Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Tuesday, July 29th.
Chinese officials declared yesterday was a "blue sky day" in Beijing, even though the Olympic host city was shrouded in a smoggy grey haze. Olympic organizers insist that air quality won't be a problem when the Summer Games open next Friday.
Currently, to guarantee 'good air quality', Beijing will now ban coughing, wheezing and gasping for breath.
This is the Current.
Afghanistan and Pakistan
Canadian government and military officials have been forced to backtrack from their recent upbeat assessments of the security situation in Afghanistan.
Over the weekend, foreign affairs minister David Emerson visited the country.
There were no big photo ops.No packs of Jos Louis cakes for the troops. Just a sombre assessment that the Taleban insurgency is not going to be amenable to a short-term fix, in his words, and a pledge to send two hundred more Canadian troops later this year.
For many observers, Afganistan's biggest problem is its neighbour Pakistan. It has long-standing ties with the Taleban, dating back to 1994 when Pakistan's intelligence agency reportedly helped to form the Taliban.Taleban fighters operate freely from within Pakistan's borders. And Osama bin Laden is thought to be there as well. There are ominous reports that al-Qaeda is shifting its focus from Iraq to Afghanistan.
Pakistan's military has denied ties to the Taliban. The Afghan president Hamid Karzai doesn't buy it - he's accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of planning attacks in his country and plotting to assassinate him.
Christopher Alexander is the United Nation's deputy special representative in Afghanistan. He's a former Canadian ambassador to the Afghanistan. He joined us from Kabul.
Pakistan's Deteriorating Role
We also talked more about Pakistan's role in the deteriorating Afghan security situation.
Christine Fair thinks bombing Pakistan's militants will lead to failure and create another adversary of the West because in order to stomp out terrorism the West needs to engage civil society in Pakistan. She joined us from Washington, D.C.
Listen to Part One:
Mandela's South Africa
When Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the President of South Africa on May 10th, 1994, it looked like the final chapter in the fight against apartheid and the culmination of an extraordinary political transformation.
Not so fast.
South Africa remained a dangerously divided country. Suspicion ran deep between blacks and whites. And the country teetered on the edge of violent insurrection, even civil war.
Nelson Mandela used every tool at his disposal to reconcile resentful whites with the ascendant black majority. But his most effective gambit may have been to bring the 1995 Rugby World Cup to South Africa.
John Carlin has been writing about that risky move in his new book, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and The Game That Made a Nation.
He joined us from Sitges, on the Mediteranean coast just south of Barcelona.
Listen to Part Two: