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The BBC believes that Korea was partitioned in 1953 after a ceasefire was declared. I could blog every week correcting the garbage that the, publicly funded by a United Kingdom-wide levy on television owners but overwhelmingly English-dominated, broadcaster puts out. But Korea is a big story and such ignorance of the basic facts is disturbing, to say the least. So, BBC here is what really happened. Japanese-ruled Korea was divided along the 38th Parallel into two occupation zones, American and Soviet, at the end of the Second World War in 1945l. Neither of the local puppet regimes installed was much to write home about and in 1950 Communist North Korean invaded corrupt American client South Korea. There was a ding-dong war which raged up and down the peninsula which eventually petered out and ended with a ceasefire, basically along the 38th Parallel, in 1953. The BBC's Jackie Leonard on the World Service's Newsroom made the post-war partition gaff in an item about South Koreans being allowed all-too brief meetings with North Korean relatives. Now, I don't know if Ms Leonard writes her own scripts. But I do know she should read them through before going on air. So should the programme's producer. I don't have the BBC's expensive news-gathering resources but almost any history book would have told the BBC when Korea was partitioned. The whole organisation must be held to account for this kind of incompetence. On the subject of the World Service, good for Edinburgh City Council revoking the freedom of the city foolishly bestowed on the service's former favourite world leader Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi. Anyone who looked closely at the career of murdered Burmese military strongman and Axis collaborator Aung San's daughter would have realised years ago that  she was a wrong 'un.  But the World Service used to love her and was very very slow to call her out over her odious attitude to the Rohingya Muslims and their horrendous treatment at the hands of her country's army . 

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I’m reading another American book at the moment. Now, if I read an American book I shouldn’t grumble if it is filled with words spelled the American way. But sometimes I still do. But the real irritant is that I have to keep reminding myself that that is not how I have to spell words in question when I’m writing for a mainly British audience. Of course, one day everyone will spell things the American way. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, unless a careful eye is kept on word processing software (most of it of United States origin), it will change spellings to the American version without asking. Yes,  I know about setting the dictionary to UK English and making that the default but that doesn’t always work. And secondly, the past two or three generations of teachers in the United Kingdom have verged on the illiterate. It’s not their fault. It all dates back to the 1960s when educationalists believed that being constrained by grammar and spelling was killing kids’ creative juices. So, good spelling and grammar were not taught early enough in a child’s schooling. A rot set in that just got worse and worse. How can today’s teachers teach something they were not properly taught themselves? They don’t have much of a chance when the people who taught them hadn’t been taught because teachers who taught them had not been given a good grounding because the people they learned from were victims of trendy 1960s educational theorists.

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When the Scots look at Northern Ireland I wonder how many realise that Kintyre was used as a laboratory for the displacement of the native Celtic population by their Lowland cousins. The Ulster Plantation was mirrored by the plantation of Kintyre after its MacDonald overlords were kicked out by the Edinburgh government. A lot of the best farms in Kintyre are owned by the descendants of Ayrshire farmers brought in by the Campbells. The names Ralston and Armour come to mind immediately. To this day, the farmers have a lot of clout in the Campbeltown area. I recall one of my predecessors as editor of the Campbeltown Courier believed crossing them had cost her her job. And I always suspected that an anonymous complaint that I’d showed up to cover a night-time meeting inappropriately attired had come from one of the farmers’ organisations. It was shame that I left the job before their next meeting or they would have found out my attitude to anonymous complaints. Another pointer to the Kintyre Plantation is the anglicisation of Gaelic family names.  There are a lot of names in the Campbeltown area which suggest they were anglicised a generation or two before those in the rest of the Highlands and Islands. I certainly had never encountered so many MacVicars, McSporrans,  McIlcheres, or MacKinvens before I moved to Campbeltown. 

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One of the problems with the media, and it has always been so, is that it has a very short attention span. It is very much “flavour of the month” stuff. The World’s justified contempt for the always odious Aung San Suui Kyi over the treatment of the Rohingya stayed in the headlines and on the pages of the newspapers for longer than most stories. But now she is being let off the hook as the media finds new supposedly more interesting and relevant issues to feature. There are still occasional mentions of the plight of the displaced Rohinyga pounded by monsoon rains in often desperate conditions in the refugee camps of neighbouring Bangladesh. But the pressure is basically off Aung Sang and her military thug partners as they run Myanmar as their own personal business fiefdom. This is no-news is great news for western businesses because the subject of sanctions, the only thing short of military action that might persuade Aung Sang and her nasty cronies to lay off the Rohingya, has been quietly dropped from the agenda.  Don’t let this happen. I was delighted to see Canada's Museum of Human Rights, in Winnipeg, has removed Aung's photo from its hall of fame. Rather than follow the museum's lead all at once, it would be great if similar bodies across the planet could over the period of several months one by one do the same thing and thus generate headline after headline in the World media. 

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I was listening to an interview with a woman who was trying to arrange of all the church bells in Britain to be rung to mark the centenary of the end of World War One. Suddenly, the interviewer, Dan Damon, asked if bells had been rung in the United States to mark the Armistice in 1918. The woman didn’t say it but the tone of her voice suggested that she hadn’t a clue and didn’t really care. Mr Damon explained that the BBC World Service has a lot of listeners in the United States. So?? Does every item on the BBC World Service have to mention the United States from now on? Mr Damon’s approach is both patronising and muddle-headed. Not all Americans are obsessed with their own country to the exclusion of all others. And the Americans who listen to the BBC do so to get away from the self-obsessed American media which believes if no Americans are involved in a given event then it might as well not have happened. I live in Canada at the moment and we get a lot of American news, way more than we deserve. It’s cheaper for Canadian broadcasters to take feeds from the US television news than cover actual events in Canada. I’ll tell you how bad it can get. Back in 2013 a runaway train carrying oil exploded in the middle of a town in Quebec killing 47 people. The event rated barely a mention on the evening news I watched that day. But we did get seven minutes or so about two people being killed at an airport in the United States. By the way, Mr Damon was part of the BBC’s Team Clueless which covered the Scottish Independence referendum. The Barr-ass!! 

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