CBCradio

June 15, 2009

Pt 1: Isotopes - Christopher O'Brien is kicking off his week with a dive into the unknown. He's the head of the Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine and he says he has no idea what kind of supply of medical isotopes will be coming in this week. And that means he has no idea what to tell the thousands of patients who are in line for cardiac and cancer tests.

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Pt 2: Iran Elections - As you've been hearing on the news, the official announcement that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken the presidency of Iran for a second term has led to riots in the streets or Tehran and beyond.

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Pt 3: Our Turn to Eat - We started this segment with clip from a public reading from a new book called, It's Our Turn To Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower. The event was held yesterday at the Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi. The book has created quite a stir in the Country, at least among those who've been able to get a hold of it. It tells the story of John Githongo, Kenya's former anti-corruption commissioner.

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It's Monday, June 15th.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won another term in Friday's disputed Presidential elections.

Currently, A disappointed North Korean President Kim Jong Il will maintain his position as the second craziest leader on earth.

This is the Current.

Isotopes

Christopher O'Brien is kicking off his week with a dive into the unknown. He's the head of the Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine and he says he has no idea what kind of supply of medical isotopes will be coming in this week. And that means he has no idea what to tell the thousands of patients who are in line for cardiac and cancer tests.

Medical isotopes are used in diagnostic imaging to detect diseases such as cancer and heart disease. In the last two weeks, tens of thousands of Canadians have had their medical tests postponed because of a shortage of medical isotopes. That's because the nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Ontario has been shut down since a heavy water leak was detected on May 15th.

It's the third time the facility has been shut down in less than two years. And now Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that Canada - a country that produces about a third of the world's supply of medical isotopes - plans to get out of the business altogether.

The Current requested an interview with Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt. No one from her office responded. But she did speak to us the last time the Chalk River reactor was shut down, four months ago. We aired part of that conversation.

But now, the federal government's plan to pull out of the isotope business has set off alarm bells at the Society for Nuclear Medicine's annual conference in Toronto this week. Doctor Jeffrey Norenberg is the executive director of the National Association of Nuclear Pharmacies. He was in Toronto from New Mexico.

Steve West thinks the production of medical isotopes could still be a viable business for Canada. He's the President of MDS Nordion, the facility that processes the medical isotopes that come from nuclear reactors such as the one in Chalk River, and then distributes them to hospitals around the world. Steve West was in Toronto.

The Current requested an interview with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.Officials at AECL declined our request, citing the lawsuit with MDS Nordion.

Isotopes - AECL

Fifty two years ago, Canada was on the cutting edge of an atomic revolution ... a technology with powerful medical and scientific applications.

Canada's medical isotope industry in better days. For his thoughts on where the industry stands now, we were joined by John Waddington. He's a retired nuclear engineer and a former Director-General of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. He was in Ottawa.

Iran Elections - Update from Tehran

As you've been hearing on the news, the official announcement that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken the presidency of Iran for a second term has led to riots in the streets or Tehran and beyond.

For weeks, Iran had been engulfed in a rising tide of expectation as tens of thousands of pro-reformist demonstrators sought to push Mir Hossein Mousavi into the country's Presidency. Today officially they stand defeated and incredulous.

And while tens of thousands did hail the victory of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mr. Mousavi's supporters took to the streets and clashed with police. Yesterday the defeated Mr. Mousavi demanded that Iran's presidential election be annulled and urged more protests.

An estimated 85 percent of those eligible to vote did so in this election and that impressive voter turnout meant election officials had to extend voting hours on Friday in order to accommodate the huge influx of people at the polling booths. There was an estimated forty thousand polling booths. Which makes the fact that a result was announced two hours after the polls were closed even more suspicious to some.

Here in Canada, thousands of Iranian-Canadians turned out to vote at the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa. We aired a clip.

For some perspective from the streets of Tehran today, we were joined by Borzou Daragahi, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He was in Tehran.

Iranian Election - Analysis

Iran's Presidential election has come at a crucial time for the future of the country's relationship with the west. For her thoughts on what that future looks like now in light of the results of the election, we were joined by Shireen Hunter. She's a visiting professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a leading expert on Iranian politics. She was in Washington.

Our Turn to Eat - Michela Wrong

We started this segment with clip from a public reading from a new book called, It's Our Turn To Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower. The event was held yesterday at the Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi. The book has created quite a stir in the Country, at least among those who've been able to get a hold of it. It tells the story of John Githongo, Kenya's former anti-corruption commissioner.

Three years ago, he was driven into exile after he went public with evidence of wide-spread and high-level government corruption. We interviewed John Githongo last year and we aired some of what he told us about the experience.

When John Githongo did flee Kenya, he landed at Michela Wrong's flat in London, England. She's a veteran journalist who has covered African countries for years. And she's the author of It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower. She was in London, England.

Our Turn to Eat - Ikonya

We aired a bit more from yesterday's public reading of It's Our Turn To Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower. The woman doing the reading is Philo Ikonya. She's the President of PEN Kenya and she was in Nairobi.

The Current contacted a spokesperson with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communication. We were told they were not aware of the book and therefore could not comment on it.

Music Bridge

Artist: Bedouin Soundclash
CD: Sounding a Mosaic
Cut: CD 5, Gyasi Went Home
Label: Stomp Records
Spine #: STMP043

Last Word - Book Giveaway

And as you heard, Kenyans who want to read Michael Wrong's book, It's Our Turn to Eat are having a tough time finding a copy. But KISS FM - a radio station in Nairobi - is doing its part by giving away a copy every hour. We aired a clip with how the station is doing it.

And in the spirit of KISS FM we too have a book to giveaway - not one every hour just one copy! Nonetheless, if you're the first person to e-mail in the correct answer to this skill testing question, we'd be happy to part with it. The question: What is the name of the first President of Kenya? (Thanks to everyone who wrote us with their answer this morning ... we do have a winner and incase you are wondering, the answer is: Jomo Kenyatta.)

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