June 16, 2008

Pt 1: BCE Supreme Court Decision - Some of the biggest names in Canadian media are owned by Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE).

Read more here

Pt 2: Day of the African Child - On June 16th, 1976 in Soweto, South Africa, hundreds of black schoolchildren were shot to death as they protested the inferior quality of their education and demanded the right to be taught in their own language. In the days and weeks that followed, another hundred people were killed and thousands more were injured as protests and riots swept through the country.

Read more here

Pt 3: Couch Surfing Travel - For generations of university students, couch-surfing has been a crucial means of survival. Crashing haphazardly on whatever soft surface one of your friends was willing to offer up hasn't always been pretty or easy, but it's worked.

Read more here

Satire

It's Monday, June 16th.

U.S. President George Bush wraps up his farewell tour of Europe today.

Currently ... And for the last time, NO, he does not know what Barack Obama is REALLY like.

This is The Current.


BCE Supreme Court Decision


Overview

Some of the biggest names in Canadian media are owned by Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE).

On Tuesday, June 17, the Supreme Court of Canada was scheduled to begin hearing arguments in a case certain to determine BCE's future, and one that many people believe could result in the most important ruling in Canadian corporate law in decades. The case centered on the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan's proposed takeover of BCE. The $35 billion bid was stopped in its tracks in May 2008 when the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that the interests of the company's bondholders weren't given proper consideration.

To look at this story, we were joined in Toronto by Jacquie McNish, Senior Writer at the Globe and Mail's Report on Business.


Bond Holders

One of the things that makes this case so unusual is that bond-holders wielded a lot more power than they normally do. And if the Supreme Court of Canada rules in their favour, it could dramatically change the way mergers and acquisitions get done in Canada. Stephen Foerster is a professor of finance at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in London but we reached him in Fredericton.


Listen to Part One:

 

Day of the African Child

Protester

On June 16th, 1976 in Soweto, South Africa, hundreds of black schoolchildren were shot to death as they protested the inferior quality of their education and demanded the right to be taught in their own language. In the days and weeks that followed, another hundred people were killed and thousands more were injured as protests and riots swept through the country.

In 1991, the Organization for African Unity -- now known as the African Union -- proclaimed June 16th the International Day of the African Child. It's a day dedicated to improving education -- and the access to education -- for children throughout Africa. But even in 2008, the situation in Soweto remained a frustrating flashpoint.

To explore this issue this morning we joined from Gaithersburg, Maryland by Moorosi Mokuena, who was nine years old in 1976 was one of the schoolchildren protesters.


Education

Although June 16 has been proclaimed the International Day of the African Child, the report card on whether education has actually improved is a mixed one.

In Soweto, and the rest of South Africa, black school children are no longer forced to learn in a language that's been imposed on them. But, according to Salim Vally, the country still has a long way to go when it comes to quality, accessible education.

Salim Vally was a founding member of the South African Students Movement until it was banned in 1977. He teaches at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. He joined us in Toronto, where he's a visiting professor at York University.


South African Government

When the African National Congress came to power in 1994, it promised to improve the quality of education for black South Africans. Duncan Hindle is the Director General of the South African Government's Education Department and joined us from Pretoria.


Listen to Part Two:

 

Couch Surfing Travel

Traveler and Host


For generations of university students, couch-surfing has been a crucial means of survival. Crashing haphazardly on whatever soft surface one of your friends was willing to offer up hasn't always been pretty or easy, but it's worked.

Now, a social networking web site called couchsurfing.com wants to turn an inglorious necessity into a preferred lifestyle choice. The web site connects a global network of people willing to offer up their couch to other members of the network who are looking for a cheap way to see the world. But the organizers say it's about much more than that, and that the real goal is helping people make meaningful connections that transcend borders and cultures and maybe even address another social gap by bringing online relationships into the real world.

Andreas Andersson lives in Stockholm, Sweden and he arranged to couch-surf in Atlanta, Georgia with Martha Dixon. She has hosted people from Spain, Poland and New Zealand.


Sociologist

Both of our previous guests disputed the idea that couch-surfing should be seen as a throwback to the hippy counter-culture of the 1960s. So we asked couchsurfing.com's founder Casey Fenton to define the spirit of the couch-surfing project.

In addition to helping people find cheap places to stay, couchsurfing.com also takes online relationships and drags them into the cold, hard light of day in the real world. For their thoughts on how that's affecting the nature of online relationships, we were joined from Stanford, California by Fred Turner, a professor of Communication at Stanford University. Among other things, he studies the idea of digital utopianism. And joining us from London, Ontario was Anabel Quan-Haase, who teaches sociology at the University of Western Ontario specializing in youth culture and on-line media.


Last Word - Senior Spelling Bee

Larry Grossman is a teacher and spelling coach from Northwood North Dakota and over the weekend of April 14, 2008 he became the 2008 champion of AARP The Magazine's National Spelling Bee for seniors. The Current reached him on the road back home from Wyoming where the competition was held. We closed the show with his thoughts about the final word he had to spell - which was "debouch" - and about his victory.


Listen to Part Three:

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