Talk about Newsnight

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Thursday, 8 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 8 May 08, 07:15 PM

Hello to viewers here and abroad..


"We'll starve to death if nothing is sent to us."

burma203.jpgThat was the desperate cry of one of the survivors of the worst cyclone to hit Asia in more than 15 years. But is there any chance of a huge relief effort in Burma when the government there appears to be blocking rapid access? The International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander told MPs the government was receiving "mixed signals" on the question of access for international staff following a disaster which may have killed 100,000. There may by up to a million more who have no water, food or shelter. So far there has only been a trickle of aid allowed in, and the US Ambassador said a US military cargo plane still does not have permission to fly in supplies. We'll be speaking to our correspondents in the region and to the International Development Secretary about the world's apparent impotence in the face of an intransigent junta. Should we just send helicopters filled with aid over the border?

Also tonight in the second of his three special reports from Afghanistan Mark Urban speaks to two men in Kabul - one a teenager - preparing to be suicide bombers. Intelligence officers say that the number of suicide attackers in the country has increased in recent months and many blame the lax border controls between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mark investigates the problems with border security and the growing threat posed by the bombers.

Abu Qatada
And as I write we have just heard that Abu Qatada the extremist Muslim cleric - reputedly Al Qaeda's man in Europe has been granted bail. We'll be exploring the reasoning behind this extraordinary decision.

Latest news - It's the end of the world

  • Newsnight
  • 8 May 08, 04:19 PM

kirsty203.jpgTelling people the world is going to end is a tricky business. It's even more difficult if the apocalypse is being caused by an ugly race of aliens.

So if you had the choice of one person to tell you this news - who would it be?

Well Kirsty Wark of course.

In last week's episode of Doctor Who, our own Kirsty announced: "The government has declared a state of emergency" as the Sontarans unleashed their terrifying assault on earth.

David Tennant, who was sitting at home watching the episode, was so impressed he texted the director Douglas Mackinnon:

"It's funny but when Kirsty Wark tells you the world's ending you don't doubt it!"

Criminal check loophole

  • Newsnight
  • 8 May 08, 03:11 PM

Last night a Newsnight investigation revealed that foreign workers who work airside at UK airports do not have to undergo full mandatory criminal records checks.

All staff are checked against UK criminal records - the Criminal Records Bureau - but the government admitted that offences committed abroad are not covered. It means that criminals, guilty of very serious crimes committed in other countries, could be working at our airports. Watch the report here.

But is this problem limited to airport staff? What about other jobs - do foreign workers undergo full criminal checks from the countries they come from?

If you know of other examples - please contact us...

Prospects for Thursday, 8 May

  • Newsnight
  • 8 May 08, 10:37 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here is his morning email to the production team. You can contribute your ideas and views below.

Good morning everyone,

Quite a few stories around today. Let's see if we can get new lines on the airport security story. Burma, interest rates, Wendy Alexander and Alex Salmond lock horns at the Scottish parliament today over the referendum and Denham's speech to the Fabians tonight are worth doing. Let's discuss our options in the meeting.

Mark Urban interviews two suicide bombers in a special report from Kabul. Intelligence officers say that the number of suicide attackers in Afghanistan has increased in recent months, and many blame the lax border controls between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This forms part of a special investigation into border security and the growing threat posed by the bombers.

We also have an exclusive interview with the Chief Prosecutor for the ICC on Sudan.

Playout thoughts welcome.


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