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Wednesday, 11 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Oct 06, 05:44 PM

coffin_203a.jpgOn Wednesday's programme we examine figures published in The Lancet which suggest that more than 600,000 Iraqis have died since the 2003 invasion. Paul Mason reports - and you can read his analysis of the figures here.

And forget shopkeepers, is Britain becoming a nation of shoplifters? Some want non-custodial sentences for a crime which has risen by 70% in the last six years and cost business £2.1bn last year. What would stop the theives then?

We find out if it was Groundhog Day at the All Party Talks on Northern Ireland.

Finally, Steve Smith goes in search of Chuck Berry.

As ever, your thoughts are welcome...

In search of Chuck Berry

  • Stephen Smith
  • 11 Oct 06, 05:06 PM

chuck_duck203300.jpgTo many, he's the king of rock 'n' roll. He's also its first outlaw.

Chuck Berry, the original hip gunslinger of the guitar, turns 80 next week (18 October) and axe-fancying Newsnight supremo Peter Barron sent me to St Louis, Missouri, in search of the great man. But Chuck's reputation goes before him and we knew we wouldn't get him on a plate. He is possibly the least biddable man in showbusiness - no mean distinction. Allow me to direct you to the excellent Berry rockumentary, Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll, in which the guitarist has a full-scale stand-up row with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones over how to set an amp. It's not often that Keef makes you feel protective towards him but he has your sympathy here, as he patiently explains to his hero that turning the thrashed Marshall stack up to 11 is all well and good for putting Chuck in the moment but won't be so pleasing on the ear of posterity.

Continue reading "In search of Chuck Berry"

601,000 reasons to regret?

  • Paul Mason
  • 11 Oct 06, 03:50 PM

iraqcoffin203.jpgImagine an Iraqi village with about 14,000 inhabitants. In the year before the invasion, 82 people in that village die - two violently. In the three years after the invasion 547 people die, 300 violently. Of the 300, 77 die in explosions, 169 in shootings. Twenty six children die in air strikes. I have never been to Iraq but that picture does not jar with my mental image of what's been going on: particularly as 2/3 of the violent deaths are the result of insurgency or incipient civil war rather than "coalition military action".

But extrapolate that figure to cover the whole Iraqi population and you get the stunning headline that is racing around the internet right now: 601,000 violent deaths since the invasion. The problem is the body count says that "only" 50,000 died.

Continue reading "601,000 reasons to regret?"

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