Pt 2: Violence in the Congo - The Democratic Republic of Congo's vast resource wealth should make it the envy of much of the world. Instead, it's turned the country into a battleground, a land plundered by a succession of warring factions, from within and beyond the country's borders.
Pt 3: Rowboat - How idyllic- rowing across open water in a boat with your sweetheart. Okay, well, how about spending 145 days rowing 10,000 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean in a seven-metre boat with your fiancé, completely exposed to the elements, tossed around like a cork by hurricanes and straining at the oars for hours a day, often against stiff headwinds or hostile currents?
It's Tuesday October 28th.
State officials in Ohio are investigating allegations that law enforcement computers were used to gather information on John McCain supporter Joe the Plumber
Currently, Joe the Plumber says he will gladly investigate the leaks himself as soon as he finishes his book tour.
This is the Current.
When he was Finance Minister, Paul Martin was adamant that his deficit-slaying project wasn't about program costs, balance sheets or credit ratings. It was about protecting Canada from the unknown, making the country's finances secure enough to withstand any unforeseen problems lurking around the corner. Problems like the global financial crisis that now has economists and finance ministers talking matter-of-factly about something that was unthinkable just weeks ago, running deficits.
So at a time of economic turmoil, it seems apt that the former Liberal prime minister has just published his memoirs. His book is called Hell or High Water: My Life In and Out of Politics. And Paul Martin joined Anna Maria in our Montreal studio.
Violence in the Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo's vast resource wealth should make it the envy of much of the world. Instead, it's turned the country into a battleground a land plundered by a succession of warring factions, from within and beyond the country's borders.
Ten years ago, the fighting escalated into the deadliest conflict since World War Two. More than four million people died in the violence and the resulting lack of food and humanitarian services. People began calling it the African World War.
There have been periods of relative calm in the past five years, but a peace deal signed in January has unraveled, and the fighting in the DRC is escalating again. The rebels in the eastern part of the country are attacking villages, looting and burning, kidnapping children and raping women. Some two-hundred-thousand people have fled their homes during the latest round of fighting, joining as many as two million people who have been displaced in the past two years. Aid agencies say the situation is dire.
Phil Lancaster is just back from the DRC. He was the head of the United Nations section on Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation and Reintegration and based in Goma - the main city in the eastern region where the fighting has been worst. He was in Victoria, British Columbia. And Colin Thomas-Jensen is the policy advisor for Enough, a human rights group based in Washington.
There are 17,000 UN Peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, making it the biggest UN peacekeeping mission in the world. But that mission - MONUC as it's known - is facing turmoil and criticism. The head of the mission wants the Security Council to bolster the number of soldiers there. Just yesterday, the mission's military commander resigned. And Congolese civilians are demanding that the UN do more to protect them.
Michel Bonnardeaux is a spokesperson for MONUC, the UN's mission in the DRC. He was in the capital of Kinshasa for the show.
How idyllic- rowing across open water in a boat with your sweetheart. Okay, well, how about spending 145 days rowing 10,000 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean in a seven-metre boat with your fiancé, completely exposed to the elements, tossed around like a cork by hurricanes and straining at the oars for hours a day, often against stiff headwinds or hostile currents?
Julie Angus of Courtenay, British Columbia - a molecular biologist by training - and her fellow adventurer and future husband, Colin Angus - made just such a trek from Lisbon, Portugal to Limon, Costa Rica during the fall and winter of 2005 ... during the worst hurricane season in history.
Julie and Colin were named National Geographic's 2007 Adventurer of the Year for their troubles. And as part the Current's Watershed series on a whole range of water issues, Julie Angus joins Anna Maria in our Toronto studio to discuss her adventure and her new book, Rowboat in a Hurricane: My Amazing Journey Across a Changing Atlantic Ocean.
Earlier in the show you heard an interview with former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. We didn't quite have the intimate meeting that Mr. Martin had three years ago with CBC Television's Rick Mercer, when they went to check out the power tools at Canadian Tire. We left you with an excerpt from that edition of the Rick Mercer Report.