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Panorama's week that was March 10 - March 17

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Derren Lawford | 18:17 UK time, Monday, 16 March 2009

On Monday in Northern Ireland, a policeman was murdered by dissident republicans, just 48 hours after two soldiers were shot dead by the Real IRA in Antrim.

Panorama reporter John Ware, who has covered Northern Ireland extensively, wrote in The Guardian that the unionists' response to the recent violence would be crucial for the peace process.

And Dean Godson, writing in the Spectator, said the episode yielded impressive displays of cross-party unity but highlighted the risks in the dismantling of Northern Ireland's security structure.

Northern Ireland blogger Slugger O'Toole said that while many of us are back to our "old roles as armchair generals" and "ideological analysts", there seems to be a consensus that heavy handed security swoops and mass arrests are not the answer.

Panorama's Divide and Rule was made last year, 10 years after the Good Friday Agreement. In it we found that segregation was very much still alive.

Tuesday, and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, was at the launch of a government inquiry into the apparent "sexualisation" of young girls by advertisers and manufacturers. The Telegraph said it has been unveiled as part of a wider probe into violence against women.

The Womensroom blog seemed especially qualified to comment. "As the mother of a teenage girl this is something that has concerned me since she was old enough to ask me for a one shouldered top, aged 8," the blogger said. And as a former designer of childrenswear, she thinks that retailers in most cases, are in absolute denial they have any part to play.

Panorama in 2004, looked at the issue - asking if and why children were getting older, younger.

On Thursday, child social services were once again under scrutiny with the publication of Lord Laming's review into child protection.

Lord Laming - who chaired the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie - gave 58 recommendations on how to protect children from harm.

Blogger Pubphilopsher said Lord Laming's recommendations after Victoria Climbie's murder, led to the expensive and disproportionate response and his new  proposals are more of the same.

Sadie Smith pays less attention to criticising Lord Laming however, and prefers to point the finger at the media saying that over worked social workers make such great media scapegoats.

The influence of workloads on children's social workers was looked at during Panorama's six-month investigation into the mistakes and missed opportunities that led to the death of Baby P.

On Friday, campaigners lost their legal battle to block the expansion of Stansted Airport in Essex. The Financial Times reported that BAA is free to raise capacity at the airport by 40%- to thirty five million passengers - a year, but will face tough financial penalties if its service to passengers and airlines is poor.

The group opposing the proposals, the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), were ordered to pay the government's legal costs from the High Court hearing - up to an agreed limit of £20,000, reported 24dash.

Eamonn Walsh writing for the Panorama blog, at the start of the year, suggested that 2009 was seemingly continuing a trend of previous years for anti-airport expansion campaigns.

He blogged some video archive, showing the roots of post-war airport planning, by revisiting Panorama's 1985 film Blot On The Runway.

Over the weekend booze was in the news when the government's top medical adviser drew up plans for a minimum price on alcohol by saying no drinks could be sold for less than 50p per unit of alcohol they contain.

NHS Blog Doctor called it "the slippery slope to back door prohibition" while blogger Richy C did his maths and worked out that if he doesn't include the absinthe, his household will be looking at a £5.30 increase on the cost of their current drink's cupboard.

The increase has not pleased the drinks industry, who said the government should change the behaviour of harmful drinkers "rather than punish everyone by setting a minimum price for alcohol." 

In 2004, Panorama revealed how the drinks industry's legal offensive around 24hr drinking, had helped transform our high streets.


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