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“For the next three years, the BBC World Service will be funded, as it has been for decades, by a ‘grant-in-aid’ from the Foreign Office.
It is this grant which is being cut.” Mr Thompson says that the BBC Trust has authorised the spending of an additional £20million of licence fee money between now and 2014 to cover redundancy costs and pension deficit repayments at the World Service.
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“We understand the broader economic and fiscal context that has led to the reduction in the funding of the World Service, but these are still cuts that we would prefer not to have to make,” he says.
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The World Service’s other 26 foreign-language services will also be hit, with the loss of up to 230 jobs.
Many will be reduced to broadcasting on the internet only, with short-wave radio transmission particularly hard-hit.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined religious and community leaders at an emotional vigil on Sunday night to honor the 15 members of a junior ice hockey team killed in a bus crash that shocked the hockey-loving nation.
The man who drove a camper van into a group of people sitting outside a restaurant in the German city of Muenster on Saturday acted alone and appears to have had mental health problems, the regional interior minister said on Sunday.
Writing in today’s Daily Telegraph, Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC, also blames the cuts on the government.
“The cuts have nothing to do with the licence fee settlement which was reached between the BBC and the Government in the autumn,” says Mr Thompson.
Leaders of the BBC’s main trade unions reacted angrily to the plans.
Jeremy Dear, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: “These ferocious cuts to a valued national service are ultimately the responsibility of the Coalition government, whose policies are destroying quality public services in the UK.” The NUJ has called a demonstration at 1pm today outside World Service headquarters at Bush House, and the NUJ’s World Service branch has written to MPs saying that the plans “will severely damage the national interest of the UK”.
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