BBC Breakfast – Tuesday 7 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:

  1. Iran has said it holds the United States responsible for the safety of forty-eight (48) Iranians being held hostage by a rebel group in Syria.  The Iranian deputy foreign minister said that what he called “America’s open support for terrorist groups and its dispatch of weapons to Syria” made Washington responsible for the life of the men.
  2. The Philippine capital Manila has been brought to a near standstill by flood waters after almost twenty-four hours of continuous rain.  Government offices and financial markets were closed.  Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. 
  3. Shares in the British bank Standard Chartered have fallen sharply after financial regulators in New York accused the bank of hiding more than two hundred and fifty billion ($250,000,000,000) in illegal transactions with Iran.  Standard Chartered shares dropped by more than fifteen percent (15%) in early trading in London after similar falls in Hong Kong. 
  4. Gunman in central Nigeria have shot dead at least fifteen (15) people in an attack on a church.  Officials in Kogi state say the attack took place during a late night service on Monday.
  5. Officials in eastern Afghanistan say a suicide bomber has attacked a NATO military base, injuring at least eleven (11) Afghans and two (2) foreign troops.  The bomber used a truck packed with explosives to target the base in Logar province. 
  6. Day eleven of the London Olympics will see a number of athletics finals.  The men’s 1500m, high jump, and the women’s 100m hurdles.  Jamaica’s Usain Bolt will begin his attempt to be first man to win the 100 and 200m golds in two successive Olympics.
  7. The Russian state prosecutor in the trial of the punk rock band Pussy Riot has asked for a sentence of three years each to be given to the singers.  The three girls who performed in Moscow’s main cathedral calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of the president, Vladimir Putin, could’ve faced a maximum sentence of seven years. 

Second the Snark:

The details of the Pussy Riot “trial” are just as bizarre and absurd as you’d expect:

So many of the defence lawyers’ questions are simply being disallowed by the judge. "Are you aware the halls inside the church are rented for $10,000 a time?" one of them asks, but the question is simply struck off.

To add to the craziness, there’s a dog in the middle of the courtroom, though it was a different one today. They alternate: there are two of them, a huge German shepherd and a rottweiler. They bark madly whenever anyone raises their voice.

Even in murder trials you don’t have them, it’s only when, say, the boss of organised crime goes on trial. Never in an ordinary case.

Russia knows show trials.  Oh, and BBC?  The members of Pussy Riot are many things, but they stopped being “girls” a long time ago. 

The Nigerian shooting doesn’t have a responsible party yet, though religiously based attacks have been on the rise of late.  This one comes just a few days after another unknown group of armed men attacked an oil services boat.

The Afghan bombing is so ho-hum that the BBC’s homepage right now doesn’t even list it.  They’ve got a different bombing, against a minibus in Kabul, as their only Afghan story, and it’s tucked down near the bottom with the other minor stories.  Neither Al Jazeera or the New York Times homepages mention either. 

The Manila Times has the current death count from today’s flooding at five people with half the city under water.  A typhoon swept by the country last week, and fifty people have been killed in flooding nationwide.

The two Iran stories, the British bank hiding their money and their government blaming the US for hostages taken in Syria, are of a kind.  So far the bank is denying the charges, and Washington doesn’t give a shit about Iranian hostages (for all kinds of reasons), so neither is likely to change things much. 

Posted August 7, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Uncategorized

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