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Analysis has a long and, some might say, rather worthy history as a thoughtful documentary strand on Radio 4. So it was pretty surprising that the programme this week found itself at the centre of suggestions that it had been used by a Whitehall counter-terrorism unit as part of a "global propaganda push" against al-Qaeda.

The story on the front page of Tuesday's Guardian didn't actually name Analysis. The paper's home affairs editor Alan Travis reported that, according to a secret Home Office paper, the BBC was being targeted by the Research, Information and Communication Unit (RICU), which aims to counter al-Qaeda propaganda in Britain and overseas.

It was quoted by the Guardian as saying: "We are pushing this material to UK media channels, eg a BBC radio programme exposing tensions between AQ leadership and supporters." It was quickly apparent to us that the programme in question must be the 7 August edition of Analysis, presented by the BBC's Security Correspondent Frank Gardner, and broadcast in a slightly different form on the World Service this week.

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Henry Ford certainly is a great guy. He introduced mass-production, putting the whole world on the wheels. But his contribution to the world is not just his Model T, which, like the old Singer sewing machine, was built all but for eternity. Both machines were, of course, almost fool-proof easy to handle, and best of all, capitalists could increase the wages of workers and cut the prices of their products at the same time, thanks to mass-production and its resultant global popularization.


Things began to change after the economic globalization, whose inception historians would date back to the end of the Second World War. The United States won the war, and women's obsession with nylon stockings surged across the world where GIs spread the gospel of semi-transparent sexy hose. Incidentally, GI, which stands for "government issue," means the American soldier, who was ubiquitous the world over in the latter half of the 1940s. The best present a German or Italian or Japanese girl could have from her GI friend was the nylon stockings.


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As U.S. President George W. Bush prepares to leave the White House after eight years in office, he has once again revisited the sensitive issue of Washington's relationship with Taiwan.


During a meeting at the White House with Asian media reporters held on the eve of his last official trip to Asia, President Bush brought up the issue of Taiwan and his views about the current state of cross-strait relations.


 

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Russia and Georgia have signed a cease-fire accord over the weekend, ending a nine-day conflict. But Russian troops won't leave Georgia easily.


Fighting in Georgia (pop. 4.5 million), one of 12 states in the Caucasus, began last Friday when Tbilisi launched a military incursion into South Ossetia (pop. 70,000) to rout separatist rebels.


 

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U.S. President George W. Bush likes to talk straight. His "bring them on" ranks with former CIA Director George Tenet's "slam dunk" as some of the most memorable quotes during his presidency. Harry Truman once called a critic of his daughter's musical talent an "s.o.b." Bush is said to have used the same kind of language to vent his anger against those he did not like.

This week, before arriving in Beijing to attend the Olympics in his three-country swing, President Bush told his Chinese host bluntly that America stands in "firm opposition" to the way Beijing treats its own people. "I have spoken clearly, candidly and consistently with China's leaders about our deep concerns over religious freedom and human rights," said Bush in a draft speech the White House released Wednesday in Bangkok where he was visiting. 

"We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly, and labor rights not to antagonize China's leaders," the marquee speech says, "but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential. And we press for openness and justice not to impose our beliefs, but to allow the Chinese people to express theirs."

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Everybody is happy that Chinese Taipei is represented in the 16-day Summer Olympics in Beijing, which opened last Friday. We weren't always sure this would be the case. Not long ago, Taiwan was on the verge of boycotting the Games to make all concerned very unhappy. 

Taiwan threatened the boycott over what all non-Chinese would consider "no big deal." It was Beijing that started the row by insisting on using its Chinese translation of "Chinese Taipei" to designate the Olympic team of Taipei. That strange-sounding term was invented and coined in English to let Taiwan, which used to insist on calling itself the Republic of China, take part in the Olympics in the first place. In Beijing, it is translated into Chinese as "China, Taipei" or "Zhongguo Taipei." Its Taiwan counterpart is "Zhonghua Taipei" or "Chinese, Taipei." So far as the man in the street on either side of the Taiwan Strait is concerned, there's no difference between "Zhongguo" and "Zhonghua." The People's Republic of China is an English translation of "Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo." The Chinese title of the Republic of China is "Zhonghua Minguo." But even politicians acknowledge "Chinese" as "Zhonghua" and with the exception of a few, as "Zhongguo." Incidentally, "Zhong" means "the center," while "Hua" and "Guo" can be rendered as "flower" and "country." 

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News Correspondent Richard Lui

It’s the first day of the month, and we have the first dustup on the explosive issue of race in the presidential election.

Thursday, Senator John McCain accused of Senator Barack Obama of bringing up race in the campaign. Until now it has been a subject off limits between the two presumptive nominees in the public forum.

The issue popped when McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said that “Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.”

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After all the shock associated with climate change are we beginning to experience the bore factor? Are the warnings becoming so frequent, and so very apocalyptic, that they have lost the capacity to arrest the public conscience? 

Are we suffering already from "green fatigue", whereby we start treating interim, draft and final reports like white noise: something which is disturbing, even painful, but which we try to block out? Or are the warnings exaggerated?

Here in Australia the question is particularly pertinent, since the economist Ross Garnaut has just delivered his long-awaited draft report on how climate change could affect the Australian economy and outlined the case for a carbon emissions trading scheme by 2010. 

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It's been an eventful week for Turkey. On Sunday, 17 people were killed in bomb attacks in Istanbul and on Wednesday the Constitutional Court narrowly decided not to ban the governing AK party - which has been accused of being an Islamist party in violation of Turkey's secular constitution. 

 The World Tonight has given prominence to Turkey this week. We sent our reporter, Paul Moss, to cover the court decision - though in the event he landed a couple of hours after Sunday's bomb attacks and was on hand to report on that story for BBC Radio 5 Live and the Today programme as well The World Tonight.

Having our own reporter there enabled us to get access to interviews with Turkish politicians and people which we wouldn't normally get.

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At the risk of igniting yet another flurry of Apple v PC fervour, and with a heavy heart at returning to the subject so soon, Stephen Fry, who we love and admire, took a pop at the BBC over the weekend for not doing enough stories about Apple products. 

It's a criticism I haven't heard before. He feels we are running scared of an anti-Apple community backlash. My colleague, online technology editor Darren Waters, has written this heartfelt response to Stephen who's clearly now a signed up member of the anti-anti Apple Community (if that's possible).

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