CBCradio

March 12, 2009

Pt 1: Eurovision Politics - "We don't wanna Put-IN. Your negative mood is killing the groove." That's the chorus of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia's official submission to this year's Eurovision Song Competition.

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Pt 2: New Brunswick Beer Wars - A new brand of beer will be popping up in liquor stores across New Brunswick today. And it's being produced on behalf of the province's liquor corporation. In other words, these are state-sponsored suds in a world dominated by bikini wearing Bud girls and frolicking young Moosehead drinkers.

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Pt 3: Letters - Well, it's Thursday and that's mail day and for that Michael Hlinka joined Anna Maria in studio to help read the mail. Michael is CBC's business columnist. And he's the Friday Host of The Current this week.

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It's Thursday March 12th.

Japanese engineers have unveiled a robot teacher that smiles, scolds and can express disgust, anger, happiness and sadness.

Currently, This is a big improvement over the Wall Street robots that ran amok and destroyed the world economy a few months ago.

This is the Current.

Eurovision Politics

"We don't wanna Put-IN. Your negative mood is killing the groove." That's the chorus of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia's official submission to this year's Eurovision Song Competition.

Now that hardly seems like the kind of thing to get all riled up about. Unless your name is Vladimir Putin. In that case, you might conclude that "Put In" is really "Putin" and that the song is both a thinly veiled attack on your rule and another volley in the on-going war of words between Georgia and Russia. And as far as the pro-Kremlin group "Young Russia" is concerned, it's even worse than that. We aired a clip of Yevgenny Naconov of the pro-Kremlin youth group "Young Russia."

He's not the only one who's upset. The song has sparked protests all over Russia. And earlier this week, the Eurovision Committee banned it from the competition giving the group, Stephane and the 3Gs, a deadline of this Monday to offer up a replacement. Instead the band has now withdrawn the song in protest. Miranda Bakradze is the public relations manager with the Georgian Public Broadcaster and a spokesperson for Stephane and the 3Gs. We heard from her.

So a simple pop song with a campy disco beat and a cheesy sing-along chorus has sparked an international incident. According to Ivan Raykoff, it's not the first time. He's a professor of Music at The New School in New York City. He's also the co-editor of a collection of essays called A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. Ivan Raykoff was in New York City.

 

New Brunswick Beer Wars

A new brand of beer will be popping up in liquor stores across New Brunswick today. And it's being produced on behalf of the province's liquor corporation. In other words, these are state-sponsored suds in a world dominated by bikini wearing Bud girls and frolicking young Moosehead drinkers.

The liquor corporation's decision to launch the new brand is raising a handful of toasts, a whole lot of eyebrows and a few tempers. The CBC's Peter Anawati has been following the story and he was in Saint John.

Grizzly Doc Promo

Coming up next week on The Current ... We'll have a documentary about a man named Gordon Stenhouse. He's known as Mr. Grizzly Bear. And his job at the moment is to count each and every grizzly in Alberta. We aired an excerpt.

Gillian Rutherford's documentary How Many Bears Do You See? will be on the Current next week.

 

Letters

Well, it's Thursday and that's mail day and for that Michael Hlinka joined Anna Maria in studio to help read the mail. Michael is CBC's business columnist. And he's the Friday Host of The Current this week.

Pay for Brains - Yesterday morning, we looked at the practice of paying students to attend school regularly and get good grades ... something that several communities in Canada and the United States have started doing as a way of motivating students. The whole notion of paying kids to learn sent adults running to their computers to write to us.

Economic Forecasting - On Monday's program, we looked at Economic Forecasting and the reasons why so many highly-respected, well-paid economists are so far off-base in their projections for even the near future and why so many economists seem to claim that no one saw the current financial crisis coming. We heard from economist Tim Harford, a columnist with the Financial Times about forecasting the future and his comments prompted some listeners to respond.

And after hearing from a listener with reference to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Scott Reynolds Nelson we decided to call him. Scott Nelson is the Legum Professor of History at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He's also the author of the forthcoming book, Crash: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Panics. And we reached Professor Nelson in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Hector Hinkley - On Tuesday's program CBC Reporter Joan Weeks brought us the story of Hector Hinkley. He's a 40-year-old married father of three who lives in Port Hawkesbury on Cape Breton Island. He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer almost two years ago, and he relies on a take-home chemotherapy drug called Temodol. It's an expensive drug...$100 a pill. The province covered the drug for 6 months. Then their private insurance kicked in, but it only covered about 5 days' worth of pills. With few options left, Hector now feels he has to choose between taking the drugs or providing for his family.It's a story that moved a lot of listeners.

Well, people have been calling for big changes to the way Canadians get access to essential drugs for years now. And it's something John Abbott has been concerned with. He's the CEO of the Health Council of Canada, and we reached him at his home in St. John's.

Beer Taste Test

Earlier in the program, CBC's Peter Anawati was telling us about a new beer being launched today by the New Brunswick Government. New Brunswick now joins the former Soviet Union and the government of Laos in making state-sponsored suds. The idea is to cut the number of people crossing the border into Quebec, where beer is nearly 40 per cent cheaper. But how does it taste?

Well lucky for us, Peter Anawati has just come back from a mad dash to the liquor store in Saint John. He's brought back a few samples of the new beer. And Craig Pinhey has agreed to help Peter assess it. Craig Pinhey is a sommelier and a certified beer judge. He also writes and teaches about wine, beer and spirits.
And just a quick word of advice. Please don't try this at home ... at least not before noon.

Last Word - Eurovision

Stay with us on CBC Radio One. Q is next. And later today on The Point, host Aamer Haleem will tell you why an alleged case of vigilantism is raising eyebrows in Winnipeg. The Point is at 2 o'clock -- 2:30 in Newfoundland and parts of Labrador. And tonight at 10 o'clock on CBC Television, it's The National with Peter Mansbridge.

Earlier on the program, we talked about politics and pop music and how they intersect at the annual Eurovision Song Contest. We talked to Ivan Raykoff, who has co-edited a collection of essays about the contest. And we heard a little piece of Israel's submission to the 2007 competition. We'll leave you with a little more of that song this morning. And we let Ivan Raykoff introduce it.

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