Aljazeera: The Rest Of The World Can See It. Why Can't You?
Mark Seddon is the former United Nations Correspondent and New York Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera English TV. He reported from eighteen countries during that time, including North Korea, China, Haiti, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has interviewed, amongst others, Ban Ki-Moon, Lech Walesa, Tony Blair, Hans Blix, Michael Foot, Mia Farrow, and George Clooney. In a journalistic career spanning over twenty years, he has been Editor of Tribune and an elected member of the UK Labour Party's National Executive Committee. He has written for most British newspapers and many magazines, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Private Eye, British Journalism Review and Country Life Magazine. For a number of years he was a Diarist at the London Evening Standard, and has also reported for, amongst others, the BBC and Sky TV. He lives in Buckingham, England.
THE Dean of Columbia’s School of Journalism recently bemoaned the lack of public broadcasting in the United States, and went on to argue that America needed its own version of the BBC. I’m sure that he did not intend to upset the venerable PBS when he made those comments, but you get his drift. And there is unintended irony there too; the BBC finds itself under some threat on its home turf, largely at the hands of the inimitable Rupert Murdoch and crew – although the idea that Sky TV can somehow even begin to carry the range and breadth of BBC coverage, would be laughable if it weren’t taken so seriously by a Government that looks to be just as craven towards News Corporation as, well, the last Government.
Is the United States served well by its broadcast media? Well, that’s really a question for Americans. But what struck me when I lived and worked in New York, as Aljazeera’s first United Nations Correspondent was the obvious hunger for international news, and especially for international news that at least tried to be unbiased. That ingredient is sadly in very short supply. In the time since, the situation has if anything got worse. The management of many of the big US broadcasters would prefer to pay unfeasibly large sums to anchors and presenters, even if that means one of the few remaining overseas bureaux have to be cut.
Ironically given all of the controversy surrounding the launch of Aljazeera, and I have already declared my interest here, this English offspring of the much respected Arabic parentage, has shown how it is possible to report in a relatively unbiased fashion, and from all corners of the globe. But it has been an ongoing battle to achieve carriage in the United States, although you may now be able to view Aljazeera north of the border in Canada, at the last count only the good burghers of Washington DC, Toledo and Burlington, Vermont could get access.
I’m not as plugged in as I used to be with my old company, so I don’t really know what other progress is being made, but for Americans who would like to view Aljazeera, you can get it online here http://english.aljazeera.net/
In London, Aljazeera will shortly be re-launched nationally on ‘free view’, and it is already possible to watch the channel if you have a satellite dish. That said, Aljazeera have never been to hot on advertising their wares, rather hoping that the strength of the product will do the job itself.
In New York, one of our offices was located in the Reuters Building in Times Square, and I remember arguing that the company should rent the large screen for a day or two, and run the best of the Aljazeera coverage with the strap-line “The rest of the World can see us, why can’t you?”
That remains a very good question for many Americans who would like to see Aljazeera for themselves – but for the moment at least it is shortly going to be a whole lot easier for the Brits to watch.
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- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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