May 27, 2009

Pt 1: North Korea Panel - As you've been hearing on the news, the latest out of North Korea is a threat to launch missile strikes against South Korea as the South agreed to join the U.S. in intercepting any ships suspected of carrying material related to North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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Pt 2: Gaia - We started this segment with a clip from the pitch for the CBC-sponsored campaign for one million acts of green. The idea is to encourage as many people as possible to take individual actions that -- when taken together -- would have a significant impact on the health of the planet.

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Pt 3: Tanya's Trial - Last fall, Detective Wendy Leaver had what she thought was an open-and-shut case. A man was accused of forcibly confining and brutally assaulting a young woman named Tanya. And as long as Tanya made it to court to testify, Detective Leaver thought she'd have a good chance at a conviction.

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It's Wednesday, May 27th.

While on her arctic tour, Governor General Michaelle Jean cut out the heart of a seal and ate it.

Currently, and just like that, all threats of a looming election have magically disappeared.

This is The Current.

North Korea Panel

As you've been hearing on the news, the latest out of North Korea is a threat to launch missile strikes against South Korea as the South agreed to join the U.S. in intercepting any ships suspected of carrying material related to North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Already this week, North Korea has conducted an underground nuclear test and test-fired five short-range missiles. The United Nations' Security Council has condemned the nuclear test and is scribbling a new resolution that could lead to stronger sanctions.

Then again, the North Korean Government says this week's nuclear test was a response to the Security Council's last decision to condemn its long-range missile early last month. Amidst all the nuclear bravado, famine is ravaging the country and people continue to face persecution by the North Korean government.

Our next three guests have rare insights into one of the most isolated, secretive and least understood country's on the planet. Mark Edward Harris is an American photographer who has traveled to North Korea three times. He published, Inside North Korea, a book of photography and essays on North Korea. He was in Los Angeles. Min Sook Lee is a Canadian documenatry filmmaker. Her latest documentary Tiger Spirit tells the story of North and South Korean families who are trying to re-unite. She was in Toronto. And Jack Kim is the Canadian Executive Director of HanVoice, a human rights organization that advocates on behalf of North Korean refugees. He was also in Toronto.

Gaia - James Lovelock

We started this segment with a clip from the pitch for the CBC-sponsored campaign for one million acts of green. The idea is to encourage as many people as possible to take individual actions that -- when taken together -- would have a significant impact on the health of the planet.

But according to James Lovelock, even if the campaign succeeds, a million acts of green wouldn't amount to a hill of beans compared to all the non-green acts humanity has perpetrated against the Earth. James Lovelock is best known as the originator of the Gaia theory ... the idea that the Earth is a living and self-regulating organism in which geology, the oceans, the atmosphere and climate are intertwined with all forms of life. He sees humanity as the crowning achievement in the evolution of life on earth.

In his new book, he argues that we have pushed the system that supports us so far out of balance, that our survival as a species is at stake. The book is called The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning. And James Lovelock was in Toronto.

Tanya's Trial

Last fall, Detective Wendy Leaver had what she thought was an open-and-shut case. A man was accused of forcibly confining and brutally assaulting a young woman named Tanya. And as long as Tanya made it to court to testify, Detective Leaver thought she'd have a good chance at a conviction.

But getting Tanya to court wasn't going to be easy. Tanya is a prostitute and a crack addict and prone to disappearing for days on end. Wendy Leaver heads a unit with the Toronto Police Department that is dedicated to investigating crimes against the city's sex workers. And that means gaining their trust, and then keeping tabs on them to make sure they stay safe while they're waiting for their day in court.

Documentary producer Sandy Bourque chronicled the days leading up to Tanya's scheduled court date. Her documentary is called Tanya's Trial.

*** We do want to warn you, this documentary deals with adult subject matter and contains strong language that is not appropriate for children.

The trial of Tanya's alleged assailant was scheduled to take place this month. But once again, it has been postponed. Tanya is now scheduled to take the stand when the trial begins in the late fall.

Tomorrow on The Current we will speak with Detective Wendy Leaver about why the trial was delayed, and how Tanya is doing today. To date, Detective Leaver has put more than 35 people in jail for assaulting Toronto sex workers.

Last Word - Kim Jong-Il Twitter.

Earlier in the program, we heard from three people with rare insights into North Korea, one of the most isolated and secretive countries in the world. And we'll leave you with one more bit of news from there. It has been reported that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-Il has a Twitter account, joining the pack of people who update news of what they're up to in 140 characters or less.

Twitter users have noticed a user named "kcna_dprk." They think that's the country's central news agency. And some think the user, "koreadpr" could be the leader himself. But so far, there hasn't been much activity on that account. The Current's own Twitter feed - TheCurrentCBC is following both. So go take a peek and tweet us while your at it!

But given Kim Jong Il's natural inclination to be the target of satire, our colleagues at the Content Factory did a little digging and found a day's worth of the Dear Leader's "tweets." We ended the program with that discovery.

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