Archives for August 2010

Will the Israeli-Palestinian talks make any difference?

WHYS Team WHYS Team | 16:47 UK time, Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will join Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for talks in Washington D.C. on Thursday. Mr Netanyahu says he is hoping for peace and "good neighbourly relations".

But many are saying that the same old issues - Israel's borders, the political status of Jerusalem, Palestinian right of return - remain as intractable as ever.

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On Air: Is it the right time to withdraw US combat troops from Iraq?

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 09:41 UK time, Tuesday, 31 August 2010

iraqchoppers466.jpgThis post was written by Claudia and posted by me.

The Iraqis are "going to be just fine", reassures US Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq.

He's there to represent the Obama administration at the official end of the US combat mission - seven-and-a-half years after the invasion began.

So, mission accomplished then? Well, not quite.

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On Air: Does the internet change how we think, read and remember?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 12:18 UK time, Monday, 30 August 2010

nicholas_carr_200.jpgNicholas Carr will on the show today and taking your questions about your internet use.
His new book is The Shallows: How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember. It is the expansion of a much-debated article he wrote for The Atlantic Monthly called 'Is Google making us Stupid?'

Here's how Nicholas describes his reading now:

Once I was a scuba diver in a sea of words, Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a jet ski.

Do you recognize yourself? Do you read less deeply or differently now that you have access to the internet? And do you think you have more or less real knowledge from your internet use?

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On Air: Has cricket been discredited?

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 11:25 UK time, Monday, 30 August 2010

pakistanout.jpgThere is an expression in cricket - that a player out of form cannot buy a run. Well, now we have, we are told, learned exactly how much you can buy a run for - £150,000.

Specifically, that's the amount The News Of The World newspaper paid to a middleman, Mazhar Majeed, to be told exactly when Pakistan bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif would bowl three no-balls.

The British tabloid's headline in full was shocking reading to cricket fans globally: "Caught! Match-fixer pockets £150,000 as he rigs the England Test at Lord's."

There will be a full investigation, but there are a number of reasons for the explosive reaction already.

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Guest blog: Marcellin Gascana on the Rwanda elections

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 09:34 UK time, Monday, 30 August 2010

kagameafp466.jpg"You can force someone to attend but you can't force someone to vote."

That was Paul Kagame, Rwanda's re-elected President, reacting to international and opponents' criticisms over Rwanda's 9 August 2010 Presidential polls.

The 9 August Presidential polls in Rwanda registered a slight upturn in the percentage of votes - to an extraordinary 97%.

But before, during and after the elections, some of Kagame's political opponents - such as Victoire Ingabire, who Rwanda's electoral commission prevented from running for presidency on genocide accusations - as well as Reporters Without Borders qualified Rwanda's elections as not free and fair.

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WHYS on TV: Chile Miners

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Ben James Ben James | 20:00 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

If you didn't see today's WHYS TV special on the miners trapped underground in Chile, you can watch it here.

We're doing more editions on BBC World TV now to complement our radio show, so it would be great to hear your feedback.

We've cut the programme into three chunks; here's the first ...

... and the second and third are below ...

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Soundscapes of the world

Michael Innes | 20:00 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

"In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease"

The British Library is gathering the sounds of Britain. Perhaps the poet John Keats would have nominated the nightingale as his evocative choice? Which sounds remind you of home? Whether it is of man, machine or the material world, do let us know.

Pakistan: Your questions answered

Pandita Louram | 13:03 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

7 million people are affected. Over a million homes destroyed. The floods continue to wreak havoc across Pakistan.

Questions about the floods, their impact and the best way to deal with them are everywhere. Is aid really reaching those who need it? Are countries giving enough and if not why not? Is the army really doing the best job on the ground? As the UN reviews the security of aid workers after threats from the Taliban - how safe is it for those working to help those in need?


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On air: Does a new constitution change anything?

Ben James Ben James | 10:47 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki prepares to sign the new constitution into law. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)There's been a lot of pomp and ceremony in Kenya today as President Kibaki signed the country's new constitution into law.

Approved by a referendum three weeks ago, with 67% voting yes, the document is the product of 20 years of debate in the country.

You can read the whole thing here (if you have time on your hands: 181 pages!)

But can a piece (or a stack!) of paper really change the way a country operates?

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On TV: The astonishing story of the Chilean miners

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 09:42 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

UPDATE: We're discussing this topic again today - this time on BBC World TV at 1430 GMT.

Take a look at the video above, released today - the first pictures from inside the mine. This article explains more about what the video shows.

On our TV special, you can put your questions to former miners Brant Webb in Australia and Stephen Thomas in South Africa, both of whom have been trapped in the past.

We'll also be talking to psychologists and Chileans to find out their latest thoughts.

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On air: Talent is a 'largely defunct concept'. We all have the potential to excel...

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 05:00 UK time, Thursday, 26 August 2010

syed.jpgMatthew Syed was a sensational table tennis player (if you don't believe me watch this). Still is by any of our standards no doubt. He was British number one, and took gold three times in the men's singles at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships. (He was also a defender, an amazing but sadly now dying art more alive in the tennis of Andy Murray than in 21st century table tennis.)

Now Matthew Syed is a sports journalist for The Times, and has recently written a book called Bounce: How Champions Are Made, which explores what leads people to being the absolute best in their chosen field. And he's our guest on Thursday.

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On Air: Does President Obama's faith matter?

Ben James Ben James | 17:56 UK time, Wednesday, 25 August 2010

President Barack Obama hosts an iftar dinner, the meal that breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)There's still lots of heat in the columns and blogs after last week's poll by the Pew Research Center on President Obama's religion.

In case you missed it, 18% of Americans surveyed said they think President Obama is a Muslim.

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We're 'giving our enemy sustenance'

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 06:42 UK time, Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Conway.jpgJust beginning another bulletin shift on BBC World News, so this will be another brief post. US General James Conway is the head of the US Marine Corps and he says deadline to begin pulling troops out of Afghanistan is encouraging the Taliban and "giving our enemy sustenance". Is he right? And how should President Obama respond?

Here's our North America editor Mark Mardell on the comments.

Could be one for the show later...

WHYS at Civicus: The second show

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Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 17:00 UK time, Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Video highlights from the second of our two shows at Civicus in Montreal - Nuala presenting our discussion on whether it is possible to have too much religious freedom.

WHYS at Civicus: Can you have too much religious freedom?

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Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 16:09 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

gzero.gifTwo weeks ago we discussed whether to put the ground zero mosque story on the air. The only thing that was stopping us was that the initial spike in interest in the story had been the week before. In the end we decided we run with it, and here we are now with the debate getting bigger by the day. We should've known that journalist's pre-occupation with avoiding 'old' stories is not shared by most of you.

The latest development, is that two groups of protestors (one for, one against) were on the streets of New York yesterday. And the disagreement, hinges not on people's right to build a mosque in America, but their right to build one near Ground Zero.

So is religious freedom absolute? Or do we have to accept that extraordinary, unlikely or sensitive circumstances may give cause to curb that freedom?

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WHYS at Civicus: The second editorial meeting

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Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 16:00 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

The WHYS team and delegates from the Civicus conference in Montreal meet to discuss the topics on Monday 23 August.

There were a lot of discussion points to be narrowed down - the mosque at Ground Zero; the world's response to Pakistan; drug violence in Mexico; Indian women being paid not to have children.

See how we got to the final two questions:

WHYS at Civicus: What is it like to live in one of the world's murder capitals?

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Sarah Holmes Sarah Holmes | 15:27 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

Mexico.jpgOn Sunday four bodies were found hanging from a bridge outside the city of Cuernavaca in the Morelos state of Mexico in the latest gruesome crime as part of the ongoing drugs war in Mexico.

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WHYS at Civicus: New villages for Haiti

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Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 21:46 UK time, Sunday, 22 August 2010

Nuala meets Luck Mervil of Vilaj Vilaj, a project that is building new villages in Haiti - designed by the survivors of the earthquake that struck the island earlier this year.

Should you get paid for not having children?

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Krupa Thakrar Padhy Krupa Thakrar Padhy | 21:06 UK time, Sunday, 22 August 2010


It's called the honeymoon package. Call it an extended honeymoon; hold off becoming parents and the Indian government will pay you for your patience.

The New York Times recently looked at how well India's latest birth control initiative is doing. Over the past 12 months, some districts have been paying couples to postpone their plans for parenthood. Over 2,000 women have opted for the money in one of the pilot villages.

We asked delegates at the CIVICUS conference here in Montreal what they thought about the idea.

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Should talking on cellphones including handsfree be banned when driving?

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Alicia Trujillo Alicia Trujillo | 20:53 UK time, Sunday, 22 August 2010

gambia.jpgHello I'm Ousman Conteh from the Gambia, and I'm here in Montreal for the Civicus youth conference. I'm a youth activist by profession and currently serving as a member of the National Youth Parliament of The Gambia. I write to share my concern and also gauge your opinion on a silent killer amongst young people, road accidents.

I'm overwhelmed by the tragic and unbearable reports that each year nearly 1.2 million people die and around 50 million more are injured or disabled as a result of road traffic crashes. Of the total who are killed, more than 400,000 are young people, millions more are injured or disabled.

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WHYS at Civicus: The first show

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Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 07:42 UK time, Sunday, 22 August 2010

Something extra - video highlights from the first WHYS at Civicus in Montreal, hosted by Nuala and discussing whether criminals waive their right to compassion and why young people seem not to care about the big issues of the day.

Questions for a Saturday morning in Montreal

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Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 20:35 UK time, Saturday, 21 August 2010


I had an earlier start than my usual Saturday morning but with good reason as I was moderating a Civicus plenary called Economic Justice: The Challenges. We had five panelists, Octaviano Canuto, Sylvia Borren, Mary Lawlor, Gemma Adaba and Sanjeev Khagram to keep me company and oh, just a few hundred chatty audience members.

Here's a little taste of some questions that arose from the panelists and audience comments during the session, maybe you'd like to talk about some of them further on the show?

What are the basic principles by which global financial system should work?

Could the real cost of production ever end up on a product label?

Is it time to stop demonising multinationals?

Mary Lawlor said there is no such thing as a good government. Do you agree?

Do Western governments apply human rights selectively?

Are women the answer to economic stability?

Eve from Washington who runs a parenting group asked 'Are boys getting left behind?'

Andy from Scotland asked: Do countries need to measure success in a different way? (Meaning not with GDP but with something else e.g. happiness)

Pop up your answers or add your own question below.

WHYS at Civicus: The editorial meeting

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Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 20:32 UK time, Saturday, 21 August 2010

You may have seen that on Thursday, we asked the delegates at Civicus to let us know what questions they wanted us to debate on WHYS on Friday. But how did we get from there to the show that ultimately went out?

Well, here's the behind-the-secens look at the editorial meeting we had on Friday morning...

Alicia here, as you can see we had a great turnout for the meeting, we had a vibrant debate and really good ideas came from it. Some of the participants were upset that their favourite story didn't make it on air after counting the votes including those from our team in London.

Unfortunately, that's the way the cookie crumbles. Looking forward to Monday's editorial meeting, if you are at the Civicus, it's in the St Charles room, in the Delta Centre Ville hotel at 7am - hope to see you there!

On air: Do you waive your right to compassion when you commit a crime ?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 17:00 UK time, Friday, 20 August 2010

almeg.jpgThis topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 20 August 2010. Listen to the programme.

The UK government has urged Libya not to celebrate the first anniversary of the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbasset Ali al-Megrahi, the man who was freed on compassionate grounds as he was dying of cancer.

Reports from Tripoli suggest he could now live for another SEVEN years.

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WHYS at Civicus: Al-Megrahi and youth issues

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 16:42 UK time, Friday, 20 August 2010

Nuala and our guest blogger Aengus explain what we're going to be talking about on our first show, live from the Civicus conference in Montreal.

On air: What is stopping young people from engaging in global challenges?

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WHYS Team WHYS Team | 16:18 UK time, Friday, 20 August 2010

Aengus.jpgHello, bonjour. My name is Aengus Bridgman and I am a 21 year old Canadian. I'm here at the CIVICUS World Assembly here in Montreal because of my interest in climate justice.

My generation has more access to information, through the internet, than ever before. More than just that, the youth of today are using that access to become informed. I often hear that youth are apathetic and ignorant but youth at this conference disprove that common stereotype

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Does this give you hope?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 15:27 UK time, Friday, 20 August 2010

mideast.jpgHi from BBC Television Centre. I'm over here presenting bulletins for BBC World News, and it looks like our 1500GMT running order may be going out of the window. Hillary Clinton is expected to give a statement about direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Here's what we know so far. Does it make you optimistic of a deal being done? You can tweet me with your reaction to what Hillary Clinton says and I'll do my best to get your comments and questions to our correspondents.

What should be the fate of the Sun Sea Tamils?

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 20:11 UK time, Thursday, 19 August 2010

canadaship.jpgWhat do you do with a boatload of Sri Lankan Tamils - 492 of them, to be precise?

That's the question currently preoccupying a large percentage of the government and media in Canada.

And the issue has become so controversial that even to describe them presents some difficulty. There are disputes over whether they are refugees or illegal immigrants; victims of war or people who have carried out terror attacks.

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Bonjour from Montreal

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Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 19:17 UK time, Thursday, 19 August 2010

4907644809_449c6d3710.jpgHi! Nuala here, writing today from Concordia University in beautiful Montreal. We're gearing up to broadcast from the Civicus Youth Assembly tomorrow. I've been chatting with a number of people taking part, and they have lots of ideas about issues our show should address.  Our open editorial meeting tomorrow at 7am and everyone is invited but as Kalmunity Vibe Collective are having a big party tonight we took a few ideas in advance, just in case......and voilà, here they are....

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WHYS at Civicus: What is Civicus?

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Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 19:03 UK time, Thursday, 19 August 2010

We've been out today to take our first look at Civicus and plan for tomorrow morning's meeting, when we'll be working with the people at the conference to decide what we will be talking about on our live show.

But what exactly is Civicus, who goes, and what does it hope to achieve? Nuala spoke to Christine Renaud, who is comparing the conference, to find out.

Watch Nuala's interview with Christine here...

On air: Why haven't we given more to Pakistan?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 12:18 UK time, Thursday, 19 August 2010


pkflood.jpgNine days ago, Ben wrote this post asking if Pakistan's flood victims were getting the help they deserved. And the question hasn't gone away. One colleague tweeted yesterday 'Terrible irony for #Pakistan: donors mr generous when many dead. The dead don't need aid, displaced people do.' It highlights the fact that for whatever reason the world hasn't responded as with previous natural disasters.

In acknowledgement of that, the UN is to hold an emergency meeting because it has not even raised half the money it says it needs to deliver adequate help to those affected.

So what's going on here? Several explanations are being put forward online...

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When has a leader really impressed you?

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 05:16 UK time, Thursday, 19 August 2010

trudeau300.jpgThe WHYS team has landed in Montreal ahead of the CIVICUS conference, which Nuala will be presenting live on Friday and Monday. But as we were waiting to collect our bags at Pierre Trudeau International, I began to tell the rest of the team about the man the airport is named for - and why he is a bit of a hero of mine - and I thought I'd share a little of it here.

Back in the 1960s and 70s, the province of Quebec was a volatile place. What was once New France was striving to assert its uniqueness, and for some that meant independence from Canada and the British crown.

French-Canadians saw themselves as not part of the rest of the country - as districtively different. The state's official motto - seen on every car numberplate here - is Je Me Souviens.

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On air: is there a better way of preparing for natural disasters ?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 14:55 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

floodwoman.jpgThe UK has described the international response to the Pakistan disaster as "woefully inadequate" as new flood warnings are issued today.

This year, Pakistan isn't alone in suffering an appalling natural disaster ;

  • North Korea and China are suffering the worst floods in a decade.
  • Haiti and Chile have suffered devastating earthquakes

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On air: Will we all have to change our names .....

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 14:07 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010 hide our online past ?
Google boss Eric Schmidt thinks so. . He told the Wall Street Journal :

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time... I mean we really have to think about these things as a society."

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On Air: Has Tony Blair's donation affected your opinion of him?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 10:41 UK time, Tuesday, 17 August 2010

blairadio.jpgThe former British PM is donating the profits from his memoirs (called "My Journey") to the Royal British Legion to honour their "courage and sacrifice"

Mr Blair's spokesman referred to a speech he made to the House of Commons on his last day in office :

"'I believe that they [the Armed Forces] are fighting for the security of this country and the wider world against people who would destroy our way of life. But whatever view people take of my decisions, I think that there is only one view to take of them: they are the bravest and the best.'"

And the Legion themselves seem happy :

"Mr Blair's generosity is much appreciated and will help us to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of injured personnel."

So why the fuss ?

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Is this picture "shameful" ?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 10:19 UK time, Tuesday, 17 August 2010

facebooksoldier.jpgThis is former Israeli soldier Eden Aberjil posing in front of Palestinian prisoners. It's from her Facebook page under the heading ;

"The army: the best days of my life".

Army officials prefer to call the snaps "shameful" and say they'll investigate.

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On air: Should you have to tell your sexual partner, if you have HIV?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:24 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010

noangels.jpg Nadja Benaissa is the singer in the German group No Angels and she's on trial for gross bodily harm. She's accused of having unprotected sex with several partners without warning them she was HIV-positive. The story is the most read in,and raises any number of questions...

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Do you want this man to die ?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 13:52 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010

megrahi.jpg "If I could go back in time, I would have probably been more vague." - Professor Karol Sikora , one of the doctors who advised Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi would die of cancer within 3 months - a year ago.

Plans are being made to celebrate the first anniversary of the Libyan bomber's release from a Scottish prison.

Relatives of his victims - 270 people were blown out of the sky on a Pan Am jet flying over Scotland in 1988- have called the party " a kick in the teeth " and " the craziest thing in the world ".

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Could the Koreas unite?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 11:36 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010


"Unification will come definitely. Time has come to prepare realistic measures in anticipation of the day (of unification), such as a unification tax."

That's a quote from Lee Myung-bak, South Korea's president on Sunday asking South Koreans to dig deep to fund unification with North Korea.

The Korea Herald didn't agree with him on its editorial page:

Despite his understandable intent to ease the supposedly devastating impact of an eventual unification, the presidential suggestion came at the wrong time.

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What's stopping help getting to Pakistan ?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 09:22 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010


Here's a 'top' tweet from PalFairTrade

Imagine if all of New York City was made homeless from floods. A third are starving. Now double that number & don't talk about it.

Ban-Ki Moon, UN secretary general visited Pakistan yesterday and wanted to talk about it, he had this to say:

In the past I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.
He also said:
I am here also to urge the world community to speed up their assistance to Pakistan.

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On air: Is the younger generation doing enough to find a job?

WHYS Team WHYS Team | 17:31 UK time, Friday, 13 August 2010


They're being referred to as the "lost generation." They want to work but they don't have work and they've little chance of getting a job anytime soon.

The International Labour Organisation has released a report which says that global youth unemployment figures have reached the highest they've been in almost a decade. 13% of people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed. That's 81 million young people and few countries are unaffected

Minout Chatte in California tweets,

'Youth Unemployment Hits Record High - if you didn't believe me when i said i couldn't get a job'

Lots of you in Africa have been posting on the WHYS Facebook page to tell us how bad the situation is on your continent. Enos calls it the 'biggest threat Africa is facing.'

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On air: Should you be fined according to your wealth?

WHYS Team WHYS Team | 15:01 UK time, Friday, 13 August 2010

Mercedes.jpgA Swedish driver could be fined US$1 million after being caught speeding. Under Swiss law your speed and wealth are taken into account when calculating the amount of the fine.

It could be the world's largest fine. The current record is held by a Swiss driver who was fined US $290,000 in January 2010

Me Myself and I in the UK comments on the Daily Mail website :

'Income related fines are the only sensible option. A £40 fixed penalty to a millionaire is a joke, but to someone out of work, or a pensioner it's too much.'

Rightbehind comments on

'Now this is justice. Everyone pays a percentage of income. The rich feel the same penalty as the poor. Here in the US most of the rich have local law enforcement on their knees before them'.

Should the amount of a fine be based on how much money you have ? Or should everyone have to pay the same amount ?

On air: Your questions about the new superbug

Alicia Trujillo Alicia Trujillo | 16:40 UK time, Thursday, 12 August 2010

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 12 August 2010. Listen to the programme.

A new superbug called NDM-1 which is drug resistant has got you talking. Cases have been found in the UK, US, Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Sweden.

Update : Professor Timothy Walsh from Cardiff University one of the authors of the study published in the Lancet will be on the programme from 1800-1830BST ready to take your questions.

Conservative Liberal posts on the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail

So we've now heard there's a new bug in town... We've heard that there's no antibiotic for it... We've heard that all the big Pharma are looking for more money for "research"... But most importantly, what are the symptoms? You tried hard with the H1N1 fear campaign, and really I don't think you can fool us twice... first was the virus and now its bacteria? What are we to believe anymore?

KiranKS tweets ‎:

There's hardly any talk in media about NDM-1, the new superbug found in South #Asia, that's resistant to most antibiotics. Scary!

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On air: What personal information would you give a national census?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:04 UK time, Thursday, 12 August 2010

census.jpgIt's been confirmed by ministers that India's imminent census will include questions about caste, and it's upset a lot of people.

The arguments are this...

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On Air: Can a child soldier commit a war crime?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 18:00 UK time, Wednesday, 11 August 2010

gitmoman.jpgThis issue was discussed on WHYS on 11 August 2010. Listen to the programme.

Pauline, who listens to WHYS in San Francisco emailed us about this story yesterday.

The first military trial under Obama at Guantanamo has begun. Canadian Omar Khadr, a former child combatant, is the only person in modern history to be tried for war crimes that he allegedly committed as a minor. Canadian citizen Khadr, now 23, is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier during a gun battle in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15. He alleges that he was tortured into confessing to the murder.

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On air: Are recent natural disasters evidence that our climate is changing?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:28 UK time, Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The most retweeted message on twitter supported this idea. One of you emailed me during yesterday's show, to say you weren't giving money to charity any more 'because there are more disasters these days'. You'll remember back to Hurricane Katrina as well when some suggested this kind of event was due to climate change.

We're inviting several experts to put this theory to the test. If there's a point or question you want to make to them, please let us know.

Tell us if you make a connection between events in Pakistan and China this week and broader changes in our climate.pak.jpg

What's the best way to quit your job?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 09:24 UK time, Wednesday, 11 August 2010

steve.jpg This is Steve Slater, and he's a hero on Facebook. Why? Well most of his fans say it's because he did what they would love to do. Steve was a flight attendant on Jetblue Airlines until Monday. He dramatically quit his job after a rude passenger abused him on board while the plane was at JFK. Apparently, a female passenger went to take her bag down when passengers were still supposed to be in their seats, and when confronted, hit Steve on the head with her case. She verbally abused him too. It was the final straw for Steve. He said so over the PA system and then took two beers, activated the emergency slide and slid down to unemployment.

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How important is local media to you?

Dan Damon Dan Damon | 21:09 UK time, Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I've spent the afternoon learning about hyperlocal multimedia sites from Ed Walker, who runs yourCardiff, a community site that points ahead to some of the ways online media will develop from newspapers.

It's not print, it's not local TV, it's not radio, but it's got elements of all of them.
The site breaks news too - like this video of police smashing the car window of a pensioner

Ed has some ideas on how things might be adapted for the developing world - "start with a daily text message to mobiles" he suggested.

If you're involved in local media projects for your community, we'd like to hear about it.

We'll transmit the interview with Ed Walker on World Update sometime this week, and incorporate your ideas and comments.

On air: Is Pakistan getting the attention it deserves?

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 17:37 UK time, Tuesday, 10 August 2010

pakistansurvivors.jpgDo you remember the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in South-East Asia? How it seemed so many people, across such a wide area, had been affected; the widespread devastation; the millions seeking help?

Well, far more people have been affected by the floods in Pakistan than were by the tsunami. Indeed, throw in the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti quake and you're still not near the figure - a total of 14 million in need of humanitarian assistance, according to Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

To put that into context, that is the entire population of a country like Ecuador or Mali, or a megacity like Delhi or Lagos.

Of course, only a tiny fraction of the number of people killed in the tsunami have perished in the floods. Casualties are estimated at 1,600 - around 0.003 percent of the numbers killed in the other disasters.

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Should there be Highway across the Serengeti?

WHYS Team WHYS Team | 17:21 UK time, Tuesday, 10 August 2010

wildlife.jpgBy Jack George

Over the past couple of weeks, those of you who post on our Facebook page have wanted to discuss the issue of the Serengeti highway. Although this issue is a hot topic on Facebook and Twitter, the world news has yet failed to put this issue in the media spotlight:

Pia posted on the WHYS Facebook page:

'The highway will ruin one of the most magnificent sites on earth! This is an urgent environmental issue. I cant understand why the BBC is ignoring it.'

I looked into various blogs and anti-highway web sites and then found that in an effort to join local and business communities, the Tanzanian government has approved plans to build a commercial highway from Lake Victoria to Eastern Tanzania, which would consequently cut through the Serengeti National Park.

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On air: Has this become Naomi Campbell's trial?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:58 UK time, Tuesday, 10 August 2010

naomi.jpg You might get that impression looking online. The statements of Naomi Campbell, her former agent Carole White and Mia Farrow are being compared and contrasted in intricate detail - and the main question being debated on twitter is whose testimony you believe.

How this reflects on what Charles Taylor did or didn't do doesn't appear to be of anywhere near as much interest. But is this necessarily a problem? So long as those in court pay attention to the charges laid against Charles Taylor, does it matter if others get distracted?

Are these celebrities bringing a trial to the world's attention in a way that wouldn't have been possible without them? (I know we touched on this last week.) This article argues the details of that night with Nelson Mandela are very important. Or is the media frenzy of the past few days trivialising Charles Taylor's trial?

WHYS is too US-centric and there aren't enough callers...

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:19 UK time, Tuesday, 10 August 2010

We received this email a couple of days. We've been talking about it and thought you'd like to too...

'My name is Patrick, I'm a WHYS listener from France.

First of all, thank you for your great show! I listen to it every day, and it is very interesting! The topics are often very interesting, thought-provoking, the guests say relevant things. The blog is interesting too! World Have Your Say has opened my mind on many issues, ideas. Merci beaucoup !

There are 2 remarks that I'd like to make:

1) In my opinion, WHYS is too US-centric! The topics are often, very often, centred on US issues.

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On air: Should a mosque be built near Ground Zero?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 15:00 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010



UPDATE: 4 AUGUST: In a unanimous vote the last obstacle to building a muslim community centre and mosque at the site of 9/11 has been removed. The project's planners say:

We are eager to begin working with our partners, supporters, neighbors and communities, to build a community center for everyone.

UPDATE: 3 AUGUST The debate over the plan to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero rages on. This column by Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League an organisation which fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, garnered a huge reaction as he lays out reasons for their opposition to the mosque. And a great round-up of conflicting opinion here courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

Reading through the arguments, who do you agree with? Please post below.

UPDATE 10 JUNE: Opponents feel it's their moral duty to protest against what they call the 'mega mosque'. That's exactly what they did earlier this week when they hit the streets of Manhattan.The project founder continues to insist the aim of the Islamic Centre is to "bridge and heal the divide between Muslims and other Americans."

This blogger calls the whole idea an abomination but isn't impressed with the protestors behaviour. This piece adds that the debate is becoming irrational - there's zero tolerance on ground zero.

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On air: How worried should we be about the Russia wheat crisis?

WHYS Team WHYS Team | 11:10 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010


Update: We'll have experts on the show to answer your questions.

It's been a bad harvest for Russia. Sweltering heat and very little rain have killed half the crop in some places, and now they've slapped a ban on grain exports from Russia. Wheat prices have shot up and it's got people talking about how the rates might spiral out of control and raise the cost of food around the world. Two years ago a vicious price spike caused food riots from Haiti to El Salvador. So are we on the edge of another food crisis?

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Are Americans too vengeful?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 10:44 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

Cardinal Keith O'BrienThe leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has waded in to the debate about the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, saying the US is too focused on retribution.

Defending the decision to release Megrahi, who has cancer, the Cardinal describes the row as a "clash of cultures" comparing Scotland's "culture of compassion" to the "culture of vengeance" America has in its concept of justice. Citing the use of the death penalty in the US, he says it is 'only outdone by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and China'.

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Letter from Haiti...

Post categories:

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 09:57 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

dris1.JPGFrom Dris Prophete, the WHYS man in Port-Au-Prince.:

I'm sitting in what I should call my room, in a cracked house located in the heart of Port-au-Prince, like most buildings in the city, the Ministry of Public Works put a sign on it, a yellow one, meaning it has to be repaired; however, the vast majority are marked red, meaning they have to be torn down, and the rest; a few really, have a green notice, meaning they're fine.

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Does Japan owe the world an apology before it gets one?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 08:21 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

Nagasaki bomb cloud65 years after nuclear bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some people in Japan are still waiting for the United States to apologise.

But with the US, France and Britain sending representatives to Hiroshima commemorations for the first time, some feel even this is giving too much to Japan. The son of the U.S. pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima likening it to an 'unsaid apology' said: "It's making the Japanese look like they're the poor people, like they didn't do anything".

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On air: Is Saudi Arabia right to restrict the use of Blackberrys?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 14:00 UK time, Friday, 6 August 2010

blackberryalt.jpgSaudi Arabia says it will suspend BlackBerry services today as concerns spread across the Middle East and parts of Asia over security issues with them. It's not just Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, India and Algeria are all considering restrictions.

The U.A.E. says some BlackBerry features operate outside the country's laws, "causing judicial, social and national security concerns." It boils down to governments not being able to monitor communications between Blackberrys on it's messenger service.

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On air: Was the BP oil leak 'over-hyped' ?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 10:39 UK time, Friday, 6 August 2010

BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

'Despite headlines screaming "the worst oil spill in history" it turns out the BP blowout disaster wasn't really as big a deal as you'd have thought'. So says Addison Wiggin, as the US government admits that nearly 75% of all the oil leaked into the Gulf has already been removed.

And it seems that Addison isn't alone. Pierre in Germany says:

The average lake has higher concentrations of greasy suntan lotion from swimmers... So everybody really ought to just calm down about it... The Gulf shores will get cleaned up and big mother earth will do the rest.

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Are weddings a threat to marriage?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 19:10 UK time, Thursday, 5 August 2010

chelseaclintonwedding.jpgToo many modern weddings have "lost their way", according to Rev Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, in London. He says

"I'd even say that they've become a threat to marriage itself,"
he argues that the idea of self-sacrifice is lost when the ceremony is "specifically designed to be all about 'me', about being a 'princess for a day".

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On air: Has it taken Naomi Campbell to shed light on blood diamonds?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 11:09 UK time, Thursday, 5 August 2010

Naomi Campbell

Pari in Zurich tweets that his parents 'are watching the Naomi Campbell war crimes trial'. Jez_Horrox replies: 'I must have missed that story, has Naomi Campbell been indicted for war crimes?'

No Jez, she hasn't. But the supermodel has given evidence at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President, Charles Taylor.

Nsarj on twitter was equally surprised: 'I never thought I would see the day that Naomi Campbell and War Crimes Trial would be seen in the same sentence. But here we are.'

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On air: Are you less likely to give to Pakistan if you think it fosters terrorism?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 14:47 UK time, Wednesday, 4 August 2010


President Zaradari has arrived in the UK on a charm offensive. He wants to allay the fears of the British Prime Minister David Cameron who last week talked about the Pakistan-backed "export of terror" to its neighbours Afghanistan and India. He also claims says the International community is losing the war against the Taliban.


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On air: Is legalising drugs the way to stop the carnage in Mexico?

Sarah Holmes Sarah Holmes | 14:29 UK time, Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Mexico's drug war has claimed 28000 victims since 2006. July 2010 was the deadliest month yet, with 1,234 killed. 84,000 weapons have been confiscated in that time by the security forces. Yet, the cartels are still thriving.

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Have the coalition lost the battle for hearts and minds in Afghanistan?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 11:15 UK time, Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Hearts and minds

The international coalition have lost the battle for the "hearts and minds" of the Afghan people and so are losing the battle against the Taliban. So says the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, in an interview with a French newspaper.

But President Obama disagrees. According to a Whitehouse spokesperson:

The Afghan people know of the brutality of Taliban.

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Do you want to know if this picture has been airbrushed ?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 11:15 UK time, Wednesday, 4 August 2010

winsletgq.jpgBritain's Girl Guides do.

20 thousand have signed a petition urging the British PM David Cameron to force magazines to tell readers when photographs have been digitally enhanced.

They say airbrushing is undermining the self-confidence of an entire generation.

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On Air: Does this video tell us anything about the immigration debate in France?

Alicia Trujillo Alicia Trujillo | 15:08 UK time, Tuesday, 3 August 2010

This video has been released on the internet in France, it has had 500'000 viewings on YouTube, and some people have been shocked.

LycoApollo on twitter says : The way the French police handled a baby and a pregnant woman in this video chilled me to the bone.

Benjamin Holmes writes on our facebook page: Brutal! Where was the brutality? French authorities are breaking up camps of illegal immigrants, who have no right to be in any country BUT their own. Show me the use of batons and fists, and I too will say brutality. But there was none.

French police say the video is misleading. .

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On Air: A debate worth seeing ?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 15:07 UK time, Tuesday, 3 August 2010

ahmeadinejad.jpg Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he'll debate on TV with his U.S counterpart Barack Obama.

He's happy to do it in front of the media and end 30 years of no direct diplomatic ties.

The White House hasn't responded but has in the past, turned the offers down.

Should they say yes this time ?

On Air: Breast in show ?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 15:06 UK time, Tuesday, 3 August 2010

bundchen.jpgGisele Bundchen, who once reacted to the sliding value of the U.S dollar by insisiting on being paid in Euros , is making headlines again by telling mothers that there should be a "worldwide law" to make all mums breast feed for the first 6 months.
Let's assume the supermodel means those that CAN breastfeed , and we'll ignore the fact that Ms B was back modelling swimwear just 6 weeks after giving birth, but does she have a point ?

On Air: How do these disasters make you feel?

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 09:59 UK time, Monday, 2 August 2010

Extremes of weather are striking in various parts of the world with devastating effects.

The Pakistan floods have so far left 1,100 dead and 27,000 trapped. They were brought on by the worst rains since 1929.

Meanwhile the forest fires in central Russia have left 23 people dead and thousands homeless, while the capital Moscow has suffered its hottest day on record, with temperatures reaching 39C (102F). A state of emergency has been declared in more than 20 drought-hit regions.

And in Niger, 12 million people - around 80% of the population - are facing a food crisis as drought has led to a failed harvest. Charities say as many as 400,000 children could die this summer as a result.

But how do these disasters make you feel?

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President Obama announces end of combat mission in Iraq.

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 09:55 UK time, Monday, 2 August 2010


We're listening to President Obama announce the end of the combat mission in Iraq. Combat troops will pull out at the end of August.
If you'd like to listen in live click here.
And if you'd like to read a transcript of his speech click here

Here's the background, we hope you'll comment below.

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