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Wednesday 5 August 2009

Sarah McDermott | 16:23 UK time, Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Here's Kirsty Wark with news of what's happening tonight on Newsnight:

A happy story from North Korea? A publicity coup for one of the world's toughest dictators in a closed country where labour camps are full of North and South Koreans, where there is widespread poverty and starvation, and where the threat of an attack on South Korea is ever present. United States citizens Laura Ling and her sister, Euna Lee, (who work for Al Gore's Current TV) were arrested in March and found guilty of entering the country illegally, and then sentenced to 12 years hard labour. Today former US President Bill Clinton brought them home after meeting with Kim Jong Il, many photo ops, and a resultant special pardon for the two women. Tonight we'll be asking who has come out of this deal on top.

Is Twitter an amazing phenomenon, catapulting communication and journalism into a new era? Or simply an extension of text messaging that has captured the public's attention because of such diverse things as the Obama campaign, Demi Moore, and the Iranian uprising? We'll be speaking to the CEO and co-founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, about why he thinks it's so popular in the UK (second only to the US), what he thinks of China banning Twitter, how the company makes money with a free site, and what happens next. Click here if you have a question of your own for the Twitter CEO.

And if you are a regular viewer you will know about our group of care leavers whom our reporter Liz McKean has been following - Cherish, Jareth, Cass and Phil - as they try to take greater control of their lives. As we've seen it's been tough for each of them as they struggle without much of the emotional, physical and financial support that the majority of young people enjoy - and take for granted. In tonight's film Cherish is turning 18, something she's been preparing for with driving lessons. What will happen when she comes of age? And we catch up with Jareth as he deals with the dizzying responsibilities of a tenancy in a council flat. You can read more about tonight's Leaving Care film here.

Finally Prime Minister Putin of Russia has not let us down again this year with his holiday snaps. We will playout the programme tonight with some of the footage. Leave your ideas for what cheesy music you think should accompany it below!


  • Comment number 1.

    When I thought I might tweet one day, I did subscribe to the twitter but with no profile, just the tweeting name. And what did I receive back? - 3 e-mails suggesting I make money on some robot or other. You can guess what I did with the senders.
    Re: musical background to Putin's holiday snapshots
    What else but the Russian national hymn? The music is exactly the same as that of the Soviet anthem.

  • Comment number 2.

    Putin holiday snaps :

    Come on Kirsty lets see you do a Jeremy

  • Comment number 3.

    PUTIN only one piece of music possible - MACHO, MACHO Man by the Village People say it all.........

  • Comment number 4.

    Putin doing his hard-man act! It's gotta be Kalinka ...!

  • Comment number 5.

    Music for Putin’s holiday snaps must be “You’re so vain”!

  • Comment number 6.

    Attention please!
    Just in case you're wondering who is 'you'
    you is me, i.e. mimpromptu
    I sent the following postings on the previous but one page:
    #8 #12 #15 & #21

  • Comment number 7.

    Where's Jordan when her side of the curtain needs her?

    "One look at our respective bare torsos, and glasnost was got back on!"

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Love lifts us up where we belong....

  • Comment number 10.

    Apologies - it's not #21 but #31

  • Comment number 11.

    I think the music for Putin should be the Toccata and Fugue in D minor by JS Bach. It has the necessary gravity and also the menace behind it...

  • Comment number 12.

    Mimpromptu - whoever writes on the board is "you" to the writer, but your name is displayed for everyone else! No need to panic.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Cheesy music, eh? Well, I'm going to be cheeky with a suggestion: Ajda Pekkân's Turkish-language version of 'I Need a Hero', which, in Turkish, translates to 'O Benim Dunyam' (literal translation: 'He's My World'). Given the personality cult Mr. (ex-KGB colonel) Putin is attempting to create for himself, such a song - in its Turkish version - seems highly appropriate.

  • Comment number 15.

    Putin YMCA
    village people and macho man

  • Comment number 16.

    village people YMCA and macho man

  • Comment number 17.

    For Mr Putin what about: 'I'm too sexy for my shirt'?

  • Comment number 18.

    I found the perfect song for Putin on a horse!

    "Pepca Riding A Little Horse" by Tomas Visek


    "Riding On A Horse to Grandmother's House" by Geof Johnson


    "Putin Circle Stockings" by Helicopter Girl

  • Comment number 19.

    Got another two:

    "Vladimir and Olga" by the Stranglers


    "Vladimir's Blues" by Max Richter


  • Comment number 20.

    ...and can't resist this one for the bare chested Putin on a horse:

    "The KGB Made a Man Out of Me" by The Barracudas

  • Comment number 21.

    Thank you so much for your post. In fact, 'mimpromptu' did become 'you' for a few hours today and even BubblegumTriffid was intrigued who 'you' was (on the previous page).
    You see, I contacted the Newsnight Investigators by e-mail this afternoon and they very kindly reverted 'you' back to 'mimpromptu', for which I am much obliged and have now sent them a thank you note to this effect.
    Looking forward to reading your further postings, Mistress76uk

  • Comment number 22.

    For Putin "Tomorrow belongs to me" - go on, dare you!

  • Comment number 23.

    Music for Putin; Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

  • Comment number 24.

    Dear Newsnight, it may be funny for you to discuss Putins latest photo shoot, however, OUR Armed Forces are suffering in Afghanistan due to the incompetence of the Government and the MOD.

    Every newspaper and media organisation apart from the BBC is discussing the following:

    EU Referendum reports a story from the front page of today's Sun. Apparently there are armoured vehicles sitting on a dockside in Dubai doing nothing, which if they were transported to Afghanistan could do something to stem the seemingly never ending run of British soldiers dying from roadside bombs.

    Why are they in Dubai? The Sun says...

    Our troops are risking life and limb for a cause politicians insist is vital to the interests of UK security. If so, it needs to be waged with vigour, determination - and unswerving commitment. Without the wholehearted support of the state they are sent to defend, how can we ask our soldiers to fight and die for it?

    Yet after eight bloody years, there is little evidence that anyone in power - from the Prime Minister down - has their heart in it.

    Yet from the BBC and Newsnight we get some idiotic story about Putin, your ommision of the 'Ridgeback Armoured Vehicle' scandal is in itself a scandal, the Newsnight editors who choose what should be discussed on the show should be holding their heads in shame.

    I am absolutly outraged that you find Putin more newsworthy then our soldiers being maimed and killed.

  • Comment number 25.

    re: music for Putin
    How about a slightly rearranged version of a very well known song in which we could just swap 2 words, with the new title being 'I have cheese in the morning and cheese at night, etc'. It might sound rather tasty to the BBC mice.

  • Comment number 26.


    Well said Rustigjongens - but to no avail.

  • Comment number 27.


    Were we supposed to take the sight of Clinton 'rescuing' two media girls seriously?

    Does the Dear Leader watch porno movies in his spare time?

    You can NOT be serious man.

  • Comment number 28.

    5 years for the loan shark is not enough when he will only serve, what 2.5 ? then he be out and doing people over and about.

    The real sharks - Blair and Brown swimming in the deluded lagoon will escape the anglers, get fat but maybe one day too close to the bank the cats will paw them out and about with them.

    I listened to this early 90's flying near to Russia, women next to me offered me a listen on her walkman like machine - seemed to fit well with what I saw out the window.

  • Comment number 29.

    #28 Streetphotbeing, and what about this shark... he got away with it, a suspended sentence. But he's ruined the womans health and life, jolly good our justice system eh?!

    I wonder if either men will have to pay back any of the money, that would be a much more satisfactory outcome.

  • Comment number 30.

    #24 Totally agree Rustigjongens, but who cares about soldiers, you can't see them from blighty.

    Putin, well it is the silly season, in other words all the BBC go on holiday, and you just get daft items like this one shoved at you. I thought this propaganda was for the russians not us.

  • Comment number 31.


    for a fleeting moment my post appeared
    and then gonno

    zap! the pearl drops in the bin

  • Comment number 32.

    Sarah (Kristy)

    The North Korea story: it is good news to a least the journalists were released and were allowed to return to the united states...

    Disclosure: I am an avid viewer of Current Television...

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 33.

    27. At 9:28pm on 05 Aug 2009, barriesingleton wrote:

    I must say I had visions of the ladies bailing out back to N. Korea as the plane headed home and our Bill appears to tell them 'We'll be a mile high soon'.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.


    I have often pointed out that 'Western democracy' supported by universal suffrage, returns deeply flawed wannabe/gottabe individuals to high office/obscene power. You don't need to be super-smart to realise that Nixon and Dubya were way-off-centre; likewise Blair, Brown, and Thatcher.

    When these people, having left office, become revered 'elders', icons even, the group psyche has really lost it. In these circumstances Junkkmale and I (and I suspect many more) need a degree of catharsis.

    Blogdog - you aint never caught a rabbit and you aint no friend o' mine.

  • Comment number 37.

    Loved Kirsty's interview with Evan Williams yesterday :o)
    Twitter's a useful way of catching up on news/gossip - great to see Newsnight on Twitter last night giving updates every few minutes....
    And so funny with "Macho Man" playing out with the credits while Putin was on a horse!!!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    so when USA have people in trouble then send bill. When uk people in iraq are in trouble because of who the usa hold they get a bullet?

    also the usa extradict a uk ufo hunter as if he was somekind of world mastermind yet ignore the professional spies.

    this seems to be akin to the special relationship between a doormat and a boot?

  • Comment number 39.

    twitter invaluable to iranian protestors?

    for balance there should have been a mention of how twitter was easily hijacked by neocons pretending to be iranians?

  • Comment number 40.

    Post amended to fit what the BBC, in its commitment to a free society, deems permissable to say about our own, or America's, leaders, or former leaders.

    So Clinton ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 210 murdered ------------------------------------------------------------ Denis McShane, entirely wrongly admitted it in the Commons but wasn't reported by the upright & trustworthy BBC ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- atrocities ----------- of Hitler which never happened either ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- respect nothing but ---------.

    --------------- BBC who for 20 years -------------------------------------------------- nobody here suggest -------------------- truth.

    I hope this does not breach BBC guidelines in saying anything nasty about anybody. Presumably, being impartial, the BBC will wish to go through all their previous posts & delete any suggestion that Milosevic, Putin or any other non-favoured democraticaly elected leader ever fell short of perfection.

  • Comment number 41.

    Yes its appalling, Blair and Brown created a situation where by such people were more vunerable to terrible exploitation. Total and utter betrail of what Labour were all about.

    I dont like this *You* thing either, its like the *@* thing. Kinda in the direction of finger pointing. Please may I have my name back to my eyes NN web blog people ?

  • Comment number 42.

    Thank you, streetphotobeing
    I have been writing more poems. Perhaps if we might one day
    meet in the bloggers club i'll be able to share them with you.

  • Comment number 43.

    #39 bookhimdano

    "for balance there should have been a mention of how twitter was easily hijacked by neocons pretending to be iranians?"

    I think the issue of validation of users was raised. I mentioned it yesterday too as for instance many posters on this page don't disclose they are National Socialists or BNP or Nazis depending on the particular label used.

    They don't favour democracy and would impose tyranny if they could.

  • Comment number 44.

    #40 neilninepercent

    If anything I tend to the view that those who would perpetuate lies like Holocaust "Agnosticism" should be banned but the practicalities of that make it very difficult.

  • Comment number 45.

    #36 barriesingleton

    "'Western democracy' "

    The point would be that you would prefer National Socialism and tyranny - and the rest of the population don't.

    Hitler used ideology as a tool and not as a guide. He was simply psychologically impelled to be a leader and so needed an ideology that would make him a replacement aristocrat.

    The propaganda lies like hatred of Jews is never properly explained because it can't be. There is no rational substance beyond a boogey-man myth of the Jewish Communist International.

    Not that lies like Holocaust "Agnosticism" would ever bother you. You won't be taking any evidence to the trial of alleged war criminal Djenjanjuk because you know its not true.

  • Comment number 46.

    Newsnight when the time is appropriate would it not be an opportune time to do a piece on the views that led Von Bruun to shoot a security guard at a Holocaust Memorial in the US?

    He was an American Friend of the BNP and his views are really not as far removed from the views of far right posters on this page as you would imagine.

    Perhaps by making the illogicality of the views, and the utter absence of evidence to support them, apparent those that may have been deluded by the false arguments of those on the far right could be exposed.

    Perhaps a psychiatrist could also pass comment - or even better an intelligence profiler - and attempt to describe the mania that possesses those that perpetuate myths they must know on some level are false.

  • Comment number 47.

    #26 barriseingleton

    Is it not a joy to know that there is not one BNP member in the Armed Forces? That could be an underused recruiting ploy.

  • Comment number 48.

    On the European Bank report I assume that there won't be any proposal that Brown be made a hero of the European Union for saving the economy.

    Even at this stage Brown has not really come up with any measures that would prevent any future crisis of a similar vein.

    Thats because it is not politically convenient to admit how much he got wrong.

  • Comment number 49.

    Harman has said she is not a "shrinking violet". As a commentator said on Channel 4 she is being implicitly sexist by suggesting "men can't be left to handle things on their own" - as opposed to highlighting what evidence there is that women are being deprived of high office by their sex.

    This is somebody who was content to be called a "Blair Babe" and is now crying foul?

    Its not about her being a "shrinking violet" its about her personal ambition - at a time of genuine national crisis.

    Ask not what your country can do for you ...

  • Comment number 50.

    Would Europe welcome having a President Blair who at best may have looked the other way on torture?

  • Comment number 51.

    Speaking of House Rules, let's give my No. 34 another stab, this time with but one hyperlink (I've ditched the other to the latest opinions of a senior broadcast executive, which may be deemed digging through the barrel into the hole and on to China) to a national newspaper and excising the apparently copyright-breaching actual full quote I was referring to:

    24. At 8:48pm on 05 Aug 2009, Rustigjongens wrote:

    It is to be hoped if, on current evidence not expected, that the major media, and our 'government', might investigate and comment on the accuracy, and implications of the brief letter from Carol Rigby in today's Telegraph:

    SIR – If the troops in Afghanistan...

    When they all return from school hols, after the 'silly season' passes and things get back to super 'normal' for those more privileged to 'ordinary' folk, that is.

  • Comment number 52.

    The McCann's may have a lead in their hunt to find Maddie.

    The other week/month they attended a gathering of parents of other missing children.

    I am not sure how many people go missing a year but I believe it is in the region of 10-12,000. Thats a huge number.

    Is that number going up or down and is any HoC committee looking at the issue?

    I know a percentage may be beaten wives/children who would rather take their chances and not be found. But it must still leave a huge number of people that may be distressed and as a result go on to distress others.

    Therefore the costs involved may in the long run pay for themselves much as providing better services to children in care may prevent many vulnerable young people who may fall off the ladder and become expensive prison inmates.

    Not that the bunch that you showed last night fall into that category and I take on board the fact that children in care != trouble makers.

  • Comment number 53.


    what about a Newsnight programme once a month devoted only to good news stories?

  • Comment number 54.


    Sure, I'm all ears.

    A bloggers club exists in real life or online?

  • Comment number 55.

    Isn't it amazing... New car sales up what a surprise, nothing to do with the government and car manufacturers giving away 2000quid then! What would be surprising is if car sales hold up after the scrappage scheme ends.

  • Comment number 56.

    as NN keep changing my name from mimpromptu to you I don't think I'll watch them, would you?

  • Comment number 57.

    Can someone please explain to me how this foreign born "British" woman, who is a drug dealing criminal, who got herself pregnant while in an all women prison manage to get so much help and advice from the British Government. She is obviously very clever, what a ploy to get yourself pregnant to excape her alloted sentence, and get all the benefits back in the UK!!!!

    While the mentally ill man, who I don't think realised the full extent of his mistakes, Gary McKinnon is being forced to be extradited to the USA, although diagnosed with Aspergers.

    Our justice system stinks, there is no fairness anymore.

  • Comment number 58.

    Oh dear, what were we all saying yesterday.... Murdock has started the ball rolling... So that will start the curtailment of my spending time reading the news on the web! : (

  • Comment number 59.

    #57 ecolizzy

    Add to these two examples of our biased government/judicial system the fact that we take a lenient view with foreigners commiting serious crimes in UK - we never send them back to their own countries, instead we release them to commit further serious crimes against UK society.

  • Comment number 60.

    why dont all readers and viewers go on strike and stop buying papers and listening to the news?
    what is this obsession with news, NEWS, NEWS ,NEWS, NEWS, morning, afertnoon, evening, during the night, seems a little unhealthy, perhaps we could have newsnight once a week?

  • Comment number 61.

    further to #59, I should add that the usual reason given why UK does not return criminals to country of origin is the catch-all Human Rights grounds that suggest 'there may be a risk to their lives by so doing'.

    An appeal to European Court in the computer hacker's case should succeed on:
    (i)the evidence of his health grounds risk;
    (ii) the current doubts about US treatment of alleged 'terrorists'; and (iii) the grounds that our foreign ministry cited for transferring a non-indigenous heroin smuggler back to UK - 'a humanitarian gesture'!

  • Comment number 62.

    Gangofone it is quite improper of you to imply that I am in any way a holocaust denier. Quite the opposite much of my complaint about the BBC is that they censor anybody who mentions holocausts they have decided not to report. As anyone here can plainly see.

  • Comment number 63.

    #42 & #56
    I sent those postings earlier today from my iphone when out in town. While doing so, I realised that my blogging name was being constantly changed from impromptu to you, then from you to impromptu and then again from impromptu back to you. It's happened again in the last few minutes or so.
    Well, I'm not sure who's doing it but would like to suggest some possibilities:
    1. NN itself, but then why should they want to lose a viewer?
    2. Someone from another part of the BBC.
    3. A spooky person having fun.
    Whoever it is, there must be something seriously wrong with them and I would imagine it would be in NN's interest to stop this nonsense once and for all.
    Meanwhile, I need more time anyway as I've started a new poem. This time about Copernicus which I'm entitling 'Oh, what a Pole! A Journey through Time'. I'm not sure when I'll be back apart from intending to respond to streetphotobeing who kindly said at one point that he liked my poems and suggested I send in more.

  • Comment number 64.

    #61 I hope you are right with your three points indignantindegene, I heard Gary McKinnon mothers say she would go to the Human Rigts law. I wish she would, it will be very interesting to see if she is successful. If not, why do all the non british people get away with staying here, when they have often committed murder or rape. I've read that we now have 3000 eastern european criminals here, but the government doesn't seem to mind, they are so far removed from the man in the street!

    You'd think the USA would thank Gary for exposing their sloppy security, if he can get into their computers, just imagine what a terrorist is doing.

  • Comment number 65.

    And indignantindegene, don't we just love importing disease into this country?! Read the top article, apparently HIV is thriving in Coventry. : ( But heh, we've got loads of money to cure the world of all it's ills! : (

  • Comment number 66.

  • Comment number 67.

    Have just got back froma couple of days at the Hotel NHS. Oh how many of you would wish you had a local hospital as ours! Simply the best! I can't say which it is, cos you'd all put it as your first choice and there would be no room them for us locals. Immigration is an issue.

    If you want to put off topic posts. google, celic lion.

    Post them and they will be sorted out in some form of order.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 68.

    missed out having been in hospital. But got up really early Tuesday so looked at site at 6am ish. The NN blogs were closed for maintenance. Don't know yet what this 'you'thing is but might have something to do with that.


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