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Thoughts for Thursday...

| 08:48 UK time, Thursday, 12 April 2007

Liverpool sailed into the final four of the Champions League last night, they'll face Chelsea for the second time in three years in the semi-final of the tournament. Manchester United will play AC Milan.....hang on, is that three Premiership teams in the final four of football's most prestigious competition? Is the Premiership the best league in the world?" A talking point for today? Probably not for us, so here's what else is around.....

Alan Johnston
It's been a calender month since BBC correspondent Alan Johnston went missing in Gaza. I'm watching Director General Mark Thompson in a press conference at the moment, appealing for Alan's release.

Yesterday, I met with President Abbas. He told me that he had credible evidence that Alan was safe and well. He assured me that the Palestinian authorities are fully engaged with Alan's case and are working to resolve it as soon as possible.

We've been reading out messages of support for Alan every day on World Have Your Say. Sky, CNN and Al-Jazeera all broadcast a special programme at 14.30 BST, you can hear some of it on the show later.

Return of terror in Algeria?
23 people were killed and over 160 in jured by suicide bombings in Algeria yesterday, which targetted the home of Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem. He wasn't at home at the time, and said the attacks will not stop the parliamentary polls due to take place next month. The North African branch of Al-Qaeda have claimed responsiblilty, sparking fears of a new wave of terrorism in the region that was plagued by it in the 1990's. We didn't cover this yesterday as we were struggling to find anyone speak to in the area, perhaps we should try again today?

As Pete mentioned yesterday, we haven't talked about France since the official election campaign started on Monday. Every day I pick up the newspaper there's a new talking point, yesterday was Nicolas Sarkosy saying paedophiles were born and not made, today's is Sarkosy's angry denials that he agreed to sheild President Chirac from future corruption charges in exchange for support for his campaign. According to the latest polls, 42% of teh electorate are still undecided about how they will vote on April 22nd. The most interesting article I've read is from a weekend supplement, and talks about the disenchantment of the French youth, who are leaving the country in droves. Nicolas Sarkosy has flown to London to talk to the French community here - about 400,000, the size of one of the largest French city. I'm really interested to hear from them too. Why are they leaving? And can the politicians do anything to make them stay? There's a campaign on, so It's the one time you can guarantee they'll be listening....

China - Japan relations
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is visiting Japan, the first visit in seven years by a Chinese Premier. He and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have already signed a deal to fight global warming, and China has lifted its four-year ban on Japanese rice imports. Pretty positive so far, will the trip sour now Wen Jiabo has made a speech calling on Japan to face up to it's actions in World War 2? Can we hear from anyone in China (tricky) and Japan to see what,if anything, this visit means to them?


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