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Please allow me to introduce myself…

| 10:30 UK time, Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Hello, I’m the new girl on the World Have Your Say team, so please be nice!

I got through my first day at Bush House yesterday relatively unscathed, though a little disappointed the shiny apple I picked out especially for Editor Mark went uneaten as he wasn’t around. In fact, nor was David. Or Pete….Come to think of it, I only saw a very brief glimpse of Richard when he dropped by during a break from his special mission (I don’t know either, but apparently he’s chosen to take it). I’m not taking it personally….

So, today’s stories. Apparently there’s a novel concept on this programme where we ask the audience to tell us their ideas?! Interesting. But I need all the help I can get, so please tell me what you think of this lot:

Tony Blair seems to be a man with a plan. He’s going to be giving evidence later to an American panel which is considering what Washington's future strategy should be in Iraq. And as we discussed on yesterday’s programme, he seems to think the answer lies outside Iraq.
But who is this panel? It’s called the Iraq Study Group and they will be reporting their findings next month. Can they do anything to solve the crisis in Iraq or is it just a case of all talk and no action?

We’re also starting to hear about Gunmen in Iraqi police commando uniforms who have kidnapped up to 150 staff members from a government research institute in downtown Baghdad in the largest mass abduction since the start of the U.S. occupation.

We heard from Syrians and Iranians in yesterday’s programme, should we turn our attentions to the people of Iraq today? Correspondents say many Iraqis believe mass kidnappings like this latest incident are committed by members of the Shia Muslim-dominated security forces or take place with their collusion. Is this an issue we should look into?

Has television gone too far? Certainly a question that popped into my head on the train this morning as I read the story of US vigilante TV show, Dateline. It sets out to catch people who posed as young boys in chat rooms to lure suspected abusers to a house set up in a neighbourhood. All sounds a bit sinister, but have a read of the article, it throws up some interesting issues. And millions are watching it so people must be talking about it…..

And have you heard of the “Second Life” phenomena? This virtual world is now inhabited by over a million people, and reality TV kings Endemol are planning to bring it to life on our television screens. BBC commentator Bill Thompson says we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the virtual world. But is he right? And what on earth is it?! Are you an inhabitant?

And following on from our trip to the States and all the mid-term talk, does the fact that former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is preparing to run in the 2008 presidential election warrant a spot on the programme? Would he make a good President? Is the moderate stance he takes the best or only way for Republicans to regain some popularity?

I’m still waiting to hear if we will be talking to Alistair Leithead about his time embedded with soldiers in Afghanistan. But please keep your questions coming in, he’ll be answering them soon. We’ll let you know later if it will be today…..

Cheers!

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