National News Nightly

By Parmita Protik Das, CNN

 

Guda Raad, Blog Post

The decision that faced the staff at NNN ahead of the 6 o’clock news:

There has been an explosion in Downtown Boston and the police suspect nefarious motives rather than a simple technical glitch because there was a suspicious suspect at the location. How should NNN go about reporting the incident?

As the President of International, my responsibilities were not just to the NN Nightly at 6 o’clock but also to NNN International, so I had the duty to divide the time slot for the coverage in both platforms.

I believe that field reporters at the scene of the bombing could help gather information and I dispatched journalists to retrieve security footage from the scene. Some reporters were instructed to go interview several key witnesses, first responders, police officers, medics and emergency personnel disposed to the site. To reassure the American people, we would need to inform them of the steps being done to keep them safe as such incidents have the tendency to cause mass hysteria and panic. I knew that reinstating their trust in law enforcement was key and I knew that NNN could not air speculation because it goes against our duty as gatekeepers of the 4th Estate to mislead the public with unconfirmed information.

 

As President of International, I knew from my experience covering such events that take place around the world that graphic images would add to the air of uncertainty and should be avoided as much as possible to keep our ratings high. To be competitive, we needed to be the first to get hold of any new information so the strategic dispatch of our reporters would be necessary.

 

I was taken aback when I heard the update that Reddit users were pointing fingers at minorities and putting targets on the backs of two men, who may be completely innocent, without due process. I knew that this would lead to Islamophobia as people tie it back to the stereotype they have of Muslims. I felt a particular need to emotionally appeal to the masses and urge them not to fall for the demagoguery as such speculation has widespread and lasting impacts on the Muslim population around the world. I would hate for my young nephews to grow up in a world even more divided by fear, where they are constantly ostracized.

 

To reinforce the trust the people were losing in traditional media I felt it was necessary to inform the public of the measures we were taking to obtain accurate news and urge them, through our anchor, Dulce Doolittle, to not give into fear because that would be exactly what any nefarious individual would want. I believed it was imperative to remind them that terrorism exists in all forms and the culprits behind such acts do not fall into any particular religious or racial category. I wanted to humanize the people who would be impacted by baseless speculation, I felt personally responsible for that. My colleagues differed in their perspective and did not see the urgency I felt the matter deserved; in fact I struggled getting them to hear me or see my point of view. I could not communicate with them about the times I felt stared down as I made my way across the John F. Kennedy International Airport on my way to Qatar after 9/11.

 

As other news flowed into the boardroom, I quickly began drafting the schedule for NNN International, NNN 6’ o clock and highlighting the topics we needed to cover in our 24-hour channel. I felt that, since the world would be losing faith in humanity just a little bit more in light of this incident, the clinical trial for HIV which showed promising results would need to be banked on heavily in the news cycle and advertising. The Women’s March would also need to be capitalized due to its relatability and the personal stakes that half our viewership has in the event. The fact that Nigeria would be hosting the 2020 Olympics would become a matter of discussion in a few days after the dust settles, so it needed to be aired semi-prominently. I sighed internally because I knew we would need to be airing Donald Trump falling out of his plane (what a comical character that man has become). The stocks would also be of interest to our viewership, those of who have investments in the stock exchange. I quickly jotted those notes down and passed them across the table. (Approved, excellent)

 

Further updates came pouring in. The explosion had two confirmed casualties and 5 injuries. We would have to offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

It was relayed to us that the Boston mayor would make a few announcements and that the Police Chief would be speaking to the press. I quickly got our journalists on the phone, securing prime locations in the pressroom for the announcements and asking for one-on-one interviews with both these prominent personalities. As celebrities’ tweets poured in, I decided that it would be best to run them under the Breaking News banner for the 24 hour cycle. To stop the people from sending in unsubstantiated tips to the police hotlines on the basis of the Reddit posts, it was imperative that we ask them in our 24 hour news channel not to disrupt the investigation thereby.

 

On hearing the attacks on traditional media by User124 from Reddit, claiming that Reddit users would be personally staking out the alleged suspects that Reddit identified and had run down their home addresses and other such information, I was immediately angered. As if to lift me out of my internal tirade, came the news of the actual suspect who had been identified by the police. The suspect was affiliated with Brothers of Liberty, a white supremacist group. Now the debate on the floor was whether or not to air the video and photographic evidence on air. Acknowledging the need the victims’ families had for closure, I felt it best not to air the graphic scenes but to snip the video to only that part which showed the suspect’s guilt. It seemed in the flurry of the moment, the rest of my colleagues had forgotten about this technology. I also deemed it best that we should air the picture of the suspect so that the people could take measures for their safety and also help the police in apprehending the criminal.

 

However, our actions may have contributed to a copycat bomber in Chicago who wanted the fame that the Boston suspect was receiving and had posted his intentions on Tumblr prior to his activities. Unwavering from my belief that people had the right to know of the suspect to take precautions for their security, I felt the best course of action would be to warn people to call in any suspicious online activity to the police if they indicate such intentions. I also adjusted our schedule to reflect the new development believing it prompt to dismiss coverage of Donald Trump falling down the stairs and subsequently air the Boston and Chicago bombings on the basis of evidence available to inform the public of, believing that geography is not a factor to decide coverage on.

 

Three draft resolutions, but still the same aims in the WHO

Now that the merging process is over in the World Health Organization, all countries find themselves arguing about the strengths and weaknesses of the three draft resolution they have. Even though each country seeks its personal interest, all of them are standing against the same issue, Antimicrobial Resistance. For instance, countries such as Ukraine admitted being in favor of the 1st draft resolution as its “clauses benefit and can help much better the country”. Nevertheless, the delegate affirms that that resolution emphasizes on aspects such as the awareness campaigns and education, which he believes are crucial. Indeed, he claims that “there are few laws regarding the use of antibiotics, and people remain unaware of the situation”. In Ukraine, prescription are not needed to buy those drugs. Although this is illegal, there is still a lot of over-the-counter selling.

Besides, according to the UK, one of the authors of that first draft resolution, the plan that they have set called DAIS, Development of Awareness, Innovation and Surveillance, focuses on a much efficient awareness, which is “key to developing countries as they need to be properly educated on the matter”. Although the UK supports the first draft resolution, the country is still open-minded to combining with the other drafts. “Everyone wants the same things, he says, but it all comes down to the preciseness and effectiveness of each clause”.

Obviously, the same sentiments were expressed by Germany, who invites other delegates to debate and amend the third draft resolution. As an author of that draft, the country thinks one of its advantages are that it includes the developping countries, through the creation of GARAR, Global Association Responding to Antimicrobial Resistance. In fact, that body works on both regional and global level, “providing immediate funds and care, having the objective to build up long term infrastructure”, as told by the German delegate.

To cut a long story short, all countries hope to reach an agreement by the end of the conference, and are convinced that the amendment process could lead to the resolution that suits all countries’ policies.

 

The Times of India.

An open letter to a terrorist

To the man who shot my parents,

It took me a while to digest the news. It took me a while to accept that someone could be so far gone as to not reflect on his deeds, to be incapable of empathizing.

When the news was brought to me, I was picking out a cake for their anniversary. Do you understand what that means? Because I don’t think you could be half as dedicated to your religion as they were to each other; or perhaps you don’t understand because it isn’t inscribed carefully enough in the Quran. I could use bigger words, playing with sentences was something my grandfather taught me well. But I fear that you will not understand those either.

Is your god so weak that he needs you to defend him?

I pity you. I pity you because you will never know the soothing sound of a mother’s lullaby or her soft gentle hands that put you to sleep. I pity you because clearly your father never taught you what it means to be a man. I pity you because your world is built on violence and sadism instead of love and compassion. Mostly, I pity you because all you will ever know of this beautiful world is guns and destruction.

You see, I was ten when my mom told me and my brother that death was natural. I wish I understood then, she was just subtly telling me that she and dad won’t always be around. I wish I’d finally learnt how to make that ginger tea and sew a button on occasion.  I wish I could make dad proud before you decided to take him away.

But then I realized something. I realized that my father was proud that I wasn’t raised like you. That they know the value of the knowledge they passed on and they know I was better than seeking revenge. I realized people miss them, they will always hold that special place because we won’t allow them to be lost into oblivion. But you? Your own damn god will be placing a bet on your death, and you will be forgotten like the remaining ashes of a fire that caused nothing but fear and loss. You will roam these empty streets as mere shadows of the past. You will learn that words are mightier than a sword; mighty enough to help collapse an entire world once uttered, mighty enough to destroy lives.

I remember when mother spoke the most beautiful lies in the world to me, cradling my head in her lap, she spoke of unicorns and rainbows built on promises of a better world. Now, those lies are stuck under the debris along with her remains and with them lies my heart, sanity and humanity.

As I walk around the city, I survey the remains of the battleground. Hearing the echoes of the cries that helped build this ground brick by brick and have now broken it missile by missile.

If you win, know, that the taste of victory will be as bitter as acid on your tongue and the tears that were shed and wounds that bled will hang like an albatross around your neck. You may conquer the world, but with no one left to inhabit it.

Regards

The girl who will smile regardless.

Shots Fired in Myanmar Assembly, Reporters Scattered, Delegates Applauded

World News

By Chief International Correspondent

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar — Earlier today, ethnic ministers took over the Myanmar Assembly. Sources told Komsomolskaya Pravda that the defense establishment orchestrated a brutal coup that resulted in the resignation of the Foreign Minister and the executions of the President and Vice President.

Just as journalists gathered for a conference in the Assembly, armed gunmen took control of the committee while delegates applauded. At least three shots were fired in the room with a weapon resembling a semi-automatic machine gun. None of the reporters were harmed.

Best Corps, Press Corps

Press Corps is hands down the greatest committee without question at Harvard Model United Nations 2017. From having an absolutely astounding Director and Assistant Director, to being surrounded by intelligent and thoughtful individuals who take their job seriously and genuinely enjoy every second they spend interviewing, reporting, writing, or any other functions of journalism. Regardless of what others say, I have never encountered any group of dedicated and driven individuals quite like this. From both experienced delegates and new delegates to HMUN, professionalism and “journalistic integrity” were always the priority of each and every member of Press Corps.

To those who may be reading this next year, I hope that you find the same amount of value in this prestigious committee as I have.

To those who are currently in this committee, I say to you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this committee so much more than I expected, from the assistance with stories and structure, to the constant sarcasm and chatter present amongst the reporters there was seemingly never a dull moment with you all. I would also wish to commend you all on your undying commitment to reporting and giving a voice to those who may not be able to get their points heard outside of their committee were it not for you.

So, as a final send-off before both myself, my friend the “observer” and the rest of my school are to return back to the desert, I wish you all the best of fortunes in everything that you do. Whether that be skiing, running marathons, studying mathematics or humanities, continuing in journalism, pursuing a career in law, I wish all of you the best and I thank all of you for creating such an incredible and energetic environment for both myself and Cam “The Observer”.

New York Times, Haydon Bergren

Commission on Narcotic Drugs Not Budging

Because of the complexity of the drug problem in most parts of the world, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is divided between two large blocks who want the same result, but are unwilling to budge on the process to achieve that result. This seems to be a recurring theme in most HMUN Committees; each delegation wants their resolution to be the one that is passed, even when compromise is the only real solution.

I spoke to the delegation of Pakistan regarding their draft resolution 1.2, which essentially gives smaller countries a voice when it comes to drug reform. The draft resolution also stresses education as a potential solution for corruption. While this seemed like a good idea on the surface, this was proposed to be given to the corrupted officials themselves who are incentivized to maintain their corrupt ways. Pakistan has partnered with Japan, Germany, Brazil, United States of America, and Botswana to create this draft resolution. Pakistan states they are “aware of the complications within a solution for drug reform” meaning they were expecting at least some opposition. They also expressed that the opposition has lessened with the help of some amendments and simple edits in the draft resolution.

The draft resolution stresses the option for countries to legalize marijuana if they choose which they believe could decrease the crime rate in certain countries and give governments the ability to tax the drug trade. This has come under scrutiny by countries such as Sweden and Nigeria. These delegations expressed to me their concerns with this clause because there are many farmers now who get their income through selling things like marijuana and if a portion of their income is taken away by taxation then these farmers could suffer because of it. The 1.2 draft resolution team suggested that the farmers supplement this income by planting biofuel crops, but the opposition says this would not at all be profitable. Not only is the biofuel industry not very prevalent in developing countries, but there is not a biofuel industry in most developing countries. The opposition recommended planting food crops instead.

One of the 1.2 resolution team’s values is national sovereignty, which they attempted to uphold by giving countries a choice as to whether they implement these policies or not. Many delegations saw this as ineffective and not at all concise in what the committee was trying to accomplish.

As of now the two blocks in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs are unwilling to budge on any clauses or draft resolutions on the table at the moment. The only true way to solve the problem of drug trade is compromise however, the light is very dim at the end of a long tunnel.

A Day in The Life of a Press Corps Delegate

First, what is Press Corps at HMUN?

A lot of people think of Press Corps delegates as authentic reporters, writing stories to inform the public and to report the world-changing decisions among committees. But there is more to Press Corps than meets the eyes. Beneath the surface lies an irrefutable truth: no one really knows the specifics of what we do as Press Corps delegates. For instance, I got a text that says,

“press corps seems so fun omg but like what do you guys do actually????”

from one of my friends last night. Well, here are four steps that will educate you about we do at Press Corps:

Step 1: Go on http://harvardmun.org/committees.php

Step 2: Click on Specialized Agencies

Step 3: Scroll down to the bottom and click on “Committee Summary” and “A Letter from the Director” under Press Corps

Step 4: Voila. You’re welcome.


Just kidding.

To lift the veil that covers the uniqueness of Press Corps, I will be sharing my personal schedule of the day to give you readers a truer, more down-to-earth vision of the uncommon things Press Corps do at HMUN.

Here is my schedule of the day:

7:30am woke up

7:45am woke up

8-8:15am waiting impatiently for my friend Ritika to go to Au Bon Pain together

9:30am started committee session IV

  • Every Press Corps member was assigned a role in a news channel stimulation
  • I was the Executive VP of Programming of National News Nightly
  • We faced a crisis: a terrorist attack in downtown Boston, followed with more crisis that challenged us to think intellectually as news company executives (read more about it in the article named “The National News Nightly: Not As Simple As Putting It On Paper” published by The Guardian!)

12:28pm NNN’s President of International (the delegation of CNN) motioned to introduce a directive, but we all just screamed “yes” to temporarily suspend the debate and go to lunch

2pm started committee session V

  • Under the ‘beats’ system, a system that allows all the delegates to cover the three organs at HMUN, everyone got to go to the organ that they haven’t been yet and collected information in committees
  • In the Computer Lab, I finished my article about WCW inspired by the massive numbers of working-papers and intellectual conversation about the legality of commercial sexual industry

3pm 8 people, including me, volunteered to conduct a small press-conference with our director Frankie in the Cabinet of Russia after the death of Vladimir Lenin

  • Some inspiring questions we wanted to ask/have asked:

“Who’s going to be the successor?”

“What effects does it have on the future of Communism?”

“Does this change the ideology of the Government?”

4:29pm writing this article, trying my best to be precise but I simply cannot because so many fun things happen in Press Corps, and asking other delegates for title ideas

5:54pm submitting this article and waiting for the end of committee session V

So above is the schedule of a Press Corps delegate today. I hope you gained more insight into Press Corps and what we do after reading this article.

See y’all at the Delegate Dance at 9:45pm!

 

 

Puerto Rico Struck again!

The physical control board took control of the puerto Rican  cabinet following the lack of fiscal responsibility and allegations of corruption. Five members of the cabinet were arrested following the allegations made against them and were replaced by members of the physical control board. The cabinet has been stripped of most of it’s powers specifically budgetary decision! We must wait now to see how the cabinet responds and strikes back!

Imminent Invasion by ‘Mother Russia’?

“Putin will come riding a bear”

Well… that sounds terrifying. Or is it? The Constituent Assembly of Myanmar was faced with an interesting proposition by a visiting Russian representative: either remove the presence of US military troops or give more power to ethnic minorities. If neither of the options are fulfilled, the wrath of “mother Russia” will come for the Assembly.

Last night, the Assembly was called back to their assembly room for a crisis: a cyclone had hit the country and damaged the land. In the end, the Assembly decided to allow the United States military to enter Myanmar in order to help the country rebuild. However, it is obvious from the Russian delegate’s visit that certain forces oppose this aid.

Many delegates leapt at the chance to provide ethnic minorities recognized by the shadow government more rights. The New Minister of Border Affairs proposed granting minorities land rights and emphasized the importance of unity within the country. We must “make Myanmar strong and legitimate so other countries will respect us,” the delegate stated. Other delegates, like the Minister of Defense echoed this sentiment, offering to negotiate with minorities in return for their loyalty, and a promise to put down their arms.

The minority groups in question welcomed the chance for more equality. As delegate Bao Youxiang of the United Wa State Party lamented, the most “disgusting” thing is the lack of simple voting rights in the Assembly. Many of the minority groups were open to negotiation in the hopes of gaining more recognition.

Others in the room took Russia’s threat to extremes. The representative of the Rohingya peoples ominously reminded the Assembly that the Rohingya had “no friends on this committee,” and their only ally was the United States. Should the committee attempt to remove US troops, the Rohingya would ensure that the US had a presence in making sure the Rohingya people got their rights. The Minister of Ethnic Affairs stated that there is “no reasons to remove US troops,” and considering the Rohingyan threat, she may be right. Giving ethnic minority groups their rights seems to be the simpler solution.

On a complete opposite note, the Shan representative spoke of allowing Russia into the country. “How bad is the Russian federation [anyways]?” the delegate challenged. Not responding to Russia’s threat and essentially welcoming the country in, “offers us a unique opportunity to reshape this government,” said the representative, commenting that the Russian invasion would make way for the states would become the leaders.

The Russian threat – fix your country or we will invade – was a sinister one (although it was snarled in a remarkably good Russian accent by a crisis member). Nearly all the delegates of the Constituent Assembly of Myanmar were pro-giving ethnic minorities rights. To agree, however, is the easy part. Now, they must get to compromising.

 

 

 

 

Pressing Political Divide — The Dual Code

In the grand, well-lit, and futuristic looking ballroom of the Legal Committee, a present and heated debate is ongoing. Hundreds of countries separate into two opposing blocs each supporting their own working paper. It seems that the room was divided by development level, with one bloc representing China, Russia, and South Africa, and another developing countries such as Argentina and Saudi Arabia. The political disagreement is intense when it comes to identifying commonalities and making compromises.

Under the topic of Offshore Resources and the Law of the Sea, major disagreement occurred on which issue should the committee address. The delegates of Mexico and of Saudi Arabia both expressed that the two blocs agree on matter of environmental regulation, demanding more administration by the UN Legal Committee. However, they diverge later on in the working papers about whether the Committee should address issues of landlocked countries accessing the ocean, or devote their resources to the territorial disputes in areas like the South China sea. The two areas are supported by developing and developed countries, respectively.

A number of developing countries, mainly in Middle East and Africa, have issues reaching the resources of sea and the oceanic trade-routes due to their geographic location. However, the access to the ocean is a crucial part contributing to the international relationship of small countries. Therefore, the bloc is demanding more support for oceanic access from the UN.

On the other hand, the stronger countries, including China, Germany and Singapore, addresses more disputes over territories, as well as accountabilities for environmental problems. The delegate of Argentina told the HIR that the working paper intends to “hold nations accountable to the waste in ocean”, and to encourage progressing “bilateral relationship together”. The delegate of Tunisia gladly provided the HIR with list of over eighty countries on the signatory, showing strong support for this working paper.