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Kevin Anderson | 18:07 UK time, Thursday, 20 April 2006

We're starting off the programme in Nepal. Yesterday, we weren't talking about the unrest there, but as I watched the text messages come into the programme, we were still receiving texts from callers in Nepal who wanted to talk about the situation.

And here is place where we have the conversation online. If you want to comment on any of the stories that we're talking about today, post them here, and we'll read as many as possible on the air.

Gary, a caller, spoke to us from Kathmandu and said that the situation was horrible. The curfews were making it difficult to get food and staples.

Subha called us and told us about the fear he feels. He feels scared even talking to us on the radio.

The King should act as a leader. But we should have democracy in our country. He should focus on what will happen after he gives democracy to the country.

He said that many youth have left the country for a better life. He hopes that they come back after the unrest ends.

Alexander in Canada, one of callers, said he would work to bring those soldiers who are killing innocent citizens to justice. He said that Britain had a responsibility to try to bring the violence to an end.

1825: This text message just came in:

King gayendra should be brought under the international tribunal for the death of the protestors in the peaceful demonstration.

1834: Now, we're talking about censorship in China. Ros interviewed filmmaker and blogger Hao Wu. He was detained shortly thereafter.

We're now talking to the managing editor of Global Voices, Rachel Rawlins. She's talking about the petition drive and a letter writing campaign appealing for his release.

We are getting e-mails saying: 'We only heard about this after logging into your site. How can we help?'

The main way to help she said is through the Free Hao Wu blog. The online petition calling for his release is here.

We also talked about how the western media talk about blogs and freedom of speech in China. She said that many bloggers in China are actually talking about sandstorms in Beijing. Here is a view posted online.

1841: We're now moving onto to talk about a new aid campaign by Oxfam. Has the west abandoned East Africa?

Uri in Belgium says the west has abandoned Africa not in failing with aid but in not putting pressure on African governments to spend resources on their people.

They ask the west to provide aid, but they don't put pressure on their governments to change. ... There is so much good will in the West, but this good will should be used to put pressure on these governments.

He said that he sees African officials live in relative luxury in Brussels, and he wonders how people in their home countries would respond.

Carrie Ndoka, Nairobi, Kenya said that African countries need to work together. It is time that African countries took control and looked after their own problems, she said.

We struggled a bit with phone lines in Kenya. We wanted to hear from more Africans about the aid issue.

John in Uganda sent us this text message:

You should keep your money until we shape up!

Chris in Zambia sent us this text message:

We have very rich people in Africa. Why can't they help first?

Denise in Fairfax, Virginia, USA sent us this e-mail:

Most certainly yes the west should give more. "To whom more has been given, more is expected." When people are suffering, one does not have time to discuss whether we are being asked for too much of what we have. The west is abundant with 'things' including food. Much of this abundance is thrown away each day. There is more than enough for us to help. As members of the human race, we must help those who suffer.

Abigail Betney sent us this message about aid to Africa:

I have already contributed today after receiving an e-mail from Oxfam asking for more aid. The aid agencies are only asking for more because there have been so many reasons recently. If sufficient money was given on a regular basis, there would be fewer appeals for large amounts of money. The famine in the horn of Africa has been looming for ages, it has to get really bad before the media will report it, by putting out a major appeal the agencies get the story into the news, which gets people donating money (hopefully). As long as I have money to give I will give it; £5 per month is nothing to me, but a lot in areas of extreme poverty.

And Ted, one of our regular listeners in the Atchafalaya Basin Bute La Rose Louisiana in the US sent us this message:

Give a man a fish, teach a man TO fish. When will they ever learn to fish? I am tired of both approches to solve their problems.
1848: We next moved on to talk about chain restaurants threatening traditional British cafés and restaurants.

Lourenzo Marioni runs the 'New Piccadilly' café in central London. He said the competition didn't come so much from the Starbucks and Costa Coffees in product but in how they were driving up rents.

Steve posted this comment here:

The tradition that needs to change in the UK is the food that is served for breakfast. Forget all of that greasy, heavy food and get some fruit, yogurt, and multi-grain cereal instead!

Lourenzo was defiant and said that anyone who actually worked for a living building this country and didn't spend their lives 'pushing paper' wanted real food.

I feel very strongly about these lettuce pushers

Uziel Duarte in Chicago in the US sent us this e-mail about chain restaurants pushing out small, locally owned cafes.

ALL chain restaurants should be banned. They dilute culture and monopolize tastes of the masses.


1927: We're getting lots of e-mails from Nepalis about the unrest there.

Rajesh Baisyet just sent us this e-mail:

It is sad to see what is going on my country. At the same time I am faced with so many questions? Democracy is relatively new when it comes to Nepal. As a Nepalese, my concern is about the peace. Did thing become any better after we got the democracy? NO It was a constant circus amongst the parties and leaders trying grab and hold onto to a power. I disagree what King did but at the same time I have to ask a question, can we run a country without a King? How can we trust the same leaders who did nothing to begin with and thought of having the absolute power scares me. I think we have lost track of who are real enemies are in the process, MOAIST. I feel King and leaders should be coming together and fighting MOAIST rather than each other. How can I trust again on these leaders who seem to change direction so quickly to come into power? What message are they sending to nation joining MOAIST for this cause?

And Rabindra Pradhan from Kathmandu, Nepal sent us this e-mail:

I don't know if my mail will be read, as i have been trying to log in for last 45 minutes. If you mangage to read out, this is waht i have to say like every concerned citizen, I am also very concerned about the prevailing situation and the future of this beautiful nation. I know the king has made a small mistake by stepping into the direct rule, but i can not see this country without the king. We do need the monarch under any situation, but yes, as a constitutional or even a ceremonial monarch. But i blame 100% to our so called political leaders for this devastating condition of our country. They are the ones who made such a big mess, and which compelled the king to take this step. I urge international community including the UN to come forward to solve this critical problem. I believe that it is not the time to be just a spectator and giving suggestions to solve the problem as soon as possible. The big question is how? Maoist problem is the most important one, i don't consider 7 party protest a big one as compared to the previous one. They are the ones who has paralysed the nation.

This message from Bigyan in Kathmandu.

People don't want the king and his ministers anymore.....so the people are demonstrating for the last 15 days against his autocratic regime.....the king is using extreme brutality to supress people's voice. It's clear that the king doesn't want what the people want. He just wants to exercise power. The king still thinks this is the middle ages and that the nation is his private piece of land and the people his servants. He should realise that he is just another ordinary man. Some people say that the king should remain as a constitutional monarch. But it is too late. He has gone too far. The motive of the king is clear. We cannot accept him anymore. The king should be scrapped. He and his ministers Kamal Thapa and Shrish Samsher Rana should be brought to justice for their crime against their countrymen and against humanity. The king has realised that he cannot win so he is panicking. He thinks that he can supress people's voice using police and military brutality. There is also a very high probability of the Maoist laying down their arms and joining the political mainstream after the people achieve total people's democracy. The international society should know that this isn't just a demonstration of the political parties. It is a revolution by the people of Nepal. Checkmate!...'your move' Mr. King!

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