Friday, May 16, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Friday, May 16th.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says the Canadian housing boom is over, and that house prices will rise at a much slower pace for the next couple of years.
Currently, economists say there's no need to panic, though, as house prices will still remain well beyond the reach of millions of Canadians.
This is the Current.
Petting Zoos - Panel
Children got up close and personal with stingrays at the grand opening of a special exhibit at the Calgary Zoo last February. Earlier this week, forty of those stingrays died mysteriously, some within hours of each other. We still don't know how or why the stingrays died. But the incident has sparked controversy over so-called "touch-exhibits" that satisfy people's tactile desires. In Mexico you can ride dolphins, in Thailand you can pet tigers, and just down the coast in Oregon, there's a game park where visitors can cuddle bear cubs or cougars.
Later this morning, the Toronto Zoo will open its own stingray exhibit. But in light of what happened at the Calgary Zoo, the Toronto Zoo won't be letting visitors touch the stingrays at its exhibit ... at least for now.
But there are plenty of people who defend "touch exhibits" as a great way of educating people -- especially children -- about animals.
But while touching exotic animals might be a fun and even educational experience, it can also be dangerous.
Despite worries about "infectious agents" zoos continue to provide more "touchy feely" animal experiences. So we thought it was worth exploring what it is that drives us to have a hands-on experience with wild and often dangerous animals.
For their thoughts on that, we were joined by two people. Alan Beck is the Director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. He was in West Lafayette, Indiana. And Winnie Dunn is the author of Living Sensationally. She's also the Chair of the Occupational Therapy Department at the University of Kansas, and she was in Kansas City.
Listen to Part One:
For nearly three years, Ashraf Ghani held one of the most difficult jobs in the world. In July of 2002, he agreed to become Afghanistan's Finance Minister in the country's first, post-Taliban Government. His task was to rebuild a country that had been torn apart, first by two decades of Soviet occupation, then a brutal civil war and finally the puritanical rule of the Taliban. It was a daunting task, and the culmination of a decade spent studying failed states and working with the World Bank on development issues.
The effects of the policies Ashraf Ghani brought in as finance minister are still being felt in Afghanistan. And now, he's looking to apply the lessons he learned to other troubled parts of the world. He's the Chair of the Institute for State Effectiveness, an organization that advises countries like Kosovo, Liberia, Sudan, Nepal, Lebanon and Haiti on effective state building. He's also the co-author of the new book, Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World and he was in Toronto.
Listen to Part Two:
Health, Abuse and Residential Schools
For years, researchers at the University of British Columbia have been trying to unlock a vicious circle. They've been tracking young, aboriginal drug users in two urban centres -- Vancouver and Prince George -- and trying to figure out to what extent a history of sexual abuse predicts poor health outcomes later in life. The results of their work will be published today in a British journal called "Social Science and Medicine." And they say there is a direct link between youth who use drugs, diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C, and sexual abuse, including past trauma from residential schools.
Dr. Patricia Spittal is one of the lead researchers and she's with the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
We then brought two more people in to this conversation to discuss what can and should be done to help young aboriginal people.
Wayne Christian is the Chief of the Splats'in First Nation in British Columbia. He has spent three decades working around issues of addictions on the Okanagan Reserve. He was in Enderby. And Dr. Charles Brassfield is a psychiatrist who treats many aboriginal people. He was in North Vancouver.
Last Word - Polar Bears
As you may have heard on the news, yesterday the United States Government declared the polar bear a "threatened species." It made the decision because the sea ice habitat -- which is vital to the polar bear's survival -- has melted considerably over the last few decades and is likely to continue receding in the future. Environmentalists championed the move. But many Inuit communities were less thrilled since the polar bear sport hunting industry generates millions of dollars for the Inuit.
So with the polar bear on our minds, we left you with this vintage public service announcement from the popular Canadian series "Hinterland Who's Who".
Listen to Part Three: