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November 28, 2008

Pt 1: Mumbai Attacks Update - Commandos ended a siege of the luxury Oberoi hotel in Mumbai today while other forces rappelled from helicopters to storm a beseiged Jewish centre. Police now say the seige of the Jewish centre is over. It's been two days since a chain of militant attacks across India's financial district has left at least 143 people dead and hundreds more injured.

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Pt 2: Consumption - Ah, the sounds of the holidays ... a cacophony of cascading voices, all urging you to spend. And that's just the beginning of the commercial onslaught. Which leaves me with just one question. Aren't we supposed to be in the middle of some kind of ever-expanding, global economic meltdown?

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Pt 3: Greenpeace DRC - The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo is the epicenter of one of the most brutal humanitarian crises on earth. Fighting has displaced about a quarter-of-a-million people. Amnesty International estimates that about 45,000 people are dying there every month. And that's just the latest chapter in more than a decade's worth of brutal conflict.

Read more here

It's Friday, November 28th.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced plans to eliminate subsidies to Canada's political parties yesterday, a move that could cripple the already cash-strapped Liberal Party.

Currently, The press release actually says "obliterate" ... but you get the idea.

This is The Current.


Mumbai Attacks Update

Commandos ended a siege of the luxury Oberoi hotel in Mumbai today while other forces rappelled from helicopters to storm a beseiged Jewish centre. Police now say the seige of the Jewish centre is over. It's been two days since a chain of militant attacks across India's financial district has left at least 143 people dead and hundreds more injured.

Eight foreigners, including one Canadian are known to have been killed in the Mumbai attacks. Six Canadians are unaccounted for and two were wounded.We'll hear from two other Canadians in Mumbai in just a moment. But for the latest on the situation there, we were joined by Kumar Ketkar. He's the Chief Editor of the Loksatta newspaper. He also specializes in security issues and he was in Mumbai.


Mumbai Attacks - Canadian Photographer

Daniel Gautreau is a photographer and filmmaker from Vancouver who witnessed the attacks first-hand. He's trying to figure out what do next. But for now at least, he was in Mumbai.


Mumbai Attacks - Canadian Businessman

Trevor Periera is a Canadian businessman and the Vice President, International of the architectural firm, Canon Design. He went to Mumbai to set up a local office for his company. He was staying at the Taj Mahal hotel when it was attacked and he's in Mumbai this morning.

 

Listen to Part One:

 

Consumption

We started this segment with a montage of Christmas commercials.

Ah, the sounds of the holidays ... a cacophony of cascading voices, all urging you to spend. And that's just the beginning of the commercial onslaught. Which leaves me with just one question. Aren't we supposed to be in the middle of some kind of ever-expanding, global economic meltdown?

Now a financial apocalypse is as good a reason as any for a little retail therapy. But still, it all seems a little odd to be asking people to spend their way through austerity. And yet, it seems to be working because retail sales in Canada are holding strong, even as consumer confidence plummets.

Benjamin Barber has a few thoughts about why that might be and why the perils of shopping and consumption are so difficult to avoid. He's a political theorist who's best known for his book, Jihad vs. McWorld. His latest book is Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults and Swallow Citizens Whole and he was in New York City.

 

Listen to Part Two:

 

Greenpeace DRC

The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo is the epicenter of one of the most brutal humanitarian crises on earth. Fighting has displaced about a quarter-of-a-million people. Amnesty International estimates that about 45,000 people are dying there every month. And that's just the latest chapter in more than a decade's worth of brutal conflict.

And yet it's at precisely this moment that the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace International has decided to open its Africa office in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Anne Dingwall works for Greenpeace and she was in the capital, Kinshasa.


Greenpeace - Humanitarian Aid

It's hard to imagine anyone actually arguing against trying to protect the environment. Except that we live in a world of finite resources. And there are dozens of organizations already working in the DRC which are focused on the humanitarian crisis and have a hard time considering much else.
Anna Ridout works for World Vision in the DRC and she was in Goma.


Balancing Environment and Humanitarian Aid

Now no one wants to have to play a humanitarian crisis against an environmental one. But there are times when they really do come into conflict with each other. And when they do, it creates some challenging ethical dilemmas. Suzanne Hurley knows that all too well.

Back in 1994, she was an engineer with CARE Canada. She set up a refugee camp in what was then Zaire and is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. She's now working on her PhD in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University ... about how to marry environmental and political concerns during humanitarian crises. She was with us in Toronto. And so is her thesis supervisor Peter Penz. He teaches in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York.


Last Word

Later today on CBC Radio One, it's The Point and host Aamer Haleem is asking if the media might be making the recession worse. That's The Point at 2 o'clock -- 2:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador. And tonight at 10 o'clock on CBC Television, The National presents the musical life of Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Earlier in the program we spoke to a couple Canadians caught in the crossfire in Mumbai. That city is the birthplace of Canadian author and playwright Anosh Irani. He was in the city when the guns started firing and we ended the program this week with his thoughts about the hotels at the epi-centre of the horrifying attacks.

 

Listen to Part Three:

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