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Caller on BBC show abuses PM Modi’s mother

New Delhi: In a shocking incident, a caller on a BBC show used derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his mother, sparking an outrage in India. The BBC later apologized later.

The incident happened on March 1 during BBC Asian Network’s ‘Big Debate’. Much of the discussion centered on the racial discrimination faced by the Sikhs and Indians in the UK.

EastEnders is a famous British soap opera on air since 1985.

During the show, host Pria Rai and a Sikh lawyer — Harjap Bhangal — were discussing a storyline from the soap opera in which a Sikh character’s turban is referred to as a “crown”.

As the show opened up for calls from viewers, the conversation veered towards the ongoing farmers’ protest in India. During the discussion, a listener identified as Simon called in and began an angry rant.

After he was interrupted by the host, the caller used expletives and derogatory language for Modi’s mother.

The incident sparked an outrage in India and netizens criticized the BBC. Also, #BoycottBBC was trending on Twitter.

Following massive outrage, the recorded version of the three-hour podcast was edited to remove them. The version now available online also features an apology from Rai.

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A new global podcast featuring children’s short stories

The lockdown period has compelled people to look for more creative ideas when it comes to keeping themselves and their families entertained and productively engaged. A new global podcast featuring children’s short stories narrated by a renowned cast of leading actors and influencers, aims to take families on an adventure that transports them out of their homes to exciting, new places.

The 14-part series, “STOR14S” premiered on June 18th, with new episodes airing every Monday and Thursday by Yahoo, part of Verizon Media, and The GEANCO Foundation.

The initiative will feature GEANCO ambassadors Rachel Brosnahan (‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’), Benedict Cumberbatch (‘Doctor Strange’), Jeff Daniels (‘The Newsroom’), Chiwetel Ejiofor (’12 Years A Slave’), Thandie Newton (‘Westworld’), David Oyelowo (‘Selma’), and more, as they narrate short stories and help raise money for the foundation’s coronavirus relief and emergency aid. The stories were selected through a Yahoo writing competition for the public that was held throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The winning entries will take listeners on journeys through secret tunnels, mysterious bookshops and fictional African empires, providing light relief and entertainment during a very challenging time for families.

“Focusing on our mental health has never been more urgent, and we hope ‘STOR14S’ will inspire families during this very difficult time,” said Guru Gowrappan, CEO at Verizon Media. “We are committed to continue to use our platform to drive change, bring stories that should be told to life and amplify awareness for voices and organizations like GEANCO, and their efforts that are making a true difference in people’s lives.”

GEANCO is donating gloves, face masks, soap, sanitizer and disinfectant to hospitals and maternity centers in Nigeria, and training maternity nurses and traditional birth attendants to prevent the spread of the virus in maternity clinics. The foundation is also donating tablets preloaded with hundreds of books to children quarantined in their villages. All talent fees for the series were donated to the organisation, with Verizon Media donating commercial inventory for direct display ads to the foundation to raise awareness for the vital work it’s doing across Nigeria along with providing listeners with links to donate to their prevention efforts.

“We are honored to partner with Yahoo and our celebrity supporters on such a fun and compelling podcast series,” said Afam Onyema, CEO of GEANCO. “STOR14S will empower us to save more lives and educate more vulnerable children in Nigeria.”

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Podcasts find new fan base amid testing times

The lockdown has helped increase the popularity of podcasts. Along with OTT binging and television, podcasts have emerged as a new way to stay informed and entertained over the last three months or so.

Some of the most popular podcasts are the comedy shows “Umeed By Zakir Khan”, “Corona Se Jeetengey”, “DIY Karona” and “Cyrus Says”. A show like “Umeed By Zakir Khan”, conceptualized and hosted by the popular comedian Zakir Khan, talks about practical issues of daily life in a lighter vein.

“The coronavirus outbreak has had a profound impact on human life like nothing we’ve seen before. Early signs indicate that its effects will go far beyond the duration of the crisis. In these turbulent and uncertain times, hope and positivity are the primary compasses that can help us navigate through this darkness,” said Zakir.

“Corona Se Jeetengey” is a 10-episode inspirational series that highlights stories of human grit, ingenuity and generosity as we battle the greatest pandemic of our lifetime. “DIY Karona” is a comedy series that involves a bunch of intrepid characters in lockdown, trying to make DIY (Do It Yourself) audio shows for the larger good. On “Love Diet”, nutritionist Shikha Sharma shares tips on nutrition and diet to stay fit.

Cyrus Broacha’s is currently hosting the streaming show, “Cyrus Says”.

“It’s like Churchgate station at rush hour but with lots of social distancing. Podcasts couldn’t have had a better time. People have time but are bored and inclined to try something different. Also, people are talking about podcasts much more than ever before,” he quipped.

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