May 20, 2008

Pt 1: Green Politics - Bill C-33 seemed like a sure thing for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government; a great idea.

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Pt 2: South African Riots - A gasoline soaked tire is forced over the head of a man and then set on fire by an angry mob in Johannesburg, South Africa. The crowd cheers as the man is burned alive.

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Pt 3: Author of Abduction Book - In the summer of 2006, Melissa Hawach waved goodbye to her two young daughters as her ex-husband Joe took them to Sydney for what was supposed to be a three-week visit with their Lebanese-Australian relatives.

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Satire

It's Tuesday, May 20th.

Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party says Zimbabweans were hungry when they went to the polls in March - and promises to increase food production in time for the June 27th presidential run-off.

Currently, a second Chinese ship has been spotted off the coast of southern Africa - this time carrying 77 tonnes of fortune cookies.

This is the Current.


The Environment

Green Politics


Bill C-33 seemed like a sure thing for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government; a great idea. It would mandate a 5% ethanol mixture in gasoline by 2010.But then came the screaming headlines about the global push for corn-based ethanol driving up the cost of food, and suddenly the fate of Bill C-33 was very uncertain. Both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP withdrew their support for the legislation, and the Liberals were divided over backing the plan, scheduled to come up for final debate when the House of Commons returned on May 28th, 2008.

To talk about the bill and what it says about green politics on Parliament Hill, we were joined by three Members of Parliament who were key players in this debate. We've reached them in their home ridings where they were meeting with constituents before.

Nathan Cullen, the NDP's environment critic, was in Smithers, British Columbia; Keith Martin, the Liberal Party's international development critic, joined us from Victoria; and Conservative David Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Agriculture, was in Frontier, Saskatchewan.


Listen to Part One:



South African Riots


Sounds, Reactions and Medicins Sans Frontieres

The pictures are shocking and gruesome.

A gasoline soaked tire is forced over the head of a man and then set on fire by an angry mob in Johannesburg, South Africa. The crowd cheers as the man is burned alive.

The victim was one of 22 people killed in a week of rioting not seen since the days of Apartheid.

The cause: long simmering tensions over rising unemployment and crime that many South Africans blame on foreigners, mostly from Zimbabwe and other African countries. Foreigners are now seeking refuge in police stations, churhces and community centres (we heard what some Zimbabweans in Johannesburg had to say).

Police, church leaders and medics worked nonstop to try to ensure the safety of foreign nationals. Eric Goemaere, a doctor with Medicins Sans Frontieres who works at a clinic in Johannesburg, described for The Current what he was seeing.

MSF also called on the South African government to declare Zimbabweans in the country refugees so they can be properly protected.


South African Human Rights Commission

Joyce Tlou, a senior researcher with the South African Human Rights Commission, monitors the situation for foreign nationals in South Africa. She spoke to us from Johannesburg.


South African Race Relations

These attacks tarnishished South Africa's reputation as a so-called "rainbow nation" that welcomes immigrants and asylum seekers from other African countries. More than 10% of its population is immigrants.

For his thoughts on the root causes of the violence, we were joined from Johannesberg by Frans Cronje, Deputy chief executive of the South African Institute of Race Relations.


Listen to Part Two:

 

Feature Interview and Last Word


Author of Abduction Book


In the summer of 2006, Melissa Hawach waved goodbye to her two young daughters as her ex-husband Joe took them to Sydney for what was supposed to be a three-week visit with their Lebanese-Australian relatives.

Instead, Joe Hawach ran with the children to his native Lebanon, and Melissa didn't see them for six months.

The abduction, which took place when Lebanon was at war with Israel, along with the rescue and the homecoming are all laid out in a new book, Flight of the Dragonfly: A Mother's Harrowing Journey to Bring Her Daughters Home. Its author, Melissa Hawach, joined us from Calgary.


Last Word - Urban Cycling

Following in the path of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Toronto Cyclists Union geared up for its launch during the week of May 20, 2008. We closed this episode with some thoughts on urban cycling from union coordinator Yvonne Bambrick.


Listen to Part Three:

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