Friday June 16, 2017

June 15, 2017 episode transcript

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The AIH Transcript for June 15, 2017

Hosts: Carol Off and Jeff Douglas



CO: Hello, I'm Carol Off.

JD: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.

[Music: Theme]

JD: Tonight:

CO: He left chaos for safety. But three years after escaping the war in Syria for a new life in the U.K., Mohammad Al-Haj Ali died in a fire that consumed a London high-rise in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

JD: A pain in the assets. Democratic Congresswoman Primila Jayapal tells us why she's joined 195 of her colleagues to take the U.S. President to Court for violating a constitutional provision that's supposed to keep him from cashing in on his high office.

CO: Hit men. Two Canadian men are among those charged for brutally attacking protesters at the Turkish's ambassador's residence in Washington D.C. last month. Now a Canadian victim explains how she helped authorities identify the suspects.

JD: It sank its teeth in her, so she sank its teeth. During a run on a forest trail, a woman is attacked by a raccoon with rabies, but instead of succumbing to mask hysteria, she drowns her assailant in a bog.

CO: Off the scale. Our guest's concerns go from minor to major when a piano teacher gets snippy with her 7-year-old daughter – not in the sense of giving her grief, but in the sense of giving her a haircut.

JD: And... manual transmission. Gene Simmons of Kiss wants to trademark the "devil horns" hand gesture, which he claims to have invented in 1974 – despite lots of evidence that he got it second-hand.
As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that assumes we'd all notice if he was being tongue-in-cheek.

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Part 1: Syrian fire victim, Turkey charges, raccoon attack

Syrian fire victim

Guest: Abdulaziz Almashi

JEFF DOUGLAS: As London firefighters continue to search Grenfell Tower, we are starting to learn about the victims of the deadly blaze. So far 17 people have been confirmed dead. The first victim to be named is Mohammad Al-Haj Ali – who arrived in the UK as a refugee from Syria.
Abdulaziz Almashi was a friend of Mr. Al-Haj Ali. We reached him in London.

CAROL OFF: CO: Abdulaziz, first of all I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.


CO: How did you hear that Mohammad was lost in this fire?

AA: Well he went missing. He and his brother, we went to the hospitals. We were running from hospital to another until we found a brother Omar, but we didn't find his brother Mohammad. And then I put a post on Facebook and the posts with his photo was shared so many times of social media until a lady contacted me and said “I believe the man in this photo is dead because I saw someone share a photo of him and then I sent his cousin to the police. The police showed him a short video and a photo and he identified it was him.

CO: Do you know what floor he lived on and do you know anything about efforts he made to try and get out of the building?

AA: Yes he was on the floor 14th. And they, the three brothers live in the flat. One of them was down when the fire happened. Omar and Mohammad, they tried to escape through the corridor on the stairs but it was too dark and the smoke was so thick. They lost each other on the stairs. They were shouting that they couldn't reach each other because it was so dark. So Omar made his way down and he was rescued by the fire services while Mohammad couldn't breathe. So he went back to the, to his flat. He shut the door and then he tried to contact his parents back in Syria. He couldn't get through to them and then he was Skyping with a friend who is in Syria. He Skyped with him for two hours. He told him he was scared, he was terrified. The fire is moving fast from floor to floor. But he had the hope the rescue services, the rescue team will reach him. But ultimately he told them “Look, the fire is here now. I'm going to die. I'm going to go. Goodbye and tell my mom and my dad that I love them.” And that was the last message.

CO: And this this final conversation he was having was with someone who was in Syria, who was. I spoke to that guy in Syria and he told me that. He told me the whole conversation. He said “I stayed on the line with him for two hours trying to tell him you'll be fine. Don't worry. The firefighters are there. You are in London, you are not in Syria. Don’t worry. The rescue team will reach you.” He said they was trying to make it easy to him. And can you imagine someone in Syria trying to make it easy for someone in London. It’s just unbelievable. This man who fled Syria seeking safety, seeking a brighter future. And look at his end. So tragic. Unbelievable, I just can't take it, literally. I can't even believe he passed away in such horrific way.

CO: It is, so his, he came from Syria… when did he arrive? When did he escape the war?

AA: From Syria in 2014. He survived the bombing of Assad and the terror of ISIS. He survived the brutality of the sea because he came by the sea. He managed to reach Greece. And then he came to Britain, he came for asylum. He was accounted asylum back in 2014. And he started studying in his degree as a civil engineer. So when the war was over I can go back to Syria and I can rebuild Syria with the people. Yesterday I remember this conversation with him and that's why I feel he is a loss not only for me, for our community, here but even for Syria.

CO: You know, it's just an extraordinary story, Abdulaziz, that he should have come to London and finally found refuge, a place where he thought he could be safe, and that he should die there.

AA: Exactly. A place where he sought hope. He thought he will study, finish his degree. Find a job, build a family, and look at it now. Even last night, when we found out in the Syria solidarity campaign, we were discussing “OK, how are we going to tell his mother? Who has the courage to tell his dad ‘Your son is burned in Syria.’ I told him certainly it won't be myself. I’m not going to do it. I can’t. I can’t do it, you know? It's just unbelievable.

CO: Where are his parents?

AA: They are in Damascus now.

CO: So they do they know that Mohammad is dead?

AA: Yes. Yes. We have confirmed them.

CO: And how is Omar doing, the brother?

AA: Omar has been discharged from the hospital because he doesn't have any like burns. He’s traumatized now. And yes, ye are trying to look after him for now. It will take him a really long time to overcome this ordeal because he was with his brother when that happened and he feels guilty like he managed to get down and his brother stayed upstairs. He tried to go up the stairs but he was evacuated by, they didn't let him go up, the fire services. They took him out and said “Don't worry. We will try to get to him.” And the extraordinary thing, the fire services, they managed to rescue people from the bottom floor until the 13th floor, but they couldn't reach the 14th. Mohammad was so unlucky. And he died.

CO: How old was Mohammad?

AA: 23.

CO: With his life ahead of him.

AA: Yeah. He was just like doing his degree. He's was the second year.

CO: Abdulaziz, I'm so sorry. Anyone who is listening to this would just want to send to you and to all the friends and family of this man their condolences. I appreciate you telling us his story. It’s so painful.

AA: You know, if I tell you we’re used to it as Syrians, would you believe that? For me I lost 14 members of my family back home in Syria, killed by both, by Assad and by ISIS. I lost my [unintelligible] and many are missing. And you know, it’s just like all, Syrians have to die in Syria. If they flee, they might die in the sea. If they reach safety, they might get killed. It's just incredible, unbelievable. Like how much we're going to take. Just…

CO: To go through so much as Syrians and to have such a tragedy. Abdulaziz thank you so much for speaking with us.

AA: Thank you.

JD: Abdulaziz Almashi was a friend of Mohammad Al-Haj-Ali – a Syrian refugee who was killed in the Grenfell Tower high-rise fire in London. We reached Mr. Almashi in London.
For more on this story, go to our website:


Turkey charges

Guest: Elif Genc

JD: It was about a month ago that a peaceful protest outside the Turkish Ambassador's residence in Washington D.C. turned violent. And today, two Canadians were among those charged by police in Washington, D.C. for taking part in that attack.
Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in D.C. for an official visit with President Donald Trump. As protestors demonstrated, video footage shows supporters of President Erdogan – including the president's own security officers – punching and kicking protesters.
The two Canadians charged were not part of the Turkish President's security detail, but have described themselves as supporters of the President. They are believed to be from Toronto.
One of the protesters injured last month in D.C. was also from Toronto. Elif Genc is an active member of Toronto's Kurdish community, and we reached her in Toronto.

CO: Ms. Genc, you were at this protest. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. And at what point did you realize, as you were standing there in Washington that something was going to happen?

ELIF GENC: I realized that the situation was like extremely tense because I sort of came behind with another friend of ours, who is a mother. She had her like 4 year old son there with her, and she and I sort of joined the line. But I think she kind of stood back a bit, obviously because she had her son with her. And I looked across the street and I saw these men that I had never seen before which were this security detail. Like they had, they were wearing khakis and they had the boots. They were wearing earpieces and they were all dressed the same. One of them was making really strange gestures at me and my friends. You know the person beside me being like come come come like, like gesturing me to, I don't know, fight with them or something. And I remember just being so shocked.
He stopped for a second, the guy I was looking at directly stopped for a second, listened to the earpiece, and after that I couldn't tell you what happened. It was like a wave. Like all of a sudden I was just on the ground. And you just feel pain, like I couldn't tell you where it was coming from or who it was coming from or what but it was just like just getting hit sort of from all sides. And I heard them say in Turkish “We're going to kill you.” And then I heard another voice saying “Run”, which I'm assuming was the Washington police who were also in this mix. And so that's when I ran away.

CO: Wow. And you believe the police instructed you to run, to get away.

EG: Yes yes. Because the police were out, the police did not have control of that situation.

CO: Can you tell us about the injuries you sustained?

EG: My knees were very bruised up. I still have some bruises on my knees. I also have fingerprint which is very disturbing. Like I have the imprints of someone's hand on my left arm. I was covered in bruises all from my sides, my legs, bumps all over my head which later I sustained a concussion from.

CO: So today, police in Washington D.C, they laid charges against 14 people in connection with that protest. Twelve of them are security officers who worked for President Erdogan of Turkey. Two others are Canadian. [lv] So what do you know about those two men?

EG: The two men that are from Toronto, honestly the night of the incident, we have friends here from the Toronto Kurdish community and they're very active. These friends, that very night sent me like still shots, like they recognized them right away. I didn't recognize them. Like it was almost instantaneous. Like one friend in particular sending me shots of their Facebook, of the guys comparing them, giving names, saying that they'd seen them before, that they even know people that worked with them, that they knew where they were. So yeah that was quite shocking.

CO: These two Canadians, one of them named Ahmet Dereci, the other one Mahmut Ellialt. They have been charged with aggravated assault,which is a felony, assault with significant bodily injury, and threatening assault in a menacing manner. Have they been at the protests here in Toronto do you know?

EG: I haven't actually encountered them personally, though I have you, like about a week ago, I was at dinner with one of these friends. like one of the friends of mine and we ran into the first one, like the first accused.

CO: Ahmet Dereci.

EG: Yeah. That was quite shocking to see him there. Like right behind us having dinner and I just restrained myself and didn't do anything because we had given all the information that we had. Like my friend’s information was so useful that like we gave it to the Washington police.

CO: Do you have any idea where those two Canadian men were at this protest? You were there because you're protesting against President Erdogan. Why were they there?

EG: They were there clearly in support of Erdogan. Like that relationship still remains to be seen. Like my friends in the Kurdish community here have encountered these guys definitely before. In fact I believe one of them even like worked for them or knew someone who worked with them at one point. They had like an electric company here. We saw, I don't think you can, I don't think you have access to their Facebook pages anymore or anything, but their profile pictures are pictures of them like with Erdogan when they were quite young and stuff. Like there's definitely some sort of connection. I mean, you have to go from Toronto to Washington is quite a trip, right? You've got to be a pretty loyal subject.

CO: The other extraordinary thing about the video, and the New York Times has done the best job at trying to collate all the different angles on it. But it appears that the that these men were working with the security people. There were ones that you mentioned in green, and there were a lot of them in suits. They had guns that the New York Times got pictures of. That these men would attack a protester and then the suits would come running and finish the job and they'd go on to somebody else. It does appear that they are working closely with the security people around Mr. Erdogan. Is that your impression?

EG: That is absolutely my impression. I mean when I said that the security guy who was standing in front of me before this all happened stopped and listened to his earpiece and then everything happened, like I'm pretty, you know what I mean, like I'm almost sure that was a direct order from Erdogan to take care of us.
It was so calculated. Like it was all so quick and so calculated. And it was the security guards, the security details that was hitting and punching me. I realized after I had a gun. You know, they were not by any means your average citizen as we are all very aware. And then those Canadian guys, there were also a few Americans as well. But it seemed like for the most part there were very few civilians and it was mostly just the diplomats and security detail.

CO: And those diplomats and security people with weapons don't live in United States. They've gone back to Turkey. It seems unlikely that President Erdogan would send them to the United States to face any kind of prosecution. What do you think is likely to happen with the two Canadians?

EG: Like as far as I understand, and I just got a call from the detectives working on the criminal case to sort of inform me of what's going on, the 14 people that have been charged, the idea is that they'll never be able to come to the United States again at the very least in any sort of like security capacity. Really, I mean, we were so terrified that there was going to be some sort of immunity and they could get away with this with impunity and everything like that. But we're so relieved and so happy like they're not going to get away with impunity. There they are they're not they're going to be held responsible in so far they can't come back here and just, you know, attack people. So insofar as that's the case, like we're really happy about that.

CO: And just quickly are you prepared to testify in Washington?

EG: Yes I was just that's what I was just informed of. I am prepared to testify. I have no issue with that.

CO: Ms. Genc, I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

EG: Thank you for having me. Bye.

JD: Elif Genc is a Kurdish activist from Toronto. That is where we reached her. For more on this story go to our website,


Raccoon attack

Guest: Rachel Borch

JD: Two weekends ago, a rabid raccoon attacked Rachel Borch while she was on a run. It was terrifying. And it drove Ms. Borch to an act of desperation that will probably haunt her nightmares for months.
We reached Rachel Borch in Hope, Maine.

CO: Rachel, I know you have jogged on this trail many times. At what point did you notice that you had a companion on the path home?

RACHEL BORCH: Well just a few seconds before it attacked me, it was coming at me through like a really dense thicket. So I didn't get to see very far ahead of me. I just saw it and it was like at my feet a few seconds later and I just knew as soon as I saw it there was something wrong with it because it was clearly charging at me with its teeth bared like I was the target.

CAROL OFF: So it was at your feet so what did you do when it got there?

RB: I pulled my headphones out and dropped my phone. I wasn’t thinking. I danced around it for a second just like trying to avoid it biting me. And then I realized, like, it's going to bite me, so I might as well let it bite a part of me that is not as important as like my face or my head or anything so I put my hands out to protect myself hoping that I could gain control of it that way. I hadn't really figured it out much further than that, other than this animal is going to attack me and at least you know, I'm a human so at least I can overpower it by just being larger ... so I put my hands out and it latched onto my thumb at that point.

CO: Like it bit you with its mouth.

RB: Yeah, yeah. It just bit my thumb and latched on. And I tried to like pry its jaws off and that didn't work.

CO: And raccoons have very sharp teeth don’t they.

RB: Oh yeah, really sharp, like tiny little needles or something.

CO: So what did you do, so you looked around looking for what to do, and what did you finally figure out?

RB: Well I looked over and I noticed my phone was in a puddle because it had been raining the past couple days. And so I made that connection that there was water on the ground and that was probably going to be my best bet for killing the raccoon. And I didn’t really have a choice but to kill it because it wasn’t going to let go. So I just kind of took my other hand, the one without my thumb in its mouth, and I just pushed its head underwater for what felt like forever until it stopped struggling.

CO: And you got your thumb, did he release your thumb at some point in the course of that?

RB: Well my thumb was in its mouth the entire time. And it was struggling, it was clawing at my arm trying to get me to let go but I wasn't going to. So finally, after a certain point, its arms kind of fell limp to the side. And I realized it’s probably dead. And now is probably a safe time to run away. So I, like, extricated my thumb from its mouth, bolted out of there. And I was still kind of paranoid that it was going to come after me… but luckily it was dead by that point.

CO: And as you were running ... what was going through your mind as you were escaping this?

RB: Oh my god it was really really just terror, just shock. I was in hysterics. I was crying. I wasn't sure if I was going to like become delirious and lose my way along the path or something. But luckily it turns out it's a long, slow onset for rabies to affect humans. And I was able to take care of it. But during that fifteen minutes or so that I had to run back because it was a three quarter mile from my house, I was just thinking the absolute worse, and I wasn't sure if I was going to make it.

CO: And who did you have at home to help you?

RB: Actually my whole family pretty much was at home and my mom is a nurse so she was able to calm me down and tell me it’s going to be OK. The rabies vaccine is very effective. And she called my dad, my dad came over, and he and my brother actually went out with gloves and protective material to collect the dead raccoon and meanwhile my mom drove me to the emergency room.

CO: And so beside having the bite on your thumb, how badly hurt were you by the raccoon?

RB: It did bite through a finger on my other hand as I was trying to pry its teeth off of my thumb. And other than that I really just had a lot of scratches from running through the woods.

CO: And did they confirm that this raccoon was rabid?

RB: Yes. The local game warden came to pick the raccoon up and she took it to the testing center in Augusta but we didn't hear back till the following Monday that it was actually positive and it did have rabies.

CO: And so you had the treatment?

RB: Yes. So I got six shots in the E.R. that first day and then I've gotten two more. And I have my last one this Saturday. So a total of nine shots and they're almost over with now.

CO: Did you think you had it in you to kill an animal with your bare hands?

RB: Oh my God no. No. I never thought I could ever do that. I don't eat animals. And part of the reason for that is because I don't think that I could kill one. But in this situation, I just did what I felt needed to be done in that moment and I didn't really have to think twice about it at the time. But it's not something that I ever would have seen myself doing in a million years.

CO: Well you've learned something about yourself.

RB: So I guess it's reassuring in a sense if someone attacks me like I guess the adrenaline will kick in.

CO: Well sounds like you are in a Stephen King novel, a bit like Pet Cemetery.

RB: Yeah, as I was looking back on the trail I thought, God, I hope it doesn't come back to life. But no, it was fully dead at that time. So it was good. But yeah, I definitely can see the Stephen King element. It is very bizarre.

CO: Well Rachel, I'm glad you're ok now.

RB: Thank you so much.

CO: Thank you. Bye-bye.

RB: Take care. Bye-bye.

JD: We reached Rachel Borch in Hope, Maine. Earlier this month she drowned a rabid raccoon that attacked her while on a run near her home.


Devil horns

JD: You know Mr. Simmons as the one with the tongue, or the one in the demon makeup, and or the one who is possibly the biggest jerk in rock music, and I'm including Mike Love from The Beach Boys. Anyway, if we are to judge by the trademark application he just filed in the U.S., his entry for Thursday November 14th, 1974 likely reads something like this: [sc] "Dear Diary: rocked and rolled all night, per usual. But during the show I did an interesting gesture with my hand that no one's ever done before. It was awesome. Bit my tongue again though. Anyway, off to party!" [sc] Now, I know he kept thorough records. Because, in the trademark application, Mr. Simmons claims that he knows for a fact that he did the hand thing for the first time during that particular show. From the application, quote: "The mark consists of a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular."
Now if you're attempting the gesture yourself, two things. First, Gene Simmons now wants you to send him some money. Second, you'll notice that it's the standard "rock on" or "devil horns" gesture that everyone in the world makes at rock concerts all the time. The gesture that, not incidentally, various people appear to have made before Mr. Simmons did, including Ronnie James Dio, John Lennon, and Spider-Man. The gesture that means "love" in American Sign Language.
Gene Simmons seems to be attempting to trademark the gesture for live performances – meaning, I guess, that no one else could use it without his permission. Which, on the one hand, doesn't seem very rock and roll – and on the other, kind of ruins the party. In the end, the whole thing may result in rock fans making a completely different hand gesture to Mr. Simmons. One he definitely did not invent.

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Part 2: Emoluments lawsuit, hair piano teacher

Emoluments lawsuit

Guest: Pramila Jayapal

JEFF DOUGLAS: U.S. Presidents have been sued by members of Congress before. But never quite like this.
Yesterday, 196 Democratic Senators and Representatives filed suit against Donald Trump in Federal Court. They argue that the President has failed to divest from, or even disclose, his multi-national business interests. And they say that violates a provision of the United States constitution. It is a somewhat obscure provision but it is called the emoluments clause. And we're hoping Pramila Jayapal will tell us what that means.
Congresswoman Jayapal is the Democratic Representative for Washington State's 7th District and she's one of the plaintiffs in the suit. We reached Pramila Jayapal in Washington, D.C.

CAROL OFF: Congressman Jayapal, what is an emolument and why shouldn't Donald Trump be getting one?

PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Well an emolument is any monetary or non-monetary benefit or reward. And there is an Emoluments Clause in the Constitution that says that essentially nobody that's holding any office will get a present or an emolument or an office or a title of any kind without the consent of Congress. And so essentially that was put there to prevent corruption and foreign influence. And the reason we filed this lawsuit is because we believe that Donald Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution and is profiting from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. And we've articulated three specific at least three specific violations. One is around his Trump Hotel and the payment for rooms at the Trump Hotel that have been taken by a number of foreign governments including Saudi Arabia. Then also, the trademarks that have been granted by the Chinese government to Trump and one of his companies, a number of trademarks.

CO: But the U.S. Department of Justice has been defending Mr. Trump that they said that there are other presidents in the past whose businesses continued while they were in office beginning with George Washington, who earned profits from the Mt. Vernon plantation while serving as president. And the argument is that the United States Constitution wasn't meant to block business people from becoming presidents. How do you respond to the Justice Department?

PJ: Well what I would say is that, you know, in the past the Justice Department has filed other briefs on behalf of the Trump administration notably around the Muslim ban and the court struck down their arguments, so they're obviously going to make their arguments. But what we would say back is U.S. presidents in the past have complied with the foreign Emoluments Clause. President Jackson, Andrew Jackson transmitted to Congress in 1830 to a commemorative gold medal that Colombia's president had presented to him. John Kennedy was offered honorary Irish citizenship by the government of Ireland. And ultimately Kennedy declined to accept. So I think we have had many instances, and you know and I think that this president has continually done everything he can to make sure that Congress does not have any information about his conflicts of interest, and also gone out of his way to not clear up any of the confusion that might exist where the American people could determine for themselves whether or not he is working in their interests.

CO: At what point do efforts to expose Mr. Trump's transgressions and his lapses of judgment, at what point did they create more sympathy for him? They make more people think that Democrats are just out to get him.

PJ: I don't think that. I think the public wants to know that they have a president that's acting in their best interest and is upholding the Constitution that he swore to uphold and protect. And I do believe that the public Republican and Democrat wants that. Now we also obviously have a domestic agenda to make sure that working people across this country continue to do well and all of those things are tied together frankly with what the interests of the president are. But I don't believe that we lose public support by determining whether or not this president is violating the Constitution. In fact that seems kind of fundamental to me in terms of democracy and I think the American people will be with us in recognizing that this isn't a… nobody’s on a vindictive you know hunt for this president. If you look at all the numerous ways that we have tried to say look this is not about partisanship. This is about the country it's about our Constitution, it’s about democracy.

CO: It's not about partisanship, and if it is about the interests of the American people then why don't you have any Republicans joining your lawsuit?

PJ: Well I wish I could answer that question. You know it's been distressing to me. I'm a new member of Congress. I just got elected and it has been distressing to me to continue to see colleagues on the other side of the aisle who I believe are good colleagues and came here to do good things. But it's been distressing to me to see them not be willing to just give information or to call on the president to do things that have been standard practice for a long time like releasing tax returns.

CO: But don’t you think it’s because they do think you are acting in a partisan way and that you are trying to do damage Mr. Trump for political partisan reasons?

PJ: I don't think so based on the responses that people give me in private. It's that there is you know there is a decision from leadership to support this president no matter what.

CO: What are Republicans telling you in private?

PJ: Well I just think this is this is not the best time to be a Republican even though they control both houses and the presidency. I think–

CO: Is that what they’re saying to you? They're saying that they don't like being Republicans right now?

PJ: No I think you just you’re, you may have just put words in my mouth but I think that it's a hard time. You know I think the president is under a big swirl and I think that for many of them, you know, they would prefer to be in a situation where they can just be focusing on domestic policy and getting some of their priorities done. But it's been very difficult to, for any of us, on either side of the aisle to really have any focus from day to day because there are so many scandals that emerge every day or tweets that come out at 2:00 in the morning, or distractions to the agenda.

CO: Ms. Jayapal, I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

PJ: Thank you.

CO: Bye-bye.

JD: Pramila Jayapal is the Democratic Congresswoman for Washington State's 7th District. We reached her in Washington D.C.


New Zealand racism PSA

JD: The fight against racism takes many forms. Including apparently, pretending to fight for racism.
For celebrated New Zealand film director, writer, and actor Taika Waititi, comedy is ammunition. Mr. Waititi, who is of mixed Maori and Jewish-Russian heritage, has teamed-up with New Zealand's Human Rights Commission and produced a public service announcement. We’re going to play it for you. And a warning, this PSA is dripping with irony.
It's our Sound of the Day.


TAIKA WAITITI: As New Zealander of the year. I'm calling on every one of my fellow Kiwis to help support a very important cause. Racism. Needs your help to survive.
You may not be in a position to give much to races. But whatever you feel comfortable giving will make a huge difference. You don't have to be a full-on racist, just being a tiny bit racist is enough. A smile, a cheeky giggle, even a simple nod in agreement. It all adds up and it gives others the message that it's OK.
Frequently asked questions about racism.
“But I'm not a real racist. Can I still help?” Of course. Even if you don't come from a racist background, that's ok. Being a bit racist is super easy.
“How do I spread the word?” You don't actually have to talk people into it. Just be a bit racist and they'll feel the social pressure to follow along.
“My mom says being a bit racist is bad.” Shut up, Mom.
“What's in it for me?” Nothing. There's no benefit whatsoever to being racist. But ask yourself what if everyone stopped giving to racism? What kind of future would that be for our children?
“If only give a little bit, will it even make a difference?” Not to you, no, but to the people receiving the racism, they'll be getting hundreds of small bits every day so it will add up. It will be noticed.
“How do I show my support.” You might not want to wear a T-shirt that says how much of a racist you. No thanks, I'm racist on the inside. But you can laugh at racist comments. It does the same thing.
Remember. The only thing that can keep racism alive and help it grow is feeding it, nurturing it, and that's where you come in. Will you help it flourish? What will you give to racism?

JD: Our Sound of the Day: New Zealand film director, writer and actor Taika Waititia, with an anti-racism PSA he produced with New Zealand's Human Rights Commission. For more on this, use the Twitter hashtag: #GiveNothingToRacism.


Hair piano teacher

Guest: Michelle Kosinski

JD: When you hire someone to come into your home and teach your kids piano, the agreement is generally pretty straightforward, right? I pay you; you help my kids learn the sharps, the flats, the chords, the scales. Then you go home.
It's straightforward enough that you usually don't have to specifically what the teacher does not or should not do. Like practice hairdressing on your kids, for example.
But apparently the woman who teaches Michelle Kosinski's kids didn't get that memo.
Michelle Kosinski is a senior diplomatic correspondent with CNN. Although when we called her in Washington earlier today, we were speaking to her not as a reporter, but as a confused parent.

CO: Michelle, when did you first notice that your kid's piano teacher was doing more than piano lessons?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI: It was maybe a week after I had first met her that our daughter when I came home from work, had her hair done and an elaborate up-do of braids and ponytails. And so I asked her if her nanny had done that, and she said “No, the music teacher did.” It was a bit of a red flag. It looked like this hairstyle had taken an hour to prep. It was magnificent. And so yeah I thought it was a little weird. But again I just didn't say anything about it or didn't really think about it again. Until this last week, on Sunday, when I can actually spend quality time with the kids. There was just something about our daughter, who's seven that I noticed, like there's just something different I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It’s kind of like when your friend gets a new pair of glasses and it's just bugging you, like what has changed what is different? And finally it struck me that her hair was chopped off. Her hair is quite long so it's less noticeable, and if it were shorter, but there were probably three inches missing, and it was most noticeable in the back.
So when I saw that, I thought oh my gosh, you know who, did Daddy take you for a haircut? Or what happened to your hair? When she said that the music teacher had cut it and told no one I thought that was beyond bizarre and I was determined to get to the bottom of that after that point.

CO: OK so you did talk to her at that point.

MK: Yes. Yes. So the next day, luckily, I come home from work early and I hear piano music upstairs and I think it was time to confront music teacher over this rogue haircut.

CO: And how did the conversation go?

MK: Well I go into the room and there she is sitting on the piano bench like a music teacher should be with our son. And they're playing a song. There are no scissors involved or anything else. So I start asking her, you know politely, because I was thinking there was a chance that our daughter had cut her own hair because you know on Sunday, when I start looking at her hair, it's a terrible haircut. It's like chopped off and parts of it are like an inch longer than the rest of the hair. So not only was this an unsolicited haircut by the music teacher, but it was a terrible terrible haircut. So I thought that there was a chance that Sophia had done this to herself or her brother had tried to give her a haircut. So when I you know started asking the music teacher about “By the way, did you happen to cut our daughter's hair?” She admitted to it and she just made these sort of weak excuses like “Oh, I thought I could use a little trim but she was acting like it was the most normal thing in the world.” And I was just getting kind of angrier and angrier. “Like you cut her hair without asking anybody?” Like you don't even think like I'll ask her parents first. We had a kind of stern talk about it and I left the room telling her you know your job is to teach them music. Thank you very much. And I walked out.
And about an hour later. I see her sort of sneak out the front door very furtively. And a few minutes later our nanny came into the room and asked us why the music teacher had been crying?

CO: Oh.

MK: And so yeah. So I think our conversation registered.

CO: Is she still the music teacher?

MK: Yeah, well I don't know why, I didn't fire her on the spot. And I'm not a person who, I don't know why I felt strange doing that. I guess the whole situation hadn't really resolved itself inside of me. Like I think that your first reaction is “What?” But then you're thinking well like, wait it is this a terrible thing? Like how weird is this? Like you don't quite know how you feel about it. But anyway, the summer schedule is changing for the kids so it's just going to work out naturally to sort of never ask for her services again.

CO: But isn't, I guess you know, there's one thing to braid hair is, sort of when you muck around, play with that. But there's something kind of macabre about the scissors isn't there?

MK: Yeah and while we're having this conversation, and it's uncomfortable and I feel uncomfortable about it, the whole thing is just icky and weird. Like why are you cutting our kid’s hair? You know did you bring scissors? Did you plot this over the last couple of weeks? Or did you go find scissors at some point in our house? Or did you ask our kid to please go get scissors? I'm going to give you a haircut now? It's just it's just so unacceptable and inappropriate that I think I got that point across.

CO: Michelle thanks for telling us this story.

MK: No problem. Beware out there. Maybe when you invite someone into your home, just make sure there aren’t any scissors around just in case.

CO: Take care, bye-bye.

MK: Cheers.

JD: Michelle Kosinski's daughter received an unsolicited haircut from her piano teacher. We reached Ms. Kosinski in Washington.


Wapekeka suicide

JD: The community of the Wapakeka First Nation has lost another child to suicide.
The community knew Jenera Roundsky was at risk. Two of the 12-year-old's friends had already taken their own lives – part of a suicide pact. The Northern Ontario band sent Ms. Roundsky out of the community to get help. But it wasn't enough. She was declared dead after another child found her at the local hockey rink on Tuesday night.
Health Canada has pledged 380,000 dollars for suicide prevention in the community. But Wapakeka's band manager says only a portion of that money has been delivered.
Joshua Frogg told the CBC's Jody Porter that the community needs help now.


JOSHUA FROGG: Jenera was one of those high risk children that were identified in the pact. She was placed in a 24 hour care. After the first two suicides, she was out of the community. And I am not sure what the last two to three weeks she returned to the community again against the psychiatrist’s advice. The family unit responsible was to connect themselves with family services. They insisted that she's doing OK, that she should come home. Chief and Counsel objected that because there was no plan of care, there was no safety plans for her in place at that time.

JODY PORTER: And she was staying with her grandparents when she returned?

JF: Yeah. Her dad had passed away. Her dad had committed suicide years ago. And her mom left so she was cared for by her grandparents. And how is the community coping with the news of Jenera’s death today?

JP: The community is in shock and mourning. Just very sad, sad.

JF: And so what do you need? What help do you need in your community right now?

JP: We need support. We need people. We've been in crisis since January. We have counselors that come on a rotating basis, every so often, many days they come. Different groups come in. We're doing different things. We have Right to Play programs given to children busy during the day and evenings.Yet somehow one more just fell through the cracks.

JD: That was Wapekeka band manager Joshua Frogg, speaking to the CBC's Jody Porter.
CBC News has confirmed another teenager in the community attempted to take his life last weekend. He had also been sent home without a safety plan.
The Canadian Mohawk singer-songwriter Shawnee has already taken action to prevent any more suicides. She has teamed up with the We Matter campaign. That is a youth empowerment organization that brings youth empowerment workshops to reserves. And she has announced that the proceeds from her new song, called Warrior Heart, will also go towards ending Indigenous youth suicide.

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Part 3: Jonathan Powell, space flatworms


FRED WARMBIER: Disbelief. Couldn't sit down. I don't know what being in shock is but I'm pretty sure I was. I was out of town and I ended up and with my son Austin and then we drove home immediately, got in at 1:00 and told Cindy, and you know we've been we've been brutalized for the last 18 months with misinformation, no information. And so it's we're, we are proud of the fact that our family is basically happy positive people and we're going to stay that way. And we're thrilled that our son is on American soil. We're in we're in the school that he thrived in. And I'm able to talk to you on Otto's behalf and I'm able to wear the jacket that he wore when he gave his confession. I'm not confessing I'm speaking, but I love you and I'm so crazy about you and I'm so glad you're home.

JD: Fred Warmbier speaking at a press conference today. Otto Warmbier's medical team says there is little information from North Korea on his care. Pyongyang has said that Mr. Warmbier had botulism, took a sleeping pill and never woke up.
Dr. Daniel Kanter is the director of neurocritical care for the University of Cincinnati health system. He says there is no sign of botulism or any obvious signs of injury.


DANIEL KANTER: His neurological condition can be best described. As a state of unresponsive wakefulness. He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking. However he shows no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surroundings. He has not spoken. He has not engaged in any purposeful movements or behaviours. His exam shows a spastic quadriparesis which means he has profound weakness and contraction of the muscles of his arms and legs.
The most important diagnostic test thus far was a magnetic resonance imaging scan of the brain. This study showed extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain. We have no certain or verifiable knowledge of the cause or circumstances of his neurological injury. This pattern of brain injury however is usually seen as a result of cardiopulmonary arrest where the blood supply to the brain is inadequate for a period of time resulting in the death of brain tissue.

JD: Dr. Daniel Kanter is the director of neurocritical care for the University of Cincinnati health system. Dr. Kanter would not comment on auto warm beers chances for recovery.


Jonathan Powell

Guest: Jonathan Powell

JD: To some it's just a straightforward political negotiation to ensure a stable Britain. To others, it is a deal with the devil. I am talking about U.K. prime minister Theresa May's plan to secure the support of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party to prop up her shaky minority government although the party has tempered its views in recent years. Historically the DP as it's known as had associations with loyalist paramilitary groups and now there are fears that supporting the DUP could undermine the Northern Irish peace agreements.
Jonathan Powell is the U.K.'s former chief negotiator in Northern Ireland. We reached him in London.

CAROL OFF: Mr. Powell, Theresa May still has not been able to hammer out a deal with the DUP. What do you think that the DUP might be holding up for?

JONATHAN POWELL: Well I imagine what they're seeking will be money, because that's what they usually ask for. It's what they ask for when we devolve policing to Northern Ireland. They'll be asking for special provisions to give extra funding for projects in Northern Ireland and there'll be asking for a few projects as well that are UK wide to demonstrate that they regard themselves as a party of the UK because they're after all unionists.

CO: Then this is usually what the kind of to-ing and fro-ing is trying to hammer something together like this. So what's wrong with that? What's wrong with the DUP wants?

JP: There's nothing wrong really. What's wrong particularly that's just taxpayers' money. If the government wants to spend taxpayers' money in that way, no particular problem. But the real problem is going to be in what's not on the piece of paper. The real problem's going to be those provisions that are not written down that relate to the Constitution. That's my real complaint, that by forming a coalition with the support of the U.K.. The UK is ceasing to be a neutral party in Northern Ireland.
Since 1991, the British government has always made it clear that we are neutral in Northern Ireland. Anything that the unionists and the nationalists can agree on, and we can support. It was a Northern Ireland secretary under the Tory government at the time Peter Brooke who made a speech saying we had no selfish strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland and we could live with what everyone else could live with. That's how we managed to reach the Good Friday Agreement and how we've managed to resolve every crisis since.
By forming a coalition with the DUP, the government is giving up that position because all the other parties know that any given morning, the DUP could wake up and bring the government down in Westminster.

CO: And could you expand a bit on what threat to you see that this might pose to peace in Northern Ireland?

JP: I do not think this leads us back into the troubles again. That fighting the 30 years of the so-called troubles in Northern Ireland will not recur. That's in our past. So I don't think that's the threat. The threat is rather a political one, that we have managed to make a quiet place since the Good Friday Agreement. It's kept off our front pages of our newspapers. People have been getting on with political problems of the usual sort, of education and water rates and things like that, it's about the most exciting thing that happens there. And that's good for the people of Northern Ireland. It means that the economy has been growing, that they've been getting public services that they want. Now this is going to disrupt it all again because it's going to take it back to identity.
The issue we are trying to resolve in Northern Ireland was how can you have a place where people want to be one to regard themselves as Irish citizens and others want to regard themselves as citizens of the United Kingdom. How do we actually resolve that issue? And we came up the idea they could have whichever identity they wanted within Northern Ireland and with no border between Ireland north and south, you could probably easily live in Northern Ireland and feel Irish and be Irish. So that's all going to be thrown up in the air again.

CO: Theresa May's government says this will not be a formal coalition. The two parties will find common ground in areas as far as we know at this point, economic policy, security, they'll attempt to find common ground on Brexit, and DUP will have to do some giving and to-ing and fro-ing as well. What makes you think that that could go any further than that? I mean aren't they going to agree only in certain areas and other areas the conservatives will be able to establish their own policies?

JP: Of course they're not going to agree on things like LGBT rights which the DUP don't accept and the Tory government do except. So those things clearly won't be part of the agreement. That isn't the problem. The problem is the neutral status of the government and that's the thing that goes out the window as soon as a government depends on it. As I say, it doesn't matter what's written down on the piece of paper. However limited the piece of paper is, and even if a piece of paper were to say "We will not be interfering in constitutional issues." That doesn't help, because what you've got all the other parties in Northern Ireland, the SDLP, the Alliance, the UUP, the old official unionists, all believe that the DUP are pulling the strings on the government because they know the DUP can pull the government down any day it chooses to do so. So the government is going to react to their wishes regardless of what's written on the piece of paper. And that is really the threat, that's why you've seen people like John Major, who himself found himself in a very difficult stage in his administration where he had no majority in the House of Commons, but even in those difficult circumstances, he did not depend in this way on the DUP to keep him in power. Because he knew that if he did that he couldn't keep the peace process going, that it could not work if he was seen to be on one side. And that's why I think he's come out and been so critical of Theresa May going down this path.

CO: There's one other issue that's been raised in recent days and that's that the relationship of the DUP and its leader, Arlene Foster, with paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland and that's come about since the murder of Colin Horner. Is that an issue? I mean are you concerned about that relationship or potential relationship?

JP: Well it all parties in Northern Ireland have troubled histories because it was a very violent period they all lived through. The problem is this issue that the British government has managed to be successful for over two decades now by being neutral in Northern Ireland. If we abandon that, even for a short period, it's going to be very hard to recover. So say this government staggers on for a few more months with DUP support. Is that really a price worth paying for giving up that long term neutral role that's allowed us to resolve successfully all the political crises we've had since the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland?

CO: And what about with exit negotiations just days away, some are saying it's better to have a strong government, some kind of a big majority government, it's better to have that than to have a minority government. What do you say to that?

JP: Well it is correct that negotiations are now slated to start on Monday. But one thing we don't have is a strong government. And a government that depends on the DUP to stand by is certainly not going to be a strong government. So whatever happens on Monday, we will not have a strong government. So I don't think that is a reason to make this pact with the devil.

CO: All right we will leave it there. We'll be following this story. Mr. Powell, thank you.

JP: Thank you so much.

JD: Jonathan Powell is the U.K.'s former chief negotiator in Northern Ireland. We reached him in London.


Turnbull Trump

JD: Seems that every late night host spends at least, well around half the show these days making fun of President Trump. Last night however a non-professional comedian took a crack at it. Not that he's going to quit his day job, because he happens to be the prime minister of Australia. Now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's relationship with the US president famously got off to kind of a rocky start with an abruptly ended phone call. Yesterday the Australian PM impersonated the president's mannerisms at a dinner for journalists in Canberra. It was supposed to be off the record but Australia's 9 News Network decided to leak.


VOICE: [Whispering] Show a recording of it.

[Sound: Applause]

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Most beautiful [unintelligible] ever, but Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the roles. We are winning so much. We are winning like we have never won before. We are winning in the polls. We are, not the fake polls. Not the fake polls. Those ones we're not winning in. We're winning in the real polls. You know, the online polls. They are so easy to win. Did you know that? I know that. Did you know that? I kind of know that. Kind of. They are so easy to win. I asked this Russian guy. Believe me it's true. It is true.

JD: From a leaked recording courtesy of 9 News Network that was Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull poking fun at President Trump at a journalist event in Canberra last night. He has since called his remarks quote "affectionately lighthearted."


Screaming choir

JD: He has used frogs, dolphins and seals to make pop songs. He has created an orchestra out of car horns and won an award for playing All By Myself on a vibrator. But even with that glowing resume, Bob Smart is the first to admit his latest work will be his biggest challenge.
The Vancouver composer has been tasked with putting together a choir of screamers for Playland Amusement Park and he needs your help. More specifically he needs the help of your lungs.
Here's a clip from his call for auditions.


[Sound: Screaming in a scale]

BOB SMART: Hi, I'm Bob Smart, professional music composer. I need your help putting together a choir for Playland. But it's a little different.
Instead of singing a masterpiece you'll be screaming it in the world's first scream choir. Auditions are open to everyone. You can win prizes, go on tour, and probably get a boatload of fame. Here's what we're looking for.

VOICE 1: If you could scream more from your diaphragm. And here as [Screams].

JD: Now no word on whether she is working on an audition tape, but that video did catch the attention of Gloria Macarenko guest host of CBC Vancouver's The Early Edition. And yesterday she spoke with the composer about what makes the perfect scream choir.

[sc] When you scream you know, instead of instead of "Ah", you get you got all these other notes that are in there. So if you try to have people singing in harmony, it might just turn into something that isn't possible. [sc] So I'm thinking that it'll be done mostly in unison. Take the choir into two or three parts so that they don't have to constantly scream because you'll fatigue really quickly. So it'll be sort of probably like a call and answer sort of thing.

GLORIA MACARENKO: Bob ,are you feeling in the mood right now to give us a little sample. I like to go off mic if you want to play along. It's 11 minutes before 8:00 in the morning but just to turn around and give us, give us a nice example of a good scream.

BOB SMART: [Screams] Somewhere in there.

GM: [Laughs] That was in tune and all.

BS: It was in tune in my head.

JD: Was good, composer Bob Smart speaking with Gloria Macarenko guest host of CBC Vancouver The Early Edition of show for Mr. Smart's choir of screamers. And if you think you've got the chops, you think you've got the right screen for the job, go to dot com to send in your audition tape.
And if you are looking for inspiration for what songs to scream, after digging through our archives we have got a hot tip for you. Lullabies, lullabies work best. From 2004, here is former As It Happens host Mary Lou Finlay speaking to Petri Sirvio, the director of Finland's Mieskuoro Huutajat, which roughly translates to "men's choir shouters".


MARY LOU FINLAY: If you wavier your baton, will they sing a lullaby a shout a lullaby to us now?

PETRI SIRVIO: Would you like to hear a lullaby?

MLF: Yes. OK this is a Danish lullaby. This was not the piece I meant to let them scream to you, but let's let's do this. OK.

MLF: All right.

[Sound: Men's choir shouters singing a lullaby]

JD: And off you go to sleep little baby. Sweet Scandinavian dreams. From 2004 that was Petri Sirvio and his Finnish screaming men's choir Mieskuoro Huutajat, with an impromptu rendition of a Danish lullaby for former As It Happens host Mary Lou Finlay.


Space flatworms

Guest: Michael Levin

JD: Going to outer space would be a life changing experience for anyone. It would give you a new perspective on the world and the world around you and I imagine that it's especially true for one creature that has returned from space in recent years with two new perspectives.
The creature is a planarian flatworm. And researchers sent it along with a bunch of other flatworms to the International Space Station and the study of what happened to that invertebrate is published in The Journal Regeneration.
Michael Levin is one of the authors. He is with the biology department at Tufts University. We reached him in Beverly, Massachusetts.

CO: Professor Levin, tell us about this one flatworm from your study that's getting all the attention. How does it look when it returned from space?

MICHAEL LEVIN: Well I assume you're talking about the two-headed flatworm. It looks like a two-headed flatworm. It had a head where the tail should be. Otherwise it was quite normal. It was moving around, it was healthy, happy but it was a sort of mirror image. It had the heads on both ends.

CO: What does it look like before you sent it into space?

ML: Well we sent up a perfectly normal planaria that had one tail and one head each. We also cut some into pieces which is how these worms normally reproduce anyway, they sort of pull themselves apart and then each piece regenerates, and so we wanted to test how the process of regeneration was going to occur in space. So normally, every piece grows one head and one tail exactly as it's supposed to. This one worm, due to its space travel experience, the cells got confused and grew a head at the posterior end.

CO: How did you test this? You had some worms on earth that you were going to compare and see how different they had reacted to the same kinds of conditions yes?

ML: Yes correct. We had a group of control worms that stayed back at home. They were in the same kind of container, they were sealed for five weeks exactly as the spacefaring worms were. Some of the things we tested for example, the microbiomes or the bacteria that live on these worms, the behavior of these worms. Those kinds of things you need to compare the spacefaring worms to the earthbound controls. The two headed one was extremely obvious. I mean the thing with regeneration in planaria is that the fidelity's 100 percent, they never make a mistake. And so when you see a two-headed worm, you know right away that's something that something's happened.

CO: Have you ever seen a two headed worm on earth?

ML: We have in fact. This is something that we produce these quite routinely in our experiments. One of the things that my lab works on is understanding the electrical language that cells used to communicate to each other as they figure out what structure they should be making, heads or tails eyes brains and so on. And so in learning to understand and to speak that electrical language, we've been able to alter it and produce worms with two heads or in fact no heads and various other shape changes. So we have made these artificially, we knew it was possible. We had no idea this would happen. From from from space travel.

CO: Tell us some of the other things, behaviour or changes shape-changing anything that you saw in these worms that came back from space.

ML: So for example, the planaria are normally, they are what's called photophobic, they dislike light and so they will try to stay in the darkness. And we found out that the ones that had been in space were much less afraid of the light basically than controls. So this behaviour had changed and enabled them to spend more time in the light. Now there's we measured about a year and a half after the worms had come back. So they've already been in our lab, eating the same food, living in the same environment as the earthbound controls for well over a year, and still their behaviour is now now altered. The same thing with the microbiome So we basically tested the natural bacteria that live in and upon these worms and we found out that even a year and a half later, the complement of bacteria and the sort of the the profile of the earthbound bacterial species that live in these worms is now quite a bit different between the ones that had been to space and the ones that stayed behind.

CO: You also found a difference between the ones who had been in space and those who had been left behind when they came into contact with water.

ML: That's correct. So they live in water all the time. But the interesting thing that happened is that when we, when when we first opened the box, you know these these these guys had been sealed in their little tubes for five weeks and so one of the things we wanted to do right way was get them into fresh water because over time the oxygen content of the water drops off and so on. So we wanted to get them into some fresh water, and so we transferred them from their tubes full of space water to to normal earthbound Poland Spring water which is where these animals normally live. And that's in fact the water that we sent them up in. And something really remarkable happened which is that the worms showed signs of really not not liking this water. Basically, they curled up which is something you see when you transfer worms for it from an environment that they're used to to some completely different type of water or water solution. So something happened to that water in space which they obviously got used to that made them really see a difference between that and normal Poland Spring.

CO:What do you make of all these these reactions? What does it tell you about what the worms went through in space?

ML: Well it's telling us telling us a few things. I mean the worms have been through basically the space travel experience. and the space travel experience is not just one thing. It includes changes in the gravitational field obviously, because there were some some some high G-forces associated with take off and landing but also the zero-G being in space, the weightlessness. They also have been out of the geomagnetic field for five weeks and that's really important. Biological systems rely on the Earth's geomagnetic field for a number of aspects of physiology so I would have that. And then of course there was vibration involved in the docking and the take off.
So all of these things combined together have profound effects on these on these animals. And what it tells us is several things. I think it has implications for human and animal travel into space, both positive and negative. On the negative side, this is just basically risk factors that we have to take into account for how our cells are going to be altered and perhaps regenerative and wound healing responses may be altered. On the upside though, what we're learning is how processes occur differently in space which we may be able to take advantage of for Regenerative Medicine. Part of the importance of these kinds of experiments is not just for space travel but for learning about how physical factors like geomagnetic fields, like gravitational forces and so on, how these affect cell behaviours and we may be able to exploit these for regenerative medicine applications here on Earth. So this was not just about space travel.
And to us what it looks like is that the experience is that these worms underwent in space and also the kinds of things that pretty much any space travellers are going to experience are able to alter normal cell to cell communication and normal cell to cell instructive behaviour in important ways and we really need to understand those mechanisms and try to take advantage of those for for medical purposes.

CO: It's absolutely fascinating and I really appreciate speaking with you, Professor Levin. Thank you.

ML: Excellent. Thank you so much.

CO: Bye.

ML: Bye-bye.

JD: Michael Levin is a biology prof at Tufts University. We reached him in Beverly, Massachusetts. And if you would like to see some photographs of his flat worms, the ones he used in the experiment that is, visit our website,


Yoko Ono


JOHN LENNON: Actually, that should be credited as a Lennon Ono song because a lot of it, the lyrics and the concept came from Yoko. But those days, I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book. There's a whole pile of pieces about imagine this and imagine that, and give her credit now, long overdue.

JD: That's the late great John Lennon speaking on December 6th of 1980 with the BBC's Andy Peebles. Just two days before he was killed. And yes you did just hear him giving writing credit to his wife and partner Yoko Ono for Imagine.
Last night at the annual meeting of the National Music Publishers Association in New York, it was announced that Yoko Ono will indeed be added to the song Imagine as a co-writer, in line with Mr. Lennon's wishes.


JOHN LENNON: And I know she helped with a lot of the lyrics but I wasn't man enough to let her have credit. So that song was actually written by John and Yoko. But I was still selfish enough, because I was still full of wanting my own space after being in the room with four guys and always having to share everything, share the same dry-cleaner, the same everything. So even when Yoko would wear the same colour as me, I used to get madly upset and say "It's not the [Beep] Beatles. We're not Sonny and Cher, don't dress..." So I wouldn't even let her dress. Even if she accidentally wore the same colour.

ANDY PEEBLES: And the song itself–

JL: Expresses what I've learned through being with Yoko and my own feelings.

JD: That again is John Lennon speaking in 1980, that time to Playboy magazine.

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