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Pakistan, armed for school

Martin Vennard | 09:21 UK time, Friday, 19 October 2007

At least 130 people were killed late on Thursday night when two bombs exploded among crowds in Karachi celebrating the return of the former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto.

Ms Bhutto, who was travelling from the city's airport to a rally marking her homecoming after eight years in self-imposed exile, was not hurt.

We talked about her return in the programme last night, just before the attacks took place, but it is something that we should probably return to today.

THREATS

Ms Bhutto had already been threatened by pro-Taleban militants before her return and had been negotiating with President Pervez Musharraf over a possible power-sharing agreement.

She had earlier warned that if targeted she would hold what she described as hidden authorities within the government as partly responsible. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, said members of the government and intelligence agencies who were going to lose power were behind the attack.

Was such an attack inevitable? With elections due in January, where does this leave the future of Pakistan?

ARMED FOR SCHOOL

We have arranged to speak today to Shirley Katz, the Oregon school teacher who has gone to court to enforce what she believes is her right to take a hand gun to work to protect herself and her students from Columbine-style attacks.

If you would like to speak to her and ask her a question, please send us your contact details.

LUCKY DUBE

One of South Africa's most popular artists, the reggae musician, Lucky Dube, has been shot dead in front of his children in Johannesburg during an attempted car hijacking.

He was dropping his teenage son and daughter off in the suburb of Rosettenville on Thursday evening. The programme came from South Africa all last week and the shooting seems to reflect the high crime rates there.

Do you agree? What is your reaction to the shooting dead of a man who sang about the country's social problems and has now become a victim of them?


BURMA

Events in Burma were the top of the news agenda a few weeks ago, but now it seems to have slipped off many people's radar screens.

The government there is drafting a new constitution, while three prominent dissidents detained following last month's protests have been released.

Maybe we should get an update on what has been happening there.


TOO OLD?

The US Senator John McCain, who is 71, has countered claims that he is too old to be president by campaigning for the Republican nomination with his 95-year-old mother.

In Britain this week, the 66-year-old leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ming Cambell, resigned after some people said he was too old for the job.

Is age and experience not equally as important as youth and vibrance?

DNA AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Earlier this week, James Watson, the DNA pioneer and Nobel laureate, made comments claiming that Africans are less intelligent than whites.

The Science Museum in London has cancelled Professor Watson’s sell-out speaking engagement there tonight, on the ground that his views have gone “beyond the point of acceptable debate”.

The Science Museum says that it does not want to provide a platform for scientific racism, but its actions have ensured that the professor has gained worldwide publicity.

Were they right to have cancelled his talk, or is freedom of speech, especially in the scientific world, not more important?

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