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Friday 27 November - the plan so far

Verity Murphy | 12:08 UK time, Friday, 27 November 2009

Here is what we are currently planning for tonight's programme:

We have a very powerful film by Steve Rosenberg ahead of the Demjanjuk trial on Monday.

John Demjanjuk is due to stand trial in Germany accused of helping to murder more than 27,000 Jews at the Nazi death camp of Sobibor in eastern Poland.

Steve Rosenberg has met one man who survived the camp's horrors.

We are also looking at the Dubai debt problems, concerns about which have driven down Europe's share markets for a second day running.

More later.


  • Comment number 1.

    why is the bbc providing news sites to brazil?

    lots of licence fee payers out there is there?

    its under the normal bbc logo so its not the fo sponsored world service?

  • Comment number 2.

    Reference the first point here, the Demjanjuk trial. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] makes interesting reading. Something I'd never heard of until very recently.

  • Comment number 3.

    Reference the first item - "film by Steve Rosenberg ahead of the Demjanjuk trial"

    Hmm, seems as if my link may have fallen foul of Blogdog. It was to a publication I knew nothing about until very recently. It made interesting reading. Google "The First Holocaust: Jewish Fundraising Campaigns" and download the PDF. Political appeals like this are still made, think of the Gaza Appeal.

  • Comment number 4.

    A year ago (October 9, 2008) I wrote about Dubai on this (BBC Newsnight) blog, in the context of the collapse of the Iceland banking system. At that time I said:

    "It is important that any new regulation should address the real factors which now drive the financial markets; not those of half a century ago which still drive the IMF.

    Of these new factors it seems to me that the most important may be:
    9) Where governments are involved in supporting banks, directly or indirectly, their exact roles should also be subject to independent investigation.

    In view of current proposed solutions, where nations are underwriting banks, the last item has now become significant. In view of what has happened to Iceland, this element needs just as much supervision. A year ago if its PM said the nation would stand behind all the debts we would have believed him; and presumably many then did. Of course we now know his word was worthless. But much the same might be true of other smaller nations whose economy was boosted by similarly dubious machinations. One wonders what exactly is the position of those tax havens whose trillion dollar financial activities are so carefully hidden.

    One that has, in any case, worried me for some time is Dubai. Its building boom, now running into billions of dollars, has been funded on the basis that the Sheikh in effect runs his own sovereign wealth fund – much like that of other oil producers – which easily covers his ‘hobbies’. The reality seemingly is that the trillions of investment are covered by something like just $100 billion of GDP, mainly in the same finance industries which have just brought Iceland to its knees. However, of this GDP only 1% or so comes from oil – which is due to run out in a decade or so. Dubai is, therefore, literally built on sand. It is all smoke and mirrors; as befits the entertainment industry of which it really is a part."

    A year later and my worries have become fact.

    The important question it poses is "Why did nobody else see this? Or, at least, why did they do nothing about it?"

    We now find that the banks, which have caused us so much trouble, are still exposed to the problems of Dubai. Remember that their managers are so clever that they are literally worth millions a year in salary, yet I - as a retired academic earning perhaps 1% of their salary - was able (spending a couple of hours searching the Internet) to outsmart them by the simple use of commonsense!

    My own answer to the question is that we should use commonsense more often, and pay those who claim to have divine inspiration for their judgments rather less.

    Indeed, I think it says something for our society that we now value snake oil salesmen above all others. What does that say about us?

  • Comment number 5.

    "No JJ, no comment?"

  • Comment number 6.


    Mr Taylor

    You are probably aware of the fact that most bloggers here lie through their teeth with me being one of a very few, if not the only one, who speak with their own voice and as they find.

    As for myself, I am aware of the identities of most of the regular NN bloggers with some from a distant past, and with others who I have either met or am aware of who they are.

    I'm a bit surprised that you've chosen to apologise to mk2 rather than complain about his abusive self-deluded superiority but then again you may have some reasons to do that.

    It's interesting what you say about Jeremy and I'm sure it's true but I don't think you'll find many NN bloggers happy to hear your opinion on Paxo as they are on a deluded competition trip with him. Personally, I am very happy to learn an open and appreciative view point on him and his ability to earn even more money as a journalist outside of the publicly funded media service that seems to have become 'a cage ridden with a sort of reign of terror, intolerance and pathetic attempts of some nutters trying to make a name for themselves, etc


  • Comment number 7.

    Where is JJ?

  • Comment number 8.

    RE McKinnon if he was A real Illegal Alien Terrorist gold grabbing Human Rights barristers would be Crawling all over him, taxpayers gold of course.

    waiting for my non payment of Tax court case with Glee, Can you get Blood out of A Stone?

    I Didnt/Dont Think So.

  • Comment number 9.


    Our MPs connive at the Westminster/EU stitch-up.

    Our diplomats connive at Tony's war.

    Our military fail to stage an overdue coup.

    Our monarch is seen waving.

    We, the people, want our pride and integrity back.


  • Comment number 10.

    PEAK SNAKE OIL? (#4)

    "Indeed, I think it says something for our society that we now value snake oil salesmen above all others. What does that say about us?"

    When a woman goes from one wife-beater to the next - it is reasonable to take a hard look at her psychology. Likewise: when a country serially elevates deluded weirdoes to Prime Minister, IT IS TIME TO LOOK AT THE MENTAL HEALTH OF THAT COUNTRY.

    Bonkers Britain is the problem.

  • Comment number 11.

    #7 dallan169

    Just got this threat from the blog team

    "Please note that anyone who seriously or repeatedly breaks the House Rules may have action taken against their account."

    All I did was post 2 lines of referenced statistics in response to Indy2 post regarding numbers of disease cases related to water.

    It would appear I have gone off topic for the blog by not referencing sit spins or twirls.

  • Comment number 12.

    DUBAI continued

    In my earlier entry I specifically talked about Dubai. I note that others have expanded this sort of argument to apply to other nations, such as Argentina and Venezuela. I do not think this is particularly helpful. These other nations may well have their own problems, but the essence of the Dubai situation is that it is so extreme (in terms of property speculation beyond the dreams of the UK amateurs who were encouraged to join in) that it highlights the failures of the banks to apply even basic commonsense to the tasks for which they are so highly paid.

    Returning to Dubai, a further point to make is that its financial collapse should not precipitate another global crisis. It is much more like the situation in Iceland, which the banks coped with - though the locals were badly hit. Much the same may be true of Dubai.

    Having said all that, the figures bandied about in the media - of between $50bn and $80bn - are woefully short of the likely exposures. In fact Dubai World Central developments by themselves are around $80bn (with another $60bn possibly coming from Dubai World itself); and to this can easily be added Nakheel (also at $60bn), The Lagoons ($80bn), Arabia Canal ($60bn), Business Bay ($30bn), etc etc.

    Indeed, the problem is essentially that of the speculative property developer who has vastly overstretched himself; on a property which is far too large for the demand - it dwarfs even Las Vegas.

    There may be some double counting in these estimates, but by themselves they add up developments costing close to $400bn - most of which are due for opening within months, so the investments have already been made - and then there are the myriad of other smaller developments!

    These 'valuation' were made in the good times. But property prices have already slumped by more than a half, so the existing losses are probably in excess of $200bn; much too high to be met by charitable donations by Abu Dhabi. They will probably be even higher when tourists and business leaders find themselves surrounded by the inevitable dereliction of the half-completed buildings which will dominate the landscape.

    However, the sufferings of the locals are not the essence of my message. Property speculators by their nature are hopelessly optimistic. My concern is about the global banks who, by not using even a bit of common sense (and probably bedazzled by the commissions being earned), once more put all our money at risk.

  • Comment number 13.

    I will admit bias from the start. I will never vote for a Tory but I hope I would take the same position were it a politician being given the access to Newsnight that Michael Gove was given on Friday Nov 27. He was interviewed by Gavin Esler about his faith schools mistake and put the Tory party's position, which as shadow spokesman for education he was entitled. But then, seamlessly, he appeared on Newsnight Review. In my opinion this gives him an opportunity and platform he should not have. Granted he was not talking about Tory party policy when taking part in the Review. But is impossible to disassociate the politician from the pundit and this left the impression that Gavin Esler had treated him more gently than he would otherwise.

  • Comment number 14.

    post 11 All subjects are Related in one way or another, for every action there is A reaction, for every positive there is A negitive, ying yang ding dong etc

    I enjoy being off message/non pc, I enjoy Stirring the broth


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