By Kenneth D. MacHarg
If I could produce one television or radio news program, it would be titled In Other News.
Not that we don’t have plenty of quality broadcast news now. Several major all-news cable channels, network newscasts each morning and evening, NPR news and public affairs all day. Sometimes we seem to be saturated with news.
Yet, I would suggest that what we hear and especially what we watch on television is the same half-dozen news stories repeated hour after hour ad nauseam.
U.S. politics, tornados and floods (with an occasional hurricane thrown in for good measure), police-related shootings, celebrity news, sports, entertainment, and, oh yes, did I mention U.S. politics?
With all of the news on television and radio as well as in print or online, one would think that we would be better informed.
In fact, there are numerous important and fascinating things going on around the world that we miss because they are bumped by the same news stories day after day. (Click on the color shading to access the original news story).
Take for example the horrendous death toll in Congo. Certainly over 3,000 deaths in the past six months and more than a million people displaced would warrant a report on the evening news. If it was carried there, I missed it. But the story is worth taking a few minutes to read.
Congolese security forces and a militia fighting them have killed at least 3,383 people in the central Kasai region since October, the Catholic church said on Tuesday, in the most detailed report to date on the violence.
The United Nations says more than 1.3 million people have fled the fighting.
Or what about the wave of persecution of Christians in Eritrea? With a long history of Roman Catholic and Lutheran congregations, that country has recently turned against freedom of religion—in an area that ought to be of concern for all of us.
Eritrea has stepped up its crackdown on Christians in the country, according to a Christian charity which has now launched a campaign opposing the persecution.
Release International said Eritrean security forces have recently arrested 200 Christians in house-to-house raids, ripping children apart from their parents.
Next, I might have missed them, but I have not seen any reports about the horrible outbreak of cholera in Yemen where over 1,000 people, mostly children, have died and the number of cases is skyrocketing.
Seized by violence and teetering on the edge of famine, Yemen is grappling with another danger that threatens to outpace them both: cholera.
“We are now facing the worst cholera outbreak in the world,” international health authorities said in a statement Saturday.
Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, and Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, say that “more than 1,300 people have died — one quarter of them children — and the death toll is expected to rise.”
They suspect that is because Yemen now has upwards of 200,000 cases to grapple with, and that number is growing quickly — by a rate of roughly 5,000 cases a day.
On a more positive side, check out this story about how a program to supply bicycles to refugees in England is helping those recent arrivals to get an education or a job.
On a balmy, breezy afternoon in south London, dozens of people tinker on secondhand bicycles inside a small workshop, preparing to give them to the several refugees waiting nearby.
As the evening sun lingers, the growing crowd spills onto the quiet leafy street, where asylum seekers eagerly don high visibility vests and helmets to test ride their new gifts.
“I will use this bike to go to college where I can learn English so I can move forward with my life,” said Syrian refugee Khalib, 44, at The Bike Project, a charity that donates bicycles to refugees, along with helmets, vests, lights and basic cycling training.
On the lighter side, here’s a story about Golf in China, and the growing opposition to golf courses on the part of the government—bad news if you are a golfer.
Thirty years after Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong labeled golf a sport for the bourgeois and banned it from his worker’s paradise, his successor gave the sport another try.
It was January 1979, and President Jimmy Carter welcomed Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on a historic trip to the United States. Deng came seeking U.S. help to open China’s economy, which had been ravaged by decades of Mao’s violent political campaigns. But if American executives were to invest in China, they would need to travel there. And if they were to travel there, they would need a golf course.
Finally, here’s an interesting peek into the future of cities. Which cities do you think will be among the world’s largest in ten years?
New York City is still in the top 10 ranking, with its nearly 8.5 million people. But in the next three decades, that’s going to change.
While population growth in the US and Europe stagnates, the number of people living in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa is going to skyrocket.
Today, Tokyo is the most populous city in the world, with about 38 million residents.
So, that’s just a peek at all of the news stories that you probably missed in the last week or two. They would be most interesting to see on a program like In Other News.
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