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Gaza - Civil War?

| 09:22 UK time, Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The death toll in Gaza after two days of fighting stands at 34 as I type. Palestinian militants from the rival Hamas and Fatah groups are spreading violence towards the West Bank, edging the conflict, some say, towards all-out civil war.

The Palestinian Fatah movement says it will boycott all cabinet meetings of the coalition government with Hamas until a Gaza ceasefire is implemented.

There are mixed reports about who is attacking who. Human Rights Watch said both sides have committed atrocities. Let's try and hear from both sides today.

Speaking of boycotts, would you support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions? Academics at the annual conference of the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK, have backed calls for further debate into plans to cut all links with Israeli academic institutions. We could talk about this on the show today - share your thoughts with us here, or join the debate online

Honour killings
Rabiya mentioned yesterday the case of Banaz Mahmood, who was murdered by her father and uncle for bringing shame upon her family, by falling in love with the wrong man. Banaz went to the police on several occasions to tell them her life was in danger. The police in this country were given guidelines on how to deal with such threats just months before. Were these ignored? How can women in this situation be protected?
It prompted much discussion in our morning meeting yesterday - many of us have researched or looked at the topic in the past and found it very difficult to find people affected to talk to. Steve in the USA contacted us in the afternoon to ask:

Was wondering if you guys might talk about the string of honour killings in Britain recently. We're hearing lots about it in the US media.

We'd really like to hear your thoughts on the subject - is it common in your country? You can e-mail us, or post your comments here, we're sure it's a topic we will discuss on the programme one day.

South Africa strike
Public sector workers have joined a strike, which threatens total economic shut down in South Africa. Most schools and hospitals have already been closed for 13 days over pay demands, negotiations between the government and the unions are in deadlock. With as many as two million people staying away from work, shall we have a look at the impact on the people living there?

What’s in a name?
Well, not a lot of variety if you live in China. According to this article in the Times newspaper, there are 93 million people with the surname Wang in China – if they secluded, they would become the world’s twelfth most populous nation!

Stewart is in the top 50 most common names in the UK, and a quick google search of Anna Stewart throws up a councillor for Camden council, . There’s a memorial fund set up after her.
British comedian Dave Gorman spent an entire TV series looking for other Dave Gorman’s. Is this a serious logistical problem in China? If you are Chinese, are you used to having an unoriginal name? Anita Rani’s presenting the show again tonight – I wander if any of her namesakes would like to talk to her later…?


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