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Monday, 6 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Aug 07, 04:21 PM

From tonight's presenter Emily Maitlis

poster.gifFoot and Mouth
Is it possible that the agencies responsible for stopping the spread of Foot and Mouth have effectively been responsible for starting it? This curious irony may seem less of a curious irony if you're a farmer. Many of them just find it outrageous the country's facing the disease once again. We're about to learn the exact source of the virus.

Currently, the investigation is focusing on a private pharmaceutical company - Merial - which makes the vaccine for use in other countries - and the government-run Institute for Animal Health. There's even a suggestion flooding may have caused the outbreak. Inevitably, questions of whether to vaccinate cattle instead of cull them have now become more prescient. But even those who favour inoculation admit this outbreak is something of an “own goal”. We'll be discussing the impact this is likely to have on the way we handle the disease here longer term.

The company has been accused by protesters, of “legal bullying”, since it won a partial injunction from the High Court banning some environmental campaigners from creating a camp outside the airport. Protesters are fighting the planned third runway at Heathrow which they say will do incalculable damage to people living in the developing world through climate change. BAA argues the camp will create a security risk at a time of heightened terror alert and heavy passenger flow. But is the airport authority using the cover of security to silence those who make life uncomfortable for it? We'll be debating with both sides tonight.

A breakout at an immigration centre, with convicts on the loose: if only this were a new story. Unfortunately it's not. Campsfield's problems began just six months after it opened, in 1993, when six detainees broke out after a rooftop protest. In 1997 a report warned the centre was unsafe. In 2003, another warning that it was not a place of safety. And tonight, as I write, 14 convicted criminals are still on the run. Why has so little improved despite the warnings? Does the heavy campaigning of some local residents to have it shut down completely have anything to do with it?

Peru's war zone workers
Peru may seem utterly remote from the war on terror. In fact it's linked in a way that appears to be quite shocking. Young Peruvian men are being recruited to help protect coalition staff and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are attracted by the relatively generous salaries - but many pay a heavy price. We meet some of those who have sustained horrific injuries and who are now battling for compensation. How did the war on terror become so globalized? And why, despite international condemnation, are these men still being employed in these dangerous roles? Paul Mason and Fernando Lucena bring us their stories.

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