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Wednesday's fayre

Martin Vennard | 09:17 UK time, Wednesday, 10 October 2007

The programme is coming from Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg today and no doubt the team out there have already set up a number of talking points for the show.

Back at the ranch in London, I've been looking out for stories that may also be debated.

The United Nations has warned that Iraq is becoming a "pressure cooker", with more than 2.2m Iraqis now internally displaced.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Iraqi provinces are refusing entry to refugees fleeing violence in other parts of the country, the UN refugee agency said.

The head of the UNHCR Iraq Support Unit said up to 11 governors were restricting access because they lacked resources to look after the refugees. Another 2 million refugees have already left the country and we have in the past spoken to some of them, who are now living in places like Jordan and Syria.

Perhaps we should try and talk to some of those who have been displaced within their own country by the violence.


The US has warned Turkey against making an incursion into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurdish separatists .

The Turkish government is seeking parliamentary approval for a possible cross-border military operation, with Kurdish rebels having killed 15 soldiers since Sunday.

But does the US have the right to warn off Turkey when it cited security for its own intervention in Iraq.


Meanwhile, Turkey has itself warned the US that bilateral ties will suffer if Washington adopts a bill recognising as genocide the Ottoman empire's killings of Armenians.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said "serious problems" would emerge if US lawmakers passed the bill. The US House Foreign Affairs Committee is due to discuss it this week.

Ankara rejects Armenian claims that the deaths of some 1.5m Armenians in 1915-17 amounted to genocide, but should the US follow France's example in recognising the killings as genocide?


Most of the talk about Pakistan recently has been about President Musharraf and whether he should stand down as army chief, but in recent days there has been a surge in violence in the country's border region of North Waziristan.

Pakistani warplanes have attacked suspected pro-Taleban positions near the Afghan border, while
the army says a total of 45 troops and 150 rebels have died so far in battles.

Locals have been fleeing the area in their thousands, and say many civilians have died. It is the heaviest fighting for many months in North Waziristan, which the US says is an al-Qaeda safe haven.

Should we try and hear from people in the region about what's happening there?


A 60-year-old Palestinian bringing a case against the British government in the High Court today saying that sales of arms to Israel are illegal.

Saleh Hassan says Israel uses military equipment bought in Britain to repress Palestinians. Mr Hassan, who lives in Bethlehem, says that Israel used such equipment to bulldoze his farm and confiscate his land in 2005 to allow the construction of its barrier, which he calls its "annexation wall". Israel says the West Bank barrier is a security measure to stop suicide bombers.

What do you think? This raises many questions about the arms trade and who sells arms to who.


Malaysia's first astronaut is set to blast off today for a voyage to the International Space Station.
Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will be the first Muslim to fly in space during the holy month of Ramadan and will be there for the Eid festival, when he will treat his crewmates to a celebratory meal.

Officials in Malaysia have prepared special guidelines for him on observing religious rules while he is at the station. When Muslims have had a lot of bad publicity in some quarters in the recent past, is Mr Shukor a postive Muslim role model? Are you celebrating this year's Ramadan in an unusual location?


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