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Thursday - Pakistan, lethal injections, art & religion

James Harrod | 09:30 UK time, Thursday, 4 October 2007

Hi there. This is my first day back for a fair while. I had a great holiday in New York, but then picked up a nasty chest virus, which left me bed-ridden for a week and a half. Yuck. I'm not 100% but have decided to return and battle through today and see how I feel. Don't you just hate getting ill?

Anyway enough about me, and onto today.

Trawling through my 1,000+ unread emails, I see we're planning a special on Pakistan tomorrow. Yesterday, the exiled former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, said power-sharing talks with President Pervez Musharraf were "totally stalled". According to officials, efforts are being made to restore dialogue. What now for the people of Pakistan - just days away from the Presidential elections?

...Amnesty International's calling on doctors and nurses in the US not to take part in executions by lethal injection. The group says the cocktail of drugs is not always quick and painless, and can cause "extreme mental suffering". Amnesty says administering the injection breaches the medical professions' ethical oath. What do you think? Should there be a broader question of whether the death penalty should remain?

Zimbabwe's announced plans to introduce a new currency in the new year. It's part of measures unveiled by the Central Bank aimed at easing the economic crisis - even the official rate of inflation now stands at more than six thousand per cent. Will the move make any difference?

In the past, we've done an awful lot on art and religion. Christians and the Jerry Springer Opera, Muslims and the Danish cartoons, Hindus and the controversial paintings of Indian artist MF Husain. Now Buddhists in the east of England are unhappy after an artist customised the "lap" area of a Buddha. Genitals composed of a pair of shining eggs and a vertical banana were deemed disrespectful by Buddhists who saw the "art" in a gallery window in Norwich. The police forced the gallery to turn the figure round so only those inside could see the 'offensive' image. It raises a question we've touched on in the past - but is it worth revisiting ... should art ever be censored?

The leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to seek a formal end to the Korean war at the end of summit talks in Pyongyang. The leaders also agreed to step up investment in joint economic zones and to set up a cross-border rail freight service. After years of stalled talks, the deal has moved at lightening speed - would you like to hear more about the situation there? I'd be interested in hearing from people in Seoul and whether the years of distrust can be repaired.

That's all from me - but I'd really like to hear your story suggestions - post them below.


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