August 24, 2010

Pt 1: Geopolitics of Natural Disasters - The latest on the floods in Pakistan and the political fallout from them as Pakistan's government appears to be wobbling under the pressure. We also look at the ways natural disasters have altered the course of history and geopolitics. (Read More)

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Pt 2: In Memoriam - The story of a northern Canadian town haunted by the murder of an RCMP officer and the drug culture that killed him. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Nancy Wilson.

It's Tuesday August 24th.

A Calgary-based company is developing an electric car made from hemp.

Currently, unfortunately, it will create no exhaust.

This is The Current.

Geopolitics of Natural Disasters - Saima Mohsin

The political stakes continue to rise with the flood waters in Pakistan. An estimated twenty million people are now affected by the flooding ... six million of them in urgent need of aid, according the United Nations.

Embattled President Asif Ali Zardari and his government have been harshly criticized at home and abroad for their management of the disaster so far. And the international community has also been chastized for its slow response in the face of such dire need.

To get a sense of the magnitude of the catastrophe we were joined by Saima Mohsin. She's a freelance journalist who has just returned from some of the affected areas in northern Pakistan, and today we reached her in Karachi.

Geopolitics of Natural Disasters - Delwar Hussain

Natural disasters have deeply shaken Pakistan's political foundation before. In 1970, a cyclone named Bhola hit Pakistan and quite literally tore the country apart ....according to our next guest. Delwar Hussain writes about South Asian issues and is completing his PhD on contemporary South Asia, at the University of Cambridge. He was in London, England.

Geopolitics of Natural Disasters - Greg Neale

Pakistan is just the latest example of a nation destabilized by a natural disaster. While none have wiped the slate totally clean of civilization, as in the biblical story of Noah's Ark, natural disasters have proven to be the undoing of weak or unpopular governments .... even entire cities and nations throughout history.

For more on the ways in which history and geopolitics have been shaped by natural disasters, we were joined by Greg Neale, founding editor of BBC History Magazine. He was in London, England.


In Memoriam (Repeat Documentary)

Drive up the MacKenzie Highway, right to the top of Alberta. Then keep heading north for another hour-and-a-half, and you'll arrive at Hay River. It's a small town of about 36-hundred in the Northwest Territories, surrounded by pristine, Northern beauty ... dense boreal forest, a freshwater lake and cascading waterfalls.

But the Lonely Planet travel guide ignores all that. It describes Hay River as a "hard-bitten," "hard-working" town with dilapidated motels, hulking tank farms, creaking railcars and scores of boats and trucks decomposing in weed-choked lots.
And then there are the drugs.

Three years ago, an RCMP police officer named Chris Worden was shot and killed in Hay River by a drug dealer. Last year, Emrah Bulatci of Edmonton was convicted of first-degree murder. Officer Worden's death sparked a strong anti-drug push in Hay River. But it has since lost its momentum as it ran up against the power of the drug trade and the drag of inertia.

The CBC's Allison Devereaux prepared a documentary about Hay River's on-going battle with drugs. It's called In Memoriam, and it first aired on The Current in December.

In March, the North West Territories government launched a territory-wide anti-drug campaign in Hay River. The campaign is called Not Us.

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