Friday, November 14, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
Today's guest host was Indira Naidoo-Harris.
It's Friday, November 14th.
A Montreal inmate weighing more than 200 kilos has earned an early release because he is too obese to be properly cared for behind bars.
Currently, prison cafeterias across the country are reporting dramatic increases in second and third helpings.
This is The Current.
Obama and the Congo
Violence continues to fester in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 250-thousand Congolese are displaced, having fled their homes and the rampaging violence of the past two months. Refugee camps are rife with stories of militias attacking villages, women and girls brutally raped, children looking for their parents.
The camps themselves: overcrowded. Wet. Cold. The risk of cholera, malaria, and a host of other diseases is everywhere. Pascal Ngoy is a Congolese physician with the International Rescue Committee. We heard briefly from her.
This crisis has been building for years. The war from 1998 to 2003 killed as many as 5 million people. No battle has been as costly since World War Two.
Some are asking if the United States - and its president-elect - could help. In 2005, Senator Barack Obama introduced a bill that, a year later, became law: the Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006.
In the run-up to this month's presidential election, news anchor Tom Brokaw asked him if he'd support sending U.S. combat forces where humanitarian crises exist but pose no threat to national security, places like the Congo. We aired that clip.
Obama and the Congo - USAID
One person with an eye on what the U.S. and its next president might do for the Congo is Anthony Gambino. He released a report last month on the situation there. He's also the former DRC Mission Director for the US Agency for International Development - USAID. He was in Washington, DC.
Obama and the Congo - Aid
Meanwhile, a number of international aid agencies are working in the DRC. Conor Foley understands the challenges. He's worked with a number of aid agencies in many countries in crisis. And he cautions there are pitfalls to humanitarian work. His new book is The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War. He was in Brasilia, Brazil.
Listen to Part One:
Peter C. Newman on Izzy Asper
From his modest start in small town Minnedosa, Manitoba, Israel Asper became one of Canada's richest and most dynamic business leaders. In a lifetime, he had both spectacular successes and serious disappointments.
Over 25 years, he built-up Canada's third national television network -- CanWest Global. But that wasn't enough. The purchase of Conrad Black's chain of community newspapers put Izzy Asper at the top of the media mogul mountain.
He earned the ire of journalists when trying to wield editorial influence in his papers, and sparked a national debate on the role of media ownership.
He was a passionate and unapologetic supporter of Western Canada, something very much in evidence during this interview with the CBC's Larry Solway in 1971 when Asper was the new leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.
Israel Asper died in 2003 but his life and high-rolling business pursuits make for a good story, one that biographer Peter C. Newman publishes this month. The book is called Izzy: The Passionate Life and Turbulent Times of Izzy Asper: Canada's Media Mogul. Peter C. Newman was in our Toronto studio.
India and the Moon
We started this segment with a clip of the India launch. And, with that, India joined the international space race. Later today, that mission will launch the Indian flag onto the surface of the moon making it only the fourth country to ever stake that kind of claim.
India celebrated this - it's first ever - lunar mission launch in October. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Madhavan Nair, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, heaped praise on those who made it possible.
The rest of the world took notice too. Senator Barack Obama - then in the midst of an election campaign - summarized the American perspective when he said India's unmanned mission to the moon underlined the need to revitalize the American space program in order "to remain the undisputed leader in space."
Pallava Bagla has been tracking the lunar mission for a decade ever since he broke the story that India had its sights set on the moon and was launching a program to get there. He's the co-author of Destination Moon and the chief South Asian correspondent for Science Magazine. He joined us from the Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore, India.
Space Race - U.S.
Some characterize India's lunar achievement as part of a new space race, one centered in Asia. China and Japan, after all, are also reaching for the stars. And if that's the case, what are the implications for the United States and its dominant position in space research.
Joan Johnson-Freese is the Chair of the National Security Studies department at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. She's also written several books about space strategy, including Heavenly Ambitions: America's Quest to Dominate Space.
Last Word - Obama Song
Coming up this afternoon on CBC Radio One... it's The Point, with host Aamer Haleem. Also, tonight on The National... Through Black Spruce author, Joseph Boyden's life changed this week. The story of this year's Giller Prize winner. That's tonight on The National, on CBC Television and CBC Newsworld.
Earlier in the show, we explored to what level of responsibility a United States under President Obama could have assisting humanitarian crisis areas like the Democratic Republic of Congo. Much of the world is watching with anticipation whether Obama will live up to the hope he has engendered. imposed on him and his country. That optimism is present in Kenyan reggae musician Makadem. We ended the show this week with his song, "Obama Be Thy Name."
Listen to Part Three: