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April 30, 2008

Pt 1: Reverend Jeremiah Wright In Context - More than a month after Senator Barack Obama's former pastor first hit the news, the controversy over Reverend Jeremiah Wright refused to go away. In March 2008, some of Reverend Wright's past speeches were picked up by the national press and video clips of his past sermons began appearing on television.

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Pt 2: Sierra Leone Tribunal - In his time as the President of Liberia, Charles Taylor earned himself a reputation as one of Africa's most brutal dictators, but he was also to become the first African leader to be tried for war crimes, charged at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague in The Netherlands with eleven counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in fueling a devastating civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Read more here

Pt 3: Worst to First -For four years in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins finished last in its division, but then piled up the draft picks -- restocking the team with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- and then, in 2008, they won their division. Some say they're the most exciting team in the National Hockey League; a classic worst to first or rags to riches scenario.

Read more here

It's Wednesday, April 30th.

A Chinese court has jailed 30 people for their alleged participation in last month's riots in Tibet.

Currently, The Dalai Lama has been re-exiled.

This is The Current.


Reverend Jeremiah Wright In Context

More than a month after Senator Barack Obama's former pastor first hit the news, the controversy over Reverend Jeremiah Wright refused to go away. In March 2008, some of Reverend Wright's past speeches were picked up by the national press and video clips of his past sermons began appearing on television. In them, Reverend Wright appeared to call on God to damn the United States, said the U.S. deserved some blame for the attacks of September 11th and suggested that the U.S. government was deliberately spreading AIDS among black Americans.

Throughout the controversy, Reverend Wright remained silent, even as his remarks were cycled endlessly on American cable news networks and used as political fodder by Obama's opponents. But by the end of April 2008, Reverend Wright broke his silence and re-entered the fray, drawing a swift reply from Barack Obama.

For some perspective on what Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been saying and the effect it's had on Obama's campaign, we were joined from Washington, D.C. by Reverend Graylan Hagler, National President of Ministers for Racial, Social, and Economic Justice with the United Church of Christ and the Senior Minister of Plymouth Congretional United Church of Christ in Washigton.


Reverend Jeremiah Wright In Context - Academic

Throughout the controversy, Reverend Wright has said that his remarks should be judged in the cultural and historical context of black American churches.

Melissa Harris Lacewell is a professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University and a former member of Reverend Wright's church, the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and shared her thoughts about Reverend Wright and context.

For her thoughts on the politics of this story, we were joined from New Haven, Connecticut by Khalilah Brown-Dean, the Peter Strauss Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Yale University.


Listen to Part One:

 

Sierra Leone Tribunal - Lawyer

In his time as the President of Liberia, Charles Taylor earned himself a reputation as one of Africa's most brutal dictators, but he was also to become the first African leader to be tried for war crimes, charged at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague in The Netherlands with eleven counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in fueling a devastating civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone is a creation of both the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone, and Canada is one of its four major financial backers. Taylor's trial began in January 2008, but was beset by problems early on, with the court's administrators worried that the money pledged to run the trial may run out before a verdict can be reached and the defense team saying the prosecution undermined the trial by paying witnesses.

Joining us from The Hague was Terry Munyard, co-counsel for Charles Taylor.


Sierra Leone Tribunal - Court Official

To address the concerns he raised as well as the possibility that the court might run out of money before it can render a verdict, we were joined from Freetown by Binta Mansaray, Deputy Registrar with the Special Court for Sierra Leone.


International Tribunals

Charles Taylor is just one in a series of national leaders to end up facing an international tribunal, but his trial wasn't the first to run in to problems. For her thoughts on what those problems mean for international justice generally, we were joined in Toronto by Erna Paris, the author of a study of the founding of the International Criminal Court called The Sun Climbs Slow: Justice in the Age of Imperial America.


Listen to Part Two:

 

Worst to First

For four years in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins finished last in its division, but then piled up the draft picks -- restocking the team with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- and then, in 2008, they won their division. Some say they're the most exciting team in the National Hockey League; a classic worst to first or rags to riches scenario.

At the same time, the Leafs were mired in the middle, narrowly missing the playoffs for three years running. They were not truly awful, just perennially not quite good enough.

For his thoughts on the worst-to-first phenomenon in sports, we were joined in Toronto by Stephen Brunt, a sports columnist with the Globe and Mail; and for her thoughts on the politics of going from worst to first (or first to worst), we were joined from Windsor, Ontario by Heather MacIvor, who teaches political science at the University of Windsor; and finally, to discuss what the phenomenon means for the business world, we were joined from Ottawa by Madeline Drohan, who is the Ottawa correspondent with The Economist magazine.


Last Word - New Brunswick Flooding

In Fredericton on April 30, 2008, emergency officials warned of a flood so bad it could rival the famous "Flood of 1973" when much of the downtown was under water. The day before, residents who live about 20 minutes south of the city along the Saint John River were told to leave their homes, or get ready to be stranded.
Bea Legere and Joyce Cochrane both have homes in Maugerville, New Brunswick, inside the flood area and they decided to stay. To close this episode of The Current, we passed on what they told CBC Radio's Maritime Noon as the waters rose, along with some words of warning from Jody Price, the local incident commander in Burton, New Brunswick.


Listen to Part Three:

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