VOA’s ‘International’ Edition, which now concerns itself exclusively with American matters, informs us this morning that Volkswagen has been cheating in American emission tests for its cars. How did they manage that? Surely the government agency that conducts the tests would be wise to all the tricks?
What government agency? VOA explained that, in America, the stringent tests to make sure all new models conform to legal requirements on emissions are conducted by — wait for it — the car manufacturers themselves, who then tell the government that — guess what? — all their new cars are OK.
The other thing VOA got excited about today was the Pope’s visit to America. Their ‘Religious affairs’ correspondent told us that while in America the Pope will ‘Canonize a Saint’. This will certainly be a first, because of course a Saint is someone who has been canonized. We were not told why the Pope is wasting his and indeed everybody else’s time in such obviously supernumerary activities.
But what really got the Religious affairs correspondent going was something that must be, I suppose, quite jaw-dropping news for Americans:
‘The most remarkable thing about the Pope,’ he said breathlessly, ‘Is that he doesn’t regard the United States as the centre of the world’.