March 1, 2005 – The Worldcom Kerfufle – A problem Named Bernie
March 1, 2005 – A very busy day, if you were a world-watcher. With scandals popping up seemingly everywhere and the world teetering on any one of a number of brinks, it made for some nail-biting listening.
Starting with news of the conclusion of an international conference in London where an agreement on steps to take to pave the way for a viable Palestinian state. The meeting was chaired by British PM Tony Blair who said failure to make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute was a major contribution to poisoning International relations. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas expressed optimism that the International community was viewing the Palestinian issue.
Meanwhile, on the economic front; The Worldcom Scandal and the trial of CEO Bernie Ebbers. Ebbers was a Canadian businessman who co-founded the telecommunications company WorldCom and was a former chief executive officer of that company.
In 2005, he was convicted of fraud and conspiracy as a result of WorldCom’s false financial reporting. The WorldCom scandal was, until the Madoff schemes came to light in 2008, the largest accounting scandal in United States history. He is currently serving a 25-year prison term at the Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Worth, in Texas. In 2013, Portfolio.com and CNBC named Ebbers as the fifth-worst CEO in American history. In 2009, Time Magaine named him the tenth most corrupt CEO of all time.
And on this day, the trial was getting underway. Lots of denials and vigorous finger-pointing and many days of testimony to go.
The infamous Michael Jackson alleged pedophilia trial was underway in California. The King of Pop was accused of having sex and inappropriate relations with underage children. Shocking testimony and accusations were flying around the courtroom with no end to sideways glances and rolled eyes.
And The Supreme Court abolished the Death Penalty for those who committed murder when they were under the age of 18. The ruling meant that about 17 Death Row inmates who were facing execution for crimes committed when they were under 18 will now not be executed.
All that and a lot more for this March 1, 2005 as presented by The BBC World Service (who stream and who you really need to bookmark and listen to regularly – at least once a day).