CBCradio

May 8, 2008

Pt 1: Grease Bandits - Grease is the word, as they say. For greasers in the movie and musical Grease that word meant slick hair goo and a whole way of life, but grease has become a coveted fuel source. So much so, there's a black market for grease.

Read more here

Pt 2: Colombia Paramilitary Politics Scandal - Francisco Santos Calderon, the vice-President of Colombia, paid a visit to Canada in the second week of May 2008, but he was trailed by a political scandal that was unprecedented in Colombia. Santos Calderon came to sell a free-trade pact with Canada. A free-trade deal negotiated by U.S. President Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe remained stalled in the U.S. Congress, mostly over concerns about Colombia's human rights record.

Read more here

Pt 3: Letters - We looked at the mail, with the help of this week's Friday host Duncan McCue, an award-winning reporter for The National on CBC Television based in Vancouver.

Read more here

Satire

It's Thursday, May 8th.

The United Nations is going to investigate Canada for not complying with Kyoto Protocol regulations for reporting national greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, the Canadian government still has no intention of meeting its Kyoto targets, but will reduce the intensity of its Kyoto violations by 14 percent by 2020.

This is the Current.


Grease Bandits: Contractor

Grease is the word, as they say. For greasers in the movie and musical Grease that word meant slick hair goo and a whole way of life, but grease has become a coveted fuel source. So much so, there's a black market for grease.

This raw grease can be refined into yellow grease, which can be used to make biofuel, and as the world's appetite for biofuel increases, so goes the demand for grease.

Restaurants, with their bubbling deep fryers, have always had lots of grease to dispose of, and sometimes companies pick it up for them. But increasingly, grease collectors complain that thieves are pilfering restaurant grease.

Our producer Michael O'Halloran visited a restaurant in Calgary to see what they do with their grease.

You might say that yellow grease is a new black gold, a hot commodity whose price has tripled. And with that rapid rise in value, grease banditry is rampant in some U.S. states. That bothers people like Christopher Griffin, director of legal affairs for Griffin Industries, a company that's been collecting restaurant grease since 1943. He joined us from Cold Spring, Kentucky.


Grease Bandits - Lawyer

Some might say that catching one of these thieves is like catching greased lightning, but others argue that these cases aren't really theft at all.

Jon Jaworski is an attorney in Texas who has represented dozens of clients accused of stealing the often stinky stuff. His work has earned him a reputation as the "grease lawyer," and we reached him at his office in Houston.


Grease Bandits - Canada

Grease theft may be a growing problem in the U.S., but for some perspective on the situation in Canada, we were joined in Toronto by Stu Porter, the biodiesel technical advisor to the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.


Listen to Part One:




Colombia Paramilitary Politics Scandal

Francisco Santos Calderon, the vice-President of Colombia, paid a visit to Canada in the second week of May 2008, but he was trailed by a political scandal that was unprecedented in Colombia. Santos Calderon came to sell a free-trade pact with Canada. A free-trade deal negotiated by U.S. President Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe remained stalled in the U.S. Congress, mostly over concerns about Colombia's human rights record.

But events in the South American country took the human rights issue to a whole new level, with political scandal swirling ever closer to President Uribe. A judicial probe began exploring links between the country's brutal paramilitary groups and dozens of Colombia's politicians.

On April 23, 2008 things got even worse for President Uribe when his cousin Mario, a former Congressman, Senator and long-time political ally of the President, was arrested and charged.

On the same day, a Canadian connection emerged: a "demobilized," or former, Colombian paramilitary who was also a key witness in the ongoing investigation, received word that two men may have been despatched to kill him here in Canada, where he was in hiding for seven years.

Pedro Sanchez is a producer with The Current, and joined us in Toronto to discuss the story.


Listen to Part Two:

 

Letters

We looked at the mail, with the help of this week's Friday host Duncan McCue, an award-winning reporter for The National on CBC Television based in Vancouver.

We were also joined by: from Chicago, Gary Slutkin, M.D., Executive Director of CeaseFire, to discuss fighting violence as a disease; and from New York by Riche Piche, from the Office of Family and Children Services for New York State.


Last Word - Ukrainian Internment Camps

John Chipman, a producer with The Current, prepared a documentary called Flowers for Nellie, which explored the legacy of Canada's first national internment program.

During the First World War, thousands of Ukrainians and other Eastern Europeans were interned as enemy aliens and sent to labour camps in Canada's hinterlands.
For decades, the Ukrainian-Canadian community pushed the federal government for official recognition - and symbolic restitution. Finally, in May 2008, 88 years after the final camp closed, a deal was finally struck.

On May 9, Jason Kenney, the secretary of state for Multiculturalism and Canadian identity, is scheduled to announce a $10 million funding agreement that will pay for commemorative and memorial projects related to the internment camps with another $2.5 million made available through a similar program run by Parks Canada.

In the year preceding the announcement, the last two survivors of the camps passed away. Mary Manko Haskett was six years old when she was taken to the Spirit Lake internment camp in Quebec with her parents in 1915, and Mary Bayrak was born in the Spirit Lake camp the same year.

We closed this episode of The Current with some thoughts from two of their children, Jerry Bayrak and Fran Haskett.


Listen to Part Three:

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