CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol Off.
JEFF DOUGLAS: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
CO: Full blast. Without warning the United States has dropped a bomb in Afghanistan. One so massive it had to be delivered by a cargo plane. We'll find out what it does and what it was meant to do.
JD: Ready to roll. Justice Minister Jodi Wilson-Raybould’s new bill will finally legalize marijuana. But with no definitive date set, would-be users are on standby for the red eye.
CO: Just park the drinks cart by the CEO’s seat. The severe turbulence continues for United Airlines with a press conference detailing the injuries to the man who is physically dragged off a flight.
JD: Neighborhooding the canvas. Reddit asks users to put a single pixel at a time on a big white space and the result is oddly beautiful after more than a million people connect through the dots.
CO: Mon-arch support. To be hired for a new position at Buckingham Palace, you'll have to put your best foot forward and then your other foot and repeat that pattern until you've broken in the Queen's shoes.
JD: And… from bulldozer to dozer. If a B&B owner regrets giving you the first B and refuses to give you the second, you may have a serious snoring problem, until you do the somewhat undignified exercises suggested by our guest. As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that makes a sound sleeper from a surround-sound one.
[Music: Theme]Back To Top »
Part 1: Afghanistan bomb: expert/reporter, snoring habit
Afghanistan bomb: expert
Guest: David Axe
JD: The United States has dropped the largest conventional bomb ever to be used in combat. The target, according to American military officials, was an ISIS cave and tunnel complex in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. In a moment, we will hear from a journalist in Kabul who's already hearing reports on the ground from Achin district, where the bomb hit. First though, more on this “massive ordinance air blast weapon” nicknamed “the mother of all bombs.” David Axe is a military and defense blogger. We reached him in Columbia, South Carolina.
CO: Mr. Axe, what makes this bomb “the mother of all bombs?”
DAVID AXE: It's very, very big. “The mother of all bombs” the “massive ordinance air blast” bomb weighs about 10 tons, most of which is fuel and explosives.
CO: That's about the size of a bus, isn’t it?
DA: Right, it's enormous. It's so big that it's not carried by normal American warplanes. It's transported by cargo planes. Special Operations Forces cargo planes and you roll it out the back.
CO: What does it do?
DA: So it's a fuel air explosive, which means rather than just containing TNT, it contains fuel — liquid fuel — and then a charge separately. The fuel bursts on the ground, spreads a cloud of gas and then the charge ignites the gas and it creates a massive pressure wave.
CO: So what does it look like? It doesn't go into the ground like a bunker buster or something it's not penetrating anything, any surface, but it explodes above the surface of the earth, right?
DA: It looks like a gigantic fireball. Many analysts compare the appearance and effect of a massive fuel air explosive” to a very small nuclear weapon.
CO: Why would they use it?
DA: So if you've got a large area where the terrain is rough and there are caves and valleys and where your enemy has dug in say with bunkers or tunnels or trenches. Bombing those kinds of fortifications in that kind of terrain with conventional munitions is not impossible, but it's tricky. You would need to say target each bunker with its own ground penetrating bunker busting bomb. Or alternatively send in ground troops to trench by trench and bunker by bunker clear out those fortifications, which can be very costly to your own forces. So if you want to bomb those kinds of fortifications from the air a fuel air explosive can be effective under certain circumstances. Let's be practical. The major practical reason is big area lots of fortifications some buried. But I think equally compelling is the psychological argument. A fuel air explosive is terrifying. And I believe that effect the Pentagon probably calculates that as that effect. And I would guess weighs that equally against the actual practical effect of taking out these individual fortifications.
CO: This is an area, Achin district of Nangarhar province that is not densely populated, but a lot of people live there. It's a farming area. Today, we heard from the Pentagon that they, as they always say, did everything possible to minimize civilian casualties. How likely is it that they could minimize civilian casualties given the size and the magnitude and the psychological terror of this weapon?
DA: I would say very unlikely, especially when you're doing most of that surveillance from the air. Aerial surveillance is imprecise. So I don't have any direct evidence of this, but an area that remote is indeed populated depopulated and using a weapon that's that big and that indiscriminate. I mean it's a recipe for civilian casualties.
CO: What kinds of discussions would have to go on in the White House before it would authorize such a bomb?
DA: It's not clear that the White House directly authorized this attack. The Pentagon has said that Central Command, General Votel at Central Command, which is the regional command that oversees Iraq and Afghanistan among other countries would have approved that attack. But what we do know is that the Trump administration has been loosening the requirements for and the requirements are different for every region of the world. But loosening, broadly speaking, the requirements for conducting air strikes. We've seen a market escalation of airstrikes in Iraq and now we're seeing it in Afghanistan and it is not a coincidence that Trump promised to turn you know put it in P.G. 13 terms to bomb the crap out of ISIS. The administration is creating a set of policies that encourage swifter and more devastating airstrikes with less vetting of the target area.
CO: Someone else said today that a bomb like this is quote, “a piece of theatre announcing that nothing is off limits.”
DA: That's exactly what it is. It’s psychological warfare. As much as it is a practical tactic to deploy a weapon like this it is psychological warfare.
CO: We'll leave it there. Mr. Axe, thank you.
DA: Thank you.
JD: David Axe is a military and defense blogger. We reached him in Columbia, South Carolina. He was describing the “massive ordinance air blast weapon” that was just dropped by the United States Air Force in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan bomb: journalist
Guest: Bilal Sarwary
JD: Bilal Sarwary is a journalist in Afghanistan. He has started to hear reports out of the area that was hit. We reached Mr. Sarwary in Kabul.
CO: Bilal, can you, first of all, tell us what you're hearing from Achin? This district where this giant bomb hit?
BILAL SARWARY: I was able to speak to an Afghan local police commander, who said a series of tunnels belonging to the Islamic State or ISIS was targeted around 7:30pm this evening. The bomb shook the entire district according to him and other residents. And, according to one villager, there is not a single home where you can find a window. Every single window is broken. Some of the shrapnel from the big bomb have traveled all the way to the district headquarters, which is quite far away. I was in this region working on a documentary for Vice on HBO a few months ago, where I witnessed a regular U.S. drone strikes targeting these fighters in some of the most difficult terrain that one can think of.
CO: You tweeted that there was some kind of a massive fire that was still burning in the region. Can you tell us about that?
BS: There is still a big fire going on according to local officials and provincial council members who were talking to people on the ground. This is an area that has mountainous valleys. That has mountains dotted with forest and there are homes as well not very far from where the airstrike took place, which is in the valley in the district of Achin. We really don't know if residents are still in those homes or if they have left for Kabul and other cities because of ISIS and the fighting has been the case in the district. But the explosion was so powerful that it was felt in several nearby districts.
CO: Is your source telling you about casualties about civilians or anyone that they know was killed in the blast?
BS: The Afghan local police commander and the provincial council members that I'm speaking to they're only saying that they believe at least 20 to 30 fighters may have been killed there. As I said, there are homes. We don't know if people are still living or not. But earlier today, the U.S. General John Nicholson traveled to the eastern city of Jalalabad with Afghanistan's national security adviser with the intelligence chief the minister of defense and there they announced that Afghanistan will fight against ISIS and that it will not allow it to operate there. And then a few hours afterwards, this news that the mother of all bombs has been dropped so we have to wait and hear more tomorrow. It's dark it's one of the most remote villages and valleys, it’s insecure, you don't have electricity and phone services are not very reliable. But one village, for example, was telling me that the radio station run by ISIS is not broadcasting. Whether it was destroyed in the air strikes or they are deliberately going off air that we still have to wait and see.
CO: The radius of this blast apparently goes for kilometers. It explodes above the ground and it travels a very wide area and it also, as you say, blasts out the windows. It can also affect I understand people's ear drums. It has a huge concussive effect to it. Did people tell you about what it sounded like?
BS: What I have been told by the Afghan local police commander that I have known for a few months that this felt like a doomsday. That the entire valley was shaken that at first they thought it was an earthquake or something even bigger than that. But, as I said, it is a remote area. You don't have the means to travel to those villages and valleys to check on people and phone services are not very reliable. But I think that would be the concern that this is also a place where thousands of civilians live where people have just got used to the idea of war over the last few years. So we'll have to see and wait. But the power of it, the fear that it created among woman and children no doubt was nothing but quite horrible.
CO: And you say you've been in the region recently how populated with civilians is the area this bomb hit?
BS: There are villages in valleys where people are simply choosing not to move to bigger cities like Kabul or Jalalabad because when their relatives have left they found it hard to just find a job. They found it hard to live outside of their villages so there's no doubt that civilians do live on both sides. On the side with the Afghan government is in control and on the side where the so-called Islamic State is there. I think that will be a major concern at this stage. What are we talking about in terms of civilian casualties?
CO: But for sure when you were there you saw families, men, women, children and farmers. It's a big wheat growing area. You saw all of this when you were visiting.
BS: I saw a normal life. I saw life amid conflict. I saw people getting used to the idea of living between both sides. I also saw, for example, wedding parties getting hit by air strikes mistaken for the Taliban or ISIS. I also saw government, for example, mistaking civilians as enemies. I also saw ISIS and Taliban fighters mistaking villagers for enemies. So it's an incredibly difficult situation where Afghan villagers live.
CO: And when you're describing it there's so little communication. We're not hearing about what's happening because we understand U.S. Special Forces working with Afghan forces have been in the region for quite some time now.
BS: Well an American soldier, a green beret, was killed earlier in the week in the same area. We know of airstrikes. We know of American troops being present in the area. So this is a very volatile region.
CO: And what was the Islamic state doing in the region? Was it sort of using them as human shields or was it was it moving the civilians out. What relationship did ISIS have with people on the ground?
BS: I have not seen any evidence of that. But what I have seen is that civilians are caught between both sides. I've seen people’s fields in villages being used as a battlefield.
CO: Bilal, I really appreciate you speaking with us. Thank you.
BS: Thank you. Thank you. Bye.
JD: Bilal Sarwary is a journalist based in Kabul, Afghanistan. And that is where we reached him earlier today.
JD: We have some updates now on the stories we brought you this week about United Airlines and yes, that is “stories” with an “S” plural it's not been a great week for United. Yesterday and As It Happens we spoke to Linda Bell. Ms. Bell was flying United home to Calgary on Sunday with her husband Richard, when a scorpion fell out of the overhead compartment onto his head and stung him. It turned out to not be venomous thankfully. When we spoke to Linda bell last night, she said she had not heard or they had not heard from United yet. After we spoke, United did contact Richard Bell to apologize and to offer him credit toward future flights. Now that same day that Richard Bell was being stung on the head by a scorpion on a separate United aircraft. Dr. David Doa, of course, was bloodied and dragged down the aisle of the plane after refusing to give up his seat for a United employee. The various videos, of course, did go on to go viral today. Dr. Doa’s lawyer Tom Demetrio gave a press conference with his daughter —Dr. Dao’s daughter that is, Crystal Pepper.
TOM DEMETRIO: I can tell you that he was discharged late last night. That he did, in fact, suffer a significant concussion. I can also tell you that he had a serious broken nose, injury to the sinuses and he is going to be undergoing shortly reconstructive surgery. There have been a lot of inquiries about that he really lose any teeth? He lost two front teeth. He's shaken. Here's what he told me. He said that he left Vietnam in 1975 when Saigon fell and he was on a boat and he said he was terrified. He said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving Vietnam.
CRYSTAL PEPPER: On behalf of my dad and my entire family, we would like to express our gratitude for the huge outpouring of prayers, love and concern that we have received from all over the world these past few days. I would also like to make that physicians, the nurses and all the hospital staff that has taking care of my dad. What happened to my dad should have never happened to any human being regardless of the circumstance. We were horrified and shocked and sickened. To learn what had happened to him and to see what had happened to him. We hope that in the future nothing like this happens again. Thank you so much again for your support.
JD: That was Crystal Pepper, the daughter of David Dao and Dr. Dao’s lawyer Tom Demetrio, speaking at a press conference earlier today. David Dao was dragged out of his seat and down the aisle of a United Airlines flight on Sunday after refusing to give up his seat for a United employee. United CEO Oscar Munoz has publicly apologized for the event. But Mr. Demetrio said that neither he nor Mr. Dao had heard from Mr. Munoz directly.
Guest: Mike Dilkes
JD: You go to sleep: everyone's pals. You wake up: everyone hates you — everyone. Because while you were dreaming of a hike through a quiet, magical forest, everyone else in the house was being subjected to the chainsaw noises emanating from your face, which means you're going to want to pay attention to the next story. And even if you don't snore, but you're constantly elbowing, demeaning, or plotting to kill someone who does. You should listen as well. A British doctor says that snoring is actually a voluntary habit and he's come up with a way for snorers to break that habit. Mike Dilkes is an ENT surgeon at London's hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. We reached Dr. Dilkes in London.
CO: Dr. Dilkes, for those who insist that their mates and spouses who snore should control it. You're actually agreeing with them. You say it is possible to control the snoring?
MIKE DILKES: Yeah, I think it's something that we develop as we get older. Most young people don't snore.
CO: And so what happens? Why do so many people as they age develop this habit?
MD: Well, given that they haven't had any other problems like a broken nose or tonsillitis or tonsil problems it's because of muscle tone in the throat is slowly slipping away as everything goes south as we get older. So you need something to bring that back.
CO: But what are the numbers? What are the percentages of people who actually do snore? Do you know?
MD: Well, it's always hard to be absolutely certain. A lot of people who snore don't actually admit to it. We think somewhere around 50 per cent of males over the age of 50 snore regularly and at least 20 per cent of females of that age — possibly higher because they're not admitting it.
CO: What do you mean admitting it? Because women will tell you that we don't snore. We certainly don't snore at the rate that men do. So is there really a difference or you're saying that some are just not admitting to it?
MD: I think there probably is a difference as well. I think that sort of is a taboo subject isn't it? If a man snores it’s almost funny but not really. If a woman snores it's pretty terrible.
CO: If a man snores it's his right, it's his domain.
MD: Well you could say that.
CO: So what have you thought of? First of all, just so have you had a lot of people come to you wanting to figure out how to stop snoring?
MD: Well, yeah, I mean as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, I see a lot of people with mechanical obstruction of the airway like a blocked nose or whatever. And so we see a lot of people with the snoring problems. Quite often you see people without anything obviously wrong with them. And that's why we developed these exercises.
CO: What are the exercises?
MD: Well there are three different areas: the tongue was the soft palate and then there's the lower part of the throat. So we focused the exercise into those three areas. Basically it's sort of interval training for the throat.
CO: It's a workout that you're getting to do. Run us through this the technique of this workout?
MD: Well, it's hard to run it through over the phone, but basically it involves stretching and rapid movement exercises of the tongue, of the soft palate and the lower throat. And it is a sequential interval training type of approach. So rather than mass effort, which gives you bulk, which you don't really want it gives you tone and fitness.
CO: part of it is done with forcing sound through your mouth when you're doing this. Can you give us a demonstration?
MD: Well, yeah, I mean I think that it was easier to describe to you is it when we say to people if you don't want to add a whole set of exercises, which takes you about three or four minutes, there's a quick one you can do which is basically opening your mouth as wide as you can poking your tongue out far as it'll go and so it hurts. You’ve got to really strain your tongue out. Then touch the tip of your nose with your tongue if you can. Then go south and touch your chin with your tongue. The go side to side as far as you can. And as you're doing this, in as low a voice you can, sing something familiar like your national anthem. So I would go.
[Sound: Deep singing]
MD: While my tongue is moving out of my mouth and around my face being stretched and stretched and stretched. And after a minute or so of doing that you'll feel a real warmth and sort of unusual tightening sensation in your tongue and that's the sort of effect we're trying to get with all the exercises not just the tongue ones.
CO: So what you knew when you were humming God Save the Queen you are doing that with your tongue?
MD: I was doing it with my tongue moving stretching right out of my mouth up to my nose, down to my chin and sideways across my face to really pull and push it and get the tone going in it.
CO: If someone does this work out four or five minutes a day they'll stop snoring?
MD: If there's no other mechanical obstruction and it just an age related problem, which often is, then yes, this is a good treatment.
CO: So what evidence have you seen that it works?
MD: Well, we’ve obviously done a lot of research on these over the years because these exercises aren't new. What we've done with these exercises condense them into usable quick format you can do at night.
CO: But if people deny that they snore and you've said that that's the case with lots of people including all those women. Then how can they be persuaded to do these exercises if they don't even know they're doing it? Even if their mates are saying you kept me up last night?
MD: Exactly. Then you record them and say look, here it is. You embarrass them into doing it.
CO: You have to collect evidence.
MD: Sometimes you do need evidence exactly.
CO: And people have tried everything I mean just so many different things that those who actually do try to stop snoring. These chin straps, sprays, mouth guides and even, I didn't know this, there's a strap on monitor that will deliver an electric shock when you snore. I mean people have gone out of their way to stop snoring so it is a simple as a work out.
MD: Well, the way this is found out was when the little opera singers and professional singers in particular. They looked at luciano Pavarotti, a big chap. And it was well-known that he didn't snore and he really should have. They realized tone was really important in the throat in terms of creating a sound at night. And these exercises have been around for quite a while. What we've done is we've optimized them up based upon my experiences as an ENT surgeon treating snores for many years. And we condense the existing ones into a usable format and made it much more user friendly.
CO: Besides being annoying to others what are they what are the problems with snoring as it is a condition?
MD: It is a condition very much so in terms of sleep fragmentation, poor quality sleep, loss of libido, impotence and memory loss all these things associated with getting a bad night's sleep regularly. So you're going to get a bad night's sleep every night and it's going to drastically affect your quality of life.
CO: All right, well if people do the exercises they don't have to do the national anthem I'm presuming?
MD: No. It can be any sort of song that is familiar. It would be good to do the same sort of song every night so you’re getting the same sort of work out for that bit of the workout. But it wouldn't matter which one it was.
CO: All right, the word is out there. Doctor Dilkes, thank you.
MD: Thank you.
CO: Bye bye.
JD: Maybe Silent Night. Mike Dilkes is an ENT surgeon at London's hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. And we reached Dr. Dilkes in London. We have more on this story, should you care to share it, on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
The Queen’s shoes
It is not exactly a Cinderella story, wherein they persecuted and downtrodden heroine wins the heart of a prince with her magic slipper matching foot. Yet, some lucky soul has reportedly just secured a foothold in royal life due to the size of her soles and will now walk many a mile in the shoes of a queen. Britain's Evening Standard newspaper reported this week that her Royal Highness Elizabeth the Second recently hired someone to fill the position of filling her shoes before she does a royal shoe breaker-inner it is both a sizable and a modest undertaking any stand in for Her Majesty must, of course, fill some very big shoes. But, according to insiders, those shoes are very small: size four. That's a six here in Canada. By and large her preferred footwear is a pair of black patent flats by Anello & Davide, which run nearly $1,700 apiece. Now to preclude hurting any of the heels that wear the crown. The appointed staffer must traipse through the corridors and up and down the stairwells of Buckingham Palace until the royal leather is sufficiently soft to envelop the imperial heels and imperial toes. But, as with all stately affairs, she must tread lightly in beige socks taking care not to stray from the carpeted areas. Perhaps this strikes she has too many preliminary steps to take even before her Royal Highness dawns her shoes just to ensure she's comfortable. But as Stewart Parvin, the Queen's wardrobe designer of 11 years, explains quote, “The shoes have to be immediately comfortable. The Queen can never say I'm uncomfortable. I can't walk anymore. She has the right to have someone wear them in.” unquote. Not just the right, but hopefully the left as well. The queen has spent 64 of her 90 years carrying herself for her country and as with any head of state much depends on the state of the feet.Back To Top »
Part 2: Marijuana: Wilson-Raybould, Reddit pixel art
Guest: Jody Wilson-Raybould
JD: Jody Wilson-Raybould says it is time for Canada to stop making criminals out of marijuana users. And yet, the legislation the justice minister introduced today will not legalize recreational use for well over a year. The bill would decriminalize possession of as much as 30 grams for adults who just want to get a little chill, but not until July 1st of 2018, or, if necessary, later. In the meantime, Canadians continue to be charged and prosecuted for being found with a joint and retail shops continue to spring up to sell what is still an illegal drug. We reached Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in Ottawa.
CO: Minister Wilson-Raybould, you delivered on a campaign promise today, you said this is very important to your government to put this in place. Why then is it going to take a year to come into effect?
JODY WILSON_REYBOULD: Well, we're working on delivering our campaign promise to legalise cannabis strictly regulate and restrict access to it with the ultimate objective to keep it out of the hands of children and the proceeds out of the hands of criminals. We have benefited over the last 16 months from engaging with Canadians. Benefited from the taskforce report that and recommendations that formed a substantial part of our bill. And we look forward to continuing to do a lot of hard work working with our counterparts in the provinces and territories to assist them in developing regulations and working to build a regime across the country.
CO: OK, I didn't hear an answer to the question. Why is it going to take a year?
JWB: Well, we first of all, I completely respect the parliamentary process and will certainly monitor this piece of legislation as it as it moves through.
CO: So maybe what are the obstacles? Why a year? Tell us what it is you have to put into place. Are there abuses you want to control? You would like to see the children not have access. You would like to see fewer people going to the courts and to go to jail for possession. You have a whole bunch of things you want to see done because of this. Well then why is it going to take another year?
JWB: Because we've put in place in this piece of legislation minimum standards around the legalization of cannabis and a strict regulation in restricting access. This is where we are committed to working with the provinces and territories to ensure we have a comprehensive regime from seed to sale. In our proposed legislation in the provinces and territories have the opportunity to regulate around distribution and sales and we want to ensure that we work with them, not only them, but also municipalities that have specific interests.
CO: OK, I understand. So the snag is the provinces?
JWB: No, it's not a snag at all. I think that we have a real opportunity in our country recognising cooperative federalism to ensure we put in place a comprehensive regime that recognizes the differences between and among the provinces and territories and ensures that we're moving forward with a coordinated approach to legalization of cannabis and strict regulations.
CO: OK, so what if there is a province or Premier who doesn't want to cooperate with that? Doesn't want to have cannabis legalized in their province? Are allowed to do that?
JWB: Well, provinces and territories can take that position and we as a federal government respect that. In terms of the bill C-45 that we introduced — the cannabis act — we would in that eventuality if that happens that we would be able to you as a federal government provide through our licensed producers access to individuals that want that legal access to cannabis. We would provide that through a secured mechanism delivered to somebody's home.
CO: People in cities like Toronto and Vancouver who live in neighborhoods where people have been selling marijuana neighborhoods have been very much affected by this, even those people who support what you're doing today. And so they want to know who's going to be selling it and what's going to happen? This is why I'm asking you about the year because there are a lot of people who are fed up with how unregulated things have been over the past 16 months.
JWB: Well, I understand and acknowledge that individuals are fed up as you say. I mean the status quo is unacceptable. We need to ensure and this is the commitment that we've made and this is reflected in in our bill that we want to legalize. But, in terms of legalization, we need to strictly regulate and restrict access. And this is where the conversations that we're going to continue to have with the provinces and territories continue to have with municipalities, who have at through this piece of legislation to bring in place regulations zoning by laws around distribution and sale of cannabis. And until this bill received Royal Assent, dispensaries that are operating in neighborhoods are illegal.
CO: Well, they are but they're operating. So what are you going to do about that?
JWB: Well, I have I have respect for law enforcement to do their jobs. This is why and it may seem like it's a long time to July of 2018, but we are working incredibly hard and we'll continue to do so to ensure that we provide as much support and coordination to the provinces and territories as we can to bring in place a regime that's comprehensive. And I am hopeful that parliamentarians will recognize the urgency of putting in place that regime. So we do not have the status quo that currently exists right now.
CO: We have heard from the new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has made it very clear he does not like the legalization and the decriminalization of marijuana. We know we have spoken with Canadians who have been asked at the border if they consume marijuana products. Upon saying yes they have been barred from entering the United States. What do you think those people should do? Should they tell the truth if they are consumers of cannabis legally in Canada? Should they tell the border security if they get asked that question?
JWB: Well, I recognize a tremendous job that the Minister of Public Safety does in this regard in terms of border security. I would strongly recommend that anybody that is crossing the border to tell the truth. And I have not had the opportunity to speak to my colleague Attorney General Sessions, but I look forward to continuing to have conversations with him as we proceed forward towards hopefully getting Royal Assent of this legislation before July of 2018. We've been very open with the intent behind the legalization and the purposes behind why we have introduced this bill.
CO: We will leave it there. Ms. Wilson-Raybould, thank you.
JWB: Thank you very much. I Appreciate it.
JD: Jody Wilson-Reybould is Canada's Minister of Justice. We reached her in Ottawa.
Newfoundland air bags death
JD: Airbags are supposed to save lives. But a Newfoundland family says shrapnel from an exploding bag may have contributed to their elderly relative’s death. And now, they are suing the U.S. company that makes the bag, ARC Automotive and Hyundai. Last July, 83-year-old Jean Newhook collided with a car driven by a drunk driver. Transport Canada has been investigating the collision since then. It says that the low-speed collision should not have been fatal and it's looking into whether shrapnel from the airbag could have been the cause of Ms. Newhook’s death. U.S. authorities are also doing their own investigation into ARC Airbags. Today, CBC reporter Terry Roberts spoke to Jane Newhook's daughter, Melissa Newhook. Here's part of what she had to say.
MELISSA NEWHOOK: On July 8th my mom decided to go for supper with friends and when she went through the community of Thornlea, a drunk driver hit her Hyundai Elantra. Witnesses on the scene said that he was trying to back his van away to disentangle the bumper and they were shouting at him to stop because she was really injured. So the gentleman then stopped the vehicle, got out and took off on foot well they stayed with Mom. There was nothing where there were grievous injuries. There was nothing that could be done for her. The shrapnel had penetrated her chest, it had shattered her jaw and it had torn through her carotid artery.
TERRY ROBERTS: So obviously you know a double blow for your family. You lost your mother, but the circumstances impaired driving and you're alleging a faulty airbag. Obviously this is not sitting well with your family what are you doing about it?
MN: We've filed a claim against both Hyundai and ARC Industries — the U.S. company in Texas.
TR: Right. So what is it you're looking for?
MN: Accountability. I look at it largely with respect my concern is with ARC Industry. You know everybody is well aware of the Takata airbag recall. There were 10 deaths and I do not want nine more families to have to go through what we went through. If there is a flaw in the manufacturing process, I don't want nine more families to go through this grief before there is a recall issued.
TR: So you guys are angry. You're not only grieving, but you're angry?
MN: Don't get me going on ya. I'm shattered, I'm angry and I won't say I'm looking for justice, but I want accountability. I want accountability on all fronts.
TR: What has your family lost?
MN: She was my North, my East, my South and West. She anchored us all together. We feel like we’re spinning in the wind.
JD: That was Melissa Newhook, in conversation with CBC reporter Terry Roberts about her mom Jane Newhook. The Newhook family has launched a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a car airbag that they say contributed to the 83-year-old woman's death. Neither the airbags manufacturer, ARC Automotive, nor Hyundai would comment to CBC about the story. ARC has not yet filed a statement of defense in the case.
[Music: Roads/ Folk pop]
Reddit pixel art
Guest: Josh Wardle
JD: “Individually you can create something. Together you can create something more.” That is what Reddit had to say as a way of an introduction for its project called “Place”. Now, as part of this year's April Fool's experiment creators introduced a blank canvas on the website and for 72 hours, they invited users to each place a pixel — just a little dot — in a color of their choosing on that canvas. And people were allowed to place a new dog every few minutes should they choose. In the end, more than a million users participated. They added more than 16 million pixels and the result was really like nothing anyone could have imagined. Josh Wardle is a senior product manager at Reddit. He came up with the idea for “Place” and we reached him at Reddit headquarters in San Francisco.
CO: Josh, for those who have not seen it can you describe what this canvas looked like at the end of the project?
JOSH WARDLE: The best way I think to describe the canvas is kind of a screenshot of the Internet at this moment in time. So there are a lot of Internet culture references and memes, but also it reflects the kind of collaborative nature of the Internet. So we saw country flags and like these different groups working together, so it's like a real visual cacophony. But I think overall it's like a super positive depiction of the Internet.
CO: It's a collage isn't it? I mean there are flags, logos, the Mona Lisa is in there, Starry Night, there's a Canadian flag as well. I think Newsweek said it best that some are juvenile, some are bizarre and some are strangely beautiful. What are some of the images that stand out for you?
JW: Some of my personal favorites my goal with this project was to encourage people to collaborate who wouldn't otherwise do so on the internet. I think we tend to think about ourselves a lot. One moment that really struck me was in around the top right hand corner of the canvas there is a cartoon dog. The people who are drawing that dog they decided to collaborate with the Dutch contingent who are working in a similar area or another dog. But this time they added a pair of tiny wooden shoes to that dog. These like miniature wooden shoes for me like summed up the whole project that these two groups — disparate groups — that are interested in totally different things kind of came together and collaborated and created a new piece of art that included parts of both of their cultures essentially.
CO: It's interesting when you just point out individual images because it's just hard to do that isn't it. Do you have any idea how many actual tiny images are actually part of this contribution?
JW: I do not actually. And what's interesting is that this kind of piece existed over time, so it was constantly changing. What we see at the end isn't you know the logical progression. There were a bunch of things that were created and then disappeared at the end.
CO: And for people who don't understand how this is done this was called “Place” that’s the name of this creation and it was for 72 hours people could contribute to it with these pixels. How many pixels could someone actually place at any given time?
JW: So you could only place one. And this was kind of the key point in order to foster collaboration you could place a tile, but then you had to wait five minutes to place another one. What this really made you do in that five minutes you had to think well I can't really affect the canvas much as an individual. Maybe I can find some other people and we can collaborate on a on a project and create something together and that's really what emerged.
CO: So if I if I was going to start the Mona Lisa or the Canadian flag or whatever and I was starting I still have to wait five minutes, but someone else might say Oh, I think I know where this is going I go to contribute part of this image myself.
JW: Right. And so with the Canadian flag and flags in general, I think this is why they were very popular is there's kind of there's a pattern that everybody knows. With the Mona Lisa way, way more difficult. So one thing that was really interesting is there was a group of around I think it was around 100 people that decided to try and roll the Mona Lisa and they decided to start with the face first because they identified that the face would be recognizable and other people would be like oh, I get it. And then they will be able to start collaborating. Where as if they started with like the edges or the border it would be really hard for a casual observer to like jump in and start participating.
CO: It seems to be devoid of any symbols of racism or overtly sexual content. Is that just no one contributed that or did you actually control some of the images?
JW: So the canvas was actually self-policed. There were instances where people tried to draw you know unfavorable images. Often people would report then to us we and we’d go and look. And those images had just been eradicated by the community, which was like a super positive and like heartwarming experience. Like we entrusted this thing to the Internet community — to the Reddit community — and they did something really positive with it.
CO: OK, that's the cooperative part. Were there times though people were competing for space on the canvas?
JW: Right. So you could place your pixels on top of someone else's. And there was a very popular movement early on called “the blue corner” and these were individuals that decided just to start painting blue in the bottom right hand corner. It was like the Canadian flag or any of the similar projects there was a simple directive paint blue. So it was very easy for people to follow. It's not like drawing the Mona Lisa where you really have to think about it. You're just placing blue pixels, but what happened is they ended up overriding a lot of other art that had already been drawn and they kind of felt bad about this and kind of came to terms and then invited all the other communities back to draw on top of this now blue area. And so the blue corner now in the final version you see it just occupies a small space in the bottom right hand corner. And then there's a lot of art drawn on the blue background.
CO: And people can see how this evolved with the time lapse image of the canvas that you've got. But there are times in the course of the time lapse that black blobs appear on the canvas. What's going on there?
JW: These are the parts that I really enjoy about these projects. There is this kind of nihilistic group called “the black void”. Their philosophy was that nothingness was kind of the purest expression of the canvas. They kind of had these black tendrils that kind of extended out of the canvas. What’s worth noticing is even they had a very clear objective in what they were trying to do. They weren't just placing black pixels at random on the canvas. They were making it seem like this organic entity kind of spreading out into the canvas. Ultimately, I think most people didn't kind of get where they were coming from and so kind of most of the community is kind of fought back against the black void, but I think it's really positive to have groups like that because it adds some tension to a piece like this.
CO: And do you have plans to do this again?
JW: I don't have plans to do something like “Place” again, but I think using April 1st as a time to launch a project that is maybe a little risky and a little unconventional but that explores the way that humans interact online is really valuable. So we're at a point right now in history where people can interact at a scale and a speed that they never have done before. I hope that not just Reddit, but other Internet companies kind of see where that can lead. Because I think it can it can lead to brilliant things like “Place”.
CO: We will give people direction how to connect with the image and to see the time lapse as well. Josh, it’s good to talk to you. Thanks.
JW: Thank you.
CO: Bye Bye
JD: That was Reddit senior product manager Josh Wardle. We reached him in San Francisco. And if you would like to see images of the project — it's interesting — and it's on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
[Music: Marching band]
Dateline: Clark scratching post
JD: Dateline: Vancouver, British Columbia.
[Music: Dateline theme]
JD: The claws are out for BC Premier Christy Clark. Now usually, when that phrase is used in reference to a politician the claws are figurative and the politician is real. In this case it is the opposite. The claws are very real and very sharp. Their target though is not the flesh-and-blood premier — it is her post. Her scratching post. Standing just over 66 centimeters tall, it is fashioned of clay, plastic and wrapped in sisal hemp and then painstakingly handpainted, a process that takes 140 hours. Premier Clark is just the latest in a line of leaders to get the Politikats cat's treatment. A start-up founded by former University of British Columbia political science student Christopher Cormier-Jensen. As a statement by Mr. Jensen on the company website explains quote, “Politikats, which mostly focused on world leaders like Putin Trump and Netanyahu didn't have to look far from home to find its newest model for cat owners who like to let their felines literally take a swipe at leaders whose policies incite strong opinions.” unquote. According to the site, posts of Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu and Bernie Sanders have already sold out. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and President Donald Trump are still up for grabs. Politikats promises more to come stating quote, “We will introduce these politicians on an ongoing basis. When a politician makes a gaffe that affects the global population whether it has to do with human rights or simply corruption, we will be right behind with a masterpiece of our own.” unquote. As for Ms. Clarke, her prototype post will be auctioned off to the highest bidder May 8th, a day before the general election. Starting bid is $200 US. Now as we go to air, so far no scratchers. But it shouldn't be long before some armchair provo-cat-eur pounces.Back To Top »
Part 3: Ice road walker, UN Hati abuse
JD: It was a total long shot, so long in fact, it never even crossed Barb Parker's mind she might make it. But she did. And not only that, faced with an even longer shot shortly after, she did it again. Ms. Parker is from Calgary and recently she played in a women's golf tournament just outside of Tucson. And yesterday on CBC Radio's “Homestretch”, she told host Doug Derks how she managed to repeat a feat that was in the same stroke masterful and extremely subpar.
BARB PARKER: Yeah, it's amazing. I'm still not over it. Every time I tell somebody the story I just kind of shake my head and think like I just can't believe it happened.
DOUG DERKS: So tell the story. How did that unfold? What did that look like?
BP: Well, it was our ladies member guest, which I was chairing the tournament. So it was the second day. And my partner Bonnie Barker and myself went out and we started on hole number two and then we get up to number twelve. It was a back pin, 125 yards and I hit my shot. And Bonnie, my guest, she says Oh, that's a really good shot. That's really good that's in the hole. I'm going Bonnie, you can't even see the bottom of the cup from where we were, right?
BP: So we get up there and it had gone over the ridge and into the hole.
DD: So there's the first hole in one.
BP: That's the first one.
DD: Right, and then?
BP: And then another couple of holes later on hole number fifteen up on the tee box. It's a back pin again and it's shooting 136 yards with little wind coming back at us and I hit my shot. And Bonnie says how did you hit it? And I said oh, I hit it really good like it was nice and crisp.
BP: And it started rolling and once again there's a little ridge there and it went over the ridge. Never thinking about it I mean it never dawned on me that it would be in the hole. And so we drive up, park the cart behind the green and I don't see my ball. I'm looking in the desert and it's not there and I'm looking in the rough and still didn't see it. And I walked a couple of paces on and looked down and there was a hole. I just freaked. I said it's in the hole and everybody's going no way. You're just kidding. I said is in the hole. Here is my Shamrock. It's just looking right up at me. It's incredible. And there's not a whole bunch of it I remembered after that.
DD: I would imagine. So now here you are with a total of two strokes on two holes. Did you win the tournament? Please tell me you did.
BP: We did.
DD: Good! So did you find out what are the odds of sinking two holes in one in the same round?
BR: OK, so one of our pros at the gallery he looked it up and he said for having two holes-in-one on consecutive par three is 167 million to one.
DD: That's crazy.
JD: This is her week to buy a lottery ticket. That was Barb Parker of Calgary speaking yesterday with CBC's Doug Derks, host of “Homestretch” about her double hole-in-one during a recent golf tournament in Marana, Arizona. And just in case you're wondering what Ms. Parker meant about back pain she was referring to the placement of the hole and hence the flag pin toward the back of the green.
Ice road walker
Guest: Peter Clarkson
JD: Tuktoyaktuk sits on the northern coast of the Northwest Territories on the Beaufort Sea. And for decadesm, the only thing connecting Tuktoyaktuk to the more southern town of Inuvik in winter has been 184 kilometer long ice road. But this is the ice road’s final season. Later this year, a new all-weather highway is going to open. And finally is going to give the two communities a year round link. Peter Clarkson is a former mayor of Inuvik and he doesn't want to let the ice road melt away without giving it a proper send-off. So he has spent the past week traveling that road one last time on foot. Starting from Inuvik, each day he marks his progress, he goes back to town for the night and then he picks up where he left off the next morning. We spoke to Mr. Clarkson this morning, just before he left Tuktoyaktuk for the final day of his walk.
CO: Peter, you're about set out in the last leg of your journey. What kind of a day do you have?
PETER CLARKSON: I think it's going to be good. The forecast is for a nice, clear, sunny day. So I'm looking forward to that as I take on the last forty two kilometers into Tuk and just finish the ice road.
CO: How many days has this taking you so far?
PC: I started it on Monday, so this is day four. I did 50 kilometers the first day. 47 The second day and probably about 48 yesterday. And then I've got somewhere between 41-42 kilometers left.
CO: And how are your muscles feeling?
PC: You know my muscles are OK. My legs feel OK. It's just my feet are a little sore. I think it's walking on the ice that makes your feet sore after about six hours and I've been doing eight to nine hours each day.
CO: How much traffic have you seen on the road?
PC: There's a gravel haul and those guys come by I would get three times a day because it's about a two - two and half hour drive from Inuvik to Tuk. So I'm guessing they passed me about three times a day, but there's probably 50 to 60 vehicles a day.
CO: And do people stop and chat with you?
PC: Oh yeah, people stop and chat and give me the thumbs up and ask me if I need anything to drink or eat and to ask me you know what am I doing. Well, they pretty much know now I'm walking the Tuk, but yeah. People are very supportive and very encouraging and it's been very good.
CO: Has anyone joined you on the walk?
PC: Yeah, the first day I had a lady drove me out of Inuvik, Cathy Gilmore. And then the second day actually one of the musicians we had up playing in Inuvik, he joined me for the for the morning. And nobody yesterday and my dog came with me the first day, but I think the ice was kind of hard on her little paws, so she didn't want to come the second day and then the logistics of bringing her to Tuk. I'm in Tuk now, I stayed here because we're only about 40 minutes out of Tuk now.
CO: What's your dog's name?
PC: Jane Doe.
CO: Jane Doe has sensibly thought that she is not going to walk on an ice road for 50 kilometers. But you’re walking on it and you normally drive on it I presume, so how difficult is it to be out on your feet?
PC: Oh it's very different. You notice everything plus you see everything on the road you see the fox tracks you see you know where people have stopped. And there is one site where I couldn't figure out why is all this money on the road? But there's a site where it's called “The Three Sisters”, which people will throw out money or they'll throw out a thread and needle or different things for the three sisters and their three little bumps on this hill to get good luck. Anyway, you see a lot more and you know you've got a lot of time to think and a lot of time to look around.
CO: What are the other stories of the road that you've heard or you know about?
PC: The road has been an incredible connection for people and communities and culture and weddings and funerals and sporting events. I mean it's just provided over the last 40 plus years connecting Tuk to all the other Beaufort Delta communities and to the world. It's just played a really important role and that was part of my reason for wanting to walk it because this is the last season of the Inuvik-Tuk ice road. And after this year the Inuvik-Tuk highway will be in place and so they won't be building the ice road anymore. So I mean there's been lots and lots of stories about you know people traveling the road. In the earlier days vehicles going through the ice and some other tragedies where people have been killed on the road. But it's just an incredibly beautiful area and as you come out onto the Arctic Ocean and you can see across this expanse of white it's just it's hard to describe it so beautiful.
CO: How do you think it will change Tuktoyaktuk when there is an all year road — a permanent road —linking it?
PC: Well, I think it will it'll certainly provide a reduced cost of living for the people in Tuk as you can get goods and services all year long. But I think there'll be something missing in that people look forward to the road being put in. And you know use it while it's in. And so I think that what will be missed. Also I think the romance of the ice road will be missed. There's nothing like it anywhere in the world, as far as we've been able to determine, it's the longest continuous ice road in the world and the only ice road that is 50 per cent on an Arctic Ocean.
CO: When you do have the permanent road I would expect you're going to see a lot more visitors and a lot more connection. It will change things in Tuk will it not?
PC: I think so. It will be you know the first time in Canada we've been able to drive from coast-to-coast-to-coast. For you know probably nine to ten months of the year we'll be able to drive in Canada from Newfoundland to Vancouver to Tuktoyaktuk. And I think that'll change it, but it will also connect the country you know one more time and one more way.
CO: Peter, I'll let you get on with your journey of the day and I envy you. It sounds like a lovely thing to be doing.
PC: I will send you some pictures.
CO: That’d be great!
PC: All right Carol thanks.
CO: Bye Peter.
JD: Peter Clarkson is a former mayor of Inuvik, Northwest Territories. We reached him at the other end of the ice road in Tuktoyaktuk.
Atlantic papers: Mark Lever
JD: It has been almost 14 months since the unionized journalists at the Chronicle Herald in Halifax walked off the job. Last January, talks broke down, after management threatened to impose a contract if newsroom staff didn't agree to wage cuts and changes to their pension plan, among other things. And since then, negotiations have repeatedly broken down. Well today, the owner of the Chronicle Herald bought at least 28 more publications in Atlantic Canada previously owned by transcontinental Inc. The acquisition creates a new media company called SaltWire, which now becomes Atlanta Canada’s largest independently owned media company. Mark Lever is the president of SaltWire. And here he is with Bob Murphy on CBC Halifax's “Mainstreet”, defending the purchase.
MARK LEVER: The deal we presented — the proposed contract — we presented to the members of the Halifax Union is about our future and their future. And this deal connects to that providing again a bigger, more stable platform and they're both about investments in our future. We cannot look to the past and we have to move forward. So this is an investment to provide a stable opportunity to make sure that we come to terms on a contract that we can afford it in the long term. Settling a strike by writing a check that we can't cash is not very prudent for the members that are on strike, the employees that are on strike, or for the business in the long run. So we have to be able to do and we feel that the offer we have in front of the Union today is a very fair one. And you know I can tell you with some certainty today that is the most generous contract in the newspaper business in Atlantic Canada today.
BOB MURPHY: So what does this deal signal to those employees? What's the message that you think it sends?
ML: Well, I hope it sends a message that we are thinking about the future. We're trying to grow this organization and provide a stable base for them and their families. And again, if they truly listen to our announcements today and the emphasis that we put on content and trying to understand how that content should be shared and the story should be shared and generated. I hope that it gives them some hope and some confidence that we can you know live up to the commitments that we're making and the generous offer that we have in front of them.
JD: That was a Mark Lever, he is the president of a company called SaltWire. They own the Chronicle Herald and today, that company bought dozens of more newspapers in Atlantic Canada even as the Chronicle Herald strike continues.
Atlantic papers: Stephen Kimber
JD: Stephen Kimber is a journalism professor at King's College in Halifax. And he thinks that this move means that there could be more cuts to come. So here is Mr. Kimber speaking with Norma Lee MacCleod on CBC Halifax's “Maritime Noon.”
STEPHEN KIMBER: What's the purpose of this? I'm not sure and it comes at such a strange time because you have the company saying for the last two years that it couldn't afford a new contract with its workers here in Halifax because it was losing money. And then it turns around and we don't know the exact figures of the cost of this, but it's got to be a huge investment in buying. And I think I guess what I fear is that both Transcontinental and the Herald say that these are profitable papers, but somebody has to pay for the cost of acquiring them. And this is what's happened traditionally in the media landscape here in Canada. You know we've gone through the Asper’s, the Conrad Black’s and the Southam’s. You know this is another one of those things where you acquire something with a lot of debt and then you have to pay for it and how we pay for it? You cut back that's the usual way.
NORMA LEE MACLEOD: At the moment, there are 950 employees, six printing plants and a digital reach of 3.8 million users. It becomes quite a big company. We didn't hear anything about cuts today.
SK: No we didn't.
MLM: What do you make of that?
SK: I think it's not going to be the first announcement they make and they did very clearly say that everybody gets to stay same contract, same everything. I would suggest that in a year or two that will not be the case. I mean I think that they will need to cut costs in order to make this all work. I don't think that the synergies that come with this other than in terms of the flyer business are such that you're going to save that much money and be able to keep people. So ultimately the goal will be to reduce the staff and reduce the costs.
JD: That was journalism professor Stephen Kimber with “Maritime Noon” host Norma Lee MacLeod.
[Music: Inide rock]
UN Hati abuse
Guest: Paula Donovan
JD: New revelations about how UN peacekeepers sexually abused children in Haiti paint a shocking picture. According to a leaked UN report, between 2004 and 2007, nine Haitian children were exploited by a child sex ring involving more than 100 Sri Lankan soldiers. And that may have influenced the UN Security Council's decision or the vote unanimously, earlier today, to end its mission to Haiti. Paula Donovan is co-director of AIDS-Free world and its Code Blue Campaign, which aims to end impunity for UN peacekeepers who are accused of sexual exploitation. We reached Paul Donovan at UN headquarters in New York.
CO: Ms. Donovan, given the evidence we have of what has happened in Haiti with UN peacekeepers does it seem appropriate that the mission should come to an end?
PAULA DONOVAN: It certainly seems as though the world has determined — the world's governments — have determined that the peacekeeping mission has outstayed its welcome. And part of that lack of welcome on the part of Haitian people has to do with the way that peacekeepers have behaved in the country and the terrible reputation that the UN has garnered partly because so many of the local people have been sexually exploited and abused by peacekeeping personnel.
CO: We like to think, especially in Canada, that the blue helmet is a symbol of security, of bringing some kind of relief to people in violent areas. Tell us a bit about what happened to these children in Haiti at the hands of the UN peacekeepers?
PD: The children in Haiti who were children and primarily women who have been sexually exploited and abused are being violated by people who are not typical of peacekeepers. But since the UN is doing such a dreadful job of responding and making sure that justice is served for the few who give a dreadful reputation for the many then this has become sort of symbolic of the way that peacekeepers deal with the local public with disdain and disregard for their well-being and their dignity.
CO: But this report — this UN report — that has just surfaced shows that there were about 100 Sri Lankan peacekeeping soldiers involved in this child sex ring and that they identify nine children who were exploited by those soldiers. So it's not all peacekeepers, but a pretty large organization that is doing this over a long period of time. How can they do it with such impunity? Why is this not reported earlier?
PD: I think that what happens is the United Nations tends to wash hands of it and say there's nothing we can do. We rely on sovereign states — on member states — to contribute their soldiers. They have jurisdiction over their soldiers when they are accused of wrongdoing unless the troop contributing countries step up and provide justice where it's due. There's not a thing that we can do. What we've realized is that half of all the allegations made against United Nations peacekeeping personnel are actually made against the civilian personnel. The international civil servants people who are at the staff and experts who work for the UN who are not soldiers. So the gold standard isn't being upheld and justice is being served for those who are actually working directly under the United Nations and for the United Nations. Those people are just treated as if they have committed an administrative faux-pas and they might be fired, but there's no justice served. So that model is not good.
CO: No justice served why not?
PD: Because the UN feels as though if their international civil servants in a peacekeeping country are accused of a violent crime they won't get the true justice that they deserve if they turn them over to the local authorities. Because they're afraid that their police aren't functioning, that judiciary's aren't functioning and that's why we're proposing that a special court mechanism be set up specifically to deal with international civil servants, people who work for the UN, who are accused of these crimes so that an international police and judiciary can investigate and treat them just exactly the way the soldiers should be treated and the way anyone should be treated when accused of rape and other violent sexual crimes.
CO: Haiti is not the first by any stretch of countries where we have seen and learned about UN peacekeepers abusing children. There's been studies since 1990s showing the numbers of countries where this has happened. I know Bosnia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are just two examples. How extensively do you think, you said you think it's a small percentage, but how extensive do you think this activity is among peacekeepers?
PD: I think that the UN itself has conceded that this happens in every single peacekeeping mission. And people don't feel so they can report thinking that the UN personnel somehow live above the law. Just over the years 2015 and 2016, there were two hundred and fifty allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by the peacekeepers just in the Central African Republic. It is just appalling.
CO: And you mentioned this is not confined just to peacekeeping but peacekeepers are often the only authority aren't they. I mean they go in where the state has failed you know very vulnerable people who rely on the distribution of aid and material support that they need the peacekeepers have control over how that gets to people. And so there's a tremendous amount of power they have over lives. Is that the leverage they use in order to get good access to young people?
PD: That's exactly it. They use that leverage. They abuse their power and authority. And there's an assumption that these are your protectors that they have come to help you rather than to hurt you. So children in the Central African Republic, for instance, approached French peacekeepers and they were approached them to beg for food — kids who were without parents and living on the streets. And when it turned out that these French peacekeepers are exchanging food for forced sexual encounters then they reported these horrible violations to UNICEF. UNICEF documented all the information promised the children that they would help them and then it has ignored them for the past three years, which is what we just revealed yesterday at a press conference. A new documentary film made by Swedish television interviewed some of those children and they said we talked to UNICEF we talked to the UN they promised to put us in school and would help us with food and so forth. We're still on the street. We've never been helped and several of them have just been abandoned. When confronted with this, the UNICEF representative in the Central African Republic said well there may be a gap here and a gap there. So there's a level of distain and not taking this seriously. That is just crushing under any circumstances. But when you promised support to children who've been sexually abused and they have given their horrible testimonies to you and then you just abandon them to the streets. It's unthinkable.
CO: It is a tragic story to discuss with you. Ms Donovan, I appreciate you speaking with us. Thank you.
PD: Thank you Carol.
JD: Paula Donovan is co-director of AIDS-Free World and its Code Blue Campaign, which aims to end impunity for sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers. We reached Ms. Donovan at UN headquarters in New York.
JD: "Bunny ears, bunny ears, playing by a tree. Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me. Bunny ears, bunny ears, jumped into the hole. Popped out the other side, beautiful and bold." That's one of many delightful rhymes we use to teach kids to tie their shoes. And that simple bunnification of their shoelaces provides a lesson they'll never forgive. You heard me right, bunny-rhyme teachers. Never forgive. You're sending children down a rabbit hole from which they never emerge. Condemning them to a lifetime of lousy tying and re-tying. Why? Because a bunny knot is weak. "The failure of the knot happens in a matter of seconds, often without warning, and is catastrophic."That last sentence is from a new study with the title "The roles of impact and inertia in the failure of a shoelace knot," conducted by Ph.D. students at the University of California Berkeley. Their exhaustive research was no walk in the park. At least, they don't mention parks. But there was so much walking in other locations.Over the course of two years, the researchers strolled purposefully down the halls of their school, watching their shoelaces. They filmed people running. They applied principles of knot topology and mathematical knot theory. What they concluded was that the middle of the knot repeatedly stretches and slackens when the foot hits the ground. Meanwhile, the swinging of the foot creates an "inertial force" in the loops and the ends of the laces. This combination of forces causes catastrophe, especially when your knot is weak. Which is the case with most common, sloppy bunny-ear knots.The solution is a "strong" knot -- a square knot. So shoe-tying teachers, adapt your bunny knots -- or your students won't believe your ears.
CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.