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Gail Christian, groundbreaking news correspondent, dies at 83



Gail Christian, who broke barriers as a black live correspondent and achieved national fame on NBC News and PBS, died on April 12 in Los Angeles. she was 83

According to her wife, Lucy DeBardelaben, the cause was complications from a recent bowel operation.

Ms. Christian overcame a troubled youth, including a prison sentence for armed robbery, and went on to a career as a well-known television reporter and news executive in the 1970s and 80s, an era when the industry was dominated by white males.

She became a prominent presence in American living rooms with her coating for NBC News about the trial of Patricia Hearst, a newspaper heiress who was kidnapped in 1974 by a gang of left-wing revolutionaries called the Symbionese Liberation Army and who was convicted two years later of participating in a bank robbery with the group.

But it wasn’t enough for Ms. Christian to just appear on the evening news as a rare black face.

“I always wanted to be a Black Reporter covering black stories,” she said in interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1986. “I felt that was why I was there. I didn’t get angry at all. I felt then, as I do now, that it is very dangerous for a group of people to live in a society where they are not allowed to interpret themselves.”

She has done this mission well with features such as “A Country Called Watts” an hour-long special for NBC News in 1977 that chronicled the efforts of the residents of this area of ​​Los Angeles to come together and re-evaluate the bloody civil unrest that occurred in response to police brutality in 1965 and rebuild burned-out neighborhoods in the face of perceived government indifference and ongoing police harassment.

“Gail continued to push for black faces and voices to appear on television news so that footage of black men in handcuffs was no longer the only images of blacks that white viewers could see.” – Gary Gilson, former faculty director of the undergraduate summer program from number of minorities at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, said in a telephone interview. “And her pioneering role as a black news reporter allowed young black children to see, for many for the first time, someone adorable on TV who looked like them. It gave them recognition and hope.”

After two years at NBC News, Ms. Christian became the news director of community station KCET in her native Los Angeles, where she created a 60 Minutes-style investigative series called 28 Tonight (the station was on channel 28). .

This program had several award-winning segments, including one about a banking scandal that hurt the underprivileged and another about a chemical spill in Orange County that caused disease in the area, each of which won a Peabody Award.

In 1981, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she began a nearly ten-year career as director of news for the Public Broadcasting Service.

“Ever since I’ve been in this business, I’ve always wanted to be one of the executives who go into this little room and decide what gets covered and by whom,” she said in a 1976 interview with The Los Angeles Times. “But on NBC, I have never seen women walk into that little room. No minorities. I thought this was my chance.”

“As Bobby Seal said,” she added, referring to one of the founders of the Black Panther Party, “seize the moment.”

Gale Christian was born Gail Patricia Wells on February 20, 1940 in Los Angeles, one of four children of Edwin Wells, who worked on the assembly line for the Hughes Aircraft Company, and Lucille (Scruggs) Wells, who owned a beauty college. in the Leimert Park neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. (She later adopted Christian, her mother’s first name, as her professional surname.)

Ms. Christian grew up in Venice, California and spent three years studying world history at California State University, Los Angeles before dropping out to join the Air Force in 1962. in 1965, she was convicted of armed robbery after a hotel robbery.

A robbery that netted less than $100 landed her at the California Institute for Women in Chino for 18 months. . “I really didn’t have to do it. I had a loving family, unlike many other prisoners. At the time, I was just out of shape.”

After she served her time, a parole colleague who worked as a switchboard operator for The San Francisco Examiner informed her that the paper planned to hire two black reporters to diversify its staff. Having no experience, Miss Christian considered this possibility unlikely, but she talked herself into becoming an apprentice by embellishing the truth.

“I gave them this song and dance about working on this little black paper that the clan burned,” she told The Tribune.

In 1970, she took part in an 11-week summer program for minority students in radio journalism at Columbia University. (Geraldo Rivera was a classmate.) Two years later, she was hired by KNBC, the local NBC affiliate. She worked there for six years before being hired by NBC News.

Her tenure with PBS ended in 1989, shortly after the network became embroiled in controversy over the airing of a pro-Palestinian documentary called Days of Anger, which Ms. Christian purchased and was in charge of reviewing. News reports claimed that the film was supported in part by undisclosed Arab funding, which was denied by its producer.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ms Christian said she left PBS for other reasons. “You burn out because it’s a no-win situation,” she said. “You get silence when things are going well and outrage when questions come up.”

She eventually settled in Palm Springs, California with Ms. DeBardelaben, whom she married in 2016. In 2003, the couple launched the annual Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival.

In addition to Ms. DeBardelaben, Ms. Christian is survived by a grandson. Her daughter Sunday Barrett died in 2019.

While Ms. Christian kept quiet about her jail time early in her career, she finally decided to speak up to a sympathetic NBC executive. “The guy just looked at me,” she recalls. “He says, ‘I don’t have enough problems. Should I listen to yours? Get out of here.’ Never heard another word.”


Jaishankar talks with Guyanese President Irfaan Ali, discusses cricket and more



Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar visited Guyanese President Irfan Ali on Saturday and noted his enthusiasm for Millet after his visit to India.

He also conveyed to him personal greetings and warm wishes from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and added that the recent visits of the President of Guyana to India have given new impetus to relations between the two countries.

“I am delighted to visit Guyanese President Irfan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo at the State House. Conveyed personal greetings and warm wishes from the Prime Minister @narendramodi. Their recent visits to India have given new impetus to our ties,” EAM wrote on Saturday.

He also said it was very natural to discuss cricket during a visit to Guyana, as he called the country, the land of Rohan Kanhai and Lance Gibbs.

Moreover, Jaishankar also celebrated Earth Day and planted a tree during his visit to Guyana.

“Celebrated Earth Day in Georgetown by planting a Simarupa tree in this beautiful country. May this seedling grow and prosper, reflecting the strength and vitality of the relationship between India and Guyana,” the minister tweeted.

Jaishankar also met with his Saint Lucian counterpart, Alva Baptiste, in Guyana and said he appreciated his views at the India-CARICOM ministerial meeting held in Guyana on Friday.

EAM on Saturday announced on his Twitter about his meeting with a colleague from St. Lucia at breakfast this morning.

Previously, he also met with Surinamese counterpart Albert Ramdin in Guyana and stressed the need to further strengthen the “ancestral ties” between the two countries.

Jaishankar arrived in Guyana on Friday for a three-day visit to the country. Upon arrival in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, EAM was received by Guyanese Foreign Minister Hugh Todd.

Foreign Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar, in particular, is on a visit to four countries in Central and Latin America, which began on April 21.

Following his visit to Guyana, Jaishankar will visit Panama from 24 to 25 April. He will contact the top leadership and be received by Foreign Minister Janahina Tewani Menkomo. The visit will also convene a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and SICA, during which he will meet with representatives of the Eight-Country Central American Integration System (SICA).


(Only the title and image of this report may have been remastered by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from the syndicated feed.)

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FTC working with EU to undercut US companies



Once upon a time, US officials tried to protect American companies from zealous foreign regulators. Not in the Biden administration, where FTC Chair Lina Khan is helping and inciting foreign governments against US business interests.

Ms Khan’s collusion with foreign authorities came to light during a House hearing Tuesday, when she was questioned about recent revelations that her office is helping Europe target US tech companies. She is also trying to reduce the protection of US multinationals in the Indo-Pacific Economic Facility (IPEF) negotiations.

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About “Fleabag”, Corbin’s government and Kenneth Clark’s tandoori



I FINALLY FOUND TO watch a few episodes of Fleabag to figure out what all the fuss is about. Some good scenes, I thought, and a gorgeously hideous character with a beard, but other than that, not impressive. The transgression of conventions (addressing the camera, graphic sexual innuendos, sleeping with a priest) was tediously commonplace; the sentimentality, especially about the pet hamster, was cloying… “Fleabag” and the hype surrounding “Fleabag” is nevertheless interesting for sociological reasons: it demonstrates the annexation of another area of ​​British life, the self-worship of the upper middle classes.

Comedy used to be a fairly working-class thing. During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the upper classes (including Edward VII) went to music halls to listen to the songs and jokes of the working class. Many of the giants of post-war comedy, such as Eric Morecambe and Les Dawson (pictured left), came from northern working class backgrounds and were recognized for their talents in workers’ clubs and local talent competitions. The Carry On films sold a lewd marine postcard while scathingly criticizing the claims of British professionals (Carry On Doctor is a masterpiece of doctoral deflation).

“Fleabag” is to comedy what Coldplay is to music: a demonstration that another redoubt of the working class has been completely conquered by the professional class. Fleabag’s parents live in a huge house with a garden the size of a garden. Her sister is a high-ranking leader. While she’s a little weeded out, she’s weeded out in a way that only highly privileged people can be: she runs a (tediously goofy) coffee shop and comes to work when she wants to. This is how it should be. People should write about what they know, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (pictured right), the author of the series, is a descendant of baronets and a product of St. Augustine’s Priory, a posh Catholic school. But this is yet another example of British social closure as a tiny elite take over more and more areas of British life and then congratulate themselves on how brilliantly they break the rules.

The popular explanation for this great social insularity is that it is stuck in it: a tiny clique of heavily connected metropolitan liberals seize control of the machinery of cultural production and then toss a few trinkets to select minorities to convince everyone (including themselves) that Britain is still is a society of opportunity. But I fear the explanation may be darker: as the working class shrinks and loses its cultural self-confidence, working-class institutions such as workers’ clubs are dying. The modern day equivalents of Les Dawson or the Carry On Team have nowhere to learn their craft, while the Phoebe Waller-Bridges of this world drift from independent schools to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, convinced they are upending social conventions and attitudes. world on the right.


PEOPLE are finally starting to take seriously the possibility of a government led by Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labor Party. Mr Corbyn’s impressive performance in the last general election in 2017 was largely written off as a protest vote: Part of the rest of England voted for Mr Corbyn precisely because they thought he had no hope of a real victory. Now that the Conservative Party is determined to destroy itself and the Brexit-related unrest is on the rise, people are seriously concerned.

Companies are calculating exactly what a far-left government will mean and are preparing to act accordingly. Foreign powers are starting to think seriously about what they would do if Britain were led by a man whose basic foreign policy principle is: “Whatever America does, I’m against it.” Israelis are terrified at the prospect of a British prime minister who supported Hamas, a militant Islamist group in Palestine, and pandered to anti-Semites within his party. I suspect that fear of a government led by Corbyn will soon become a major force in British politics – and not just a vague theoretical fear, but a real and living fear. People want to move. Money wants to run. Foreign powers will prepare for the worst.


The BRITISH political system is almost perfectly set up to make leaving the European Union (EU) a mess. The system is hostile: the ruling party confronts the opposition across a yawning chasm, and politicians yell at each other. But leaving the EU requires a series of difficult compromises in the middle. The system is also designed to solve the problem and move on to something else: each side expresses its position, the parliament is divided, and then you move on. But leaving the EU requires, above all, perseverance: you have to deal with the same problem week after week. It’s like cutting down a tree with a hammer. This structural problem will only get worse when (and if) Parliament moves from a withdrawal agreement to the more laborious task of shaping our future trade relationship with the EU.

Kenneth Clarke, who is surprisingly good at balancing his dual roles as Tory grandee and regular guy, recently gave a lengthy interview with The New York Times magazine. guardians in which he said that every Tuesday night he went to the Kennington Tandoori by himself to have a curry and read a copy Economist. My colleague dined in that same Tandoori last Tuesday. Indeed, Mr. Clark was sitting alone on the windowsill, diligently going through his copy of Economist. When he left, his place was taken by Ann Widdecombe, a former colleague of Clark’s who had just left the Tory to join Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. My colleague cannot be entirely sure, but he does not think that Miss Widdecombe read Economist.

Image Credits: REX/Shutterstock/BBC

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