BBC Breakfast – Monday 6 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:

Ian Pertin(sp?): BBC News with Ian Pertin. 

  1. The American space agency NASA is celebrating the successful landing of its robotic vehicle Mars following a journey lasting nine months.  Staff at mission control in California cheered and hugged each other as the Mars rover, known as Curiosity, touched down.  It’s mission is to search for clues about whether the planet was ever capable of supporting life.
  2. Syrian state television is reporting that the prime minister, Riad Hijab, has been dismissed.  He was appointed only in May and there’s no immediate explanation as to why he’s been removed.  Details are still coming in.
  3. The president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, has promised that Egyptian security forces will take full control of the Sinai peninsula after gunmen attacked the border with Israel.  At least sixteen (16) Egyptian border guards were killed.  Israel said the heavily armed attackers tried to force their way across the border.
  4. India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, says he’s shocked and saddened by an attack on a Sikh temple in the American state of Wisconsin in which at least six people died.  A gunman opened fire on worshippers who’d gathered for morning prayers in the city of Oak Creek. 
  5. Chinese police have detained nearly two thousand people as part of a nationwide operation to clamp down on fake drugs.  Officials said about a hundred and eighty million ($180,000,000) dollars of counterfeit products were seized. 
  6. Officials in the Philippines says members of a Muslim rebel group have launched simultaneous attacks in several southern towns and villages, killing at least three (3) people.  Hundreds of villagers are reported to have fled their homes. 
  7. Day ten of the London Olympic Games and the athletics stadium will host finals of the men’s four hundred meters (400m) and the women’s shot put.  In the women’s pole vault, Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia is aiming to become the first female athlete ever to win three consecutive gold medals. 
  8. And the Chinese gymnast, Chen Yibing, will attempt to retain his Olympic title on the rings. 

Second the Snark:

Today’s Daily Commute podcast is a special about the Olympic performance of African countries this summer, so the format is different than usual.  (And I couldn’t find the spelling of today’s newsreader on their website.)  Of today’s headlines, six of them, a nice, round three quarters, qualify as real news, though the Chinese arresting a shitload of people for selling counterfeit drugs is a story that probably loses most or all of its meaning without a lot of context. 

The Syrian Prime Minister has apparently fled to Jordan and defected away from the Assad government.  Al Jazeera is reporting that his escape was long planned and that he’s encouraging other officials to join the rebels as well.  Chalk this up as more bad news for Bashar al-Assad, who should probably be looking to purchase a nice retirement home in southern Russia at this point.

The situation on the Israeli-Egyptian border is still very confused, with both the Egyptian government and Hamas closing their crossings into Gaza, and Israel saying that the attack was intended to capture an Israeli soldier.  Similar uncertainty surrounds the gunman in Wisconsin who murdered a bunch of Sikhs yesterday.  So far, the FBI has been tightlipped about who he was and why they think he did it.

The Manila Times is calling the simultaneous attacks on villages the work of a “breakaway group of Muslim rebels” called the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which has the less than intimidating acronym of BIFF.  The group they broke away from, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, is negotiating with the government and has an even more unfortunate English abbreviation, MILF. 

And, in very cool news, NASA’s Rube Goldberg landing plan actually worked:


Well done, NASA.  They’re going to spend the next few weeks making sure all the equipment survived the landing before they start vaporizing rocks with Curiosity’s million watt death ray and digging into Mars with the goal of seeing if life ever existed there. 

[Note: This was posted late because Comcast sucks ass.]

Posted August 6, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Uncategorized

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