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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Week of April 28-May 4, 2003

Week of April 28-May 4, 2003

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Apr 28, 2003
Air India trial finally in court…A 17-year investigation into the worst act of mass murder in Canadian history finally has its day in court. The Air India trial, which begins April 28 with prosecutors presenting evidence, is expected to take three years to unravel, due to the volume of evidence being presented. Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik are on trial by judge alone for murder and conspiracy in the 1985 bombing of an Air India jet off the coast of Ireland. The bomb killed all 329 people aboard. SFU sociologist emeritus Hari Sharma and history professor Hugh Johnston, two experts on Sikhism, Sikhs in Canada, and relations between Canada and India, are available to comment on the trial’s proceedings.

Putting power into the hands of the US…A startling new report, authored by SFU political science/women’s studies professor Marjorie Griffin Cohen, says British Columbians are losing control of their public electricity transmission system. Her report, released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, reveals electricity transmission will no longer be part of BC Hydro. A newly formed corporation, BC Hydro Transmission Corporation, will own the transmission lines and collect rents associated with ownership. However, RTO West, an American company, will decide who has access to the transmission system, prices paid on the system and the nature of future investments. "BC consumers will be competing in a North American market for their own power, yet the public is largely unaware of this change," says Cohen. The former Hydro board member is available to expand on her report on the eve of the province’s expected new legislation about hydro transmission.

What is North Korea really after?…It’s a question that many people, especially international leaders, are pondering. North Korea recently announced it does have the atomic bomb. Peter Buitenhuis, a professor emeritus of English at SFU who specializes in war propaganda, is also trying to figure out North Korea’s motives for provoking a confrontation with the US. "Does it merely want recognition of its significance internationally, a non-aggression pact, more trade, or what?" questions Buitenhuis, who analyses the origins and growth of government propaganda in many international contexts. Buitenhuis speculates, "North Korea has viewed the United States as ignoring its interests since treaty arrangements fixed the current border and demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. North Korea is now demanding attention and its most effective weapon in the current propaganda war is the development of an atomic bomb, even if it is unconfirmed." Buitenhuis can talk more about the US partnership with China in trying to defuse the crisis.

Opening Pandora’s box in the Middle East…The political vacuum created by the American government’s overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein may be creating more problems than US President George Bush foresaw. SFU history professor Bill Cleveland, an expert on Islamic history and issues, isn’t surprised that religious groups, such as Shiite Muslims, are rushing to fill the political vacuum. Cleveland says: "The US government doesn’t know enough about the Shi’a networks in Iraq and faces a growth of anti-US feeling as well as chaos. Much hangs in the balance over the next three to four months." Cleveland can expand on his comments, but due to constraints, can take calls only after 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please email advance requests if an interview is desired on Tuesday or Thursday.