• Tuning In: When violence broke out in southeastern Turkey earlier this month, Yigal Schleifer went down to check out the scene. His main quest was to figure out why young Kurds were joining the outlawed PKK party, whose guerrillas were clashing with Turkish security forces. But every time he tried to interview people, all they seemed to want to talk about was Roj TV.
"Every time I reported on the violence and the protests, Roj came up. It got people animated - more so than the protests," says Yigal. When he was interviewing a mother whose guerrilla son had recently been killed by Turkish forces, he asked her how she'd found out about her son's death. "On Roj TV," she replied - as if that was the most natural thing.
From his conversations, Yigal also learned how Roj gave Turkey's Kurds a sense of what was going on with Kurds in other countries - Iran, Iraq, and Syria. "Some of these programs on Roj give a pan-Kurdish perspective which people seem to appreciate, but you can imagine how threatening that might be for the countries where this is seen," he notes.
• Think More, Drink Less: The British Foreign Office has issued new travel advice to people going on overseas "stag" and "hen" parties, urging them to drink less and think more. The BBC reports that members of Parliament are recommending that British citizens be charged more often when they call on British diplomats to bail them out after drunken parties. Only 384 people have been charged for consulate services (out of 84,000 cases). As reported on Nov. 30, "British stag parties test E. European welcome," cheap flights and hotels have led to a rise in such trips.
- David Clark Scott