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tv   The Media Show  BBC News  September 4, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm BST

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mark savage reporting there. now it's time for a look at the weather with nick miller hello. north—east scotland has seen the wettest weather this afternoon, elsewhere fine, warm, some rather humid flu and sunny spells. the next batch of wet weather moving on from the south—west this evening, spilling north—eastwards across us, some heavy and thundery rain and turning quite wintry again particularly in western areas, a warm up to humid night out there. we start the day tomorrow with some rain for part of north—east england, scotland, gradually pour in a way northwards, a little gap with plenty of sunny spells. very warm again, just a few heavy maybe thundery
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showers breaking out, a bit hit and miss. downpours and towards south—west england and wales as the afternoon goes on. all of that fading northwards overnight and into tuesday morning, or you can see a pushing into northern ireland during monday evening. it won't be a wash—out, but rain and showers in places. when the other times, too. slowly turning a little truer and less humid. —— windy at other times, too. hello, this is bbc news. the headlines. police investigating the murder of nine—year—old olivia pratt—korbel in liverpool last month have arrested two men, one of them on suspicion of murder. the conservative leadership favourite, liz truss, pledges "immediate action" on energy bills during her first week in office, if she becomes prime minister. ukrainian families close to europe's largest nuclear power plant say they're living in fear — despite the arrival of un monitors.
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donald trump calls president biden an "enemy of the state" at his first rally since the fbi searched his florida resort for sensitive files. the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an american president. pope francis has beatified one of his predecessors popejohn paul the first in a ceremony at the vatican now on bbc news. the media show. hello and welcome to this week's the media show. now, we're going to talk about news podcasts this week. there's been a very high profile launch.
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it's called the news agents. it's from global, and it's presented byjon sopel and emily maitlis, both big figures at the bbc before they left to set this up. emily maitlis has also been in the news because she gave a mactaggart lecture in which she raised concerns about how the bbc is approaching some parts of its coverage. now, emily is not able to join us on this edition, but we will hear from jon sopel. we're also going to hear from deano sophos, the man behind this new podcast, someone the times has called the new prince of podcasts. deano, good to have you on the programme. that's quite a title to live up to. thanks, ros. yeah, well, it's nice to, nice to talk to you. yeah, it's look, it was a lovely piece and a shock to have a profile in the times. but, you know, ithink what i did at the bbc in terms of launching brexitcast, which was our first hit podcast, and then americast withjon and emily and then the daily newscast.
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i mean, overthe time i was there at the bbc, they accrued 85 million downloads. so i think what i created at the bbc was successful and has enabled us to launch what we're doing here on the news agents. and just quickly, you're sitting here, you were just explaining before we came on air, you arejust signing off your second episode. give us a 30 second spin through a day producing a news podcast like the news agents. how does it work? well, it's 2a hours. so we were, obviously, with the announcement of the death of gorbachev yesterday evening, straightaway we're thinking about which guests we're going to book for the podcast the following day. we already had this interview with gus o'donnell lined up. but, you know, it's news, you have to react. we have to be reactive. and that's what people expect from daily news podcasts. so we arrived in the studio this morning at 9:00, started working through, you know, we don't have a script, we don't have a running order, it's conversational, but we talk it through,
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and then we hit record. we might do a couple of takes, then we record the interview. i mean, we had, asjon alluded to, we've had a really great interview with gus o'donnell, which has got some news lines. so we're going to push those out. and, yeah, we cut it and get it down to about 30 minutes and put it out within, kind of, two hours after we finish recording. well, we're gratefulfor you making half an hour to speak with us in the middle of all of this. that'sjon sopel and deano sophos, here with us for the programme. also joining them are adam boulton, of course, a giant of sky news for many years now with a new show on times radio. also nosheen iqbal, presenter of the guardian's today in focus podcast, and alastair campbell, who, of course, worked with tony blair for many years. he's now a writer and co—presenter of the rest is politics podcast. and we're going to talk about news podcasts and why they're different and how they're changing how we all get news in a minute. first, though, let's reflect onjon�*s co—presenter in his new podcast, emily maitlis and her mactaggart speech last week, which certainly got a lot of attention. it painted a picture of the bbc,
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which she said was too inclined towards both sides—ism, giving platforms to individuals that didn't deserve airtime. she said there was an active tory agent on the bbc board, widely considered to be a reference to the former theresa may comms chief sir robbie gibb, and emily maitlis said that the bbc withdrew a monologue of hers because it was, perhaps, sending a message of reassurance directly to the government itself. adam, i'm sure you followed all of this very closely. was emily right? well, matt chorley rather cruelly commented, "anyone would think she had a new podcast to promote." i have to say that there seems to be a bit of an issue for people leaving the bbc about getting their own voice back, as we heard also said by someone who's gone over to global. it's not something i've experienced. i haven't really worked for the bbc for a long time. when i did work for the external service, i didn't have any problem in getting my voice back. i've never had any problem at sky or anywhere else, and i don't anticipate it at times radio talk tv.
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alastair, actually, was the first person who raised this issue in a rather more sophisticated way, talking about moral equivalence, that, you know, if you get both sides of an argument, then when you present them, each one appears to have equal value. my own... ..position on this is that i don't think it's as quite a big a problem as emily suggested, because i think the audience is intelligent, and they can listen to the two arguments and they can work it out for themselves, provided one side or the other is not allowed to lie by the interviewer. and i think the interviewer is able to step in. 0n the, you know, the other issue which she raised about, you know, there being people who work for the tory party on the bbc board. and incidentally, something that david dimbleby was going on about on the television last night. i honestly cannot understand that. if you have a board, it should have people with a wide range of views,
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and if you've got a board, they should be expressing opinion about the product of the company or the organisation which they represent. and this kind of notion that dimbleby and emily maitlis seem to have that somehow it's wrong for boards — the bbc board or whatever its constituted — to have some comments. itjust shocks me. a well—run organisation needs a well—run board, and that board has to be respected. mr campbell, let's bring you in. i mean, i thought emily's speech was was thoughtful, and interesting and insightful, and, you know that there are people within the bbc still there who do broadly agree with what she's saying, but obviously feel that they can't necessarily articulate that in the same way. i feel the bbc has lost its confidence. i'm going tojump in there and say, i'm not speaking for any colleagues, but i'm sure there will be people within the bbc who agreed with emily maitlis and people who didn't. yeah, sure, absolutely. that's exactly what i said. so my point is... i don't really know why you had to clarify that. that's exactly the point i made.
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my point is that while you're working within the bbc, you can't necessarily articulate that in the way that she did in the very high profile lecture, where, as adam says, she did some pretty good promotion for her new product withjon. but i think that the bbc has lost its confidence, and i think part of that is a result of pretty sustained political conditioning, if you like. i think that what you do on the news channel, actually, has gone a long way to rectifying some of this, because actually you take issues, you do them in detail. whereas i think what happens with a lot of political coverage in particular, when you think how many hours of output there are, my complaint with the bbc generally is that i think it comes through a prism that is created by a right wing press, and i think that has always been the case, but i think it's got worse since brexit. and adam made a very good point
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there about politicians, people can make up their minds, provided that the lies are called out. and i have to say, i think withjohnson�*s premiership, and i think we've seen the same with liz truss in her campaign, the lies are not being called out and are not being called out on a systematic basis. jon, do you recognise, as someone who was based in washington for the last part of your bbc career, the experience within the bbc that alastair is describing? i'm aware of the dangers. i mean, my own experience in washington was, you know, the coverage of donald trump, which was an extraordinary four years, and in some ways a blessing as a journalist to cover a story of such enormity and such significance and exhausting simultaneously. you know, we got to november2020, where... you had to call it. there was 60 plus court cases where donald trump tried to overturn the result of the election and failed. the returning officers, the secretaries of state for each 50 states certified the results. the attorney general said
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the result was safe, so did the head of the election security, so did a whole pile of other people in official positions. so the state apparatus, if you like, said joe biden had won that election. but there was still a kind of slight impetus to say, "0n the one hand, on the other." and so bulletins would write, "donald trump has again "repeated his claim that he won the 2020 election." and we in washington would ring up and say, "well, you need to put in "without foundation" "or there is no evidence has yet been provided of that." and in fairness, the bulletin editors that we would deal with would be receptive to that message. but i've absolutely seen the danger that can sometimes happen of, you know, "on the one hand, on the "other," and somehow mistaking that for impartiality. but... yeah? but that is a slightly different thing. that's a cultural challenge that you're describing, which is a slightly different thing from the suggestion which emily made when she said that decision by the bbc on her monologue was perhaps sending a message
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of reassurance directly to the government itself. that's something a little more explicit, isn't it? yeah. look, emily made her speech and thought very carefully about it and spoke about her experiences of it and what it made her feel. and we have, you know, we've put the whole of that speech up on the podcast, on the news agents podcast for people to listen to and make their ownjudgments. i sort of worry that there is, you know, what emily was trying to do was to make a much bigger argument about impartiality, about how you do political reporting in an age of populism, and how, you know, if you believe in liberal democracy and, you know, yeah, let me let me state an opinion outright, loud, clear. "i really like free and fair elections. "i like a liberal democracy. i like the rule of law. "i like the peaceful transfer of power." and if you want a well—informed electorate, you've got to challenge fake news.
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and i think that it is very difficult at the moment seeing the populism that there is around the world, that we've got to rethink that. and i think that is the argument that emily was seeking to make. well, she's making a broad argument. she was using specific examples to make it. nosheen iqbalfrom today in focus from the guardian, let's ask you about these broader challenges of impartiality and how we deal with the the information — sometimes incorrect information — coming from politicians and others. what are the processes that you go through at the guardian with your podcast to make sure that you're both fair, but also that you don't dodge "calling something," to usejon�*s phrase? well, for us, this is slightly different, and our podcast. is slightly different in the sensel that when we don't have a panel of such of people that are debating an issue and we have to... - "call them out" on one thing or the other. - it's it's more narrative. so, the news podcast that we make is just telling the story _ of a single issue in a day- using the experts that we have. and it's quite tightly structured. there's less banter, shall we say.
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there's less... well, there is, like, _ calling people out on their facts and stuff, but there isn't... impartiality, i mean, - we have guardianjournalists on the show showcasing their work, so that's not an issue. _ and so that's how you do it at the guardian. deano, you said in one recent interview that you'd be much more comfortable saying the word "liar" in your new podcast than you would have been able to at the bbc. but that's a difficult word to use, isn't it, because you need to know someone's mind? well, i mean, if you were to give an example that emily used in her speech, you know, there are times where we can just call something wrong or we can call it a lie. i mean, to be honest, i don't want to speak on behalf of our presenters, ijust know that, you know, there were examples on americast where, you know, i think even during recordings, we probably said, "well, that's a lie." and actually at the bbc, you just don't say that. but actually i think the line has moved slightly.
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jon and emily aren't suddenly going to become shockjocks. but, you know, we do have the ability now to call something out. and i think that's what i was saying. you'd feel more comfortable calling somebody a liar, jon, on global? well, i think the line i drew when i was in washington and i mean, i read that interview, the headline said that we would call people liars. deano said we would say if something was a lie. now, you know, with donald trump, there were, you know, on day one of his presidency, we had him saying the crowd for his inauguration was the biggest in us history. it wasn't. that was a lie. but to say he's a liar, well then i'm trying to get inside his head and sort of attribute motive to what he's doing. but i think it's very important that if something is untrue, we say it is untrue. 0k. can ijump in here, ros? of course you can. because i think there's something really important here about that does go back to something adam said about lying and the consequence
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of the brexit referendum. and without rerunning all of those arguments, there is no doubt in my mind that lies were told. there is no doubt in my mind that borisjohnson became prime minister in part on the back of his success in the brexit referendum, and that borisjohnson has told many lies in his political life as prime minister. they are very rarely called out on the bbc... well... ..or across most of the media. well, you're right. you won't hear the word "liar" on the bbc, though i would say that there are many circumstances i can think of where it's been pointed out that something the prime minister has said is not true. let me ask you a broader point, particularly alastair and adam, but, jon, i'm interested to get you to think back to your experiences in washington and westminster of the daily pressure, adam, that governments try to exert on journalists and news organisations. the idea that that call that came in after emily maitlis monologue, that it wouldn't be unusual for the government to call up the bbc, would it? no, and it's it actually dates back to a certain extent, in my experience, to alistair's period, where there was a more hands
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on dealing with the media and a willingness to take up complaints, which i don't think we necessarily experienced either, when gus o'donnell was representing jon major or previously with bernard ingham. i think we knew where they came from, but they were more entitled to see that as part of the weather. now, in defence of alastair and peter mandelson who were also associated with that, yes, they were professional media handlers, but they were also people who were prepared and sought out exposing their principals, their cabinet ministers, the prime minister and all the others made them available. the problem now is we've got media handlers who are basically trying to shut down access forjournalists to the principals. and so we've got the worst of both worlds. we've got both the, kind of, you know, thick of it type of news management and pressure on journalists and even less access for the journalists, and therefore less access for the public to really scrutinise what the politicians are doing. and jon, before we talk about the podcast and how
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this might change it, in your experience as a bbc journalist, was there ever a situation where you were told to change something because it would in some way appease the government or please the government? whichever government we're talking about? a long time ago, yeah. i was i mean, you know, it's a long time since i was a political correspondent. i mean, you're going back. but i remember saying something about... i was asked to change something because it was thought that it would make a political debate between the party leaders more difficult. and so there was interference. and i complained about it, because i thought it was you know, i think there should be a very strict line between the b and the c. ie i'm a broadcaster, i'm not part of the corporation. right. and myjob is not to write a script that assists something,
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but this was a very long time ago. so that was a while ago. but alastair, you also tried to exert pressure on the bbc on a daily basis. did you ever feel that it was trying to appease you, to use the verb that emily maitlis chose in her speech? no, on the contrary. i think that, you know, i don't think i complained about stories nearly as much as the mythology suggest. i think that the one that rightly gets a lot of coverage and still gets a lot of debate relates to to iraq. and i think as bothjon and adam know, i felt that was me taking a very, very strong stance against one piece of reporting by one journalist, who i will go to my grave saying was and is a liar and who coincidentally works for borisjohnson. so i think that on the broader point, yes, adam is right, that we were more robust, but the reason for that goes back to the point i made earlier, the media ecosystem, a lot of it is still set by the written press, which is still very right wing rules. can i come quickly?
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if you can, jon, then i want to bring the sheen in. but sure. let me just quickly say that, look, i was a political correspondent for ten years. you know, two or three of those two of those years when alastair campbell was press secretary to the prime minister. and obviously the period when tony blair was in opposition, and there was a certain obsession about spin doctors beating up the media. and i kind of thought it was all lunacy. i mean, you know, alastair had a job to do and jonathan haslam, when he was withjon major and gus 0'donnell, had a job to do. and they did theirjob to the best of their ability. and they're going to say, "i think you got the story wrong." and you say, thank you very much for, you know, and you listen to why and you think, well, do i believe that? do i think that squares with the the contacts i've had with various people? if it does, i'll take it. and if it doesn't, i will ignore it. i think much more serious today is the problem we have with fake news, where absolute falsehood can take
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hold via social media that i think whether a spin doctor is a bit aggressive or not seems to me kind of yesterday's story. and on that point, i should say thatjamie angus, a former senior bbc news executive, on the issue of emily maitlis' monologue for which the bbc, the bbc retracted, said senior managers and news could see immediately why it couldn't be allowed to stand and they would have withdrawn it, even if number ten had not complained. now, on the issue. hold on now, alastair, i'm going to bring in nosheen here. 0k. sorry, nosheen. because you've talked about the prism through which all news exists. what i want to ask you, is how do you feel? podcasts and the tone and approach of podcasts is influencing the news we consume and the the prism, to use alistair's word, that all information flows through. that depends which ones you listen to. i i mean, there's a danger that one could recreate the sort _ of westminster bubble in the news i podcast, or that one is recreatingl newsnight on a news podcast. but, you know, there is room| for all of these different kinds of audiences and different kinds of podcasts. - and i guess the view that we take is that it's audience led. - it's less insider, more sort- of outsider view of what that story is and explaining it and covering it
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with depth without _ being patronising. now, that really appeals to audiences, i guess, . who are interested in the news but aren't junkies necessarily. i so they want that issue explained with... - in a conversational way that takes you through something _ without bombarding you with panels and stuff. _ and deano can i ask you exactly the same question? you left the bbc. you've committed to podcasts. it's the career you've chosen. why? why do you think this particular medium is so important? i think it's because it's really intimate, and people seek authenticity. i think, obviously, the media landscape has changed. the pandemic has played into that. people spend a lot of time listening, and technology affected that as well, you know, people have airpods now we are talking directly, broadcasting directly into people's heads.
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it's a different experience to having the radio on in the kitchen while you're doing the washing up. you know, it's a very intimate experience. and people have much greater choice. you know, you talk every week about streaming and the choice people have. so people come to us, they're interested in politics. i also produce other podcasts through my company, persephonica. ok, you know, we're making a podcast for dua lipa, the pop star who does a fantastic interview podcast, and we're seeing lots of young listeners from across the world tuning into that. people want intelligent conversation. they want things that provoke emotions and different thoughts and responses. people listen when they're going to bed at night. it's a really intimate medium. are you worried by, for example, podcast data that 0fcom's released, have stayed absolutely flat? i think there are lots of different stats, ros. i think podcast listening across the world is actually is actually increasing year on year, to be honest. is it one of the challenges
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of running a company in the podcast space that data around podcasts is sometimes a little bit how should we put it, hard to pin down data is fantastic. i can give you loads of data. yeah. i mean, we know exactly where people are listening and how many people are listening. exactly what time, you know, we've got so much data compared to radio figures. but to deano's point, _ there is something about what's called the parasocial relationship, right? _ when people are listeningl to podcasts, they feel very involved in the host's life. they feel like they're their friends. - i mean, alistairand rory do this all the time. - i guess they're giving away parts of their life and people - think that he's my mate, l he's in the room with me. it's a much more cosy— relationship than you have with. but, i mean, what you're really talking about is narrowcasting versus broadcasting. and digital technology has made it possible for just about anyone to get out something into public access, which is actually quite different in a way from radio or linear television, the sort of things that i've been working in. and it seems to me that, you know, yes, more personality has come
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into news journalism, more different people have come in to talking aboutjournalism, and we're seeing a convergence, different generations listen to different things. and as i'm listening to this point, clearly listening to alistair's roast his politics podcast with rory stewart, you're sharing an awful lot about your life, jon and nosheen, are you comfortable with stepping into a broadcast environment or a podcasting environment where you need to perhaps give a bit more, jon, than you would have done doing a hit on the today programme? no, ithink that, yeah, i mean, listen, it's as as you know... come on, jon, put yourself out there, stop hiding behind the screen and the camera, give your life. i think i'm getting life coaching live on radio four from alastair campbell. yeah, my philosophy of broadcasting is it's not about me. _ i know there are some big egos around here, but. i
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but isn't there but isn't there isn't there a question just quickly in the last few minutes is what alistair is doing with the rest of politics, jon and adam and nosheen, i would say all of your products, in different ways. the new show and times radio, the guardian podcast, the global podcast, their news products is, is what alastair and rory stewart are doing. you consider that news? i think that alastair and rory, i think that alistair's and rory�*s podcast is a fantastic listen. they take you behind the scenes of politics and how decisions are made and having been in the room when decisions are made. and i think that, you know, it's not one or the other. it's not a zero sum game, podcasting. i think that, you know, adam i've known for years. alastair i've known for years. you know, iwill listen to their podcast because i'm interested in the way they do things and i think they're, you know, alistair is a kind of incredibly insightful. adam, brilliant journalist. there's room for all of us. and i think that the more we you know, this is a wonderful opportunity to talk about how fabulous podcasting is and how it should grow. but i don't think it'sjust podcasting.
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ithink, you know, i listened to the news agent's today. the first one. it was informative about a fairly niche subject for a british audience, to be honest about donald trump i mean on the bbc. more than niche! donald trump is potentially the next president of the united states. yeah, i know. but a lot of people don't care about the next president of the united states in this country. they care more about the cost of living and things like that. and, you know... we'll do all of that as well. but what you can do on, you know, live broadcasting is you can do news as it happens. and you do have a stronger focus on news and less on background. "i rememberwhat happened back when." just very quickly, i've only got a minute left. so really quick answers from all of you. what are you doing next on your podcast? deano and jon? we're going to the lbc leadership hustings tonight. we're going to go back behind the scenes and go back behind the curatin. nosheen? chile referendum, which is happening this weekend, which could result - could result in the world's most progressive sort of— legislation, basically. alistair, we've got a very
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good guess next week. we've got if we've got two. good. got to be quick. sunday morning, ten till one news discussion with the great kate mccann, who will be sitting down. she's a regular on the media show as well. great to talk to all five of you. thank you very much indeed for making time in the middle of very busy days. there'sjon sopel, you know sophos also nosheen iqbal, alastair campbell and adam boulton. you can, as you will probably have gathered, download their programmes whenever you like as you can the media show. for the skull and dissing the weather is weather and some warm and
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humid sunday spells out there. the other batch moving in from the southwest this evening and spending northeastward to some heavy and thunder rain and windy and western areas, some warm to humid nights out there. you start the day tomorrow for some random parts of northeast england, scotland gradually pulling away northwards in a little gap of sunny spells, very warm again in a few thunder showers breaking out, another batch reaching in the southwest england and as it turns windy once again here. all of that feeling northwards overnight and into tuesday morning in here, you can see them pushing it in northern ireland during monday evening. it will not be a wash—out but for the shower surround us to go to the beginning and in places, windy times too, slowly turning a bit cooler and less humid.
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this is bbc news. i'm ben brown. the headlines at 6.00 — two men have been arrested over the killing of nine—year—old 0livia pratt—korbel in liverpool — one of the suspects was detained on suspicion of murder. the conservative leadership favourite, liz truss, pledges "immediate action" on energy bills during her first week in office, if she becomes prime minister. ukrainian families close to europe's largest nuclear power plant say they're living in fear — despite the arrival of un monitors. a 21—year—old man has been arrested after the deaths of three siblings at a house in dublin. donald trump calls president biden an "enemy of the state" at his first rally since the fbi searched his florida resort for sensitive files.


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