Hello. Three subjects are going to occupy us this evening. The comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is making a lot of people laugh, but not a lot of friends in Kazakstan at the moment. His character Borat is a Kazakhstani reporter who, well, doesn't really represent his country as those who really live there might want. You'll get the gist of it by watching the trailer.
The Kazakh government isn't too amused. It's paying an ad agency to work on a campaign to counter the negative impression they fear people will get of their country. I know many of you think it's being over sensitive. Well we'll have live guests in Kazakhstan so you can talk to them about it. We'll be discussing how all of you would feel if the film made a mockery of your country. I'm also interested to hear if you think Baron Cohen would be able to make this film about any country in the world. Might Kazakhstan be an easy target?
David, Puja and I were in Brussels last week for our special on European Union expansion. When we were getting the Eurostar back home, the British papers at Brussels train station were covered with pictures of the television presenter Richard Hammond and the wreckage of a high-speed dragster that he'd been driving. Looking at the pictures it was difficult to believe he survived. Almost a week later and we’ve got the good news that he's been moved out of intensive care.
The response to his crash has been astonishing. Just sitting to my right, David is reading through the messages the BBC has received. There are over 20,000 of them. I can't find many saying he shouldn't have done it.
His crash raises similar questions to the death of Ozzie crocman Steve Irwin. Are people taking too many risks to make good television? And if you think they are, is there really anything that can be done about it? Or should we all except that some people like doing dangerous things, and are happy to be filmed doing them?
We're also going to be returning to some of you in Somalia. The Islamic Courts Movement have taken control of Kismayo - a port to the far south of the country. What this means is that they now control all the ports in that part of the country. (if you're coming to this story for the first time, this may answer a few of your questions.) We've heard on several recent programmes that there is a lot of support for the Courts' (much the same is seen in this report), so might it be time for the government to accept that at the moment it has no role in the country? Is stability more important than democracy, and is the government's insistence it still has the right to power merely complicating the matter? You might also be interested to read this debate from 2004. Your comments seem remarkably relevant to now.
Speak to you later.