December 15, 2000. A day where a lot was going on the world, and much of it, if you lived in the U.S., you missed. And as so often is the case, while we pore over our issues and travails at home, the rest of the world goes on and deals with different sets of issues; some affecting us in the future, some affecting us in the present but slipping under the cracks, and some just the rigors of the day-to-day on Planet Earth.
On this day in December 2000, we were getting used to the final outcome of the Presidential election. Assessments, even in Britain over how George W. Bush would fare as President – who his cabinet was expected to be, the observations that Bush would not be as “hands-on” a President as his father was, but would surround himself with cabinet members who served under his father and President Reagan before him. It was added, in this BBC World Service broadcast, that Bush was said not to be a fan of daily briefings, preferring instead to let his vice-President, Dick Cheney handle those chores. It lead some to speculate that Bush would be a “figure-head President” – only the future would be sure on that one.
The big issue in the rest of the world this day was the matter of fishing and how over-catching was endangering some species to extinction. The European Union was meeting on this day to consider drastic cuts in fishing quotas. News that a deal had been reached was reported. After 12 hours of intensive talks, Fishermans union leaders emerged, describing it as an appalling outcome, but ministers backed down from supporting the biggest cuts in quotas proposed by the European Commission. The quotas for Cod caught in the North Sea would be cut back by over 40%. The Fishermen would be allowed to catch for more Haddock than the Commission recommended. Fisherman’s groups said the compromise wouldn’t be enough to save jobs and help ailing fishing communities. Europe’s Fisheries Ministers had been under more pressure than ever before the current round of talks. Scientists had warned that some fish, including North Sea Cod, were at risk of being fished to extinction and drastic measures were needed if they were ever to recover.
And meanwhile, ceremonies were held to signal the shutting down forever of the final nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, site of the worst Nuclear Power Plant disaster in history almost fifteen years earlier. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma turned the switch off Chernobyl’s only functioning reactor, after a Church service in Kiev to remember all those who died in the nuclear disaster of 1986.
All that, and considerably more going on in the world, this December 15, 2000 as reported on BBC World Service’ World Briefing.