Archives for July 2011

WHYS in Boston

Sarah Holmes Sarah Holmes | 08:48 UK time, Thursday, 28 July 2011

Photo showing covers of several women's magazines

Morning, Sarah here posting this on behalf of Fiona and Chloe in Boston.

There are just under 100 young women between the ages of 15-19 in Boston to attend a conference which aims to support and inspire female leaders from the 19 countries that are represented here. There were supposed to be more but the Air France strike grounded them!

Women 2 Women is a annual event from Empower Peace and we'll be live from the Fletcher School at Tufts University (one of the plethra of colleges in this town) tomorrow they will be discussing and debating issues faced by girls growing up around the world.

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Live: News International at Parliament

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 18:21 UK time, Tuesday, 19 July 2011

We're following the story of the evidence being given to Parliament by both Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks.

Mrs Brooks is giving her evidence to Parliament currently, following the earlier evidence given by the Murdochs.

You can follow the events live on the BBC here.

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Blog business

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:28 UK time, Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Ever since we shifted our blog from Wordpress to the BBC system it's not been anywhere near as busy. This is partly to do with the growth of facebook (and in particular our facebook page), partly that some of you don't like signing up for a BBC ID, partly that we've had problems being able to moderate your comments immediately (not so often, but we know it's frustrating when it happens), and partly because we're as yet not as connected with as we'd like.

Now, that last point is going to be addressed in the next few months, so until that happens we're going to reduce what we do here.

If you want updates on our subjects each day, then our facebook page will have what you're looking for.

However, we will still use this blog if we want to write at more length than facebook allows, and we'll then post the link across onto twitter and facebook.

There may be other reasons beyond the ones I list above for the drop in activity, and we're all ears if you have suggestions for what we should do more or less of when we kick start this blog in a few months' time.

On air at 1100GMT: Remember the Arab Spring?

Ben James Ben James | 09:24 UK time, Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Opponent of Colonel Gaddafi claim to have made gains around Brega


"Gaddafi's fate is as newsworthy as Murdoch's"

wrote Nabila Ramdani a few days ago.

She's not the only one: a number of people are pointing out that, while much coverage is being devoted to Rupert Murdoch, News Corp, phone-hacking and resignations, there's a lot still going on in the Middle East.

So - we're going to talk about the latest situations in Yemen, Syria, Egypt & Libya on the programme at 1100GMT - here are some of things happening there in the last couple of days ...

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On air at 17GMT: What are we learning about the UK?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:48 UK time, Monday, 18 July 2011

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 18 July, 2011. Listen to the programme here.

The story keeps on rolling.... John Yates of the Metropolitan Police has resigned, the day after his boss chose to go. You can get all the latest here. I wouldn't dream of second-guessing where this story will be come 17GMT, but wherever we are we can be certain there will be yet more cause to consider what all of this says about the UK. We're inviting foreign correspondents based in London to join me in the studio to chew over the latest developments and what we are learning about the state of this nation. You're welcome to join in.

Many people around the world have been watching a video of what appears to be Taliban fighters from Afghanistan executing Pakistani policemen on the Pakistan side of the border between the two countries. You can see part of it here, and be warned it makes for very uncomfortable viewing.

We're going to hear your reaction to it. Unsuprisingly you're almost all unified in your disgust, but the conclusions you're drawing about the future of Pakistan and Afghanistan are very different.

The video has appeared as Gen David Petraeus has ended his time as the US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks will be taking questions from a UK parliamentary committee tomorrow afternoon (local time). You'll get it all live on the BBC World Service and I'll be at Westminster and Chloe will be out of town (venue to be decided) to get reaction to their answers.

On air at 1100GMT: Hackgate, Resignations & Schadenfreude

Ben James Ben James | 08:53 UK time, Monday, 18 July 2011

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 18 July, 2011. Listen to the programme here.

Rupert Murdoch


Heads have been rolling in the phone-hacking scandal since we spoke last, with the resignations of Rebekah Brooks (who was also arrested yesterday), Les Hinton and Britain's most senior policeman, Sir Paul Stephenson.

News International, Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper publisher posted full-page statements of apology in papers over the weekend.

A lot of you are reading and sharing this editorial from today's Wall St Journal, in which the newspaper speaks up against what it calls "Schadenfreude ... so thick you can't cut it with a chainsaw":

Our readers can decide if we are a better publication than we were four years ago, but there is no denying that News Corp. has invested in the product. The news hole is larger. Our foreign coverage in particular is more robust, our weekend edition more substantial, and our expansion into digital delivery ahead of the pack.

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On air at 17GMT: Media bosses and the politicians

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:33 UK time, Thursday, 14 July 2011

Bearing in mind that the UK Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport committee looks unlikely to hear from Rupert Murdoch, our chances of getting him onto WHYS are on the thin side. We know though that you're very interested in what influence those who own significant media interests in your country believe they have or should have over politicians. The relationship between media and politicians needs to be reset says David Cameron, and I'm curious how media owners want that relationship to be. So we're going to try and get their side of the story.

Your nominations pls: Which media owners should we invite onto the show? Please post them here.

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He's out

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:25 UK time, Thursday, 14 July 2011

We've just heard that Urunboy Usmonov has been released on bail in Tajikistan. It's fantastic news, though it's worth adding that he can't leave the country and may yet be charged. But by all accounts his custody was taking a heavy toll, and we're delighted that he doesn't have to endure that any longer. We'll read your comments out for him on today's show.

On air at 1100GMT: Reaction to the Mumbai attacks

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 10:00 UK time, Thursday, 14 July 2011


Indian cities are on a state of high alert after 18 people were killed and dozens injured when three bombs exploded across Mumbai during the evening rush hour.

India's Home Minister P Chidambaram has said he believed the blasts were "a co-ordinated attack by terrorists", as the explosions occurred within minutes of one another.

But he said it was too early to speculate on who might have been behind the attack.

It's the worst attack to hit Mumbai since the terrorist attacks of November 2008, when gunmen killed 165 people in a three-day raid.

Pakistani-based militants were blamed for the 2008 attacks - and the government in Islamabad was quick to condemn the latest attacks.

After the attack in 2008, pledges were made by the indian government to set up a special terrorism unit and an extensive CCTV network across the city .

But ikaveri tweets

"I wonder what resilient means, seems close to denial. 10,000+ CCTV cameras in London, 100+ in Mumbai."


Why can't the Indian government protect it's commercial hub? Is it doing enough?

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The State of Italy

Krupa Thakrar Padhy Krupa Thakrar Padhy | 14:07 UK time, Wednesday, 13 July 2011


'Forget Greece. What's up with Italy?' tweets TIME.

Not as much as you might think blogs Nick Ottens - because Rome won't fall in a day.

"Italy come into financial problems, it would be too big for Europe to bail out but there is no reason to assume that it could face the possibility of a default yet. Italy is in bad shape but its problems are far cry from the predicament of Greece or Ireland"

Italy's finance minister has announced that the country will be beefing up austerity following EU leaders' concerns that the contagion is spreading- but is it too late?

Alen Mattich blogs that whilst economists point out Italy is nothing ike Greece or Spain -he's not so sure.

'This lacklustre growth is directly a result of Italy's euro membership. The Italian economy is about a third less competitive than Germany's and the only way to regain that competitiveness, given that it can't devalue its currency, is for German inflation to run hotter than Italy's. But with the ECB and Germany both being inflation phobic, this almost certainly means a long and painful bout of Italian deflation and austerity.'

It's a bleak future for Italy if current predictions prove true. So on today's WHYS we'll speaks to Italians and experts about the reality of the state of Italy.

On air at 1100GMT: Urunboy Usmonov - a month in captivity

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 09:45 UK time, Wednesday, 13 July 2011


This programme has now been broadcast. You can listen to the show here.

It's now a month since the BBC reporter Urunboy Usmonov was imprisoned in Tajikistan by the security services.

The authorities have charged him with association with the banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. The BBC says the allegation is unfounded.

His family have been allowed to visit him and are concerned about his health, saying he looked frail and lost weight. His wife Malohat Abduazimova, said she hardly recognised her husband. Urunboy suffers from diabetes and has a heart condition.

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On air at 1700GMT: Your view of the UK now & an assassination in Afghanistan

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 14:30 UK time, Tuesday, 12 July 2011

papers and policeman

Today, we're going to start a daily update about the British phone-hacking scandal. This story continues to evolve hour by hour and it's gone beyond the demise of News of the World. Assistant Police Commisioner John Yates has just been questioned about his handling of the hacking scandal, he thinks his phone was hacked too. In fact, so many people now think their phone was hacked from George Michael to Gordon Brown, it's quite hard to get your head around all the details, but today at 1700GMT, we'll try make some sense of the developments. But we want you to get involved, since you have heard about the scandal has it changed your opinion of Britain? Most British people I have spoken to have said they are not surprised but they are disappointed. What about you? When you heard about the UK police, politicians and newspapers what was your reaction? Also today, we'll chat more about the assassination of Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Mr Ahmed Wali Karzai was a political leader in Khandahar, reports say that he was killed by his bodyguard. Here's Chloe's blog post on the story. Robert Fox in The First Post, says if we're not careful, World War 3 is imminent. Do you think that's too exaggerated a claim? Please do get in touch.

On air at 1100GMT: Assassination in Afghanistan - what does it mean for the country?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 13:58 UK time, Tuesday, 12 July 2011

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 12 July, 2011. Listen to the programme

As I write the AFP news agency is reporting that the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination of President Hamid Karzai's younger half brother, calling it "one of our biggest achievements" in nearly a decade of war. The group said they had recruited a gunman to kill Ahmed Wali Karzai, a hugely powerful and controversial figure in the south of Afghanistan.

There are conflicting reports that a body guard killed him, other says it was a guest to his home.

The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says,

"It is hard to overstate how important he was in the south of Afghanistan and in Nato's efforts to combat the Taliban in their stronghold there".


What does it tell us about the state of Afghanistan?

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On air at 1700GMT : America and Pakistan, who needs who the most?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 13:37 UK time, Monday, 11 July 2011

pakistan military


We're going to continue the conversation on the United States withdrawing one third of the military aid that they have been giving to Pakistan. The debate over giving money to Pakistan has intensified since the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden in May.  Now, President Obama has made the decision to cut some of the aid.  The relationship between Pakistan and the US has been a contentious one but who do you think needs who, the most? Do you see the reduction of aid as a good move? Do the funds really help the US in their fight against terrorism? And how much does Pakistan really need the money from the US?

Here's a couple of your comments that are coming in right now on our Facebook page:

Safdar Shah in the UK These are just pressure tactics Americans are using over Pakistan , they can suspend our aid for some time but for long time it's impossible and American officials knows it very well

Pindarhassan Lausha in Nigeria It's long overdue for the U.S to not only cut but stop all forms of aids to countries that are supports terrorists. Dollars are not fighting corruption

Here's Chloe's original blog post where you can read more background to the story.

BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus had this analysis:
Defence ties between Beijing and Islamabad are growing. Can they replace those with Washington? Not yet, but the fact that the question is being asked suggests the significance of the underlying changes that are afoot.

Whatever part of the story you'd like to pick up on, we hope you'll get in touch.

On air at 1100GMT: Is the US right to withhold aid from Pakistan?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 13:01 UK time, Monday, 11 July 2011


This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 11 July, 2011. Listen to the programme.

The US has decided to hold back $800m of aid from Pakistan, around a third of it's annual commitment, because some of the recent moves made by Pakistan. Ever since the killing of Osama bin Laden by US Navy seals on Pakistan soil back in May, the relationship has been strained.

People in Pakistan have told us on World Have Your Say many times over the past few months that they have sacrificed a lot in the campaign against terror, is this a fair way to repay them? White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley even admitted that the people of Pakistan have "been the victim of enormous amounts of terrorism".

Pakistan's former ambassador to the US, Meleeha Lodhi, told the BBC the US move would be counterproductive. She said:

"Washington is going to be left without any influence with the Pakistan army and with the people of Pakistan because this will be seen as an action that will punish Pakistan rather than provide an incentive for cooperation."

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WHYS on TV: Rupert Murdoch and the Atlantis shuttle launch

Post categories:

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 13:22 UK time, Sunday, 10 July 2011

On air at 1700 GMT: Who is The Fourth Estate?

Xavier Zapata | 14:19 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 8 July, 2011. Listen to the programme.

It's been a difficult week for journalism, and the dust is far from settling on the News of the World scandal. It's left many asking some very difficult questions of the media. What is the media for? It's a simple question, but this affair has given it a sharp sense of urgency.

The media has long been thought of as The Fourth Estate. It's a term based on how the ancién regime in France divided society. The First Estate was the clergy, The Second Estate the nobles, and the third was everyone else. Come the eighteenth century, thinkers like Thomas Carlyle were talking about a Fourth estate, the media, which exists to hold the rest of society to account. Now if we take David Cameron at his word, the Fourth Estate is now derelict. If this is true, what can emerge from the ruins? How can the media regain people's trust? Or should we accept that an alternative is growing, with people using social media to become the world's watchdog?

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On air 1100GMT: Africa's drought - why is it still happening?

Gabriela Pomeroy | 09:30 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 8 July, 2011. Listen to the programme.



The Times Newspaper's Africa correspondent Jonathan Clayton has written a controversial column accusing aid agencies of "crying wolf" and hyping up the drought in East Africa.

As the BBC has been reporting, aid agencies say the Horn of Africa is having its worst drought for 60 years. The BBC's Ben Brown sent this report from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.

But Jonathan Clayton is sceptical:

"In 22 years of working in Africa, I can barely remember a summer when there was not an emergency appeal for the Horn. The aid industry has grown immensely in the past two decades - a lot of jobs depend on rattling the can."

"This month we have been told that East Africa, including Kenya and Uganda, where virtually anything grows and banana trees line the roads, is suffering the worst drought for 60 years. But let's be sceptical.... what is happening in the Horn has not yet met the criteria [to be defined as famine] and probably never will."

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On air at 17GMT: Rupert Murdoch closes News of the World

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:36 UK time, Thursday, 7 July 2011

News International's boss Rupert Murdoch


This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 7 July, 2011. Listen to the programme.

UPDATE: News International has announced the edition of the News Of The World this Sunday will be the last one ever. Full reaction on WHYS at 1700GMT.

Ros's original blog post: I began my morning looking at the Huffington Post's new UK incarnation. And swiftly moved to the Independent as the HuffPo was linking across to a column by former WHYS presenter Steve Richards. In it he argues that this week the influence of Rupert Murdoch over British politicians has been reduced, and that that is to be celebrated.

There is certainly is no disputing the scale of Mr Murdoch's influence not just in politics, but also sport, news, films and to a lesser extent music (mySpace didn't go to plan and has recently been off-loaded).

A blog post is not the place for a broad ranging sweep of Rupert Murdoch's power and influence (there have been books which struggled to pack it all in), but I can start a conversation about whether we should acknowledge, that with that power and influence has come innovation, entertainment and investment in the media that we like to consume.

Let's consider some of this:

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On air 1100GMT: Does menstruation affect how women work?

Robyn Bresnahan Robyn Bresnahan | 08:29 UK time, Thursday, 7 July 2011

Alasdair Thompson of the Employers and Manufacturers' Association said women take more sick leave due to menstruation.

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 7 July, 2011. Listen to the programme.

The head of a major New Zealand employers' group has been fired after implying that women were paid less than men because they took more sick leave due to menstruation.

In a radio interview, Alasdair Thompson of the Employers and Manufacturers' Association said:

"Who takes the most sick leave? Women do, in general...why? Because once a month they have sick problems. I don't like saying these things because it sounds like I'm sexist, but it's the facts of life."

Should he have lost his job?

In a poll on Television New Zealand, 54 per cent of viewers said it was right he was sacked, while 47 per cent said it was an overreaction.

We posted that question on our Facebook site yesterday and got a mixed bag of responses.

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On air at 17GMT: What would you ask the tabloids?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:09 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 6 July, 2011. Listen to the programme.

The phone-hacking scandal is developing at a bewildering rate at the moment, and remains among the top stories in the world. Yesterday, the deputy PM said a public inquiry wasn't necessary, now today the PM tells us it is. That's a measure of how the seriousness of the matter is escalating.

Meanwhile, the not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony case is proving by a long shot the biggest talking point in the States.

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On air 1100GMT: Phone hacking - the scandal deepens

Robyn Bresnahan Robyn Bresnahan | 07:53 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The father of David Foulkes, who was killed in the Edgware Road blast, said police had contacted him about the phone hacking scandal.

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 6 July, 2011. Listen to the programme.

Tomorrow marks a sad anniversary for Graham Foulkes. Six years ago, his son David was killed in the July 7th suicide bombings on London's underground system.

That's devastating enough, but now, a phone call from British police has made things even worse.

It's emerged that Graham and other families of people killed in the London tube bombings may also have had their phones hacked by the British tabloid News of the World.

He says he's "saddened and sickened" by it.

"I certainly think that News International [which owns News of the World] need to come clean, they need to accept that their responsibility and their culpability, and they need to do the decent thing, but I suppose they won't."
This latest revelation follows allegations that the same paper hacked into the mobile phone of a murdered girl, Milly Dowler, while she was missing.

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On air at 17GMT: Milly Dowler, phone hacking & the state of British journalism

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 16:14 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011

I've just arrived fresh from Television Centre to be told that WHYS is off to a pub on Fleet Street to discuss the state of British journalism. This follows the accusation that nine years ago the News of the World newspaper hacked the voicemails of a British teenager who was missing at the time. She was later found to have been murdered. We'll post pictures and videos to flickr, update facebook and so on while we're down there. It's a ten minute walk so we'll be at the pub shortly. And while we're there, I'll be joined by journalists who want to talk with you and me about what has happened to the trade which evolved in the offices of Fleet Street.

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On air 1100GMT: Aung San Suu Kyi's Reith Lecture - part two

Robyn Bresnahan Robyn Bresnahan | 08:45 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy campaigner

We've got a special programme for you today, carrying the second part of this year's BBC Reith Lectures by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The recording of the Burmese pro-democracy leader was done secretly at her house in Burma. After we hear what she has to say, we'll take half an hour to discuss it with a panel of guests - and take your questions.

Last week's World Have Your Say carried the first of her two lectures. If you missed it, you can listen again here.

Today, in the second and final lecture, Aung San Suu Kyi discusses how her party, The National League for Democracy, has survived despite being ignored by Burma's military dictatorship.

"In spite of the stringent efforts by the military regime to isolate us from the rest of the world, we never felt alone in our struggle. We never felt alone because the struggle against authoritarianism and oppression spans the whole human world, crossing political and cultural frontiers."

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On air at 1700GMT: Is Hacking Ever Justified?

Ben James Ben James | 13:52 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

Fox News Politics feed displaying false messages posted by hackers

Another day, another high profile hack attack - this time a Fox News Twitter feed was the target, with hackers posting false messages claiming President Obama was dead.

A supposed member of the group behind the hack told a US University magazine the action was a continuation of the targeting of big corporations carried out by people previously calling themselves Anonymous:

"There will always be a group of people that need to stand up for everyone else and attempt to keep the government in balance with it's people. Without groups like Anonymous, what is there to prevent corruption?"

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On air at 1100GMT: Homophobia in football

Robyn Bresnahan Robyn Bresnahan | 07:53 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

Nigeria's women's world cup team coach Eucharia Uche

After a long meeting on what to discuss today, we've decided on a topic which was pitched to us by a WHYS listener.

Guillaume wrote to our editor Mark wondering why the programme hadn't touched on a story coming out of the women's World Cup of football taking place in Germany.

Last week Nigeria's coach Euchria Uche gave an interview to the German daily Bild - branding homosexuality as 'dirty'.

She was quoted saying: "homosexuality is a dirty thing, spiritually and morally it is very, very wrong."

Since then, over 40,000 people have written to football's world governing body FIFA to complain.

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WHYS on TV: Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Post categories:

Xavier Zapata | 19:00 UK time, Friday, 1 July 2011

Here's the World Have Your Say broadcast on BBC World News on 17 June 2011 if you missed it.

Ros spoke to people around the world about the big questions surrounding former head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn's court case in New York. Towards the end of the programme we hear the news that Mr Strauss Kahn was released from house arrest in New York, where he's been facing allegations of attempting to rape a hotel maid.

On TV at 15GMT: DSK latest

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 10:11 UK time, Friday, 1 July 2011


Hi this is Ros updating Chloe's earlier post: We're expecting DSK to shift from the flat where he's been living on bail to a Manhattan courtroom at some point later. This may well fall in our hour on BBC World News TV. If it does we'll bring you all the pictures live, and of course any developments in the case. In the meantime, we'll also discuss some of the issues - anonymity, media coverage, US justice system - that Chloe touches on below.


Chloe's original post: One of the most talked about and trending topics is reports coming out of New York that the rape case against the former head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on the brink of collapse.

The credibility of the woman who has brought the claims against him, has now been brought into question. Although forensic tests found unambiguous evidence of a sexual encounter between Mr Strauss-Kahn and the woman, prosecutors now do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself, according to a New York Times report.

The paper has spoken to two officials who told them

"..the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded. That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman's bank account over the last two years."

Our Correspondent in Paris Christian Fraser says it was not only DSK's reputation that was tarnished, but also that of the French nation in the eyes of the international community. The "perp walk", the parading of the accused, the headlines such as "Chez Perv" and "Frog Legs It", were widely perceived as insulting and humiliating.

So as accusations and counter accusations are being thrown around in public, does this case demonstrate the need for both the accused and the accuser to be granted anonymity?

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