Talk about Newsnight

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Thursday, 3 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Apr 08, 05:44 PM

plotters203x152.jpgIt would have been the biggest terror atrocity since 9/11 - more than 1000 people would have been killed as seven transatlantic jets exploded in mid air after they had taken off from Heathrow - this is what the prosecution alleged today at the opening of the trial of eight men at Woolwich Crown Court.

They are accused of plotting to explode home made liquid bombs on seven flights to the US and Canada in 2006. The prosecution alleges that any passengers on the airlines concerned would have been "entirely at the mercy of the suicide bombers who happened to be on board with their explosive devices”. The judge has said it will be a long, high profile trial with dozens of witnesses and it's expected it will last eight months. All of the men deny conspiracy to murder. Richard Watson will have the story.

Robert Mugabe is still clinging on to power in Zimbabwe so is there going to be a Presidential run off? President Mugabe has finally re-appeared after the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, shown on state TV meeting African Union leaders. One of his spokesmen, Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga, said that if the result from last Saturday's Presidential vote showed a second round was necessary Mr Mugabe would stand. Official results from the Presidential poll are due out tomorrow but the Opposition insists it has won the vote. But what is life like for ordinary people inside the country just now? We have a film secretly shot inside Zimbabwe which gives a fascinating insight into what people there think is going on.

More conflict - this time in Israel. We have had unique access to one day's events in one of the illegal settlements in the northern West Bank. Here Tim Franks, for Newsnight, has witnessed Israel's ineffectual attempts to remove settlers. The Israeli Army forcibly evicts the inhabitants of the small outpost at the start of the day, but this triggers further conflict, between the army, left wing Israeli groups trying to reclaim the land for the Palestinian owner and the settlers who are trying to get back into their homes.

What does Tony Blair think about God, religion and globalisation? The new convert to Roman Catholicism is giving a speech tonight as part of the Cardinal's lecture series in which he will be speaking about faith and globalisation. We'll be discussing the speech with Richard Levin the President of Yale and the man who has appointed him to the Ivy League University. I hope you join us, Kirsty

Right, that's it, I am going to blog about China!

  • Paul Mason
  • 3 Apr 08, 03:28 PM

Last weekend the Chinese state mysteriously lifted its block on the BBC's English language website. I don't know how long it will last for, or why they did it. What we do know is a lot of Chinese readers were critical about the BBC's coverage of China they found there, which they believed had "departed from the truth". Having done my fair share of that coverage, including getting myself followed by secret police for interviewing a man purged from the party 50 years ago, I decided to take a look at the BBC website.

If you want to watch video reports on China, just click here for a list, sorted by date. If you ignore the odd colourful story about training English chefs to cook Chinese food, it's fair to say the "metanarrative" of most of our coverage focuses on the challenges of economic growth and the repressive nature of the Chinese regime. I've often heard foreign journalists say that there is only one story in China "and that's China". Everyone who's tried to report there knows what that means.

I think now there is a real challenge: for the first time I can be sure that my reporting on China will be seen or read in China, and not just by CCP officials with access to diplomatic-compound satellite dishes. So I have decided to re-start blogging here regularly, between now and the Olympics, to try and engage any English-speaking Chinese readers on a wider range of stories. I'm offering them a genuine chance to do what readers here do: influence and comment on our coverage. So here goes: Numero Uno - What about the workers....

Continue reading "Right, that's it, I am going to blog about China!"

Prospects for Thursday, 3 April

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Apr 08, 10:14 AM

Carol Rubra is tonight's programme producer. Here's her early email to the team.

Good morning,

We have a few things under way but I'm interested in your ideas too and I can find space for them on the programme.

Here are the stories I'm interesting in covering at the moment - Zimbabwe, Airline trial, and we have an offer of a piece from Tim Franks about the eviction of a group of Israeli settlers.

Tony Blair is giving a speech this evening on Faith and Globalisation. I'd like to set up a discussion on this - who would you like to hear from?

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