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Talking turkey

David Mazower | 09:20 UK time, Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Good moring, good morning, it's James here, bringing you the WHYS blog on another morning of slow trains and even slower computers here in London. Rabs and Dicky are still in Turkey today - if you heard yesterday's programme you'll know that they got a great group of thoughtful Turks together to discuss the Pope's visit. It was a lively discussion - do you want to hear more about the Pope today? Should we move the conversation on to Turkey's bid to join the European union? Let us know, and join our online debate.

What other issues around the world have got you talking? Read on for my thoughts, and let us know if i've missed anything. Post your ideas here on the blog, or email us.

It looks like EU membership is going to be a big issue in Turkey today. The Pope has reversed his position, and given his support to Turkey's membership, but the the European Commission is set to recommend that parts of the EU's talks with Turkey should be suspended. Should Turkey become part of Europe? Is it doing enough to gain EU membership? Are EU leaders turning their backs on decades of promises to Turkey?

A poll commissioned by the BBC suggests that the majority of people surveyed in Britain want to ban Muslim women from wearing the veil in some public places. Sixty-one percent would approve a law banning the wearing of veils in airports and more than half said it should be outlawed in courts and schools. Do you agree? Would you like to discuss this issue with people in Turkey? Post your thoughts and join our online debate.

Another you could discuss with our Turkish listeners is the situation in Turkey's southern neighbour - Iraq. The rhetoric has changed a lot recently, from staying the course and victory, to engaging Syria and Iran and pullin gout western troops. Today George W. Bush is traveling to Jordan for talks with the Iraq PM. I wonder what people in Turkey make of all this.

There's a big Nato summit going on in the Latvian capital Riga. Leaders at the summit have agreed to relax restrictions on how their troops are used in Afghanistan - several countries have not allowed their troops to operate in the south, where Nato faces fierce fighting with the Taleban. Are all countries pulling their weight in Afghanistan?

Also in the news:

A new report claims that street robbers often carry out their crimes for the thrill as much as for the financial gain. It's a scary thought - what's the situation like where you live, is there a culture of violence for its own sake? How should it be tackled?

Schoolgirl Misbah Rana must return to her mother in Scotland, a judge in Pakistan has ruled. The 12-year-old has been at the centre of a custody battle after Misbah, also known as Molly Campbell, travelled to Pakistan to be with her father. What do you think about this story?

And if you have a while, here's a couple of longer articles:

A story from the weekend's Washington Post : the producers of Al Gore's climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" decided to offer 50,000 free DVDs to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for them to use in their classrooms. But the teachers said no. One reason they gave was that accepting the DVDs, would place "unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters." One of those supporters, it turns out, is the Exxon Mobil Corp, a big oil company. Is there too much corporate influence in education?

There's another interesting article in the New York Times (it's long but worth the read). It's saying that in many occupations, from medicine to the financial world, there are certain paths that allow people to make very large amounts of money. This has all sorts of effects, but this bit caught my eye:

"Three decades ago, compensation among occupations differed far less than it does today. That growing difference is diverting people from some critical fields, experts say. The American Bar Foundation, a research group, has found in its surveys, for instance, that fewer law school graduates are going into public-interest law or government jobs and filling all the openings is becoming harder."

Is the opportunity to make large amounts of money drawing people away from needed occupations? Perhaps it's not just the opportunity - do our lifestyles put us under pressure to earn more and more money? Is this a problem all around the world - if you're in a developing country, do jobs in booming global industries pull people away from much needed local occupations?

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