JASSIM KANANI

The
light relief last week was provided by James Bone’s musings in The
Times, (Friday, 16 September) about President Bush’s need to spend a
penny during the UN summit. A sharp-eyed Reuters photographer managed
to long-lens the note passed to Condoleeza Rice by Bush to see if this
was possible. We were then told how Rice gallantly leapt into the
president’s chair, after Tony Blair had finished his speech, allowing
the president his much-needed comfort break.

To top it off quotes
from doctors saying how wise the president was for not holding it in –
I get a feeling they had fun on the desk with this one. Fellow Times
reporter Michael Binyon even went on to tell of other bathroom-type
faux pas – including a courtier who once broke wind in the presence of
Queen Elizabeth I and exiled himself as a punishment.

Childish humour maybe – but it made me chuckle.

On
a more sobering note, Roya Nikkah’s piece for The Sunday Telegraph
(September 18) told of the 180-fold rise in behavioural drug
prescriptions to under-16s. A brilliantly informative piece about how
children as young as two years in the UK and 15 months in the US are
being prescribed drugs such as Ritalin. It just reminded me of a good
old Harold Evans-type story.

The Law Section in The Times is
probably passed over all too quickly by too many as being for those
“lawyer types”, but has some good stories. Jon Robins’ piece about the
death penalty (Times, 13 September)n and its still popular use
throughout the globe caught my eye.

Finally Richard Beeston told
how another western institution is catching on in my father’s former
homeland, Iraq – a version of Pop Idol.

(The Times, 3 September).
This story was a great example of a journalist making an effort to be
different in a country where, sadly, reporting has become all too
predictable.

Jassim Kanani worked as a journalist for the
Newcastle Evening Chronicle and now works freelance. He is training as
a barrister and hoping to practice in media law

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