Pt 2: HPV Vaccine - Thirty six years ago -- back in 1972 -- a German researcher named Harald zur Hausen put forward an unconventional hypothesis. He suggested that a virus could cause cancer. At the time, the idea was written off by many of his peers. But he kept at it. And eleven years later, he made a revolutionary discovery. He found that two strains of the oncogenic human papilloma virus -- or HPV -- were responsible for about 70 per cent of the cases of cervical cancer, a disease that kills 250 thousand woman a year worldwide.
Pt 3: Letters - Irshad Manji joined Anna Maria for a look at The Current's letter pack. She is a Canadian author, journalist and feminist. She is also the Director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University, a program that encourages young leaders to challenge authority and conventions. Irshad Manji is also this week's Friday host of The Current and she was in New York City.
It's Thursday, October 30th.
Barack Obama has called on China to stop manipulating its currency and fundamentally restructure its foreign exchange policy.
Currently ... The crowd ... went ... nuts.
This is The Current.
Ah, the fateful night of November 4th, 2000 , when Americans got their first sense of how something called a hanging chad could mess up their democracy so spectacularly. It took more than a month before the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and George Bush became the 43rd President of the United States.
Ever since then, the mechanics of casting and counting a ballot have loomed large over U.S. elections. In the leadup to this one, Myrna Perez has been spending a lot of time looking at the country's voter rolls the lists of eligible voters in the United States. Those lists are routinely purged in order to keep them accurate and up-to-date. But Myrna Perez says the process of doing that is prone to error and vulnerable to manipulation. She is counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law. She's also the author of a report released earlier this month called "Voter Purges" and she joined us for this portion of today's show.
When it comes to bending the rules in an election, Allen Raymond knows a thing or two. He is former chief-of-staff to a co-chairman of the Republican National Committee. And he served three months in a federal prison for jamming the Democratic Party's phone lines during the New Hampshire Senate primaries back in 2002.
He's written a book about it all. It's called How To Rig An Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative. And Allen Raymond was in Bethesda, Maryland.
Thirty six years ago -- back in 1972 -- a German researcher named Harald zur Hausen put forward an unconventional hypothesis. He suggested that a virus could cause cancer. At the time, the idea was written off by many of his peers. But he kept at it. And eleven years later, he made a revolutionary discovery. He found that two strains of the oncogenic human papilloma virus -- or HPV -- were responsible for about 70 per cent of the cases of cervical cancer, a disease that kills 250 thousand woman a year worldwide.
His work also led to a vaccine for HPV, one that's now given to many pre-teen girls across Canada in an effort to prevent instances of cervical cancer.
Dr. zur Hausen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine earlier this month. He's also a laureate of the 2008 Gairdner Prize -- also known as the "baby nobels," a Canadian-sponsored international award for medical research. And Dr. zur Hausen was in Toronto.
In the Developing World
Cost is certainly a factor when it comes to making the HPV vaccine available in the developing world. But according to Vivien Tsu, it's not the only one. She's an epidemiologist and the Associate Director of Reproductive Health with the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health or PATH. PATH is running four pilot projects designed to increase access to the HPV vaccine across the developing world. Vivien Tsu was in Seattle for the show.
Irshad Manji joined Anna Maria for a look at The Current's leter pack. She is a Canadian author, journalist and feminist. She is also the Director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University, a program that encourages young leaders to challenge authority and conventions. Irshad Manji is also this week's Friday host of The Current and she was in New York City.
In the Mail
It was almost nineteen years ago that Marc Lepine walked into Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and killed fourteen women before killing himself. As the country has mourned that event, rarely have thoughts turned to the losses suffered by Marc Lepine's mother. But Monique Lepine has just written a book sharing how she has dealt with the guilt, shame and isolation. Last Thursday on The Current, Madame Lepine told us what it was like to try and grieve as the mother of the killer.
Hearing her voice prompted many of our listeners to write in and share their opinons about the interview.
Moving on through the mail. Osama Bin Laden has notoriety for many things but probably not for his poetry. But in 2001, when his home in Kandahar was ransacked, audio tapes were found with recordings of Bin Laden reciting some of his verse. Last week on The Current, we explored the literary and legal value of this work with Flagg Miller. He is an anthropologist at the University of California, Davis and he's also writing a book about Bin Laden's poetry.
After hearing from him, we heard from many of our listeners about this subject.
And Suzanne Steele is a poet with the Canadian Forces Artists Program. You can read about her work, and listen to some of her poetry at her website warpoet.ca
Finally for this morning we discussed the conflicted identity of the Alberta tar sands. To some, it is Canada's golden ticket to prosperity. To others, it is an environmental disaster with far reaching consequences.But last week on The Current, author Andrew Nikiforuk told us the impact of the tar sands extends much further than we think. He says Canada is becoming defined by bitumen.
His comments prompted quite a few of our listeners to submit their thoughts as well.
Andrew Nikiforuk - Follow up Interview
We received a lot of strong reaction to our interview with Andrew Nikiforuk about how the Alberta Tar Sands is changing Canada. But our conversation didn't end there. The development of the Tar Sands is having a huge impact on the Athabasca River.
The Athabasca flows through hundreds of kilometres of boreal forest and into Lake Athabasca, where -- along with the Peace River -- it forms one of the largest freshwater deltas in the world. That delta is essential for migratory birds and it's also a major part of the Mackenzie River watershed ... the third biggest watershed in the world.
The Athabasca is also the artery that runs through the tar sands. It supplies the water used to separate the bitumen from the sand and process the bitumen into oil.
So as part of our ongoing series about global water issues called Watershed, Andrew and Anna Maria continued their conversation and she asked him how the Athabasca had been changed by the tar sands over the last 30 years.
At the end of the show we left you with a few words from Suzanne Steele, Canada's first embedded poet who you heard from earlier in the program. Our listeners heard a recording of one of her poem's. It's called August Widow.