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The Current

Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

The Current for October 30, 2009

Today's guest host was Hana Gartner.

It's Friday, october 30th.

A Paris court fined the French branch of the Church of Scientology after finding it guilty of fraud.

Currently, so now we know how the French feel about Mission Impossible 3.

This is The Current.

Ethiopia - Aid

It's been 25 years since the images of starving, emaciated Ethiopians shocked the world and prompted an outpouring of food aid. For many, that aid came too late. About a million people starved to death and drought conditions persist, year after year in Ethiopia. And the situation is expected to get worse as climate change takes its toll. Last week, the Ethiopian Government said that about six million people will be in need of food aid in the coming months.

But some -- even some of those who dispense or rely on food aid -- say that it may actually be hurting the country in the long run. Birhan Woldu was one of the people whose image appeared on television sets all over the world during the 1984 famine at the time. She was just three years old and not expected to live through the night. But she miraculously survived the famine thanks in large part to international aid. She is now 28 years old and has a degree in agriculture. She is now now the Director of a local NGO called Ethiopian Youth Educational Support. We reached her at her family's home on the outskirts of Mekelle in northern Ethiopia.

Nick Martlew is a Humanitarian Policy Advisor with Oxfam. He has just completed a report called Band Aids and Beyond. And he was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia - Global Food Politics

In spite of the argument that it isn't sustainable in the long run, food aid persists. For her thoughts on why that is, we're joined by Jennifer Clapp. She is the Director of the Centre for Global Governance Research at the University of Waterloo. She is completing a book about the politics of food aid. She was in Waterloo, Ontario.

The Current requested an interview with the U.S. Wheat Associates, the industry association that represents American wheat interests in 90 countries around the world. We didn't hear back.

Listen to Part One:


A Garden of Tears - Cold Case Series

On television, cold cases are usually years-old murders that are fortuitously solved in a single hour of programming. But real cold cases often go unsolved. And for the people who have lost a loved one, the grief just goes on.

The CBC's David Ridgen is no stranger to cold cases. He produced Mississippi Cold Case, a documentary about the deaths of Henry Dee and Charles Moore. The documentary prompted police to re-open the case and eventually get a conviction.
Now, David has prepared a series of documentaries about Canadian cold cases. They'll be airing here on The Current and on The National on CBC Television. And they'll be featured in a special web feature at cbc.ca/coldcase. David joined us this morning with his first documentary, A Garden of Tears.

You can watch David's television documentary about this story tonight on The National on CBC Television.

Listen to Part Two:


Scientology - Former Scientologist

Despite the upbeat tones of its advertising campaign, it's been a tough week for the Church of Scientology. First, Canadian Movie Director Paul Haggis -- one of the church's oldest and most respected members -- quit over what he says is the church's refusal to denounce an anti-gay marriage bill in California. He outlined his reasons in a letter to the Church's spokesperson, Tommy Davis.

A few days later, the Church of Scientology's French branch was found guilty of fraud and fined half-a-million euros about a million Canadian dollars. And this all came less than a week after the Church's spokesperson, Tommy Davis, walked out in the middle of a high-profile television interview on Nightline.

To the Church's critics, none of this is all that surprising. Marty Rathbun was a member of the Church of Scientology for 27 years. He held some of the highest positions in the Church, including Inspector General and President of the Religious Technology Centre. He was in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Scientology - History

The Current requested an interview with Tommy Davis, the Church of Scientology's spokesperson. He turned us down. In an interview with CNN, Tommy Davis denied that the Church supports Proposition 8 and denied that that the Church promotes disconnection.

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1952. And ever since, its teachings and its leader -- science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard -- have been adored and vilified. J. Gordon Melton has been charting the rise of the Church of Scientology. He's the Director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion. And he was in Santa Barbara, California.

Last Word - Munyaneza

Yesterday in Montreal, Desire Munyaneza was sentenced to life in prison for war crimes he committed during the Rwandan genocide. Mr. Munyaneza is Hutu. And he was found guilty of murder, rape and pillaging in and around his hometown of Butare. He came to Canada in 1997 and filed a refugee claim, which was rejected.

He is now the first person to be convicted under Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Rwandans have been watching the trial closely especially people like Martin Uwariraye, a Tutsi from Butare who survived the genocide. He knew Mr. Munyaneza personally. We gave him the last word this morning.

Listen to Part Three:

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