Pandas or prisoners
Vicki here logged in as Fiona.....I'm going to be blogging the morning meeting today. We'll have Glenna a listener in Uganda joining us by phone. We met Glenna at Issa's house in Kampala last week when we broadcast WHYS from there.
Looking through the news this morning, my attention was caught by the story of the dead panda in China - he was the first giant panda to be bred in captivity and released into the wild. I have to admit I'm even asking myself why pandas always make the news? They seem to get far more coverage than any other animal.
The other story that grabbed me was about the prisoners serving life sentences in Italy who've written to the president asking him to bring back the death penalty because they're fed up of 'dying a little every day'. Is there a case for prisoners getting a say in their punishment?
Given that we're just back from our Africa roadshow, I was also interested in the main militant group in the Niger Delta claiming it's ready to stop its campaign of violence if the new Nigerian president, Umaru Yar'Adua, is serious about negotiating a political solution. I'm sure our listeners in Nigeria will have something to say about this.
Anna has sent you her thoughts for today, we'll be discussing all of these and more shortly.....I'll keep you posted on our progress.....
Anna kicked off the meeting with the Andrei Lugovoy story. He's the man accused by Britain of the murder of former Russian intelligence agent, Alexander Litvinenko. It's the latest in this real-life spy drama. He's given a press conference today in Moscow, protesting his innocence and questioning the role of the British secret service, MI6. Despite the intrigue and counter-claims, we were left asking whether this story was making waves outside the UK and Russia.
We moved on to the on-going Chinese markets story. We discussed this yesterday too. After much deliberation, we felt that Chinese people hadn't lost their money at this stage and at a local level this is basically a story about fears. It reminded us of the fears here of a housing market crash, lots of people we know in London have put everything into property to safeguard their futures.
Glenna in Uganda raised the issue of African graduates finding suitable work after their studies. Apparently many just can't find jobs. She asked what this means for African economies if the most eduacted aren't contributing fully? This was an issue raised by young people on our recent Africa trip.
Glenna also highlighted problems for aid-workers in Uganda. She says just this week an aid truck delivering food to the north of the country was targeted, and that some aid-workers who've been blogging about their experience in Uganda have been forced to leave the country. We didn't know about this, so we've asked Glenna to send us more and we'll look into it. Thanks Glenna !
Mark, our editor, was interested in the caste protests in India.....14 people have died in violent clashes in Rajashtan state this week. It's about groups who want to be recognised so that they can reap the benefits of affirmative action quotas. When WHYS was in India, the caste system raised a heated debate. We'll be trying to talk to some of the people who are taking part in these protests.
We also discussed the rubbish problem in Naples. There's been no collection for weeks, rubbish is piling up on the streets and has even been found dumped in Mount Vesuvius. Schools are closed and people are walking around with handerchieves over their faces. If you're in Naples, let us know just how bad it is and send us your photos.
I spotted the Italian prisoners story. Prisoners serving life sentences have written to the President asking him to bring back the death sentence. They say they don't want 'to die a little each day'. Is there ever a case for prisoners having a say in their punishment? With prison overcrowding a problem in many countries, should it be considered? And if life-termers aren't any use to society but are costing the country to keep them in prison for years, does this simply make financial sense?
Fiona liked the debate over whether former concentration camps should charge entrance fees. Or should they be free to the public, like the First World War graves in France?
We're going with Italian prisoners, Naples rubbish and Indian caste protests for now..... send in your thoughts by email firstname.lastname@example.org or post your comments on the blog. Do let us know if you'd like us to call you.