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December 31, 2009

Pt 1: Proroguing Parliament - The government says it's all part of its bid to get the Canadian economy back on track. But the opposition says it's really about sidelining the parliamentary committee that's investigating the Afghan detainee issue and stacking the Senate with Conservatives.

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Pt 2: Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum - Canadians are absorbing the news of a deadly day in Afghanistan. As you've been hearing in the news, four Canadian soldiers and a Canadian journalist were killed near Kandahar yesterday. It was a difficult day for the U.S. too -- eight American civilians were killed in Khost Province, near the border with Pakistan. Watching fellow soldiers die can take a terrible psychological toll on their colleagues. And according to American Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, armed forces need to do a better job in preparing soldiers to deal with that.

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Pt 3: Iran Dissent - It has been a week of mayhem in the streets of Iran. First, a cell phone video broadcast on the Internet showed the Iranian government's violent crackdown on street protests-- a crackdown that killed at least eight people. Then yesterday, thousands gathered for state-sponsored rallies in support of the government. The unrest began after the disputed Presidential election in June. And the anti-government protests swelled again earlier this month. Iran hasn't seen unrest like this since 1979, when the Islamic Revolution toppled the Shah of Iran and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini rose to power.

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It's Thursday December 31.

An 86-year-old Indian politician was forced to resign after video of him frolicking with three naked women appeared on YouTube.

Currently, he's already been offered a cabinet post in the Italian government.

This is the Current.


Proroguing Parliament

The government says it's all part of its bid to get the Canadian economy back on track. But the opposition says it's really about sidelining the parliamentary committee that's investigating the Afghan detainee issue and stacking the Senate with Conservatives.

And for their thoughts on the decision to request that Parliament be prorogued, Kevin Sylvester was joined by three people: Hugh Segal is a Conservative Senator. He was in Kingston, Ontario. Paul Dewar is the NDP's foreign affairs critic. He was in Ottawa. And Bob Rae is the Liberal Party's foreign affairs critic. He was in Toronto.



 

Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum - Interview

Canadians are absorbing the news of a deadly day in Afghanistan. As you've been hearing in the news, four Canadian soldiers and a Canadian journalist were killed near Kandahar yesterday. It was a difficult day for the U.S. too -- eight American civilians were killed in Khost Province, near the border with Pakistan. Watching fellow soldiers die can take a terrible psychological toll on their colleagues. And according to American Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, armed forces need to do a better job in preparing soldiers to deal with that.

She is the new Director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness with the U.S. Army. She's in charge of a new program meant to teach soldiers to re-think their reactions to the horrors of war. Kevin Sylvester had a chance to speak with her last week, from her office at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. And he began by asking her how she'd like to see soldiers react to the inevitable violence of war.


 

Iran Dissent

It has been a week of mayhem in the streets of Iran. First, a cell phone video broadcast on the Internet showed the Iranian government's violent crackdown on street protests-- a crackdown that killed at least eight people. Then yesterday, thousands gathered for state-sponsored rallies in support of the government. The unrest began after the disputed Presidential election in June. And the anti-government protests swelled again earlier this month. Iran hasn't seen unrest like this since 1979, when the Islamic Revolution toppled the Shah of Iran and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini rose to power.

Kevin Sylvester was joined by someone who was a key figure in the early days of Iran's first Islamic Government. In 1979, Mohsen Sazegara helped found Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps. The corps is now one of the current government's most important instruments for maintaining political control. But these days, Mohsen Sazegara counts himself among those working to overthrow the current government, and the political system he helped establish.
Mohsen Sazegara was in Washington, DC.

Letters

It's time again for our weekly look at the mail. The Current's producer, John Chipman joined Kevin Slyvester in studio to lend a hand.

Racial Profiling : The failed attempt to blow up an airplane en route to Detroit on Christmas Day has left airports in a security nightmare. Tuesday, Transport Canada announced severe restrictions on all carry-on luggage on US-bound flights in a bid to reduce wait times that peaked at seven hours or more. Passengers are also subject to a pat-down search. Tuesday on The Current, we discussed the value of this kind of security and the effectiveness of ethnic and religious profiling.

Nuclear Waste: The nuclear energy program is more than thirty years old in Canada. And all those years of accumulating highly radioactive waste is adding up. But for the community of Ignace, Ontario, this could mean economic opportunity. The town is situated on the stable rock formations of the Canadian Shield, suitable for a containment program. And for this town, northwest of Thunder Bay, there aren't a lot of other economic options. Last week on The Current we heard from all sides of the debate.

Salish Sea: Finally... a little update. Monday on the program, we told you about the Salish Sea -- a name that has been proposed to collectively refer to a group of waters between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island. At the time the documentary was made, the State of Washington had approved the name change and it was also endorsed by the British Columbia office of the Geographic Names Board of Canada. After the documentary re-aired, we heard from its producer, Paolo Pietropaolo who updated us on the story.

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Last Word - Moments to Remember

We left you with a song to close out the year. New Year's Eve is a bittersweet occasion-- a time of marking endings and new beginnings, as well as reflecting on moments to remember. Here's The Four Lads with Moments to Remember.


Listen to Part Three:
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