Explosive topic

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 May, 1999, 12:00am

Nato's bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade last week, and the lame explanations rolled out afterwards, would have seemed extremely fishy (The wrong map? How much is a new map?) except that by now it is clear that, despite the technology and all those highly trained pilots, the bombing campaign has been a series of cock-ups.

It would be funny if it was not so awful: the most expensive, advanced equipment ever used in warfare and they still manage to drop bombs on the very people they are trying to save, and occasionally on unsuspecting outsiders.

This evening's Inside Story (World, 7pm) considers two sides of the embassy bombing. There seems no doubt in its aftermath there was manipulation by mainland media. US President Bill Clinton's apology was not reported for two days, for example. At the same time, there seems to have been a genuine mass reaction to the deaths of those Xinhua journalists.

With the 10th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre looming, can Beijing really afford to have masses roaming the streets and holding noisy, potentially explosive demonstrations? Chris Dobson then talks to a handful of international observers, including European Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan, former American ambassador James Lilley and former Taipei mayor Chen Shiu-bien about how people's sense of grievance might affect future Chinese policy.

Trouble At The Top (World, 10pm) is slightly different this evening.

Normally, this is a series about how ailing British businesses struggle to survive. We have seen a spectacles manufacturer collapse after over-ambitious expansion plans, and last week Gerald Ratner showed it is possible to make money out of a project even without the ability to make the simplest decisions when he somehow managed to open his health club.

In A Knight At The Opera, Sir Michael Bishop knows that making D'Oyly Carte Opera Company profitable is impossible: all he asks is that the British taxpayer, via an Arts Council grant, makes as big an investment in the company as he does. Bishop has GBP250,000 (HK$3.1 million) available, and the Arts Council matches it on condition that an unsentimental consultant called Richard Crossland comes on board to tell the company how to get bums on seats.

A UN official describing his upcoming mission to Kosovo last Saturday said the UN needed to know what kind of aid was needed, because 'winter was approaching'. Forward planning is all very well, but Kosovo is in the northern hemisphere and winter is still far away. In some parts of Europe it has only just finished.

Meanwhile, on TVB Pearl it is Christmas. In Spin City (Pearl, 8.25pm) the mayor and his crew nearly manage to ruin the festive season. The mayor cannot keep his suspicions about Santa's existence to himself, Mike has fired all the City Hall Santas, and ends up in a fight with one of them. Paul, somehow, manages to get stuck in a chimney.