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Richard C. Wald, Leader in Print and Network News, Is Dead at 92 – The New York Times

He was the last managing editor of The New York Herald Tribune. When that newspaper folded, he went on to top jobs with NBC and ABC News.

Richard C. Wald, who in a long adventure in journalism was the last managing editor of The New York Herald Tribune, ran NBC News in the 1970s and helped turn ABC News into a powerhouse, died on Friday in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 92.

His son Matthew said the cause was complications of a stroke.

When Mr. Wald joined ABC News as a senior vice president in 1978, it was being remade by its ambitious president, Roone Arledge, who had built his reputation in sports. Mr. Wald and Mr. Arledge, classmates at Columbia College, built up the division, with Mr. Wald as chief overseer of the network’s news programming, including its centerpiece, “World News Tonight.”

“Dick was the perfect No. 2 for Roone because he had great news values and a great feel for events,” the reporter Carl Bernstein, who was briefly the ABC News bureau chief in Washington and later a correspondent for the division in the 1980s, said in a phone interview.

Mr. Wald, who was known as Dick, and Mr. Arledge lured the anchor David Brinkley from NBC News, where he was unhappy, to host what would become the hit Sunday morning program “This Week With David Brinkley.” Mr. Wald vetted stories to make sure they met the news division’s standards.

Mr. Aldredge said Mr. Wald elevated ABC News’s stature and its journalistic credibility. “He became a key collaborator, particularly when it came to the innards of our business — the news desk, the news bureaus, overseas,” Mr. Arledge wrote in “Roone: A Memoir” (2003).

ABC Photo Archives

Mr. Wald also gave the network’s celebrated late-night news program “Nightline” its name.

At the time, it was called “America Held Hostage,” a nightly report about the hostage crisis in Iran, where Americans had been seized by Islamic fundamentalists after a takeover of the U.S. Embassy. But the plan was to reboot it going forward into a more wide-ranging news program.

Ted Koppel, the program’s former host, recalled a meeting with Mr. Arledge, Mr. Wald and David Burke, Mr. Arledge’s other top lieutenant, at which they tossed out new names for program.

“Dick said, ‘You know something, in horse racing they’ve got this thing called the morning line. Why don’t we call it “Nightline”?’” Mr. Koppel said in a phone interview. “And the three of us said that’s a really terrible idea, and Dick said, ‘I haven’t heard anything better.’”

In the 1990s, Mr. Wald took on the role of ethics czar at ABC News, reviewing segments and programs before they aired to ensure that the network did not broadcast flawed stories.

“In my position,” Mr. Wald once told The Christian Science Monitor, “you get all of the blame when things go wrong and none of the praise when things go right.”

In one instance, when Barbara Walters interviewed Dr. Jack Kevorkian in 1993, Mr. Wald stepped in to advise against letting her use a video of Dr. Kevorkian helping a patient commit suicide.

Mr. Wald left ABC News in 1999 to teach national affairs reporting and critical issues in journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Richard Charles Wald was born on March 19, 1930, in Manhattan. His father, Joseph, an Austrian immigrant, owned a garment factory. His mother, Lily (Forstate) Wald, was a homemaker.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Columbia in 1952, Mr. Wald spent two years studying English on a fellowship at Clare College at the University of Cambridge and received a master’s degree.

Soon after that, he joined The Herald Tribune, for which he had freelanced in college. Over the next dozen years he was a reporter, foreign correspondent (in Europe and Africa), executive editor of national news and associate editor, before being named managing editor — the No. 2 job under the top editor, James Bellows — in early 1966.

As an editor he worked with Jimmy Breslin and Tom Wolfe, two of the star Herald Tribune writers who helped define the New Journalism. But Mr. Wald was managing editor for only six months before the newspaper folded.

In a parting gesture, Mr. Wald handed the paper’s Sunday supplement to its founder, Clay Felker, who revamped it as the glossy stand-alone New York magazine.

“He said to Jock Whitney, ‘Let Clay take the magazine,’” Mr. Wald’s son Jonathan said in a phone interview, referring to the newspaper’s publisher, John Hay Whitney.

Mr. Wald hung on to a vestige of the shuttered newspaper by serving as the Sunday editor of The New York World Journal Tribune, a short-lived merger of the carcasses of three of the city’s papers: The Herald Tribune, Journal-American and World-Telegram and Sun.

He then moved on to The Washington Post, where he was named an assistant managing editor. But he left not long afterward, when he recognized that he would not rise higher as long as Ben Bradlee was managing editor.

He was named a vice president of NBC News in 1968 and became president five years later. At NBC he notably moved Tom Brokaw from White House correspondent to host of the “Today” show in 1976 and hired Jane Pauley as the co-host a year later. He also set up a special unit to produce long-form reports for “NBC Nightly News.”

In 1974, he spent time with the screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, who was doing research for a film that would become the scabrous satire “Network.” Mr. Chayefsky watched as Mr. Wald talked to colleagues, taking notes and writing down TV news jargon.

Mr. Chayefsky “was very charming, and he was very funny about some of the people he’d seen,” Mr. Wald told Dave Itzkoff for his book “Mad as Hell: The Making of ‘Network’ and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies” (2014). “Which led me to believe that he was not going to treat them kindly.”

Mr. Wald resigned from NBC News in 1977 after disputes with the network’s upper management over issues like the signing of exclusive and expensive contracts with former President Gerald R. Ford; his wife, Betty; and Henry A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state, to appear on special NBC News broadcasts.

Although he endorsed the signings at the time, he later came to feel that the fees paid had led to cuts in his budget for special news reports and documentaries, The New York Times reported at the time.

After leaving NBC, Mr. Wald consulted with PBS on the future of news-gathering on public television and for three months was a special assistant to Otis Chandler, publisher of The Los Angeles Times.

When Mr. Arledge recruited him to join ABC News in 1978, Mr. Wald had to adjust to the culture there, especially in the Washington bureau, which did not greet him happily.

“If you think we need some guy from NBC to help us, you’re mistaken,” Frank Reynolds, one of three anchors on ABC’s “World News Tonight,” said, according to Mr. Arledge’s memoir.

Mr. Wald adapted and stayed for 21 years.

In addition to his sons Matthew, a former reporter for The New York Times, and Jonathan, a former executive producer of “Today” and “NBC Nightly News,” Mr. Wald, who lived in Larchmont, N.Y., is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Wald; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandson. His wife, Edith (Leslie) Wald, died in 2021.

While still the president of NBC News, Mr. Wald foresaw the likelihood of an all-news network in 1976, four years before Ted Turner created CNN.

“I would bet that, owing to the technology with which we are faced, within 10 years there will be an all-news television station,” he said in a speech to the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians. “There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be. We could produce that much picture, that much of the time, with not a huge investment.”

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WHO chief Tedros reappointed to second five-year term – India Today

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was reappointed to a second five-year term on Tuesday by the UN health agency’s member countries.

No other candidate challenged Tedros for the post amid the ongoing difficulties of responding to the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

“This is overwhelming,” Tedros said, after another World Health Organisation official asked everyone in the room to stand and applaud him.

Fighting back tears, Tedros described himself as “a child of war” after signing the contract for his extension. He said that after witnessing his younger brother’s death at an early age, it was “luck (that) brought me all the way here.”

Tedros, a former government minister from Ethiopia, has directed WHO throughout its management of the global response to COVID-19 and withstood occasionally withering criticism over its multiple missteps.

He is the first African to lead the agency and the only director-general not qualified as a medical doctor.

He is also the first WHO leader not to be supported by their home country; Ethiopia has previously accused Tedros of “ misconduct ” after his sharp criticism of the war and humanitarian crisis there and raised concerns about his leadership on Tuesday.

Under Tedros, the U.N. health agency failed to call out countries including China for blunders that WHO officials grumbled about privately, advised against mask-wearing for months, and said initially that the coronavirus wasn’t likely to mutate rapidly.

Scientists drafted by WHO to investigate the coronavirus’ origins in China said the critical probe was “ stalled ” last year, after issuing a report that even Tedros acknowledged had prematurely ruled out the possibility of a laboratory leak.

“There have been some mishaps, but Tedros has also been a steady voice throughout the pandemic, advocating for an equitable response,” said Javier Guzman, director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development in Washington.

He said despite reservations about Tedros’ leadership, some countries weren’t willing to push for change.

“We are in the middle of the pandemic and there is some pressure for consistent leadership to take us through this difficult moment,” Guzman said.

Tedros has frequently railed against rich countries for hoarding the world’s limited supply of vaccines and insisted that pharmaceuticals aren’t doing enough to make their medicines available to the poor.

Amid the near-universal focus on Ukraine after the Russian invasion, Tedros slammed the global community for not doing enough to solve crises elsewhere, including Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan, arguing that it was possibly because those suffering weren’t white.

Still, critics say Tedros has failed on some fundamental issues, like holding staff accountable after allegations that dozens of outbreak workers managed by WHO sexually abused young women in Congo during an Ebola outbreak that began in 2018, in one of the biggest sex scandals in UN history.

None of the senior WHO managers alerted to the abuse allegations and who did little to stop the exploitation, have been fired.

In January, The Associated Press reported that staffers in WHO’s Western Pacific office filed an internal complaint accusing regional director Dr. Takeshi Kasai of abusive, racist and other misconduct, undermining efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. In response, Tedros said an investigation into the allegations had been launched and promised to act “with urgency.”

But last week, several WHO staffers wrote to the agency’s Executive Board complaining that Kasai “has been able to continue his unethical, abusive and racist conduct without any form of restriction.” In an email to staff, Kasai disputed the charges.

Public health expert Guzman said the apparent culture of impunity at WHO was problematic.

“We do need to see a stronger (WHO) director-general going forward, where misconduct is not tolerated,” he said, calling for extensive reforms to make the agency accountable.

As Tedros begins his second term, some experts have also raised concerns that WHO isn’t fulfilling its primary role as a technical agency providing science-based guidance to countries.

Dr. David Tomlinson, a cardiologist who has campaigned for better protective equipment for health workers in Britain’s health system, says he has been appalled by WHO advice, most notably their reluctance to acknowledge that COVID-19 is widely spread in the air.

In July 2020, more than 230 scientists published a paper appealing to WHO to recognise the coronavirus was airborne; that later prompted the organisation to alter some of its recommendations.

Tomlinson and others say Tedros should ensure WHO’s top priority during future health emergencies is evaluating the science.

“They have perpetuated untruths that have ultimately led to the deaths of millions of people,” he said, citing the estimated 15 million people who have died during the pandemic.

“We need an agency that’s unafraid to tell the truth, but that’s unfortunately not what we have.”

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Russia's war in Ukraine: Live Updates – CNN

David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23.
David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The head of the UN World Food Programme called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to reopen ports in Ukraine to prevent children around the world from starving.

Speaking to CNN’s Julia Chatterley at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, David Beasley called on the Russian leader to “have a heart.”

The growing food crisis has been a major issue at the forum, with Beasley being one of the leading voices calling for action. He warned that the Ukraine war has meant that “the breadbasket of the world was becoming the bread line of the world.”

Some background: Before the war, wheat supplies from Russia and Ukraine accounted for almost 30% of global trade, and Ukraine is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of corn and the fifth-largest exporter of wheat, according to the US State Department. 

Beasley said that 325 million people around the world are facing starvation, with 49 million people in 43 countries now “knocking on famine’s door.”

“The world is facing a food security crisis. It is immediate and long term. If we are struggling now to feed 7.7 billion, what is going to happen when we have 10, 12, 13 billion? That is on top of climate impact. It’s going to be resonating around the world,” he added.

He also said that renewed focus on the food crisis was a good thing, with world leaders recognizing the size of the problem, with solutions to solve issues.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen earlier today accused Putin of “weaponizing” food supplies in his invasion of Ukraine. The Russian army is confiscating grain suppliers and machinery in areas of Ukraine and blocking exports from ports in the Black Sea, von der Leyen said.

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Ukraine should give up territory to reach peace deal with Russia, says former US secretary of state – India Today

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said it would be ‘fatal’ for the West to get swept up in the ‘mood of the moment’ and forget Russia’s position of power within Europe and suggested Ukraine should give up territory, reported Daily Mail.

Kissinger, 98, was speaking during the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland.

Kissinger said Ukraine should begin negotiations before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easy to overcome.

“Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante. Pursuing the war beyond that point will not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself,” he told the conference on Monday.

These statements come after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s opening speech at this week’s Davos summit.

Zelensky had said that brute force will once again rule the world if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is allowed to go unanswered.

He told delegates that their summit would become pointless if Putin was allowed to win the war.

According to The Telegraph, he explained that Russia was an ‘essential part of Europe’ for over 400 years, noting that European leaders must ‘not lose sight of the longer-term relationship’ or otherwise risk putting Russia in a permanent alliance with China.

He also said, “I hope the Ukrainians will match the heroism they have shown with wisdom.”

Zelensky’s speech came at the start of the four days of talks during which Ukraine is expected to launch a global charm offensive to secure economic and military backing to ensure survival.

This year, Russia will take part in the Davos meeting as the organisers had banned Moscow from sending a delegation.

“The theme for this year’s summit is, ‘history at a turning point’,” Zelensky told a packed auditorium on Monday morning.

“This year, the words, turning, and point, are more than a rhetorical talking point. This year is the year when it is decided whether brute force will rule the world,” he said.

“If so, the powerful are not interested in our thoughts and there is no further use for meeting in Davos,” he said.

Zelensky said, “The Brute force seeks nothing but the subjugation of those who it seeks to subdue and it does not talk, it kills, as Russia does in Ukraine, just as we speak today.”

Recalling the horrors of Russia’s invasion, Zelensky said, “Instead of peaceful cities there are only black ruins, instead of normal trade, seas full of mines and blocked ports, instead of tourists, closed skies and the sound of Russian bombs and cruise missiles.”

“This is what the world will look like if that turning moment does not have a proper response from humanity, it would resemble a large set of war crimes,” he said.

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