March 5, 2009

Pt 1: Death of Local News - We started this segment with a clip of just three of 118 people laid-off this week from A Channels in Victoria, London, Ontario, Barrie, Ontario and Ottawa. A Channel -- which is owned by CTV -- also canceled many of its local morning and supper-hour news broadcasts and announced that it will not be renewing broadcast licenses in several other communities.

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Pt 2: Citizen Satire - Last week, our producer, Dominic Girard asked listeners to submit their own Citizen satires. And today the winners ... as well as other great satires and love/hate comments were unveiled.

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Pt 3: Betsy Apple - By now, nearly everyone has heard at least some of the horrifying stories coming out of Zimbabwe. Mass hunger, political oppression, rampant violence, widespread corruption. But the stories that began to emerge after last spring's disputed elections were shocking even by Zimbabwe's brutal standards. Women began coming forward saying that they had been raped that they had been targeted because they were supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and that they were systematically and brutally raped by supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF.

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Today's guest host was Gillian Findlay

It's Thursday, March 5th.

A U.S. poll says Americans consider Britain to be their best ally. Canada was next, which makes us the U.S.'s second best friend.

Currently... Britain? You are soooo dead at recess.

This is The Current.

Death of Local News

We started this segment with a clip of just three of 118 people laid-off this week from A Channels in Victoria, London, Ontario, Barrie, Ontario and Ottawa. A Channel -- which is owned by CTV -- also canceled many of its local morning and supper-hour news broadcasts and announced that it will not be renewing broadcast licenses in several other communities.

In a press release, Paul Sparkes -- the Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs with CTV Globemedia -- said that the decision wasn't based on the quality of programming or the channels' ratings. He said that CTV simply can no longer "monetize" the success of A Channel and called "conventional television" ... a model that is now broken.

But for the people who live in the communities where the cuts are happening, the primary concern is where they will now go to get their local news from. Cal Johnstone is the News Director at A Channel London, Windsor and Wingham. He's also The President of RTNDA Canada - The Association of Electronic Journalists. And he was in London, Ontario.

The A Channel aren't the only stations on CTV's chopping block. Last month, CTV announced that it will not seek to renew the license for its Brandon, Manitoba affiliate. Their station now has thirty days to find an owner or else it will be shut down in August. And that's not sitting well with a lot of people there. We heard from Nathan Peto with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce.

Director - Carleton University

Now delivering local news in Canada has never been easy or cheap. But in a country as big, sparsely populated and diverse as we are, it's also pretty important.

So for his thoughts on that dilemma, we were joined now by Chris Waddell. He's the Associate Director of Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communications and he was in Ottawa.

 

Citizen Satire

Last week, our producer, Dominic Girard asked listeners to submit their own Citizen satires. And today the winners ... as well as other great satires and love/hate comments were unveiled.

Bronze

It is Thursday March 5th.

Heritage Minister James Moore has indicated that there will be no "bridge financing" package for the CBC. Currently, The Current's solution to the impending cutbacks? Have listeners write their own satire.

This is the Current.

Ellen Whiteman, from Alberta

Silver

RCMP in Golden British Columbia have readily admitted to mistakes made in their handling of the case of two skiers missing for 10 days in the back country.

Currently, the detachment is undergoing error-denial retraining by the Vancouver Airport RCMP.

Graham Huckin in Coquitlam, B.C.

Gold - The winner is .... (stay tuned for tomorrow's satire!)

Guest: John Hodges is a professor of Cognitive Neurology at the University of New South Wales and he published a study this winter linking people who didn't get sarcasm to a certain type of dementia -- something called frontotemporal dementia. He was in Sydney, Australia.

Although this chapter of Citizen Satire is over we will keep the Citizen Satire guidelines posted on our website. So listeners can contribute if and when they want. We can't promise we'll play them all, but if we do, we'll make sure to mention who its from.

Music Bridge

Artist: Woody Harelson & John C. Reilly
Cd: "Praire Home Companion Soundtrack"
Cut: Cd 21, "Bad Jokes"
Label: New Line
Spine: 769742444

Artist: Zubot & Dawson
Cd: "Tractor Parts: Further Adventures in Strang
Cut: Cd 3, "Ultraman"
Label: Black Hen
Spine: BHCD 0003

Letters

Earlier this week, The Current was in Jerusalem looking at water and politics. Monday on The Current, we heard the story of Doctor Ezzeldeen Abu Al-Aish. He is a gynecologist and fertility expert who lives in Gaza. But for 15 years, he crossed the border almost daily to work in Israeli hospitals. His work earned him fast friends on both sides of the border.

So many Israelis and Palestinians alike were distressed when Dr Abu al-Aish's house was hit by the Israeli Defence Forces in January. Three of his daughters and one niece died in the attack. We listened to a clip from the documentary and shared some thoughts from our listeners including a personal story from Ruba Moubarak, a listener who lives in Markham, Ontario.

 

Betsy Apple

By now, nearly everyone has heard at least some of the horrifying stories coming out of Zimbabwe. Mass hunger, political oppression, rampant violence, widespread corruption. But the stories that began to emerge after last spring's disputed elections were shocking even by Zimbabwe's brutal standards. Women began coming forward saying that they had been raped that they had been targeted because they were supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and that they were systematically and brutally raped by supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF.

AIDS Free World, an international advocacy group, has been collecting and documenting these women's testimonials. We aired two of them. ** We should warn you that these stories are graphic and disturbing.

Betsy Apple was among the people who collected those testimonials. She's a lawyer with AIDS Free World and she was in New York City.

Music Bridge

Artist: The Bills
Cut: CD 5 "When the Bucket runs Dry"
CD: "Let em Run"
Label: Borealis Records
Spine #: BCD164

Last Word - Jordan Tape

But before we go ... Earlier this week, The Current was broadcasting from Jerusalem and looking at the links between water and politics in the Middle East. And we'll leave you with one more story from the village of South Shouneh in Jordan.

The Jordan River is deteriorating. Syria and Jordan both siphon water from the tributaries that used to feed the river. And Israel is diverting water from the Upper Jordan to supply its cities and settlements. So by the time the Jordan River reaches South Shouneh, the water is so salty it's virtually unusable. 


And that's a big problem for Tatal and Yusra Abde Rahman Udwan. We gave them the last word this morning.

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