November 19, 2009

Pt 1: Malalai Joya - Hamid Karzai was sworn in for another term as Afghanistan's President this morning. This against the backdrop of explosive news here in Canada that in 2006 and 2007, senior government officials including the prime minister's office and the defense ministry were told Afghan detainees taken by Canadian troops and handed to Afghan officials were subject to beatings and electric shocks.

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Pt 2: Letters - It's Thursday. That's mail day on The Current. And our Friday host this week is CBC Television's Susan Ormiston.

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Pt 3: Climate Cover-Up - And we had more letters in response to last Friday's program, which was hosted by David Suzuki. The program looked at climate change and the prospects for the upcoming United Nation's climate change conference in Copenhagen. The program elicited a lot of reaction, much of it scathing.

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It's Thursday, November 19th.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has announced the formation of a squad to battle corruption in Afghanistan.

Currently, For some reason all the squad members were recruited from the Quebec construction industry.

This is the Current.

Malalai Joya

Hamid Karzai was sworn in for another term as Afghanistan's President this morning. This against the backdrop of explosive news here in Canada that in 2006 and 2007, senior government officials including the prime minister's office and the defense ministry were told Afghan detainees taken by Canadian troops and handed to Afghan officials were subject to beatings and electric shocks.

This morning as Ottawa reels from news that could affect Canadian politics and it's place in international law... a lone Afghan woman is making her way across to Canada arguing that our troops and all foreign forces should get out.

Malalai Joya was 27-years-old when she became the youngest person elected to the new Afghan Parliament. She's now suspended from Parliament for criticizing other MPs and accusing many of being warlords and criminals. She calls Afghanistan's democracy a farce and says her country's liberation is a lie. She has written a book called A Woman Among Warlords. Malalai Joya was in Toronto.

Letters

It's Thursday. That's mail day on The Current. And our Friday host this week is CBC Television's Susan Ormiston.

Sudbury Mining: Sudbury, Ontario is a city known as a mining town. But its blue collar identity is changing as it builds a more knowledge-based economy. Monday on The Current, we heard about Sudbury in 2009 -- a city divided. Part of the documentary mentioned NASA's earlier interest in Sudbury as a "simulation site for moon landings". And that didn't go over very well. We received lots of emails offering corrections.

Fred Haise has flown to Sudbury .... and to the moon ... although he never got to do the moonwalk. He would have been the 6th man to walk on the moon. He was the lunar module pilot on NASA's aborted Apollo 13 Lunar mission in 1970, the one mythologized in the Oscar-winning film Apollo 13. A year later, Fred Haise visited Sudbury on a research trip. And he joined us this morning from Gautier, Mississippi.

World Hunger: There were no high expectations at the United Nations World Summit on Food Security in Rome this week. The goal of the conference was to declare 2025 the year that hunger would be eradicated. Instead, there were only vague promises of aid. As the conference began on Monday, we heard from two people who have known real hunger. And then we heard from our listeners with their response.

Vatican & Science: The relationship between the Catholic Church and science has often been a difficult one. But last week, the Vatican sponsored a scientific conference examining the possibility of alien lifeforms. And according to Brother Guy Consolmagno, the Catholic church has historically been a pioneer of science.

Brother Guy is a Jesuit brother and an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory. Tuesday on The Current, we asked him about the treatment of Galileo -- the father of modern science -- who was put under permanent house arrest for his belief that the earth revolved around the sun.

Request Count: We wanted to let you know that Environment Minister Jim Prentice will be on the Current tomorrow to talk to Susan Ormiston on Canada's climate change policy before the global conference in Copenhagen next month.

Tomorrow will make forty-three days. That's how long it took to get another federal cabinet minister on The Current. Peter Kent, the minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, was the last one on the program on Oct. 8. The Current's requests for federal cabinet ministers stand at 19, with four interviews granted. 4 for 19 ... that's a 21 percent success rate.

Currie Libel Trial: It was in the dying days and weeks of World War One that Sir Arthur Currie decided to lead Canadian troops in a push to liberate the small Belgian town of Mons. It's estimated that as many as eighty men died in the effort. Nine years after that battle, an editorial in a small Ontario newspaper argued that it was a needless waste of those lives. The libel trial that ensued raised issues of accountability in war. Last week, on Remembrance Day, Justice Robert Sharpe told us about the significance of Mons.

The armistice that ended the war was signed at 5 a.m. on November 11th, 1918, but it did not take effect until six hours later. According to U.S. author Joseph Persico, nearly 11,000 soldiers on both sides died on that final day of the First World War, more than during the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

CBC Radio revisited Private Price's death in the 1965 production, Flanders' Fields: Canadian Voices from Vimy. We aired an excerpt from Part 16 ... entitled Victory. In it, you hear narrator J. Frank Willis, followed by Art Goodmurphy and G. Kilpatrick, two of Private Price's fellow soldiers who fought with him in the battle for Mons.

Climate Cover-Up - James Hoggan

And we had more letters in response to last Friday's program, which was hosted by David Suzuki. The program looked at climate change and the prospects for the upcoming United Nation's climate change conference in Copenhagen. The program elicited a lot of reaction, much of it scathing.

We read a sample of some of the responses we received to David Suzuki hosting a special edition of the Current devoted to climate change. As well, The National Post's website received angry emails, referring to climate change as a religion, a scam and a fraud. Only a small minority of scientists who work in this area argue that climate change is not happening or that it is not caused by human activity.

But according to James Hoggan, people with vested interests in the debate are using their work to deliberately skew the conversation. James Hoggan is the author of Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. He's also the President of the Public Relations firm James Hoggan and Associates. And, we should make it very clear that he is also the chair of the David Suzuki Foundation. James Hoggan was in Toronto.

* Tonight on As It Happens, Carol Off will be looking into a national radio ad campaign mocking the whole idea of climate change.

Climate Cover-Up - Lawrence Solomon

Jim Prall devotes a lot of time and energy to keeping tabs on climate skeptics and climate scientists. He is a computer network manager at the University of Toronto. And he keeps a huge database of scientists who subscribe to -- and dissent from -- the view that climate change is both dangerous and caused by humans. He tracks how much they publish, where they publish and what their research is actually about. So we asked him to walk us through his database and his methods.

According to Jim Prall's database, of the 615 scientists who have published more than a hundred peer-reviewed papers on climate change, the skeptics are outnumbered 601 to 14.

Lawrence Solomon has been listening in on this discussion. He is one of Canada's best-known climate change skeptics. He's also the Executive Director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud - and those who are too fearful to do so -- a book that grew out of his regular column in the National Post. Lawrence Solomon was in Toronto.

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