Sunday, 8 May 2016

Newshour with Razia Iqbal

Brian Mendonça

News can be seen as an acronym for the four directions i.e. North-East-West-South (NEWS). Newshour is broadcast by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on short wave (SW) radio Monday to Thursday 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. GMT.  One can tune in to Newshour in Goa between 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. IST on the 25 metreband. The reception on my Philips RL 205 radio is good.

Since local newspapers are printed before the break of dawn they usually bring you yesterday’s news.  Given my aversion for TV news with its ads, and indifferent reception, I know that my current awareness would take a beating if I only relied on a diet of hard copy.  Newshour brings you the latest in current developments from around the globe at the end of the day.  Several stories are aired which are not even breathed about in the morning’s papers.  The content programming for BBC is for a global audience.

On the last Newshour I tuned in to, my host was the feisty Razia Iqbal who presented the programme with élan.  The first story was about the state inquest findings that the 96 Liverpool fans who perished in the FA cup semi-final between Liverpool (the home of the Beatles) and Nottingham Forest (the home of Robin Hood) at Hillsborough stadium in 1989 were innocent.  The police were held as grossly negligent in handling the crowd.

Next up was the anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986.  A reporter at Kiev spoke to one of the residents there and even recorded the lady’s singing dog! The radiation leak led to the breakup of the Soviet Union, with the toxic fumes crossing the border to Southern Belarus and being seen even as far as Sweden.

The repercussions of Britain’s moving out of the EU were discussed, as was the run-up to the US elections in Connecticut.  Einstein’s equivalence principle was sought to be tested by physicists. Finally Newshour reported how the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has declared the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island (‘the Guantanamo of the Pacific’)* in PNG as illegal and how Australia may be held liable. There was also a special focus on the idiom ‘one fell swoop’ in Shakespeare’s plays – this being the 400th anniversary of his death. An actor was brought into the studio to play Macduff from the play Macbeth.

Razia split after 13 years of marriage with George Arney also with the BBC and former host of ‘The World Today.’  The confident and now single Razia born in a Pakistani Punjabi family in Uganda in 1962, is a far cry from contemporary portrayals of immigrant experience in the U.K. Take for example Nazneen, the demure Muslim lady from Bangladesh who moves to London at the age of 18 and is portrayed in Brick Lane (2003) by British novelist, Monica Ali. It is interesting that Razia also anchors the Identity Debate on BBC -- How our identities are changing in a globalized world.
*; Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 8 May 2016.  Pix courtesy Razia Iqbal @ twitter 

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