August 20, 2009

Pt 1: Afghanistan Election - The polls are closing in Afghanistan. Some observers have suggested the Taliban threats to disrupt the vote with violence may have led to a low voter turnout, especially in the country's south. This despite the governments efforts to prevent such attacks.

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Pt 2: Dina Babbitt Update - We have an update this morning on a story The Current first brought you last year. You may remember Anna Maria Tremonti's interview with Dina Babbitt. Ms. Babbitt was a prisoner at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where she was forced to paint for the notorious Nazi doctor, Joseph Mengele ... a man known as the "Doctor of Death." She painted portraits of prisoners ... most of them Roma, most of whom were sent to their death.

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Today's summer guest host was David Michael Lamb.

It's Thursday August 20th.

Afghans are going to the polls today to vote in that country's presidential election.

Currently, And to prove how fair and transparent the process is, President Karzai has announced the results of his government's probe into wide-spread voting fraud, before the first vote is even counted.

This is The Current.

Afghanistan Election - Ormiston

The polls are closing in Afghanistan. Some observers have suggested the Taliban threats to disrupt the vote with violence may have led to a low voter turnout, especially in the country's south. This despite the governments efforts to prevent such attacks.

Insurgents launched scattered attacks across the country which did close some polling stations. CBC's Susan Ormiston is covering the Aghan election and she joined us from Kabul.

Afghanistan Elections - Satire

The media in Afghanistan certainly isn't free by western standards but political satire is thriving. What you just heard was a little taste of a popular Afghan television show. It's name translates roughly as Danger Bell or Alarm Bell. It uses a format similar to Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. And it pokes fun at Afghan politicians and the corruption that can be found throughout the country.

Saad Mohensi is the director of the Moby group, one of the largest media groups in the country. He is also one of the owners of Tolo TV, the network that broadcasts the show. He was in Kabul.

Afghanistan Elections - Analyst

The last time Afghans went to the polls to elect a president, it was 2004 and no one was poking fun at the country's politicians. So the rise of political satire in the country is a pretty new and potentially pretty important.

For his thoughts on what it means, we were joined by Haround Mir. He's the Director of Afghanistan's Center for Research and Policy Studies and he was in Kabul.

Dina Babbitt Update

We have an update this morning on a story The Current first brought you last year. You may remember Anna Maria Tremonti's interview with Dina Babbitt. Ms. Babbitt was a prisoner at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where she was forced to paint for the notorious Nazi doctor, Joseph Mengele ... a man known as the "Doctor of Death." She painted portraits of prisoners ... most of them Roma, most of whom were sent to their death.

Years later, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum took possession of her paintings because it considered them rare artifacts and evidence of the Nazi genocide. But Dina Babbitt wanted all of the original portraits back. And she spent decades in a legal battle with the museum, a fight that garnered her international attention.

Well sadly, Dina Babitt's fight to have her artwork returned ended a few weeks ago. She died on July 29th at the age of 86. Her family has vowed to keep up her fight. Michele Kane is one Dina Babbitt's daughters and she was in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Artist: Yann Tiersen
Cd: Le Fabuleux Destin D' Amelie Poulain
Cut: 10, Pas Si Simple
Label: Virgin
Spine: 8107902

Letters

It's Thursday, and that means mail day. And The Current's producer, Kristin Nelson helped sort through this week's mail bag.

Site 41: Last week we told you the story of the Alliston Aquifer, a pristine underground water supply located North of Barrie Ontario. A few years ago, a Canadian geo-chemist named William Shotyk tested its water and compared its purity to ancient Arctic glacial ice.

But a growing number of residents in the area worry that this pristine water source is in danger of being contaminated because of the North Simcoe Landfill, also known as Site 41. It's expected to open this fall right on top of the Alliston Aquifer.

After airing this segment we heard from residents and from listeners in other parts of the country. We shared some letters.

Well, for something that flows beneath our feet, it seems groundwater remains a bit of a mystery to many of us. But these stores of water are a crucial part of our daily lives. According to a recent report by the Council of Canadian Academies, a national science advisory body, close to 10 million Canadians depend on ground water for their drinking water.

Dave Rudolph, is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo. He focuses on the management, development and protection of regional groundwater resources. He's also the director of the Waterloo Institute for groundwater research and he wa in Waterloo, Ontario.

Lightning: With thunderstorms lighting up the summer skies across this country, we spent some time looking at what our fear and fascination with lightning tells us about ourselves. We heard from John S. Friedman, author of Out of the Blue: A History of Lightning: Science, Superstition and Amazing Stories of Survival who dispelled some common myths about lightning. Many of you shared shocking first-hand encounters with this powerful force of nature.

Music

Artist: The Rheostatics
Cd: Music Inspired by The Group of Seven
Cut: 10 (no title)
Label: Green Sprouts
Spine: GSMC 006


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