BBC Breakfast – Thursday 2 August 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 the mp3 at 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 Thursday at 5:30am U.S. East Coast time.  Coming up, one of the great rivalries of the Olympics sees another round today, Michael Phelps taking on Ryan Lochte in the pool.  And President Putin paying a visit to the Games, but critics say the IOC should’ve torn up his ticket.  A number of positive developments for women are leading some people to ask if the London Games are the women’s Olympics.

Female Olympics Fan: I’m really proud, to be honest, because it shows that there’s more equality around the world.  And it’s not just a man’s world.

(Full story at 4:00 mark)

Damon: And, have wheels will travel, sales of bicycles are sharply up in London during the games, and skateboards. 

Skateboarder: It’s much more of a sprint on a skateboard than a bike.  I guess you could do five miles nice and easy without getting sweaty before work.

(Full story at 24:30)

Damon: First the news.

Jonathan Izard: BBC news with Jonathan Izard.

  1. Opposition activists in the Syrian capital Damascus have accused government forces and militia of summarily killing more than seventy people there.  Heavy fighting is continuing in the capital, and also in the largest city Aleppo, where reports say that rebels have launched an attack on the main military airbase.  Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Council has criticized rebel gunman in Aleppo for killing several prisoners who belonged to a pro-government militia.
  2. A survey by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the FAO, has found that three million (3,000,000) Syrians need food, crops and livestock assistance.
  3. The Russian president Vladimir Putin will discuss Syria with the British Prime Minister later today on the Russian leader’s first visit to Britain since relations between the two countries deteriorated.  It’s seven years since Mr. Putin last visited Britain. 
  4. An official of the Indonesian Olympic team in London has told the BBC that the female badminton team deliberately tried to lose their last group match to get an easier game in the next round of the competition, and that other teams had the same policy.  World badminton officials disqualified players from Indonesia, South Korea, and China for throwing matches.
  5. Leaders of the European Central Bank will meet later today in Frankfurt, a week after its president, Mario Draghi, said the ECB would do whatever was needed to preserve the Euro.  Markets interpreted his statement to mean strong intervention to take over some of the debts of countries in difficulty, particularly Spain.
  6. A United Nations deadline expires today for Sudan and South Sudan to settle critical disputes left unresolved when the South became independent last year.  The two states could now face potential UN sanctions.
  7. The government of Uganda says sixteen (16) people have died from the Ebola virus that’s broken out in the west of the country.  But a doctor at the center which analyzes the blood samples said there were only five cases confirmed so far and there was no cause for panic.

That’s the latest BBC World Service news.

Second the Snark

Well done, BBC, only one story among the headlines, the ludicrously dumb badminton thing (4), isn’t news today.  Though it’s hard to get too excited over the gender equality of the Games when Google tells me that male athletes still outnumber female ones by 25%.  Closer than it’s ever been doesn’t mean it’s actually equal.

In real news, the ECB looks set to continue doing whatever the minimum necessary to keep the Euro limping along until the next crisis, which should be in about two weeks.  Speaking of continuing problems, the Syrian civil war is still going strong, with both the rebels and government killing the defenseless today.  Adjusted for the relative size of the population, those three million people the UN says are going to need food aid would be the rough equivalent of the entire populations of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois in the United States.  That’s a big chunk of the country. 

It’d be interesting to hear what Putin says to Cameron about Syria, though it’s probably some variation of “I’m going to let them fight it out, now let’s go watch judo”.  It’s also funny that people think the IOC, which has to be up there with FIFA as the most openly corrupt organization on the planet, would tear up the ticket of the leader of one of the most openly crooked governments on the planet.  Putin and the IOC go hand in hand, Sochi 2014! 

The UN deadline for Sudan and South Sudan is one of those disheartening leftovers from just a year ago where there was some hope that peace would break out between the two of them.  They were supposed to have been negotiating their border this last year, not fighting over it and making an already bad refugee crisis worse.

And finally, Ebola remains a scary enough disease (they even made a crappy Dustin Hoffman movie about it) that it makes the news even though it’s endemic to central Africa and the quarantine procedures are well understood.  (Uganda has real doctors, you know.)  It’s a terrible way to die, but there are a lot of those, and this outbreak is very unlikely to spread far. 

Posted August 2, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Uncategorized

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