone asked her whether she intended to apply to books. And she said, no she hadn't thought it through, no one had thought it through. By the time it got to the legislation, it was signed into law by the governor. No one had really realized that the way they had written it would apply to books. It's an impossible law to live with. If we try to go through all of this process we would in effect cut, we would shut off the off the author events we do in our store. We do about seven or eight hundred author events a year in our three stories. And that's a lot of people and a lot of books and we've never, over 40 years, have ever had anybody claim that we were selling a fraudulent autograph. We don't charge for the autograph. You buy a book, you pay the same price whether it's autographed or not. And it would be it would be a big hit on our business.
So right now right now we're in a position where we just are continuing to do what we've been doing and hoping that no one tries to enforce this law against us. It’s like being at the bottom of the cliff with a big boulder on the cliff, until it falls down everything’s normal. When it falls down it will crush us.
CO: But I just think, I mean I've been in those lineups trying to get someone to sign a book from my mom or for somebody, and it’s like “Can you make this for my mom and say Merry Christmas.” I mean this is, it's very personal it's not like getting that collector’s item.
BP: Your mom’s day-ing too under this law. No it's very personal and it's you know, I sit down and with a number of other events we do a year in our three stores, and we're not that big, you know, it's this is we're not that atypical. But for the number of events we do, we probably provide more public forums for the exchange of ideas than almost any other place in the Bay Area. And there's some very interesting questions that go back and forth between the authors and the readers. Sometimes it even extends up to the point where the author is signing the book and the readers asking him or her questions and that becomes very interesting.
It's this would just cut that off completely and really cut off a major part of the free expression of ideas.
CO: Is there any way you can get this rolled back before this boulder rolls over you?
BP: Well that's why we filed the lawsuit. We could wait around and try and get the legislature to change it and they might at some point. But they've been pretty tight-lipped about what they intend to do. That's why we filed suit. We're trying to get a federal court judge to declare that this violates the protections of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it's a prior restraint on freedom of the press. It's, you know, really impinging about our ability to sell books and that's not good.
CO: Well I hope there are no law makers listening to this interview that “Hey that's a great idea because…”
BP: Well I hope they are because I want to do it. I want to read more carefully what they sign into law. This thing went through the California legislature last year with no debate. We looked at the legislative issue. No one got up and said “Hey wait a minute. We’re doing something here that's far too broad.” But nobody paid attention and I'm hoping that as a result of this they will pay more attention in the future.
CO: It's astonishing. Bill, it's good to talk to you. I hope you get this worked out. Thank you.
BP: Good talking to you, thanks.
JD: Bill Petrocelli is the co-owner of Book Passage bookstores. He spoke to us from San Francisco.Back To Top »
Part 2: Saskatchewan ambulance, rare plants destroyed
Guest: Candice Evans
JEFF DOUGLAS: When someone is injured or sick, and they need help fast, we call an ambulance, or most of us do. But, when Candice Evans' husband Duane was sick earlier this week, he response was different. Because she was worried that the ambulance would take far too long to get to her community of Buffalo Narrows in northern Saskatchewan. So Ms. Evans decided to drive her husband herself. And now she's calling on officials in her community to provide better emergency services.
We reached Candice Evans earlier today in Buffalo Narrows.
CAROL OFF: Candice, how is your husband's feeling now?
CANDICE EVANS: He's on the mend. He's feeling better, he returned home last night. It's good to see him. Good to see him back.
CO: That was quite a scare you had.
CE: Yeah, it was one of those things you don't want to happen to you and then it does. So you just have to act.
CO: Well and you did act, big time. But take us back to earlier in the week when you first realized that something was wrong. What were the signs?
CE: My husband's a big tough guy. So when he's sick, you know, I notice it early especially. He was in bed early and feverish and sore, he could barely speak. He hadn't eaten in a couple days. And so when he woke up the next morning and I could hear him downstairs I went to check on him and he was doubled over on the bathroom floor in so much pain from this infection. And so I reached out to the on-call nurse at our clinic, our health center here in Buffalo Narrows, and she was very pleasant and willing to come right to the clinic to meet us. So we got there about 6:30 in the morning.
CO: And you are yourself a former nurse right?
CO: What so what, when you got him to the clinic, what did the nurse say about Duane, your husband.
CE: Well she noticed that his vital signs were off and that, you know it was his airway was obstructed and made the call to the doctor in Île-à-la-Crosse, you know as she's supposed to, and needed to send him to the nearest hospital.
CO: And where is the nearest hospital?
CE: 45 minutes away is Île-à-la-Crosse is one hospital, and then about an hour in the other direction in La Loche is the other.
CO: When you heard that they needed to do was to take Duane to hospital in an ambulance. What went through your mind?
CE: Well I knew because she had set up an I.V. that he would need to go by ambulance, but being a former nurse I assumed responsibility and said “I can get him there faster.” You know I knew she needed to call in an ambulance from another town. So I just told her you know, if you're OK with that, I would I would prefer just getting him there sooner.
CO: How long would it take an ambulance in your view?
CE: If it was available, it would take around an hour to get here and then to get back there. And it took me you know, 45 minutes right from our from our health center to the hospital so I knew I could make it.
CO: Well now he's on an I.V. as you point out that that's why you need an ambulance because that's very difficult. It would seem to be impossible to drive somebody in that state with I.V. on them. So how did you manage that?
CE: So it was pretty funny. And you know, I knew he was on a gravity drip so I just hung it on the rear view mirror and gave him you know, some blankets for comfort and we hit the road.
CO: You hung that you hung the I.V. bag on the rearview mirror.
CO: And did, I mean was there, I mean I know that you're in an emergency but was there a moment of humor there when Duane saw that?
CE: Well when I jumped out I was like “I need to get a picture of this is what I said.” You know just to show him, it was what it was and how this all this set up looked. So yeah I chuckled a little bit. It wasn't funny but you know it was just out of the ordinary.
CO: It was absurd. But on top of that, not only are you doing that but I understand the road is not in the best condition.
CE: Oh, that road into Île-à-la-Crosse is terrible. It could have likely came in second for the worse road in Saskatchewan. I know my grandfather has had to take it in an ambulance when he had a stroke. He swore he'd never go on it again especially when you're laying in a stretcher. Right? You don't get to brace yourself for all the bumps and all that. Like it really needs to receive some attention and get some work considering that's the nearest, you know that's the hospital that they transport in and out of two bigger centers.
CO: And so you got to the hospital. How was Duane when you got there?
CE: He was feeling a little bit better. She had given him some pain control here. But he was still you know, could hardly talk and couldn't swallow. So we were able to see a doctor within a short time once we arrived.
CO: So he's doing better though, he's on the mend, is that right?
CE: Yeah. He had a peritonsillar abscess that was infected. And so we're glad that he received you know the I.V. and all the good care of the à-la-Crosse hospital. And we're very grateful for all the health care workers we have in our region, all primary care paramedics, nurses and doctors, and the whole care team because I was one of those members at one time and so we're really grateful to have to have good people caring for our own. It's just unfortunate that we don't have that easy access to ambulance services.
CO: And you started a petition in order to get that service. Could you tell us about that?
CE: You bet. This wasn't just my idea. It's been talked about the last couple weeks. There’s been some other instances happening where care was needed immediately and then having to wait for it. So this was just, you know, the straw that broke the camel's back. And we got that going and that's in two locations in town and almost completely full.
CO: And what you're hearing is that people share your experience.
CE: Yeah, I am reaching out to those in our community who have similar stories. And so I'm compiling those. When we meet with the region at the end of the month with the petition and with these letters of similar instances and hope that something happens.
CO: Well we've tried to contact the regional health authority and we haven't had a response yet. What are you hoping to hear from them?
CE: I would like to hear that there's some dialogue happening and that they're looking into a solution.
CO: All right, we'll check back with you Candice. And I'm glad that Duane’s OK.
CE: Yes. Thank you very much.
CO: Take care, bye-bye.
CE: You too.
JD: We reached Candice Evans earlier today in Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan. And after that conversation, we did hear back from the Keewatin Yatthe Regional Health Authority. The Authority says that it is gathering information on the situation and is committed to addressing any issues identified once they get a complete picture of what has occurred.
Costa Concordia conviction
JD: Today, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship finally went to prison.
In 2012, the ship, as you’ll remember, crashed into a reef. Thirty-two people died. Captain Francesco Schettino was convicted of manslaughter, of causing the accident, and of abandoning the sinking vessel with crew and passengers still aboard. Today, he lost his final appeal today.
Back in September 2013, As It Happens spoke with the brother of the late Russel Rebello. Mr. Rebello was a waiter who worked on the Costa Concordia. Kevin Rebello had been communicating with Captain Schettino. Here's part of his conversation with Carol, from our archives:
KEVIN REBELLO: He called me up. We spoke for quite a while. We spoke three to four times since the last time. We discussed various matters. I don't blame him for anything because you know, if he’s a real person who’s guilty about everything, then I'd think so according to the Italian law, he should have been in prison. But since they have not gathered sufficient reason to put him behind bars, I think so we still have to wait and watch what, who’s the real reason behind this.
CO: Do you forgive the captain for what happened?
KR: Well I'm no one to judge, and to forgive I think so is to be human. You know, if I keep on having a grudge against him or get angry about him so I'll be having an angrier day.
CO: Have you told him that that you don't that you don't hold any grudge against him or you don't…
KR: Yeah, because I think that I think I'm the only one who's speaking to him so I think so, he’s wise enough to understand that.
CO: You last spoke at Christmas and wished each other a Merry Christmas.
KR: We spoke for Christmas. He called me up on Christmas Day and he called me up on the 13th of Jan 2013, on the anniversary.
CO: The anniversary. So you’ve become one of their few friends left. This captain is much loathed in many places, you've become one of his last friends.
KR: Well if you go to see even the Pope and this killer, man from Turkey, so he went to prison to meet him. And 540 days for shooting him. We are just simple people so I don't think so. I'm not a pope. Just simple people. So you just have to, if you live about anger and get what he’s saying, revengeful every time, it's going to be difficult for the world to look so I prefer, prefer to just leave it to the to the law. If he's guilty, the law will give him what he deserves.
JD: From our archives that was Kevin Rebello speaking to Carol in September of 2013. Mr. Rebello's brother Russell died on the Costa Concordia. Today, Captain Francesco Schettino lost his final appeal in that case. He will go to prison for 16 years after being found guilty of manslaughter, causing a maritime accident, and abandoning ship.
Rare plants destroyed
Guest: Miche Guiraud
JD: "It's like taking a painting from the Louvre and burning it."
That's how one curator has described the destruction of some rare plant specimens. The French collection was recently incinerated by biosecurity officials in Australia. They were being loaned to a museum in Queensland by the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. Michel Guiraud is its head of collections. We reached M. Guiraud in Paris.
CO: Mr. Guiraud, how did you react when you learned that these rare plant specimens had been destroyed?
MICHEL GUIRAUD: Astonishment because it's the first time this thing happened for a very long time.
CO: Can you tell us about these plants and what was so important about them?
MG: So in fact we parcel of plants to the Queensland herbarium, and there were 105 specimens of Lagenifera genus, which is a family of the daisies. And among these 105 five specimens, we had six types of specimens, and five specimens referenced materials for species. Be that, when a scientist described a new species, he decide of one specimen we each carry all the characters of that species. And this specimen, designated by the researchers, is called a type specimen.
CO: So this type specimen, as you're saying, this is the part of the early daisy, a very old old Daisy that has–
MG: Yes, that's because type specimens, basically every day, botanists do describe new species of new species, therefore we have new type specimens being created every month basically. But besides being type specimens, six of them, most all of the plants which were sent were collected at the beginning of the 19th century and some of them were from a French botanist called Labillardière. And he collected these plants in 1792, 1793. There are very important for our national heritage of course.
CO: These were daisies, these were daisies that were from the 1790s.
MG: Yes. Over the course of Australia.
CO: So these rare species of daisies have been in France for well, years. They were they were being there on loan to Australia, to botanists there. How come they got destroyed? Why did that happen?
MG: Basically we, so far we have no information from the Department of Agriculture or the Australian customs. We have only the information through a botanist colleague. Australian botanist colleagues in Queensland.
What happened is that one document, we sent, we send it in the end of December and in mid-March we were contacted again because one document was missing regarding in quarantine. And we fill that form and send it back. But in fact, two weeks later, we learned that they were destroyed, incinerated.
CO: So they burned them, they–
MG: Yes they burned them, yes. Because of regulation regarding biohazard. And in fact, this specimen which were dry and dead for 200 years, in fact were treated like fresh material which could carry with some soil and for introducing microorganisms or whatever in Australia.
CO: But now, as we know, Australia is very strict about plant products coming into its country, and they say that they, the department says that the declared value of the package was two dollars, and so they considered this as a low value item and that they keep them for 30 days and it wasn't of much value. That there was no indication that this was something so rare. ‘
MG: Because it has only a scientific value. When you put two dollars, it means that it's commercial value. There is no market for that, for this specimen. And besides, that’s our usual way to do it. It's no commercial value. It's only scientific value. Because if you put it say, for example, lots of money, to guarantee that it would be handled properly, therefore you’re introducing commercial goods and therefore they can be taxed and things like that. So it's another it's another way of treating it. And all the museums in fact of all because we are sending more than 1000 loads a year and representing tens of thousands of specimens around the world. And that’s the way all the museums are proceeding.
CO: Now you mentioned the museums around the world are saying that they are not going to be shipping any samples to Australia, that they will, the botanists are going to just ban Australia from getting their materials because of what happened. Is there, what should Australia do in order to restore confidence in its system then?
MG: I think first is to assess the procedures. The problem is that in fact they treated specimens of dried dead plants as they were fresh. So anybody, if someone had opened the parcel. I don't know whether they did open it or not. If someone had opened so powerful, they would have seen that it was old plant put on a sheet of paper and it was very old. It carried no soil, no nothing. It had no risk at all.
CO: All right we'll have to leave it there Mr. Guiraud. It's very sad about those daisies but I appreciate you telling us about it.
MG: Goodnight. Bye.
JD: Michelle Guiraud is the head of collections at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and that's where we reached him.
Fyre Festival calls
JD: The organizers of the Fyre Festival put a "Y" in place of the "I" in "fire". Which it's fitting. Because two weeks after it crashed and burned, everyone is asking why.
It was billed as "the cultural event of the decade": a music festival on an island in the Bahamas featuring Major Lazer, Migos, and Kaytranada, among others. Ticket packages ran from $1,500 to a quarter of a million dollars for what promised to be an absurdly luxurious entertainment extravaganza.
The reality was definitely absurd, but not at all luxurious. Luggage was lost. The food was sub-high-school-cafeteria quality. There was no beer. The lodgings and festival grounds were nowhere near ready, and what was there did not come close to matching the brochure.
In the words of just one of the half-dozen major lawsuits filed so far, the plaintiffs contend that, "The villas that were billed as upscale beach tents were tents that resembled those used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in times of disaster."
Well it was a disaster. Albeit one that did not inspire a lot of sympathy for its well-heeled victims -- at least the ones who paid thousands to take private jets to drink champagne with Blink 182. But there are other victims: the people who expected to be paid for working at the Fyre Festival. And who no longer know what to expect now.
Vice News got hold of a recording of a conference call that took place last Friday. Right off the top of that call, Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland delivers the pay-off: he can't deliver the pay.
BILLY MCFARLAND: So after conferring with our council and our financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll immediately for the company. I understand that this is not an ideal situation for everybody and this will likely cause a lot of you to resign which we totally get and understand. That said, if you want to stick with us, we’d love to have you and we'll have to work together and get us and hunker down and get back to a place where everything resumes to business as usual.
JD: Thanks to Vice News for that clip. That is Fyre festival co-founder Billy McFarland telling all the employees who did not already quit that they won't be getting paid. Not anytime soon, but they're welcome to keep working for no pay until he can pay them. You can hear the whole call at news.vice.com.Back To Top »
Part 3: Rancher's gift, Hong Kong bookseller
Guest: Charlene Belleau
JEFF DOUGLAS: He has owned and worked the land since he was 21 years old. Now at 86, Kenneth Linde is giving it back. Mr. Linde has returned more than 300 acres of his land in Alkali Lake, B.C. back to the Esk'etemc First Nation, who claim the rights to the land and water.
Charlene Belleau is the chief of Esk'etemc First Nations. We reached her in Alkali Lake.
CAROL OFF: Mr. Belleau, what reasons did Kenneth Linde give you for why he was returning their rights to this land back to your people?
CHARLENE BELLEAU: He said “When I bought the land,” he said, “to use it, I paid for it. Every year since I bought the land, I've paid my taxes so I could continue to use it. But I've always known it's your land. And I would like to give it back to you.” And I thought you know, wow, it was that simple for him.
CO: Can you tell us a bit about this man?
CB: Kenneth Linde moved here, you know, years ago. He lived in the in the area close to us. His ranch is not very far up the road. But he also was one of the brothers of Linde Sawmills, where a lot of our community members were employed at their sawmill. But our community members lived there so they have a long relationship both at the sawmill and also as neighbors next to our community.
CO: And was he a good neighbor. Oh yes. Yes.
CB: Yes. You know, it's always great. I think our communities are small. Whenever he needed to come down and visit, you know our doors were open. Whenever we needed to see him we could always be able to visit. So no I think you know like any rural area, people are close. Everybody knows each other. When you need support for one another, we're always there for each other.
CO: And the land he has been working is 640 acres. And why has he decided to do this?
CB: Well for himself, he is 86 years old and he no longer can care for the land. There is a lot of equipment. In fact, a couple of years ago he fell and got hurt. And so he knows he can't work the equipment or make hay or run cattle or do any of that hard work anymore. So he's decided to move into a senior's village in Williams Lake.
CO: It's significant in so many ways and that he didn't, it’s not like he's giving you a gift. He is said he's returning your land.
CB: Yes. Well Esk'etemc or Alkali Lake, we've been strong advocates for tideland rights for years. You know, we've always believed that the land was ours. So even with Kenneth Linde and all other parties around us, we've always known that they you know have bought the land and they're using it. But eventually, this land is all of ours.
CO: And in the grand scale of things, in British Columbia, the 300 acres that he is returning to you, to your people, it's not huge but it's I guess quite symbolic isn't it? What does it represent that this gesture.
CB: You know this is reconciliation in its best form. Our community, you know with the 40 years sobriety movement that we've laid across the country, we've been strong advocates and I was part of the negotiating team for the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a big part of that. I wanted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission because I thought if people could tell their stories then we could set ourselves free from all of that trauma. So we went through the TRC, we had the apology from the prime minister. I guess with Kenneth Linde, it's giving substance, you know to the apology. It's giving substance to the TRC. Through his actions. You know he's not just talking about reconciliation, he's actually doing something about that.
CO: As you point out, the stories that came out during the truth and reconciliation things were extraordinary. I think so many Canadians including myself didn't know a fraction of what we learned in the course of those testimonies. And do you think that something like this indicates that well, perhaps the Canadians are now more aware of the truth and they do want to reconcile the way Mr. Linde has.
CB: Yes, I really believe that that you know, his gesture can go a long ways to you know, we don't need to know that there was just an apology in Ottawa. But there's actually somebody next door you know that wants to make amends and that wants to be able to work and live with us. I think just that the acknowledgment by him, you know ,that this is your land, it always was your land and I want to give it back. You know, even if it's one person saying something, you know, it gives us some gives us some hope and optimism that maybe there can be reconciliation one person at a time.
CO: Chief Belleau, it is lovely to speak with you. This is a great story and I really appreciate you telling it to us.
CB: Thank you for having me on the show and thank you for other Canadians listening that there is hope and optimism for where we can go from this story.
CO: I think you're right.
CB: Thank you.
JD: Charlene Belleau is the chief of Esk'etemc First Nations. She was in Alkali Lake. You can find more on that story on the As It Happens website: cbc.ca/aih.
Hong Kong bookseller
Guest: Lam Wing Kee
JD: They caught the world's attention when they disappeared. Now, one of them has reappeared to tell his story.
Two years ago, Lam Wing Kee was one of five Hong Kong booksellers who mysteriously went missing. It was later revealed that they had been taken into custody in mainland China. But there were no official answers as to why.
Since then, four of the five booksellers have been released. Legislators and activists believe that they were taken away because they sold and published sensitive materials banned in China.
Mr. Lam returned to Hong Kong last June, after eight months in detention. So far, he has been the only one of the four released to open up about his experience. Today, he continues his fight for freedom of expression.
Lam Wing Kee spoke with Carol today in the As It Happens studio, with the help of an interpreter.
CO: Lam Wing Kee, welcome to As It Happens.
LAM WING KEE: Thank you for inviting me. I can relate to you a lot of things that that have happened to me.
CO: Also welcome to Canada, and I know that you are often having to wear a disguise to actually mask your face because of fear of being identified. Do you feel safe in Canada?
LWK: I feel safe in a democratic system. I don't feel any threat.
CO: I want to go back to your bookstore that you opened in 1994, Causeway Bay Books. Can you just tell us a bit about that store?
LWK: I started the bookstore as a general bookstore, ameans of cultural exchanges and dialogue. However at the last decade or so, especially since 1997 there has been quite a change of format that the books that we are providing.
CO: But just I would like to know a bit more about the kinds of books that you were selling and these are books that you felt you could freely sell up to a point in Hong Kong but these are books that in mainland China they would not allow. Can you just tell us a bit about tje kinds of materials that you made available to Chinese people in Hong Kong and also to some extent in mainland China.
LWK: So because Hong Kong is a free market, it’s got a protection for freedom of expression. Hence I can sell all kinds of books. One of the main books I've been selling were the kind of Politico and some political scandal books that are barred in the mainland.
On top of that, there's also been a lot of academic books, research looking at the future of China the development of law and democracy as well. And these are all books that are banned in China, and we have been able to mail these books into China as [unintelligible] of the system. And this is in collaboration with a lot of the Taiwanese publishers.
CO: When did you get the sense that something was changing for book publishers and sellers in Hong Kong?
LWK: Before October 2015, there were two cases that was very alarming. The first one was a Hong Kong publisher who had published two books that were critical of the Communist Party and that caused a lot of aggravation up in Beijing.
The second one was two Hong Kong residents who had published books and it was sent across the border. And they too publish two books that were considered scandalous to the Communist Party. But the first one was charged with smuggling and imprisoned for 10 years. The second publishers were charged three years each. So but we never thought that would happen to us.
CO: Your co-manager, Gui Minhai went missing October 17th, two years ago. What happened to him?
LWK: When I was detained in Shenzhen on October 24th. That was seven days after Mr. Gui had been abducted from Thailand. However now that I have known what happened, I feel that the China government wanted to put a chill on the freedom of expression in Hong Kong, sort of giving a warning saying that don't publish books that are Anti- Communist Party, there are anti-China and show up at light on the Chinese government.
CO: And obviously don't sell them either which is what you were doing.
LWK: They obviously are using this way to send a signal to restrict the free publishing books and selling of books.
CO: You just mentioned it that you were taken by the authorities on mainland China. You were visiting Shenzhen and the word that's being used is “abducted”. Can you tell us what happened? On October 24th around 11:00 a.m., I had crossed the border into Shenzhen from Hong Kong to visit my girlfriend and there were about 30 people surrounding me, police immigration people. They took me in, eleven of them eventually took me to the van and drove me to a detention center in Guangzhou which is the city next to Shenzhen. There I spent the day and at 7 AM the next day, I was put on a high speed train to be taken to Ningbo which is near Shanghai, and then from then again I was driven by a van, accompanied by about seven people, into a detention center or the prison that I was being held.
CO: Did they ever tell you what the charges were? Were you ever charged with anything? Did you know why you were being held?
LWK: All along the way, from the time when I was detained until the next morning and next day when I was on the train, I asked constantly “Why am I being detained?” and nobody can give me an answer.
CO: What kinds of questions were they asking you?
LWK: That night in Shenzhen, the first night, I was interrogated by two people, one of whom I know. The person I know actually detained me when I was carrying some books across the border in 2002. So he knew about me and he was the one who did the questioning and they basically want to find out when I founded the bookstore, how do you come to sell it to Mr. Gui, the current owner, and what’s my relationship with Mr. Lui Bo. And all the other four other people that eventually disappeared.
CO: You were held for eight months in detention. What were the conditions that you were in?
LWK: I was being held in a less than 300 square foot room. The walls were softly lined, the ceiling was very very high. There were three CCTV keeping an eye on me. There were six people in two shifts. And they keep a watch on me for 24 hours a day and the lights would never turn off. So even when I was sleeping, there were lights were still on. I get up at 7:30 every morning. Breakfast at 8:00, lunch at 12:00, and then dinner at 6. And then throughout my detention, every day somebody would come and interrogate me.
CO: Did you understand that the reason why you were being detained was because you sold books.
LWK: I never knew that because I sold books that I was detained. I’ve asked them constantly but they never answered me.
CO: Did you have a lawyer? Did you have a chance to defend yourself? Were you ever before a judge? Did you ever have a chance to find out and explain yourself?
LWK: I spend the whole day on the train to Ningbo on the 25th, and when I woke up on the 26th, after breakfast, they brought me two documents to sign. The first one was a self-declaration that I would not let my family know where I am. And the second declaration was that I would not hire a lawyer. I forfeit my rights to a lawyer.
CO: After eight months they released you. What were the conditions that the Chinese authorities gave you for when they let you out of prison?
LWK: Right before Chinese New Year in February, they sort of put me on bail but in a very restrictive sense. I was sent to Shaoguan, which is a small town in northern Guangdong province, far from Hong Kong. I was allowed the freedom to be there. But again, my movements were very restricted and I was actually in the detention center. So I don't even know what that means to have leave.
They told me that the Mr. Gui’s case will be decided and brought up to the judge in December of 2016. And at that time, the other people will be released.
CO: So Mr. Gui is still in detention, is that right?
CO: You are listening to As It Happens and I have with me in the studio Lam Wing Kee. He's here to tell us what happened when he was one of five Hong Kong booksellers who disappeared a few years back. So what about you what, you went back to Hong Kong. What were the conditions? First of all, when did you go back and what did they tell you were your restrictions?
LWK: On June 14th I was released and allowed back to Hong Kong. But on the way across the border, I knew that two people were tailing me, and in fact CCTV at the Hong Kong border has shown that these people actually crossed the border with me and their whole purpose was to keep an eye on me while I was in Hong Kong. I had two things to do in Hong Kong. First to go up to the Hong Kong police and ask them to drop the missing person report that was filed by my wife. Second mission was to bring back a computer hard disk that contained the customers of people who perhaps bought books from me.
CO: This request for the computer disk, this came from the Chinese authorities. They wanted you to turn over the lists of names of people who were buying books from you?
LWK: They asked me to bring the hard drive out, not only to find out the names of the people who buy books for me, but also as to frame me with an evidence that I'm now crossing the border with a hard disk of names. So now that I have two things that are against me. I brought books into the country and now I'm bringing a hard-disk into the country.
CO: Did you ever deliver the hard drive to the Chinese authorities with those names?
LWK: Of course I did one thing, however I did not do the second thing which is to bring evidence up to China of the customer list that I had on my hard drive.
CO: What you did do is to speak out which was something that was probably very dangerous for you to do. Why did you decide that you would not only refuse the Chinese authorities what they'd asked you, but that you would tell the world what had happened. That you would go public with your story. Why did you decide that you could do that or you should do that?
LWK: When I was in Ningbo detention center, they gave me a hand phone and I was able to go onto the Internet and I realized what a big deal this has become. It has created international sensation and I read about the Chinese Foreign Affairs rebutting the condemnation by the EU the UK and the US. So when I came back out, I spent two nights watching the TV news and I realized that, first of all, Lui Bo has been abducted. I didn't know that before. And I realized that this is more than just the five booksellers that we are dealing with. This is just destroying the one country, two systems that the Chinese had promised to Hong Kong people.
And the fact that they happen 6000 people up in the street protesting, I realized that I need to stand up and deal with the freedom of expression and the erosion of the Hong Kong society as we know it.
CO: After you were detained, it was a very big story that these five booksellers had disappeared from the streets, that they had been abducted. People felt it was a signal that Hong Kong was going to be taken over, that it was not going to be the same society anymore. How have people reacted to you since you have been released?
LWK: Well I have always been politically aware of the situation in Hong Kong vis-à-vis China. Even before the umbrella revolution. I actually participated in the umbrella revolution I came out on the streets. I was there from the start. I came on the streets a couple of nights, 2 a.m. in the morning. However because I was writing the bookstore I could not participate full time. That’s why I had not been very active. However since the disappearance of five booksellers from Causeway Bay, I realized that I need to do something because I understand the erosion of the one country, two systems and the increasing interference by the Chinese government on Hong Kong affairs. That I need to stand up a lot and hope to inspire China to change their behavior.
CO: And just for people to understand, the one country two systems policy was the conditions by which China, Hong Kong reverted to Chinese authority. They were, the understanding was, that Hong Kong would you have it's own system with its own rights which were tolerant of book selling and book publishing.
There are many signs that this is not happening including the fact that you were arrested. What concerns do you have about tha?
LWK: My big concern is that China has to keep their promise of maintaining the one country, two systems format. And I was upset in the past decade or so. The Hong Kong government has frequently be overruled by Chinese judges and randomly and abruptly disrupting our daily lives with law. I'm further concerned about the erosion of freedom of expression, and especially the Article 23 which has been brought up some years ago and been turned down.
Article 23 will further restrict our freedom of expression in Hong Kong.
CO: We're also seeing what happened Hong Kong's next leader, Carrie Lam, set to take office in July. One of the first things we've seen happen is leaders of the Umbrella Revolution have been indicted. This is many people are regarding as a signal that things are going to get worse. That democracy is more at risk than ever in Hong Kong. What do you think is likely to happen? What do you what do you predict?
LWK: There's a saying in Chinese that even though we know it can't happen, we will still make try and make it happen. And I believe in that. I think that I know that one man, one vote could be a very dark future. But I still think we should just try for it. But more importantly, I think it's up to people from Hong Kong to defend their own freedom. China will continue making erosion into our current system. So it all depends on the will and the courage of the Hong Kong people.
CO: What's happened to you since you have been back in Hong Kong. You said earlier that you were followed, that there were people tailing you. We know that you often wear a disguise or you cover, put a mask on your face, to hide your identity. How is your security? What do you fear might happen to you?
LWK: I think if any harm comes to me, China will be further condemned by the international community. And because this is such a high profile case, I feel safe. I feel that China, China will not be as stupid as to harm me right now knowing that I have the world's attention.
CO: You don’t think, you don't fear for your own security or you or that you might be detained again?
LWK: Of course I'm fearful. Of course I'm being very careful. But that doesn't stop me from doing what I want to do.
CO: Are you selling books again?
LWK: I would do it if I have a chance again. But especially, I wanted to promote books that are researching on Chinese future. I want the people in mainland to know what their country's going to be and how it's going to be. And I want to help with that dissemination of information.
CO: Lam Wing Kee, it's good to have you in the studio. I appreciate you coming here. Thank you.
LWK: Thank you very much.
JD: That was Lam Wing Kee, the former manager of Causeway Bay Books, a bookstore in Hong Kong. Two years ago, he and four other booksellers went missing. Four of them have since returned to Hong Kong. One, Gui Minhai, remains in detention. And a special thanks to Cheuk Kwan for interpreting.
CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.