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THURSDAY NIGHT

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 17:49 UK time, Thursday, 23 November 2006

On tonight's show we had the latest from Iraq, the rise of animal rights, and the increase in HIV rates in UK gay males - read on to find out what you had to say.

We start with the latest from Iraq: at least 115 people are known to have been killed, its probably more. Leila in Iraq calls us:

"I can't describe what I've seen. So many have been killed. One of the most disturbing attacks that have happened in Iraq. I could not get to the streets, what i'm seeing is Sadr City, the reaction of the people: anger, shouting and screaming. They are desperate to carry out their injured people. They are very very sad pictures."

Lubna, a keen WHYS listener, and a medical student in Baghdad, is also on the line. "I watched terrible scenes on TV today. I'm really concerned that the injured are not getting a good medical service, because the hospitals in Sadr City have young doctors with less experience. We are afraid to go out, even if there wasn't a curfew.

"Many of my teachers and senior doctors have left or been killed. The remaining are national treasures: no one will be able to take their place for 30 years."

Andy Gallagher is the BBC correspondent in Baghdad: "it's reported that at least 3 car bombs went off, all the sites were carefully chosen. Tonight there's chaos on the streets of Sadr City as people search for their loved ones."

At WHYS, listeners set the agenda. Benedict from Nigeria called us this morning to talk about witchcraft in sports. It's a fascinating story, and Benedict recounts a tale of the Nigerian national team playing Senegal. The Nigerians were having problems scoring, and it was reported that the Senegalese goalkeeper had a charm in his goal. When the referees picked the charm up, Nigeria scored and went on to win the game!"

We want to hear from you on this - email us, call us and text us. Tell us your experiences of witchcraft in sport.

Our first discussion topic is animal rights. The Party for Animals in the Netherlands has one two seats in the Dutch Parliament. We're speaking to Esther Ouwehand, one of those Mps: "we stand for the abandonment of the barbaric treatment of animals. We have grown used to treating animals badly. The exploitation of animals is prevalent in intensive farming. Around 200,000 voted for the Party for Animals."

Richard speaking to us via VoIP, which any of you can do: "i'm not in favour of torturing animals, this is about where we draw the line. Most farming doesn't worry me. Animals in intensive farms, at least in Europe, have most of the things they need. Of course it can be improved."

Alex Bourke of the Vegan Society, disagrees, presenting the view of battery chickens. "How can you believe this is reasonable?"

Richard says that chickens are reasonably treated, and that we don't really need MPs to look after animals.

Esther points out that the MPs have other policies, but says that the way we treat animals is not only bad for the animals, it reflects badly on ourselves. It's a matter of civilisation really: the chances are that when you are unable to show compassion to the weakest members of society, you can't treat people right."

Are you happy with the way your society treats animals? Text us, call us, or email.

Alex in the Czech Republic is just one of our texters: "You don't need to understand your rights to have them. Otherwise your four year old child would have none."

Selemun from Asmara: "Here In Eritrea there is no respect for human right so how can we think of animal right?"

Ben Eluwa from Nigeria: "It is an irony that while the whiteman is against cruelty to animals, african leaders treat their citizens as garbage. Which is better?"

We've moved on to discussing the rise of HIV in UK gay males. We have Chris, Michael, Neil, Ryan and Jamie in the studio, all of whom are gay: we hope to put calls to them and ask their views on why HIV rates are still increasing, 20 years after ad campaigns warning us about it began.

The guys in the studio present various reasons for the increase: complacency, a lack of really strong advertising on this, and today's better treatments may mean people don't take it so seriously.

Gabriel Rotello joins us from New York and points out that for years HIV has been rising in gay populations. We've seen it in other sexually-transmitted diseases. The reason is clear: people have abandoned the original message of always use a condom. There has been a decrease in fear."

Chris is concerned that the anti-HIV drug 'PEP' is the real cause of people not taking it seriously. Ryan points out that sexuality is less of a stigma. Michael points out that we shouldn't stereotype gay men: a lot are in long-term relationships.

Neil points out that people aren't asking proper questions to partners, and are doing all they should to find out.

The general view in the studio is not that gay men's sexual behaviour has changed, but that the fear has gone, that gay men are being lazy when it comes to checking partners.

So how does this change? Gabriel suggests that HIV will become resistant to the drugs, and only when people die will the culture change. He says the best way is to continue to publicise these statistics, but Ryan's not sure. He's 24, and people younger than him are searching for unprotected sex on the internet. Chris points out that a great deal of the population are HIV positive without knowing it, so there is a great deal of danger of contracting the virus.

The theme of the internet arises several times in the studio - can the authorities keep up with young people's use of the internet? Are the politicians getting the HIV message through the right channels?

Michael: "This should not just be about gays. All men enjoy unprotected sex. Having HIV makes it very difficult to meet people, difficult to trust people."

Sembataya Junior in Uganda texts us "Some people in Africa think only women transmit HIV."

Kirthi in India calls: "the programme is really enlightening and thankyou. In India AIDS is spreading not because of homosexuality, but because of heterosexuality and more educated in needed."

We've run out of time for the witchcraft in football story , hopefully we can do this another time, but in the mean time here are some of your texts.

"Witchcraft is part of indigenous culture. It must be protected under the freedom of religious expression."

Sam Ajigo in Nigeria: "there is no witch craft in African football or anywhere else? If there was, why has Africa not used it to win the World Cup?"

"All this talk about Juju in soccer is rubbish. We know that only good practice hard work, discipline and luck matter"

Thanks for all your texts, calls, emails and blog posts - if you've enjoyed the show, help us set the agenda: check back here tomorrow morning.

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