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Line in the Sand is The Current's new season-long project about the significant dilemmas we all face in life... the difficult ethical choices we're forced to make, both in our professional and personal lives... the lines we all draw in the sand.

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The ethics of academic boycotts

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With Stephen Hawking's controversial decision to pull out of a conference at Israel's Hebrew University, the action against Israeli Universities by some professors in Canada and others around the world was back in the news. As part of our project, Line in the Sand , we look at the ethical dilemmas that have confronted those confronted by academic boycotts.

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Can art go too far?

Can art go too far?
Everyone became a critic at Alberta's College of Art and Design when a student killed a chicken as part of an art project. But the most powerful critic was the school -- and it swung the axe. Was it performance art or an act of cruelty?

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A soldier's right to follow their conscience

A soldier's right to follow their conscience
There were a number of incidents and orders in Afghanistan that did not sit right with Jules Tindungan. He says he cited moral and ethical reasons when he asked the U.S. military to transfer him out of infantry duty and when he was refused he went AWOL. He is among the estimated 200 men and women who came to Canada seeking refugee status as War Resisters. The Pentagon calls them Deserters. Today, our ongoing look at ethical dilemmas - Line in the Sand - asks if and when a soldier has the right to follow his or her conscience in a time of war.

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Tales from the Organ Trade: Ric Esther Bienstock

Tales from the Organ Trade: Ric Esther Bienstock
If you have believed the issue of selling kidneys is Black and White, come with us into the Grey Zone. Our project Line in the Sand .. Dilemmas that Define Us explores the selling of kidneys, the quest for donors and the need for solutions. We hear from filmmaker Ric Esther Bienstock whose documentary "Tales From the Organ Trade" tracks those who sell, those who broker, the surgeons, the patients, those who wait for donors and those who are deeply conflicted.

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Is giving monetary incentives to kidney donors ethical?

Is giving monetary incentives to kidney donors ethical?
As part of our discussion on organ trading, we look into the ethical debate and find out more about a Canadian research project to consider financial incentives to convince more Canadians to donate various organs for transplant.

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Smokers need not apply

Smokers need not apply
Some companies in Canada and the U.S. are refusing to hire Smokers. They cite lost productivity, costs lost to illness and the potential to kill the co-worker in the neighbouring cubicle. Our project Line in the Sand tackles the ethics of hiring policies that refuse all smokers.

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Hugh Burnett: Shaping civil rights in Canada

Hugh Burnett: Shaping civil rights in Canada
Today we bring you the story of a man whose fight against racial segregation in Canada in the 50s centred on the small Southern Ontario town of Dresden. Our project Line in The Sand Dilemmas that Define Us follows the fight that even some Black residents didn't want Hugh Burnett to wage.

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A change in thought on having a baby after "the change?"

A change in thought on having a baby after
The phenomenon of post-menopausal women giving birth makes for sensational news headlines and heated debates about the socially-acceptable age of parents but technology is moving the discussion away from the tabloids and into doctors offices. Now the American Society of Reproductive Medicine has given its nod to post-menopausal pregnancies for women up to the age of 55. Today, our project Line In the Sand - the Dilemmas that Define Us hears the ethical debate over the right to be an Older Mom.

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The ethics of uterus transplants & doctor-assisted pregnancy

The ethics of uterus transplants & doctor-assisted pregnancy
Turkish doctors made history yesterday when an embryo was implanted into a transplanted womb. Uterus Transplants are very new and doctors in Turkey and Sweden have plans for many more. But medical ethicists have many questions. Today, as part of our project Line in the Sand: Dilemmas that Define Us, we confront the latest offering of reproductive technology.

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Ethical dilemmas surrounding medical tourism

Ethical dilemmas surrounding medical tourism
Not every Canadian heading to Mexico at this time of year is looking to lie on a beach. Increasingly some are stretching out on operating tables for surgery without a long waiting list, at affordable prices. And for some, the ethical question is not should they be going to another country and paying but rather how can Canada be so unethical to keep them waiting. We look at the conundrum and the consequences of an Operation Vacation.

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Should alleged rapists get anonymity until convicted?

Should alleged rapists get anonymity until convicted?
In courtrooms around the world today there are trials underway regarding sexual assault. And in Britain there is a fevered debate about identifying those charged with the crime. The argument is those falsely accused are named and shamed unjustly. The other side says real justice demands public transparency. We bring that debate home to Canada.

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Should we save polar bears from starvation by feeding them ourselves?

Should we save polar bears from starvation by feeding them ourselves?
You've seen those oh-so-cute pictures of polar bears with their cubs. Fact is, they are wild, dangerous and now they are at the centre of a debate over whether to protect them from starvation in a habitat so affected by climate change. As the sea ice shrinks around them, polar bears are finding it harder and harder to hunt. Now, some of the world's leading authorities on conservation say it may be time for drastic measures... including the possibility of feeding the bears ourselves.

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Civil Disobedience to stop Keystone pipeline

Civil Disobedience to stop Keystone pipeline
The U.S. Sierra Club announced plans for Civil Disobedience for the first time in its history over of the Keystone XL pipeline. Today the board of the Sierra Club of Canada decides whether it will follow suit on the Gateway pipeline, each responding to the Oil Sands with a Line in the Sand. Today, our project on the Dilemmas that Define Us asks about the ethics and the efficacy of Civil Disobedience.

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Quebec's Right to Die Legislation: Will other provinces follow?

Quebec's Right to Die Legislation: Will other provinces follow?
Craig Ewert took intense interest in the technology that was about to kill him. A 2008 documentary showed the retired professor-alert--but unable to endure his paralysing motor neuron disease. He travelled to Switzerland to die at a euthanasia clinic. In Canada, Assisted suicide is illegal , but perhaps not for much longer, at least in some parts of the country. The right to die debate has been reignited by a recent recommendation in Quebec, we examine it and its implications.

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Killer Genetics: Investigating Adam Lanza's DNA

Killer Genetics: Investigating Adam Lanza's DNA
What can you learn from the DNA of a mass murderer? And how will any information you might find affect others? As researchers in Connecticut prepare the study the DNA of the Newtown killer Adam Lanza, there is both excitement and unease among the experts who see everything from potential to medicate others with possible genetic markers to danger in making judgements and assumptions.

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Roy Bourgeois, excommunicated priest on the ordination of women

Roy Bourgeois, excommunicated priest on the ordination of women
For years Roy Bourgeois mixed activism with his religion as a Roman Catholic priest. He was a vocal proponent of human rights in Latin America. Then he took up the struggle for the ordination of women. For the Vatican that was one struggle too many. Roy Bourgeois has been excommunicated and today as part of our project Line in The Sand,the Dilemmas that Define Us, we hear from Roy Bourgeois about where he drew his line.

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Pranks, Hoaxes & Jokes: How far is too far?

Pranks, Hoaxes & Jokes: How far is too far?
From Candid Camera in the 50s .. to MTV's Punk'd, entertainers have pranked their way through the decades. Until last week when it all appeared to go horribly wrong when two Australian DJs played a hoax on a nurse at the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was staying. But where is the Line In the Sand between funny and mean? Today we speak to Mary - Marg Delahunty - Walsh and Gilbert Rozon of Just for Laughs to ask how far is too far?

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Celebrating 10 years of The Current

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It was exactly ten years ago .. plus a day that this program went to air. We grew out of the chaos of 9-11, a CBC network morning show with a mandate to be responsive to the events unfolding, ready to update and remake as we traveled west through this country's 5-and-a-half time zones with a mandate to be journalistic and unafraid ... irreverent even.

A decade ago, the buzzwords were Al Qeida, axis-of-evil, Enron. It was the year 4 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan who were killed by so-called Friendly US fire. Canada signed the Kyoto accord ... the price of a barrel of oil was below $25-dollars ... Avril Lavigne, Sum 41 and Eminem were pop culture darlings.
 
In the ensuing ten years, we've learned to Friend and Like and Tweet .. we've seen four federal elections, the rise of the Harper Conservatives, the death of the NDP's Jack Layton, four of our premiers are women, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are dead. There's been a revolution on the Arab street but there is still No Peace in the Middle East. Our buzzwords .. run from App to Fracking and Bullying.

So today, to celebrate our years on air, we join a studio audience in Toronto's Glenn Gould auditorium for a live special 10th Anniversary Edition of The Current.

Watch our video live stream of our
anniversary show

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Communicating with patients in a vegetative state

Communicating with patients in a vegetative state
It is an extraordinary moment when Dr. Adrian Owen slides his patient into an FMRI machine, a man who has been in a vegetative state for a dozen years, suddenly able to communicate basic information with thoughts that register as activity in a brain scan. Adrian Owen has found a way to connect with some patients for whom that had been little hope of ever communicating again. Today, our project Line in the Sand looks at the implications of his discovery for everything from our treatment of traditionally unresponsive patients to end of life care.

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Ashley Smith Case & Mental Health in Canadian Prisons

Ashley Smith Case & Mental Health in Canadian Prisons
A video shows a teenage Ashley Smith heavily restrained on a prison transfer flight, her face covered with 2 hoods - they call them spit hoods - and later scenes of her surrounded by guards in gas masks and riot gear that prompted federal officials to stop their efforts to restrain the scope of an inquest that resumes this week. The questions in the death of Ashley Smith have raised wider issues. Today as part of our project, Line in the Sand:The Dilemmas that Define Us, we look at the intersection of mental illness and our criminal justice system.

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The Ethical Implications of Assisted Migration

The Ethical Implications of Assisted Migration
History shows we have little control of nature once we have changed it and there are often negative and (mostly unintended and unforeseen ) consequences to our meddling with nature in as effort to conserve it. Today, we look at the experiments in assisted migration that raises ethical and moral concerns. And debate how to deal with shifting habitat caused by our changing climate.

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Prescribing ADHD medication to children

Prescribing ADHD medication to children
A U.S. doctor says what many suspect is true, that he and others use pharmacology - drugs for ADHD to deal with issues that really need social and economic solutions. Our project Line in The Sand looks at the dilemma of doctors faced with what to do for ADHD-kids in low-income neighbourhoods where the schools can't afford to help them.

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Banning people at the border: Should we let Terry Jones in?

Banning people at the border: Should we let Terry Jones in?
When he threatened to burn a stack of Qu'rans in Florida, he enflamed nations half a world away. Now Pastor Terry Jones wants to participate in a debate in Toronto and argue that Islam is not compatible with Western Culture. And that's created another kind of firestorm ... Should the government let him in? This is an issue where Free Speech and Free Expression meets concerns over National Security and Ministerial Powers. Just where is Canada's "Line in the Sand" on this one?

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Slavoj Zizek and 'The Year of Dreaming Dangerously'

 Slavoj Zizek and 'The Year of Dreaming Dangerously'
Come with us on a journey through the logic, musings, and divergent thoughts of a philosopher with rock star status. Slavoj Zizek examines the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring and everything from HBO's 'The Wire' to Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises'.

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The Ethics of Conservation: Endangered Species

The Ethics of Conservation: Endangered Species
What has the Willow Blister ever done for you? Or the woolly spider monkey for that matter? The Willow Blister is a fungus and the Monkey is well .. a monkey. Neither one is quite as endearing as a Panda but each has made the list of the 100 most endangered species in a whats-in-it-for-me world. Just how many obscure species are we willing to rescue from the brink of extinction?

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Dual Diagnosis: The Long Way Home

Dual Diagnosis: The Long Way Home
He was 20 years old, a young man frustrated by his own limitations in a world where few understood how to help him. As part of our project, Line in the Sand, The Current producer Howard Goldenthal brings us a documentary about the dilemmas facing those with Dual Diagnosis, people with developmental and psychiatric disabilities.

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Three Parent In-vitro Fertilization

Three Parent In-vitro Fertilization
Back in 1997 in the U.S., 30 babies were conceived through a technology that transferred some of the cytoplasm in a donor's eggs into the egg of their biological mother. Fast forward to Britain today and it is looking at this same technology to genetically modify an egg believed to be carrying the marker for an incurable disease. The implications offer new hope for some, for others they are far-reaching and problematic.

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Jane Goodall on Environmental Ethics

Jane Goodall on Environmental Ethics
From spores - to sandpipers - to sloths ... in a world where so many living things face extinction, what is worth saving? What do we let go? Is there a Line in the Sand? The iconic conservationist and scientist Jane Goodall weighs in on the ethics and morality and responsibility behind how we see other living creatures.

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Should politicians be held to a higher ethical standard?

Should politicians be held to a higher ethical standard?
Toronto's mayor Rob Ford is getting a lot of heat for coaching football during office hours and apparently using city staff to help him. Some people believe we don't need to hold politicians to impossibly high ethical standards. And others believe we need impossibly high ethical standards because we have politicians.

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What Money Can't Buy: Michael Sandel

What Money Can't Buy: Michael Sandel

Economists refer to the free market as the invisible hand. But according to Michael Sandel, it's become more like a scratching claw. Michael Sandel says market ideology has come to shape, mould and influence parts of our lives and societies where it has no proper place.  Michael Sandel is a political philosopher at Harvard University whose new book is called What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets and he is our guest today.

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Becoming Victoria: Argentina's Dirty War

Becoming Victoria: Argentina's Dirty War
Argentina's dirty war with itself not only killed a lot of harmless people, it left a lot of orphans. Some of those children only recently discovered their family history. And some have learned an awful truth about the people they once called mom and dad.Today our project Line In the Sand" brings you the the story of one woman with two sets of parents and one reality difficult to accept.

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Experimental Drugs for Terminal Patients

Experimental Drugs for Terminal Patients
Our project Line in the Sand explores the increasing push for access to drugs that are unproven for patients fighting death. Perhaps for loved ones, there is no line but for doctors and the drug makers there are Lines ...and there are Laws ... and there are Exceptions.

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Robert Semrau: The Taliban Don't Wave

Robert Semrau: The Taliban Don't Wave
Wars don't get much more confusing than the one that still shakes the ground in Afghanistan. You can't tell enemy combatants from farmers. Battlegrounds lack front lines. Into that whirlwind stepped the Canadian army and with them Captain Robert Semrau. His second combat tour in 2008 became his last. Robert Semrau has written a book about his days serving with OMLeT, the operational mentor liaison team... an inside, provocative and sometimes gruesome account. He's never spoken publicly about the incident that ended his military career, but today Robert Semrau is on The Current.

* This is an extended web version of today's broadcast interview *

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Straightening the Record: A Doctor's Apology

Straightening the Record: A Doctor's Apology
Robert Spitzer, a well known U-S psychiatrist, conducted a study more than a decade ago which concluded gay people could be converted. This spring he admitted the study was faulty and apologized to the gay community. Now, despite the damage done, Dr. Robert Spitzer is looking for redemption. Listen to The Current producer Josh Bloch's documentary: Straightening the Record: A Doctor's Apology.

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