THEY CAN’T get Iraq’s lights on, but the US can open a new TV station that will broadcast to Iraq 24 hours a day. ‘We don’t do propaganda,’ says the station’s boss, Norman Pattiz. But the station has been set up with $30 million allocated by George Bush.
And Pattiz sits on the board of Voice of America, a longstanding US government radio station. Last year Pattiz set up Voice of America’s Radio Sawa, which broadcast US propaganda throughout the war on Iraq.
Pattiz is also Middle East director at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is responsible for beaming pro-US propaganda into millions of homes across the world.
And he is the man behind Westwood One, the US’s biggest commercial radio distributor. Pattiz models Westwood One on the MTV music channel. ‘It was MTV that brought down the Berlin Wall,’ Pattiz says. ‘When we play Jennifer Lopez, we talk about all the difficulties she has overcome. Those are the great stories about the kind of things that can happen to you when you live in a democracy.’
THE BRITISH government is also manipulating the media, according to new research. Leading media researcher Roman Gerodimos from Bournemouth University analysed 128 media articles between September 2002 and March 2003. They showed that the government kept shifting how they justified going to war. Gerodimos said last week, ‘There has clearly been a shift in the rhetoric of the government – the moral humanitarian argument became the argument for the professional leadership of the prime minister.’
THE BOSS of Jarvis, the rail maintenance firm, raked in a 65.7 percent pay rise last year. Paris Moayedi got £595,000 and his firm recorded profits of £45 million. Jarvis profits from privatisation. It failed to replace the piece of track that led to the Hatfield rail crash.
KENT’S TORIES want thousands of people to come across the Channel from France to find a better life. No, they haven’t seen sense about refugees. The Tory council wants up to 10,000 British people to buy cheap homes in the French town of Calais and commute to Britain.
It is hoping to cook up a deal with Eurotunnel to introduce lower ticket prices for British travellers.
PATIENTS ARE dying in Romania after medical supplies were withdrawn by drug companies because of unpaid bills. Last week doctors at St Mary’s Hospital, in Iasi, had to decide which ten sick children would survive out of 21 as there was not enough medicine to treat them all.
Doctors have begged on the streets for money to treat their patients. The sick are told to bring their own medical supplies. Patients needing intensive care have been told they will wait months for treatment.
THE US has dodged laws banning explosive landmines by developing mines that electrocute people. The new landmine satisfies the letter of the 1997 Ottawa Convention banned exploding landmines. But it can zap people with 50,000-volt shocks.
It is being touted as a non-lethal security device. But Richard Lloyd of Landmine Action said, ‘If you’re pregnant, a child or old, the effects of 50,000 volts are potentially lethal.’
A RELIGIOUS fanatic at the head of a justice department handing out death sentences and condemned by human rights groups. It’s not the Middle East – it’s the US.
Attorney general John Ashcroft never misses his daily prayers. Since he has come to office Ashcroft has overruled federal prosecutors 28 times. Each time he has forced them to pursue death sentences that they did not think warranted. Of these 28 defendants, 26 were from minorities but Ashcroft says there is ‘no evidence of racial bias’ in federal death penalty cases.
A new Amnesty International report shows in the US black defendants convicted of killing whites are 15 times more likely to be sentenced to death than whites convicted of killing blacks.
A BLACK man won £40,000 compensation from the British police last week. When Francisco Borg was attacked by thugs in Cardiff in 1997 he went to an officer for help.
But when the thugs reappeared and Francisco ran off the police arrested him. ‘We thought they were there to help us. But they turned and attacked us and arrested us,’ he told the court last week.
ENTERTAINMENT bosses are gleeful at the creation of a self destructing movie and music format that could force people to repeatedly buy recordings. MPEG-4 technology can wipe out or lock recordings after a time-limit or set number of plays.
The recording auto-erase could kick in after just 20 plays. If you want to listen to your favourite tracks after the cut-off point you will have to pay up again.
The disc is designed not to play again until a fee is paid for a special ‘key’ which can unlock the recording, or you have to buy a new version. The technology – developed by Apple, France Telecom, Philips, Mitsubishi, Samsung and Sun – is already a big hit with film and music traders.
Larry Horn of MPEG-4 says, ‘Limiting use is clearly what the industry wants.’ The industry bosses may want it, but not the people who have to pay up again and again just to listen to their favourite music.
100 million is the amount in pounds that fraudster Stephen Hinchcliffe cost when he caused the Facia Group to crash. Hinchcliffe got a two-year suspended sentence.
‘Any efforts of anybody outside of Iraq to create an outsider’s version of what should take place for the Iraqi people by the Iraqi people in Iraq will not have much chance of success.’
Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman
‘The coalition and the coalition alone retains absolute authority in Iraq.’
Lieutenant General David McKiernan
‘They [the BNP] want to hoodwink voters into thinking the party best known for racism and soccer violence has gone respectable.’
Daily Express, 29 April, page 1
‘Stop so many asylum seekers coming here in the first place.’
Daily Express, 29 April, page 12
‘This country is overpopulated.’
Sadie Graham, Nazi BNP candidate for Brinsley, East Midlands
‘I would get him a specially commissioned suit from Paul Smith with a Union Jack lining. A suit like this would give Blair an opportunity to fly the flag for British design wherever he goes by giving appropriate flashes at appropriate moments.’
Ben Evans, former content editor at the Millennium Dome on what to get Blair for his 50th birthday
The US defence department announced last week that a satellite positioning device had been found in an Afghan cave. They said the equipment was lost in Somalia in 1993. The discovery, they proclaimed, was concrete evidence at last that Bin Laden's Al Qaida network was behind the deaths of 18 US soldiers in the disastrous raid on Mogadishu.