June 8, 2010

Pt 1: BP Boycott - Even as BP makes some progress on slowing the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, an increasingly angry US public is lashing out and calling for boycotts. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Soccernomics - Writer Simon Kuper told us what goes into making a winning soccer nation, and why the fallout from the World Cup goes well beyond the soccer pitch. (Read More)

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Pt 3: Iraqi Jewish Artifacts - Iraq once had a thriving Jewish community. Over centuries, as its members fled persecution, they left a paper trail. And now the question is, who should be the keeper of that history? (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Tuesday, June 8th.

Three more days until the World Cup.

Currently, except in North Korea where the state team has already won.

This is The Current.

BP Boycott - Reverend Jesse Jackson

This is day 50 of that continuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. For the first time, BP says it has successfully reduced the amount of oil spewing into those waters.

BP says it captured more than 10,000 barrels of oil a day over the weekend. And it hopes to double that rate -- to 20,000 barrels of oil a day -- this week. That is actually more oil than BP has ever admitted to spilling in the Gulf every day.  And there is no consensus of how much oil is actually gushing out.

In the meantime, calls to boycott the company are growing, on social networking sites and elsewhere. The biggest group on Facebook -- and there are many -- has more than 400,000 members.

Reverend Jesse Jackson is among the loudest voices calling for a boycott. He's a long-time civil rights activist, and a two-time candidate for the U.S. Democratic Presidential nomination as well as the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH coalition. Reverend Jackson was in Detroit.

BP Boycott - Phil Flynn

We began this segment with a clip from Stanley Morton. He's a regular You-Tube contributor from Florida, with a tongue-in-cheek report on how boycotting BP is as easy as driving past the gas station. He's right about one thing. As long as you can make it to another one, boycotting the company is pretty simple. But according to Phil Flynn, it isn't likely to have the effect that he and Reverend Jesse Jackson are expecting. Phil Flynn is an oil industry analyst with PFG Best, a commodities brokerage firm in Chicago.

We have a standing request for an interview with a representative from BP. The company has yet to take us up on it.

BP Boycott - Pearl Jam

This isn't the first time the company has raised the public's ire. As we mentioned, Rev. Jackson called for a boycott of BP back in 2006. And in 2007, so did Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. At Lollapalooza in Chicago, he urged concert-goers to shun BP products - even wrote a special song for the occasion. We ended this segment with Vedder's boycott BP anthem.


Soccernomics - Simon Kuper

We started this segment by airing the sounds of soccer. The World Cup is just three days away. And billions of people around the world are preparing to spend the next four and a half weeks glued to their televisions.

The World Cup is the place where international relations, national aspirations and enormous sums of money ride on the backs of 22 men running around a little more than an acre of grass. And that's where Simon Kuper comes in. He spends his days uncovering the relationships between what happens on the soccer pitch and what goes down in the corridors of power.

He's the co-author of "Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia and Turkey - and Even Iraq - Are Destined To Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport." Simon Kuper was in Paris, France.


Iraqi Jewish Artifacts - Samir Sumaidaie

We began this segment with a clip featuring the sound of the first bombs hitting Baghdad in March of 2003. Among other things, they hit the headquarters of Iraq's Intelligence Agency, the much-feared Mukhabarat. And when that building was hit, sewage water flooded the basement. And more than 3,000 Jewish artifacts were found floating in that water.

There were centuries-old Torahs and Haggadas, along with Jewish marriage records, university applications and financial documents. It was all that remained of a community that had since fled Iraq.

The artifacts were brought to the U.S. for restoration, at a cost of about a million dollars. Millions more will be needed in order to preserve them. But there's a dispute over where they should go next.

Iraq wants the artifacts returned. But some Jewish groups say they should go back to the people who left them behind as they fled Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. Samir Sumaidaie is Iraq's Ambassador to the United States. He was in Washington.

Iraqi Jewish Artifacts - Bernie Farber

As mentioned, some Jewish groups say the artifacts and documents should be returned to the people to whom they originally belonged. Bernie Farber is the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He was in Toronto.

Promo - South Africa Doc

In just three days, the 2010 World Cup will begin in South Africa. More than 350,000 soccer fans are expected to visit the country before the winner is crowned. And the nine host cities are pulling out all the stops to impress the world. But according to freelance journalist Kyle G. Brown, there is a dark side to that impulse. In cities such as Durban, the local police are sweeping the streets of so-called "undesirables." And they are taking an especially hard-line on the city's street kids. Kyle G. Brown spent some time with some of those street kids, and produced a documentary about their experiences. We aired a preview. The whole thing airs Wednesday on The Current.

Last Word - Bilderberg

Before we go, we got an e-mail from one of our listeners that we'd like to share. Thomas Belley of Montreal wrote to us about a secretive meeting that took place this past weekend in Spain. He wrote:

"I e-mailed you bunch some days ago wondering about the role played by the meeting that took place in Sitges, Spain, called Bilderberg. Some popular media covered the "event." It turns out Peter Mansbridge was attending. Why won't the CBC say a single word about it all?!? It's somewhat insulting."

Now a bit of background. The Bilderberg Group is a society of powerful political and financial leaders. They meet once a year. And they are often the subject of conspiracy theories that suggest the members are the people who really control the world.

And yes, we can confirm that Peter Mansbridge did attend this year. According to the web site Thomas Belley pointed us to, so did BC Premier Gordon Campbell, former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna, as well as Edmund Clark, the President and CEO of the TD Bank Financial Group, Robert Prichard, the President and CEO of Metrolynx, and Heather Reisman, the CEO of Indigo Books and Music.

Of course, no one is really sure what goes on at the meetings. Because if you're not a member, you're not privy to what its members talk about.

British comedian and writer Charlie Skelton is trying to change that. Last year, he went to Greece to cover the Bilderberg Conference for The Guardian newspaper. But he didn't get very far. In fact, he spent most of his time running from the Greek police. But that didn't stop him from trying again. We left you this morning with his round-up of what happened this year.

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