Talk about Newsnight

A blog and forum.

Thursday, 30 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Nov 06, 08:52 PM

polonium.jpgLitvinenko, radiation poisoning and former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar; inside the New Labour Project; UN sexual abuse in Haiti claim; and beleaguered Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Martha is on BBC Two at 2230GMT and live on the website. Leave your thoughts below.

Are domestic wind turbines an eco-con?

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Nov 06, 02:40 PM

turbine203caption.jpgIt is time to talk turbines. Very uncharacteristically I’ve been biting my tongue on the subject as I waited until I got my own windmill. Then last week, just three days before the thing was due to be installed, a representative of Windsave rang to say the company had decided that my property isn’t suitable and that their installers would not be coming round.

Windsave, as regular viewers will know, offered me a turbine back in March when the Ethical Man experiment first began. It is also the company which, with much fanfare, sells its turbines through B&Q. Windsave has promised to come round to my house next Thursday to explain its decision.

But if Windsave isn’t going to put a turbine up then I should put my cards on the table: I am now persuaded – unless someone can convince me otherwise – that domestic wind turbines are little more than an eco-con.

Why do I believe this? Well, it is a question of physics.

Continue reading "Are domestic wind turbines an eco-con?"

How green is your government Minister?

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Nov 06, 05:00 PM

The Government makes a lot of its new green credentials. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown jointly launched Sir Nicholas Stern’s report on the potentially apocalyptic consequences of global warming and, to underline the government’s commitment, it announced a climate change bill in the Queen’s speech.

Environment minister Ian Pearson MP on Newsnight in OctoberIndeed, back in May Mr Blair appointed a Minster with special responsibility for climate change. He is Ian Pearson, the MP for Dudley South, and yesterday I shared a platform with him at a conference on sustainable development.

It was my job to open the conference. I ran through some of the things my family and I have been doing as Ethical Man and then I set the delegates a little ethical living test. I asked a series of questions about their lifestyles including whether they had made the switch to a green electricity supplier.

Continue reading "How green is your government Minister?"

What chance peace?

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Nov 06, 01:16 PM

soldier.jpgWednesday's programme comes from Jerusalem. Gavin Esler presents a special edition of Newsnight as we ask: “What chance peace in the Middle East?”

It comes as President Bush is in Jordan for talks with – among others – the Prime Minister of Iraq. In Gaza an uneasy truce appears to be holding. In Lebanon the political crisis terrifies everyone with the prospect of another civil war. All round the world Christians, Muslims and Jews look to this holy city of Jerusalem for inspiration. Tonight we’ll be looking to Jerusalem for answers. Can the Israelis and Palestinians live together peacefully side by side in their own states with secure borders? Is that dream possible any more?

The Middle East is at a crossroads - is peace possible? Who has been the roadblock? Who needs to compromise and on what? What do you think?

Tuesday, 28 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Nov 06, 05:44 PM

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown campaigning for last April's local electionsIn Tuesday's programme: all the parties are in the red according to today's Electoral Commission figures - Michael Crick tells us what it means; Paul Mason looks at the television landscape following Michael Grade's move from BBC to ITV; children born at the beginning of the school year are far more likely to succeed at sport - Richard Watson's been investigating; and we discuss Turkey's chances of EU integration in the light of the Pope's visit.

Join Jeremy at 2230GMT on BBC Two and on the Newsnight website, and let us know your thoughts.

Grade - big socks to fill...

  • Paul Mason
  • 28 Nov 06, 08:15 AM

Michael GradeCongratulations to Michael Grade who has leapt, red socks barely singed, from what we describe in business as "burning platform" to one in cinders. Tessa Jowell now faces the task of trawling through that class of people who own big, white Georgian houses with 20-foot high ceilings to find a replacement. In the meantime here's what I thnk it means...

Continue reading "Grade - big socks to fill..."

Monday, 27th November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Nov 06, 06:02 PM

zubair203.jpgTonight: David Grossman asks where the plan to reduce UK troop numbers in Iraq leaves security in the country; radiation contamination in the wake of the Litvinenko case - Susan Watts reports; barred from having a car while Ethical Man, Justin Rowlatt finds a solution to his transport problems; Mark Urban on what might be a glimmer of hope in the Middle East; and we discuss whether British children being taught creationism in science lessons.

Join Jeremy at 2230GMT on BBC Two and on the Newsnight website.

How to save money and live longer...

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 27 Nov 06, 02:30 PM

I’ve had quite a few embarrassing moments since becoming Newsnight’s Ethical Man. There was the time my producer Sara filmed me in the bath (watch here); the day my wife decided to ask about my petrol company shares on my blog, and then there was the day Sara took the family car away. She made the whole family stand outside the house and wave as a man winched our car up onto a flat bed truck and drove it away (watch here).

I’ve owned a car ever since I first passed my test more than twenty years ago, and to be honest my wife Bee and I (and most of our friends) thought we wouldn’t last the first month without it, let alone a year. So – seven months on from that humiliating morning - how have we been getting on?

Watch the report here

Continue reading "How to save money and live longer..."

Friday, 24 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Nov 06, 05:50 PM

hospital_203.jpgThe latest events in the wake of Alexander Litvinenko’s death; security alert at Stormont; and another cash scandal?

Comment on Friday’s programme here.

Thursday, 23 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Nov 06, 05:34 PM

funeral_203.jpgOn the day of Pierre Gemayel’s funeral, we ask whether Syria might really have had a hand in his murder? British Airways answers criticism of its decision not to allow Nadia Eweida to wear a cross; how synthetic phonics is working in Scotland; Gongolo land dispute; and the Ashes.

Comment on Thursday’s programme here.

Wednesday, 22 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Nov 06, 05:03 PM

gemayel_203100.jpgLebanon mourns Pierre Gemayel – we report from his home village and speak with his father. Plus, Margaret Beckett has spoken of a security handover in Iraq; Peter Marshall reports on the Dutch elections; the Tories are encouraged to listen to commentators like Polly Toynbee; and Stephen King discusses his latest work.

Comment on Wednesday’s programme here.

Tuesday, 21 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Nov 06, 05:54 PM

boozea.jpgThe devastating effects of alcoholism in Britain; the likely impact of the Beirut assassination; and analysis of a new multibillion-dollar nuclear fusion project. Plus, we look back at the life and times of the director Robert Altman.

Comment on Tuesday's programme here.

Who shot Bobby Kennedy?

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Nov 06, 11:48 AM

kennedy_203.jpgFilm-maker Shane O'Sullivan has uncovered new footage showing that at least three CIA agents were present on the night Robert Kennedy was murdered.

O'Sullivan believes these men are connected with the assassination. Are you convinced by the new evidence in his report?

Click here to watch the report

Click here to read 'CIA role claim in Kennedy killing'

Monday, 20 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Nov 06, 05:16 PM

blairafgantroops_203.jpgTony Blair in Afghanistan talking to British troops; new evidence on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in 1968; and who might have wanted to poison Alexander Litvinenko? Plus, the first dispatch from Australia from the Ashes poet in residence.

Comment on Monday’s programme here.

Talking turkey (not shares)

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 20 Nov 06, 12:20 PM

bird_203.jpgI'm still smarting after Ethical Man attracted the attention of a number of national newspapers thanks to my wife's contribution to my last blog entry.

I'd written about the joys - and dangers - of urban foraging and was hoping to prompt a vigorous debate when Bee intervened with a query about some shares I own. As a result I'm hoping she'll report back on the ethical makeover she wants to put the family finances through.

It is a worrying prospect so, by way of a diversion, I am publishing this handsome picture of Ned, the Newsnight turkey.

The plan is he'll be the centrepiece of our "ethical" family Christmas. He certainly looks like a suitably proud bird and he's certainly come on well since we last saw him.

Unfortunately Ned's progress has inspired the ethical producer Sara to suggest that I atone for consuming him by spending January as a vegan. I've been a keen carnivore all my life but many of our correspondents believe that the only truly ethical diet is meat and dairy free. They also argue that it will make another dent in the family's carbon footprint.

I won't lie, I am not keen. I'm also not persuaded that carbon savings from forgoing flesh will offset the increase in methane emissions from a diet of beans and pulses. Rather ominously Sara says there is only one way to find out...

Newsnight Review - 17 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Nov 06, 07:17 PM

craig203.jpgThe latest incarnation of Bond; the result of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s TV search for Maria – the stage version of The Sound of Music; BBC Two’s dramatisation of the Asian tsunami; and the panel get to grips with Nintendo’s new games console – Wii. More detail on all of those items here.

Martha is on BBC Two at 2300GMT and you can watch the programme back on the Review website on Saturday.

Friday, 17 November 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Nov 06, 07:05 PM

New government advice to universities to combat what is described as a "real and serious threat of violent extremism in the name of Islam".

Margaret Hodge reportedly accuses Tony Blair of "moral imperialism" and said Iraq is "his big mistake". She denies making the comments.

sudan1_203.gifSudan agrees in principle to allow a joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force into Darfur. We have a film from Darfur on more evidence of janjaweed atrocities.

And what's in a name?

Join Martha at 2230GMT on BBC Two and on the Newsnight website then leave your comments below.

Inside the Global Jihad by Omar Nasiri

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Nov 06, 10:05 PM

Omar Nasiri (not his real name) worked for European security agencies during the 1990s and infiltrated al Qaeda both in the camps of Afghanistan and in terror cells in London.

His story reveals the extent of al-Qaeda's preparations - years before 9/11- and the British authorities' lack of awareness of the growing threat of Islamic terrorism.

Read extracts here and leave your comments below.

Thursday, 16 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Nov 06, 05:38 PM

SilhouetteA Newsnight exclusive - Inside al-Qaeda: A Spy's Story.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera gained exclusive access to an al Qaeda operative who also worked for European security agencies during the 1990s.

Watch the special edition of Newsnight at 2230GMT tonight on BBC Two in the UK and on the Newsnight website.

Leave your comments below...

Wednesday, 15 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Nov 06, 05:26 PM

queen203100c.jpgWhose Queen's Speech is it anyway? Martha Kearney has been at Westminster picking over the legislative programme to try and figure out whether it reflects Blair, Brown or Reid.

Justin 'Ethical Man' Rowlatt examines the proposed Climate Change BIll while David Grossman pores over Blair's legislative legacy.

Join Jeremy at 2230GMT live on the Newsnight website and on BBC Two in the UK and leave your comments on Wednesday's programme below.

Tuesday, 14 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Nov 06, 04:19 PM

radical203100.jpgWe investigate the radicalisation of Britain's Muslim youth.

Today another breast cancer scare. Is there now too much conflicting information for women to understand the illness and its causes?

A group of international lawyers files a lawsuit in Germany calling on prosecutors to investigate former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes. We speak to the lawyer in charge of the case.

Monday, 13 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Nov 06, 06:17 PM

US helicopter over BaghdadTony Blair wants Iran and Syria to be included in talks on Iraq and the Middle East. Mark Urban examines if we are about to see an about turn on US and British foreign policy.

Julian Pettifer, who reported on the Vietnam conflict, has returned to the country with a veteran - are there parallels between the Iraq and Vietnam?

Are the government's anti-terrorism policies are just playing to a tabloid agenda?

And sexism and football - we debate women's role in male dominated sports.

Join Jeremy at 2230GMT on BBC Two and live and on demand on the Newsnight website.

Forage with care

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 13 Nov 06, 01:57 PM

gin203.jpgI am very glad to see that the response to my blog and Urban foraging film has been very positive. So far not a whiff of that writ…

Indeed many of my ethical correspondents seem to have particular fruit trees and bushes that they remember fondly. One favourite of mine is an almond tree my daughters and I came across as we walked through a North London street a couple of Sundays ago. The nuts were still on the branches and though it took a bit of battle to crack them, the almonds were the finest I have ever tasted.

Continue reading "Forage with care"

Friday, 10 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Nov 06, 09:40 PM

The head of MI5 warns us of the potential terrorists in our midst. We examine Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller's claim that young men are radicalised and ask why MI5 made these announcements now. An internal investigation into the abuse of prisoners at Wormwood Scrubs prison from 1995 to 2000 has just been made public. We have the shocking findings. And Lord Sainsbury is to quit as Science Minister. Michael Crick looks at his ministerial career.

And on Newsnight Review, the panel discuss the Victorian-era magic of the film The Prestige, Porgy and Bess the musical, BBC One comedy Jam and Jerusalem from the pen of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Newsom's new album.

Join Kirsty at 22.30GMT on BBC Two and live on the Newsnight website and at 2300GMT for Review (watch it back on the website from Saturday).

Thursday, 9 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Nov 06, 07:09 PM

pelosi203a.jpgA new political landscape in the US - can Bush and Pelosi get on? Peter Marshall is in Washington.

Tim Whewell looks at how US policy on Iraq might change after the departure of Donald Rumsfeld.

Plus Stephanie Flanders gives us the low down on today's interest rate rise and what it might mean for the economy.

And Jonathan Charles goes to South Africa's mercenary town.

Join Martha at 2230GMT on BBC Two and live on the Newsnight website and leave your comments below.

Wednesday, 8 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Nov 06, 05:47 PM

rumsfeld203.jpgUS Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigns after sorry mid-term results for the Republicans - our team in Washington will consider the impact.

On the ground in Gaza with Paul Martin after the latest Israeli offensive; and racist murder in Glasgow.

Join Gavin and Martha at 22.30 GMT on BBC Two and live on the Newsnight website.

It's a menagerie out there

  • Martha Kearney
  • 8 Nov 06, 04:23 PM

So one of the most negative campaigns in recent US political history has come to an end. It certainly provided great material for David Grossman's piece last week (watch it here).

Although attack ads aren't allowed in Britain, the political parties certainly study what works on the other side of the Atlantic and we tend to see it in posters. Remember Demon Eyes? Or Michael Howard as Fagin?

chicken203.jpgDave the Chameleon was thought to be a bit too cute. One of my favourite US ones was when Republicans let loose a bunch of chickens at a Democrat barbecue because the candidate was "too chicken" to take part in a debate. Of course that idea was copied here by the tabloids when a giant chicken followed Tony Blair in 1997 because he didn't want to debate. A rival newspaper hired a fox to go after the chicken.

A giant chicken was also deployed when Conservative candidate Nick Hawkins went on "a chicken run" to find a safe seat. Then there were the giant groundhogs at the last election...

I am wasted on Newsnight when I could be writing a thesis about Giant Animals in Modern British Political Discourse. Anyway why don't you try your hand at a British version of an attack ad? Plenty of material these days.

Urban foraging - ethical?

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 8 Nov 06, 02:47 PM

Justin Rowlatt - Click to watch the filmWe hear a great deal about how we should buy food locally as a way of reducing “food miles”, that is, the distance our food has to travel before it reaches our plates. So what could be more ethical than picking fruit from trees on the streets around my house?

The Ethical producer, Sara, confiscated my car back in April so I’ve had the opportunity to watch the local fruit trees blossom and the fruit ripen on the boughs. I’ve seen the apples swell to maturity, the wine-dark grapes take on their yeasty bloom and the figs blush purple. Yet nature’s bounty has remained untouched.

So are Ethical men and women like me allowed to reap this rich harvest? Read on...

Continue reading "Urban foraging - ethical?"

A "lost year of education" for Academy school?

  • Paul Mason
  • 7 Nov 06, 08:42 PM

I've been at the Paddington Academy in North London to see what staff and pupils there hope does not go down as the first big failure of the new public-private education system....

Continue reading "A "lost year of education" for Academy school?"

Tuesday, 7 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Nov 06, 05:51 PM

bush203100.jpgAmerica votes - we have extensive coverage from Washington on the US mid-term elections. Read and comment on Gavin Esler's mid-term blog. Back in Britain, Paul Mason reports on the City Academy where refurbishment plans have gone awry leaving kids studying in a temporary school that was strewn with rubbish and graffiti at the start of term. We speak to the Polish President desperate to stop his country's workforce emigrating. And Steve Smith gets his head out of the science books to meet the newly reformed Genesis.

Join Gavin and Kirsty at 10.30 on BBC Two and live on the Newsnight website and leave us your thoughts below.

Monday, 6 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Nov 06, 05:15 PM

lieberman203100.jpgPeter Marshall goes on the road with Senator Joe Lieberman and finds out how President Bush's handling of Iraq is playing with voters; Tim Whewell reports on the asylum seekers living rough after their applications failed - another government failure? And Martha Kearney went to watch an occasionally fractious monthly press conference with Tony Blair.

Newsnight Review - Friday, 3 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Nov 06, 06:58 PM

borat_ny203.jpgJohn Harris, Bidisha, Nick Moran and Ekow Eshun join Kirsty to discuss: Kazakhstan's most famous journalist in Sacha Baron Cohen's film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan; Into the West - a new TV western from Stephen Spielberg; Cormac McCarthy's new novel The Road; and the sculptor David Smith - whose work is a featured at the Tate Modern in a major retrospective.

Join Kirsty at 11.00pm on BBC Two and leave your comments below.

Don't forget you can watch the whole programme back from Saturday on the Review website.

Friday, 3 November

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Nov 06, 06:44 PM

bush203.jpgAre Republicans losing the evangelical vote in the US mid-terms because of scandal?

And Tony Blair says science is vitally important to Britain’s society and economy, but what does his government's record on supporting scientific research and development look like?

Join Kirsty at 10.30 on BBC Two or live on the Newsnight website, then leave your comments and opinions below.

Thursday, 2 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Nov 06, 06:27 PM

surveillance203.jpgOn Thursday's programme: the Asbo generation and CCTV - why are our youths so unruly when they are being monitored so closely? Salam Pax, our Baghdad blogger, reports on the trial of Saddam Hussein; on Wednesday, Madonna told us the Malawian child she is trying to adopt has no grandmother - we find out if that is true; and why China is so interested in Africa.

Join Jeremy at 10.30 on BBC2 or watch live on the website and leave us your thoughts below.

Wednesday, 1 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Nov 06, 03:32 PM

madonna_203.jpgMadonna fights back in her first British interview since her decision to adopt a boy from Malawi; leaked warnings of a rise in crime when Romania and Bulgaria join the EU in January; a rare report from Burma on the lives of its people under military rule; and the negative campaigning of the US mid-term elections.

Comment on Wednesday’s programme here.

The ethics of radiator valves

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 1 Nov 06, 02:42 PM

cooper203.jpgWhen is it ethical to change your radiator valves? That was the big question that was perplexing the Newsnight team after our broadcast last night.

The housing minister, Yvette Cooper, invited me to have the first of the new Energy Performance Certificates on my home and even did me the honour of popping round to my house for a cup of tea to see how I got on.

It should have been a pretty straightforward report. Trials of the certificates begin around the country next week. They'll be introduced nationwide in June next year.

The idea is pretty simple. When houses are sold the seller will pay for the house to be energy rated, just like a fridge, and they'll offer suggestions for how energy efficiency could be improved. Sounds pretty sensible doesn't it?

Continue reading "The ethics of radiator valves"

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