What's on your mind?
Good morning, good morning, it's James here, back in the WHYS blogging saddle (any suggestions for a better way of phrasing that gladly received) after a bit of a break. As usual I write this as the first coffee is just working its way into my system, so i'll publish first, and hope that my creativity grows along with the length of the post. Here's some starters to get you going - as usual if you have any great ideas, add them to the blog.
On yesterday's show we got loads of emails about Barack Obama, the Kenyan-American superstar of US politics who has taken the first steps towards running for US president. Should we be talking about him again today? We are aware that lots of US listeners care passionately about this, but last night we were wondering about the rest of the world - does it matter to you? Do you think he'll make a difference on the world stage, or are we, and the rest of the media, falling for the hype? Let us know. (As an antidote to the hype, here's a sceptical take on Obama from the Guardian).
One story I was keen on yesterday is still around - and it's the most read story on our website. European Hindus have joined forces to fight German proposals to ban swastikas (which are also sacred Hindu peace symbols) across the European Union. Germany holds the EU presidency, and wants to introduce laws across the Union making it a crime to deny the holocaust or to display Nazi symbols. It's not a new debate, but one which always gets people going. Do you agree with Germany, or is this taking things too far? If you deny the Holocaust, should you be refuted in debate, morally condemned, or sent to prison?
The head of Israel's armed forces, Lt Gen Dan Halutz, has resigned amid inquiries into last year's conflict with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. And it looks like the war might have led to the collapse of secret peace talks between Israel and Syria. Was it all a big mistake? We want to hear from Israelis and Lebanese - six months after the conflict, what are your thoughts?
Muhammed Ali is 65. The boxing world has paid tribute - what are your memories? This morning the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 was asking if his reputation has been sanitised, and people have forgotten what a radical figure he really was. What do you think? Join our online debate.
And here's a suggestion from our listener Hamdella in Toronto, Canada. He refers to controversial elections in Ethiopia in 2005, where the opposition made strong gains, and the ruling party of PM Meles Zenawi was accused of using violence and intimidation against opponents (for more detail see Wikipedia, or if you have a little time on your hands here's a PDF of the Carter Centre's final report on the elections). Hamdella says that the west turned a blind eye to this, and more recently, to Ethiopia's military actions in Somalia, and asks: why is that the West does not support the struggle for democracy in Africa like they did in Ukraine or Georgia? What do you think? Is there an example of this where you live?
There are signs of growing opposition in Iran to the policies of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Has he gone too far? Would you like to hear from Iranians?
There's crazy weather all over the world. Despite the rain and wind today, it almost feels like spring here in the UK, with flowers sprouting everywhere. Meanwhile, north-east USA is facing severe ice storms. And in Australia, high temperatures are fuelling bushfires. Not really a debate as such, but do you want to hear ten minutes of the best "what's the deal with the weather?" stories we can find? (Now there's a deal you can't refuse!) Send us yours.