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Last Word
Listen to the latest editionFriday   16:00-16:30
Sunday 20:30-21:00 (rpt)

Radio 4's weekly obituaries programme
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This week
Friday 18th January 2008
(Rpt) Sunday 20th January
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: Bobby Fischer, Rear Admiral Jorge Anaya, Dr PK Sethi and Jack Brod.
Bobby Fischer 
Chess Grandmaster who has died aged 64

Bobby Fischer was one of the most famous and most controversial figures that the world of chess has ever known. His match against Boris Spassky in 1972 attracted global media attention. Played at the height of the Cold War, it was seen as a contest between the individualistic American and the mighty Soviet chess machine. Fischer’s victory made him the first American world champion for a hundred years. But instead of capitalising on his celebrity, Fischer turned down hundreds of lucrative sponsorship deals and disappeared from view.

In later life, he fell foul of the American government by breaking sanctions against the former republic of Yugoslavia, went on the run and ended up in exile in Iceland. He made anti semitic public statements and praised the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Matthew Bannister talks to David Edmonds who wrote Bobby Fischer goes to War  and to Frederick Friedel who is the founder of one of the world’s leading chess software companies, based in Germany.

Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was born March 9th 1943. He died January 17th 2008.
Rear Admiral Jorge Anaya
Naval officer and politician who has died aged 81

Without the Argentinian Rear Admiral Jorge Anaya the Falklands war of 1982 might never have happened. As head of the Navy, Anaya was part of the three man military junta that ran Argentina, along with the army chief General Leopoldo Galtieri and the head of the airforce, Brigadier Basilio Lami Dozo. It was an infamous time in Argentina’s history when thousands of people were tortured, killed or simply disappeared.
Under Anaya’s command, the navy mechanics’ school – known as ESMA – became a notorious torture centre. After the fall of the Junta, an Argentinian inquiry into the handling of the Falklands war laid much of the blame for the country’s defeat on the navy and on its leader, Anaya. A military tribunal sentenced him to fourteen years imprisonment, although he was later pardoned.

In 2006 the authorities returned, summoning Anaya to testify before a federal judge on 266 cases of kidnap and torture, but he suffered a heart attack and never recovered sufficiently to face trial.

Matthew Bannister talks to Hugh Bicheno, author of Razor’s Edge – an unofficial history of the Falklands War  and to the Argentinian historian Federico Lorenz.

Jorge Isaac Anaya was born September 27th 1926. He died January 9th 2008.
Dr Pramod Karan Sethi
Surgeon and inventor of the Jaipur foot who has died aged 80

The Indian orthopaedic surgeon Dr PK Sethi invented a prosthetic limb known as the “Jaipur foot” which has transformed the lives of millions of amputees in developing countries. For a cost of around fifteen pounds – and using simple materials like wood and rubber – the “Jaipur foot” has been used to help countless victims of landmines in countries like Cambodia, Nicaragua and Afghanistan.

PK Sethi was born in Northern India, the son of a Professor of Physics. He studied medicine in both India and the UK, before taking up a job at a teaching hospital in Jaipur. It was here that he teamed up with a local craftsman Ramachandra Sharma and spent years perfecting the design of his low cost prosthesis.

Matthew Bannister talks to Chapel Khasnabis who works for the World Health Organisation and to one of Dr Sethi’s most high profile patients, Bollywood actress and dancer, Sudha Chandra. She astonished her fans by performing a demanding dance sequence in one of her movies – after being fitted with a “Jaipur foot”.
Pramod Karan Sethi  was born November 28th 1927. He died January 6th 2008.

Jack Brod
Last original tenant of the Empire State Building who has died aged 98

The Empire State Building in New York has lost its longest-serving tenant. Jewellery trader Jack Brod and his father Alexander set up shop two months after the building opened in 1931. He was old enough to remember the excitement caused by the original King Kong movie in 1933 and the time when a military aircraft crashed into the upper floors in 1945. Over the years, as his business prospered, he moved his showroom further and further up the tower. At the time of his death, he occupied a suite on the 76th floor.

Andrew Purcell reports on a man whose proudest boast was “I never have to tell people where I am.”

Irven Jack Brod was born on Nov. 29, 1909. He died January 6th 2008.
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