Trafigura v the BBC: the endgame

Update: BBC withdraws allegation that dumping of toxic waste "caused deaths"

On Tuesday I blogged on the disappearance of Newsnight's Trafigura investigation from its website. Now it emerges that a judgment on the libel action brought against the BBC by the oil firm is due today.

David Leigh's Guardian piece curiously fails to link the video's removal to the imminent legal ruling, though the story was covered elsewhere on the site.

BBC lawyers are said to be "engaged in a mediation process with Carter-Ruck", which is likely to be the explanation for the feature's disappearance. The case centres on Newsnight's claim that the dumping of toxic waste by Trafigura "caused deaths", and not merely sickness.

Update: The BBC has withdrawn its allegation "that deaths, miscarriages or serious or long-term injuries were caused by the waste" and has apologised to Trafigura.

 

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The most British thing happened when this hassled Piccadilly line worker had had enough

"I try so hard to help you Soph, so hard."

Pity the poor Piccadilly Line. Or rather, pity the poor person who runs its social media account. With the London Underground line running with delays since, well, what seems like forever, the soul behind Transport for London's official @piccadillyline account has been getting it in the neck from all quarters.

Lucky, then, that the faceless figure manning the handle seems to be a hardy and patient sort, responding calmly to tweet upon tweet bemoaning the slow trains.

But everyone has their limit, and last night, fair @piccadillyline seemed to hit theirs, asking Twitter users frustrated about the line to stop swearing at them in tones that brought a single, glittering tear to this mole's eye.

"I do my best as do the others here," our mystery hero pleaded. "We all truly sympathise with people travelling and do the best we can to help them, shouting and swearing at us does nothing to help us helping you."

After another exchange with the angry commuter, @piccadillyline eventually gave up. Their tweet could melt the coldest heart: "Okay, sorry if your tweet mixed up, I won't bother for the rest of my shift. I try so hard to help you Soph, so hard."

Being a mole, one has a natural affinity with those who labour underground, and I was saddened to see poor @piccadillyline reduced to such lows especially so close to Christmas. Luckily, some kind Londoners came to their defence, checking in on the anonymous worker and offering comfort and tea.

And shortly after, all seemed to be well again:

I'm a mole, innit.