BBC Breakfast – Monday 30 July 2012   Leave a comment

[At around 7am every morning, the BBC World Service publishes its Daily Commute podcast.  It’s a fantastic source of news, albeit one with a lot of flaws.  This post is a transcript and critique of the first three minutes.  You can listen to the entire thirty minute program on-line or download an mp3 from their website.]

First the News:

Female Announcer: This is a download from the BBC.  To find out more and our terms of use, go to 

Dan Damon: This is Dan Damon with your World Update Daily Commute recorded on Monday at 5:30am U.S. East Coast time.  And we’re here at St Pancras railway station, one of the bustling Olympic transport hubs in London, heaving with fans catching the Javelin trains to the Olympic park, and we’ll hear from a few of them. 

Male Olympic Fan: That’s great, it’s brilliant.
Damon: Which sport are you going to watch?
Male Olympic Fan: Handball.
Damon: Do you know anything about handball?
Male Olympic Fan: [laughs] No, we don’t, actually.

(Full story at the 5:00 mark)

Damon: And in our first full week of Olympic sport, we’ll hear what’s coming up and a closer look at a few sports, fencing today, and cycling.

Cycling Guy: You have these alliances between enemies in cycling.  That’s the way it’s always worked.  And you can only win often if you can form an alliance with your enemy. 

(Full story at the 7:00 mark)

Damon: Plus the art of the Olympic medal and in other news a huge power failure in northern India.  First the news headlines.

Neil Nunes:  BBC news with Neil Nunes. 

  1. A huge power failure is affecting northern India, cutting off hundreds of millions of people across nine states.  Officials said the electricity grid crashed because some states used more power than they were authorized to. 
  2. Meanwhile, fire has swept through carriages on an overnight passenger train in southern India, killing as many as forty-seven people.  It’s thought the blaze was started by an electrical fault. 
  3. Reports from Syria say the army has overrun at least part of the Salah al-Din neighborhood in the city of Aleppo after a night of heavy bombardment.  Syrian state media said the district, formerly a rebel stronghold, had been purged. 
  4. The United Nations estimates that around two hundred thousand (200,000) people have fled the fighting in Aleppo over the past two days.  The head of the UN humanitarian operations, Valerie Amos, says others are trapped in the city and in urgent need of help.
  5. The trial of three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot has begun in Moscow.  The women were charged with hooliganism after singing a song against President Putin at the alter of the city’s main cathedral.
  6. Australia and New Zealand are restoring full diplomatic relations with Fiji following years of tension over a military coup in 2006.  Australia said it was encouraged by Fiji’s steps to return to democracy. 
  7. The president of Romania, Traian Basescu, has survived a referendum on whether to remove him from office.  The vote was not valid because the turnout didn’t reach the required 50%. 
  8. Eight people were killed in Poland when a train collided with a minibus at a level crossing near the city of Lodz.  Police said the vehicle was carrying mainly Ukrainian seasonal workers to a local factory. 
  9. The head of the group of countries using the Euro, Jean-Claude Juncker, has added his voice to European leaders saying that decisive action will be taken to ensure the stability of the single currency. 

BBC News.

Second the Snark:

Like most mornings, a third of today’s headlines aren’t actually news.  The train fire in India (2) and the bus crash in Poland (8), while tragic for those involved and their loved ones, has no real significance to the wider world.  Similarly, Euro-poobahs saying that the Euro will be protected (9) has happened so often of late that it’s become part of the background noise of current events.  New, concrete actions are news, some schmuck in a suit offering platitudes is not. 

In real news, Al Jazeera is reporting that the Syrian rebels are denying the government’s claims to have taken the Salaheddin district.  (Al Jazeera and the BBC spell it differently, but it’s the same place.) 

Power has already been partially restored in India, though the trains still aren’t running.  BBC has some pictures of the enforced idleness. 

Pussy Riot is either going to get a slap on the wrist, or they are going to get tossed in jail for several years.  Virtually nobody, inside Russia or out, believes that a fair trial will determine which outcome occurs. 

Posted July 30, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Uncategorized

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