June 30, 2009

Pt 1: Honduras - We started this segment with some sound of protestors. Some people might hear those sounds as echoes of the Cold War, when Central America was "coup-prone." On Sunday, the democratically-elected President of the impoverished country was rousted from his bed by the military and sent into exile.

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Pt 2: Beavers- Yes, tomorrow is Canada Day, so what better time to take a closer look at a great Canadian ... a faithful steward of our freshwater resources. Devoted to family life resourceful, clever and hard-working.

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Today's summer guest host was Mellissa Fung.

It's Tuesday, June 30th.

Bernard Madoff, the man behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history has been sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Currently, with the right kind of money, Madoff suggests he could easily double that sentence to 300 years.

...Any takers?

This is the Current.

Part One: Honduras - Anti-Coup

We started this segment with some sound of protestors. Some people might hear those sounds as echoes of the Cold War, when Central America was "coup-prone." On Sunday, the democratically-elected President of the impoverished country was rousted from his bed by the military and sent into exile.

To his opponents, deposed president Manuel Zelaya is a "Hugo Chavez wannabe" bent on bringing a socialist, populist and dictatorial-style of rule to Honduras. His supporters believe Zelaya is a President committed to putting the interests of the majority of Hondurans foremost in his policy ... something the country's elite classes are punishing him for.

Sunday was supposed to be a big day for President Zelaya and his vision for Honduras ... the day of a nation-wide referendum on whether Hondurans want to reform their constitution. Instead, he emerged as an exile in neigbouring Nicaragua.

Zelaya's opponents -- including the military, Congress and Supreme Court -- all rejected the referendum. They claim it was an illegitimate attempt by Zelaya to extend his rule beyond the single four-year term limit currently enshrined in the Constitution.

But many in Honduras are concerned that the removal of Zelaya is only the beginning of a general crackdown against those seeking broader democratic rights, especially for the impoverished majority.

Josue Murillo is a Honduran human rights lawyer. He has worked with the Committee for the Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras and with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. He was in the capital city, Tegucigalpa.

Honduras - Pro-Coup

Jackie Foglia is a volunteer with the Democratic Civic Union, an umbrella organization of 40 civil society and business groups in Honduras created to oppose President Zelaya. She was in the outskirts of the capital.

Honduras: Historical Context

As we mentioned earlier, the coup in Honduras has unsettling echoes of the military putsches and juntas that brutalized civilians in several Central American countries during the Cold War.

For more context, we were joined by Peter Kornbluh. He's the senior anaylst for Latin America with the National Security Archive, a public-interest documentation center in Washington. He was in Ann Arbour, Michigan.

Beavers - Peterborough County

Yes, tomorrow is Canada Day, so what better time to take a closer look at a great Canadian ... a faithful steward of our freshwater resources. Devoted to family life resourceful, clever and hard-working.

Castor Canadensis, more humbly known as the beaver is one national symbol on the rise. The fur trade took beavers close to extinction in much of the world, but millions of beavers now live in Canada and the United States, and now they're being re-introduced into the wild in Scotland and other parts of Europe.

The relationship between the human world and the waterworld of beavers is a bumpy one, though. We're not exactly talking about the terrifying kinds of encounters between humans and cougars and bears. But beavers and their dams are more and more - a menace to human infrastructure.

Earlier this month, a train derailment near Ottawa was blamed on a beaver dam that collapsed and released a wall of water more than a metre high, ripping train tracks out of the ground. And the engineering efforts of both humans and beavers are often at cross purposes in Peterborough County, northeast of Toronto. Ron Gerow is the warden of Peterborough County.

Beaver - Biologist

Glynnis Hood has been studying beavers for ten years and during her two decades working with the warden service of Parks Canada, she got a good look at beavers' prowess at reshaping the landscape. Today, Dr. Hood teaches environmental science at the University of Alberta, and she was in Edmonton.

Last Word - Police

Before we ended the program, we wanted to tell you about Matuillah Qati. Mellissa Fung first met Matuillah Qati last September in Afghanistan. He was the provincial police chief and chief investigations officer in Kandahar province, and they spoke about the assassination of Malalai Kakar, the first policewoman to patrol the streets of Kandahar and the country's highest-profile female police officer.

Well, Qati himself was killed yesterday in a gunfight in Kandahar city. We wanted to leave you with some of their conversation about Lieutenant Colonel Kakar, and the fight against insurgents that he and others were carrying on in her name.

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