CBCradio

January 15, 2009

Pt 1: Nortel Streeters - Just when you thought the economic news couldn't get much worse ... Nortel Networks went and filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday. At its peak, the formerly high-flying hi-tech company was the most valuable company in Canada. It accounted for one-third of the value of the entire Toronto Stock Exchange. And its stock traded at $124-dollars-a-share. At one point yesterday it fell to 12-cents.By the end of the day yesterday, it closed at 38-cents-a-share. And even after everything the company has been through, it still has the power to rattle people's nerves. The Current's Salma Tarikh, spoke with some downtrodden Nortel shareholders in Toronto.

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Pt 2: Hamas Origins- Israeli ground troops pushed into a crowded neighbourhood of Gaza city for the first time today. They hit a hospital with shells, several high-rises and the UN headquarters in Gaza City, setting the compoundon fire. The UN chief Ban-Ki Moon, who is in the area on a mission trying to stop Israel's esclating war with Hamas, expressed outrage with the bombing.

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Pt 3: Abitibi Bowater CEO - Well, we'll get to letters from this week in this half hour but before that we wanted to revist a story many wrote to us about in late December. That's when Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams took a dramatic step in his fight with forestry giant Abitibi Bowater. His government passed legislation to expropriate the company's timber, water and land assets in the province.

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It's Thursday, January 15th.

Osama bin Laden has called for a holy war in Gaza.

Currently, he'd also like a black man in the White House and he wants Guantanamo Bay shut down. Man, this guy is really is nuts...

This is The Current.


Nortel Streeters

Just when you thought the economic news couldn't get much worse ... Nortel Networks went and filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday. At its peak, the formerly high-flying hi-tech company was the most valuable company in Canada. It accounted for one-third of the value of the entire Toronto Stock Exchange. And its stock traded at $124-dollars-a-share. At one point yesterday it fell to 12-cents.By the end of the day yesterday, it closed at 38-cents-a-share. And even after everything the company has been through, it still has the power to rattle people's nerves. The Current's Salma Tarikh, spoke with some downtrodden Nortel shareholders in Toronto.


Nortel History

Nortel and its predecessors -- first Northern Electric, then Northern Telecom -- have been in business since 1895. And company officials insist that Nortel will stay in business ... albeit as a much smaller and very different company.

For a sense of Nortel's history and where the company might go from here, we were joined by Vijay Jog. He teaches corporate finance and investment at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University and he was in Ottawa.

We also brought in two others into this conversation. Bill and Tassia Fehr are former Nortel stockholders. At one point, they were taking out lines of credit, borrowing money to buy Nortel stock. And as household debt kept climbing, a financial planner -- from a television reality series -- forced an ultimatum.
Bill and Tassia Fehr were on the line from their Toronto home this morning.

 

Hamas Origins

Israeli ground troops pushed into a crowded neighbourhood of Gaza city for the first time today. They hit a hospital with shells, several high-rises and the UN headquarters in Gaza City, setting the compoundon fire. The UN chief Ban-Ki Moon, who is in the area on a mission trying to stop Israel's esclating war with Hamas, expressed outrage with the bombing.

Today is the 20th day of the offensive, which Israel launched in an effort to stop Hamas from firing rockets and missles from Gaza into communities of hundreds of thousands of Israeli's.

Twenty-five years ago, Hamas -- which is an acronym in Arabic for the Islamic Resistance Movement -- was a loosely knit group of social organizers and religious charities working on the margins of Palestinian society. At the time -- in the early 1980s -- its so-called military wing and the name Hamas didn't even exist. And outside the Gaza strip, even most Palestinians didn't pay it much attention.

Today, Hamas is the dominant military and political force in Gaza ... a popular vehicle for Palestinian rage and resistance ... a fierce combatant in the ugly war with Israel that rages now. The rise of Hamas is a story cloaked in many layers of intrigue and controversy and one that Yossi Melman has been covering for years. He's the Intelligence and Military Affairs Correspondent for the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. And he was in Tel Aviv.


Hamas Intrigue

Hamas solidified its control over Gaza two years ago ... when its gunmen fought a bitter battle with Fatah -- the main Palestinian organization linked to the PLO -- and won. But according to David Rose, the story behind that battle is one shrouded in secrecy and formed in conspiracy. David Rose is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine. Last year, he wrote an investigative article called The Gaza Bombshell and he was in Oxford, England.

 

Abitibi Bowater CEO

Well, we'll get to letters from this week in this half hour but before that we wanted to revist a story many wrote to us about in late December. That's when Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams took a dramatic step in his fight with forestry giant Abitibi Bowater. His government passed legislation to expropriate the company's timber, water and land assets in the province. The move was in response to Abitibi Bowater's decision to close its mill in Grand Falls. Premier Williams called the passage of the legislation a proud moment. He also explained the action here on The Current. And after hearing him make his case, we received a flood of mail supporting Danny Williams. We shared a few of those letters on air.

At the time we were unable to get an interview with the CEO of Abitibi Bowater but this morning we'll hear his views. David Paterson is the President and CEO of Abitibi Bowater and Anna Maria spoke to him yesterday from Montreal... just a few hours before Abitibi Bowater announced that it will be shutting down its newsprint operation at its Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill for the month of February. It will also close its Kraft Mill operation for three weeks in February and shut down its sawmill woodlands operations for two weeks starting February '09 . In all about 11-hundred workers will be affected.


Letters

Listeners in Saskatchewan will be familiar with the voice of Sheila Coles. She's host of The Morning Edition in Saskatchewan. She has joined us before on The Current and she's back as our Friday host for the next six weeks.

Today in the mail we looked back at the collaborative divorce ... where both separating partners are represented by specially trained lawyers. All four parties sign an agreement not to go to court. We heard from our listeners with their personal experiences.

Also in our mail today, the William Mullins-Johnson story. A man that was convicted of the murder of his four-year-old niece, Valin and a family that was torn between those who believed in his innocence and those who didn't. After spending twelve years in jail, William Mullins-Johnson was released as pathologists rejected the evidence given by former Ontario pediatric pathologist Charles Smith and other doctors. He was acquitted of the crime. But relationships in the family remain scarred. This story prompted some reaction in our mail bag.

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