Europa Culture: BBC cuts and the Nobel Prize in Literature

1. The BBC

The international icon of British life and culture, is about to enter its own age of austerity. Like every other government funded entity in Britain it has known for months that it would receive less money over the next five years.

The Licence Fee, the tax every household pays to fund the BBC, has been frozen until 2017 at £145.50 ($223.84). That gives the BBC around £3.5 billion ($5.4 billion) this year to spend ... but with inflation running at more than 4 percent and with the organization taking over funding of the World Service - what public radio listeners in America listen to every day - the Corporation needs to find 20 percent savings.

What to cut has been the subject of planning and discussion for months - a program know in the best tradition of management-speak as "Delivering Quality First."

Today, the results of the DQF study were announced. 2,000 jobs will go over the next five years as the Beeb tries to save £700 million. ($1.1 billion). That's around 8 percent of the work force ... although it is hard to get an accurate count of the numbers of BBC staff because so many are already casualized or freelance.

Mark Thompson says this is as deep as he can cut. Those who are about to be thrown out of work wish he'd left himself a little wiggle room in the hopes of better times to come.

2. The Nobel Prize in Literature

The big book award of the planet ran true'ish to form. Someone the planet has never heard of one the prize. That's usually the way the judges in Stockholm like to do things. But this year's winner is actually Swedish: poet Tomas Transtromer.

if you want to know more about him The Guardian has an interview with Peter Englund, Secretary of the Swedish Academy.

But the fun of the day actually happened beforehand on the internet when a press release from a group called nobelprizeliterature.org announced the prize had already gone to a Serbian novelist named Dobrica Cosic. Cosic is a Serbian nationalist and a quick google of his name brings up plenty of websites accusing him of condoning the worst excesses of Serbian forces during the Balkan civil wars as well as having some unsavory friendships.

But that wasn't the only weirdness surrounding the announcement of the award. In the days leading up to the award a rumor swept the web that Bob Dylan would get the prize. In London betting shops Dylan became the odds on favorite to win.

Yeah, right ... who puts money on that sort of thing? if people want to throw money away, please,  just send me a check.