Archives for December 2011

Seeing in London's Olympic year

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 09:31 UK time, Friday, 30 December 2011

Over the next 48 hours, the world is going to be leaving behind one of the most monumental years in modern history (and if you're in Samoa, you'll be doing so a lot earlier this time around).

But, while correspondents make their best guesses about what the major stories will be in 2012, already know what one of the very biggest will be - the Olympics, being held here in London.

For two weeks in August, the world's attention will be almost exclusively focused on the UK capital as the world's biggest sporting event unfolds. Although of course many Londoners have reservations about the Games, nevertheless it's a hugely exciting time in Europe's largest city. (Personally speaking, I can hardly wait).

And with World Have Your Say planning on being an essential part of your experience of the Games, we thought it was only right to have a bit of a celebration of our own.

Which is why, if you're listening to World Service between 2300 and 0100 GMT on New Year's Eve, you'll hear something rather special.

We're going to be live on the roof of Bush House - the home of the World Service in central London since the 1930s - with some of the people who will be making the Olympics so special for London, and London so special for the Olympics.

Ros will be live with athletes, performers and protesters from across London to give us their guide and perspective on the city from eight stories up. We'll also be joined by John the Cabbie - who you may have heard on our shows about the London riots - and some of the Occupy London protesters.

We'll even have live music from some of the people who have written songs and scores for the Olympics themselves.

2012 is also the year that the BBC World Service will leave Bush House for our new home at Broadcasting House, just off Oxford Street, only a few weeks before the Olympics begin. So what better way to see out the year - and the building - than by joining us for our 2012 celebrations?

On air at 11GMT: Can life get back to normal now in Libya?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 09:12 UK time, Friday, 30 December 2011

Hadil and Maysam

Hi I'm Hadil Krekshi (on the right) and I'm an international business administration student in Tripoli. I love travel and I'm really looking forward to the New Year. I'm Maysam Shebani, (yes, on the left), I'm studying graphic design here and I want to be fashion designer but for today we are both the presenters of World Have Your Say, broacasting from the center of Tripoli.

It's the last Friday morning of this life-changing year, for us and everyone else here in Libya. 2011 has been a year a year filled with emotion, a year of following our dreams, the year of working as hard as we can, the year of unity, the year of speaking out, the year of believing, the year of togetherness, the year of patriotism, the year of the long-awaited revolution. The year Muammar Gaddafi ended, and Libyans began. The Libyan uprising has been a major turning point for all of our lives. For the first time in 42 years Libyans are able to talk freely and express their feelings, are able to sing their national anthem and pay tribute to their flag they have been banned from for over 4 decades.

Now that 2012 is around the corner, what is next for Libya? We're done with the revolution and are now looking forward to working together to rebuilding Libya, the country for the first time we feel is ours. Freedom Fighters are returning their weapons and getting rid of their military uniform. Citizens of all ages are out hunting for jobs, doing whatever they can to make money to go out and shop for new outfits for the new year. Some of the graffiti on the wall is being painted over, It's not all about seeing the Libyan flag on every street anymore. And of course, everyones editing their playlists and cleaning up their iTunes, theres more to music than the revolutionary songs that we all memorized over the past 10 months or so.

It's the New Year, a new start for Libya. Life is getting back to normal, and will hopefully be better than normal in the near future. No more weapons and freedom fighters, just normal civilians with their phones, laptops, books, and work equipment!

If you'd like to ask us about life here now, tweet us using the hashtag #mywhys
Looking forward to reading your tweets!

On air at 11GMT: Has Japan forgotten the tsunami's victims?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 08:18 UK time, Thursday, 29 December 2011

Yoshi Tomiyama

Hi, I'm Yoshi Tomiyama and I am excited to be presenting World Have Your
Say from Tokyo, Japan.

I am a stand-up comedian here in Tokyo, and at the same time, a chairman of an NGO, supporting the lives of people affected by tsunami and earthqake. I used to play baseball quite often during a week as a hobby, but after the earthquake hit northeast of Japan, I was motivated to drive over to those devastated regions, bringing and distributing foods, water, and all those needed items for the people living in the devastated cities and towns.

Now, 9 months had been passed since the earthquake and big tsunami hit the northeast region of Japan, but basically nothing had been changed. People are living in cheap temporary houses constructed by the Japanese government, but they will be forced to leave those houses in a year and half because the Japanese law has set an expiration date for ending the housing support.

Nothing seems to be improving. The people living there are mostly the elderly, so they cannot drive cars for shopping nor for hospitals. Also, since cities and the towns are wiped out by Ttunami and earthquake, and because the lands are sunk, the reconstruction of the cites are not carried out: no governors nor bureaucrats know how to rebuild the cities, and they have no clue to bring any industries to raise the employment levels. People lost their families, houses, jobs and everything, and the situation stays the same at this moment, although 9 months had been passed since the disaster.

Also, we are facing in danger of nuclear radiation, but most of the Japanese seem to be ignorant about the danger of the nuclear radiation, because of the lack of the information, which is strictly controlled by the Japanese government. Especially, the people living in Fukushima are still exposed to danger living there, but there is no actions taken among the residents nor on the government sides.

About 500,000 people residing in the northeast region of Japan are severely affected by the big natural disaster, but the people living in urban areas like Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka are forgetting the tragedy, although they definitely had thought they would never forget such a tragedy......

You can post your questions for me and our Japanese guests here or at and do call during the show, it will be 8pm in Tokyo. We also have a special hashtag for those of you who love to tweet #mywhys

On air at 11GMT: Has the revolution failed?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 08:28 UK time, Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Pakinam Amer

Hi I'm Pakinam Amer and I'm very happy to be here today at World Have Your Say at 1100GMT broadcasting from Cairo, Egypt.

I am a journalist who's passionate about investigations, current affairs, travel and positive psychology and quite recently our very own Tahrir square, and where it has taken Egypt. Personally my love for this country has been renewed there during the 18 days of the first revolt, but since then, quite frankly it has been a roller coaster of emotions.

The joy at toppling a dictator that has been ruling by an iron fist for almost three decades has given way to hope, that soon became muddled by fear and doubt as political forces and even voices on the streets became divided, and as the military rulers who took over following former President Hosni Mubarak overstayed their welcome. Many of the ideals that the revolution have called for -- freedom and dignity -- have not been realized. And the utopia that Tahrir has brought was short-lived.

If anything, voices of dissent were stifled, more men and women were beaten up and even killed for demonstrating for legitimate demands in Tahrir square, female protesters were sexually assaulted, and some political groups, like the Islamists, have broken ranks with the revolutionaries and chose to play politics instead, wavering between positions sometimes, and abandoning Tahrir at others.

The future is as uncertain as ever. The layman, who can barely make ends meet in a country where over half the population is drenched in poverty, has become disenchanted with a revolution that has seemingly threatened security and dragged on far longer than anticipated. The revolutionaries want their basic human rights and want to keep protesting, while many Egyptians just want food on the table and things to go back to "normal."

The road ahead is full of possibility but also fear. What is happening to our revolution? Is it failing? Has Tahrir lost its power? Could it be salvaged? What do you think Egypt should do at this sensitive juncture? What actually can be achieved? You can post here or at and do call during the show country code plus 44 20 70 83 72 72 and we have set up a special hashtag for this week #mywhys

On air at 11GMT: Can things get worse for Greece?

WHYS Team WHYS Team | 07:25 UK time, Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Hello World! I'm Matthaios Tsimitakis and I'll be presenting World Have Your Say on Tuesday at 1100GMT from Athens, Greece. I am a freelance journalist, with a variety of interests over my fifteen years old career, that include investigative research, science and technology. I have also been an active blogger and a social media "junkie" since 2006.

Today's show is part of a week of special programmes that are trying to reflect conversations occurring in five countries that have had a tumultuous year, today Greece is in the spotlight. We're asking what does the future look like for my country?

2011 was the third year in a row that Greece survived bankruptcy, but the salvation came with a very high social cost. After receiving the first six instalments of a 150 billion euro bailout package by the EU and the IMF - the biggest in these institutions' history- the country introduced a series of austerity measures that have brought millions to their knees. In my view, they have failed to tackle the problem. Recession is still deepening, unemployment is reaching 20% and the deficit remains high at around 10% contrary to all predictions, catching the economy in what some economists have called a "death spiral".

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Suicide Bombings In 2011

Ben James Ben James | 13:49 UK time, Monday, 26 December 2011

After attacks in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Iraq over the last day or so, we're talking about suicide bombings on WHYS later.

I've put together this list from searching back through over the last 12 months - I'm not claiming it's exhaustive, but it gives some idea of the volume of these attacks (more than 90 in this list) and the countries where they've taken place.

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On air at 11GMT: Who are Pakistan's friends?

WHYS Team WHYS Team | 07:13 UK time, Monday, 26 December 2011

Ayesha Tammy Haq will be today's WHYS 30 guest presenter

Hi I'm Ayesha Tammy Haq and I'm excited to be presenting World Have Your Say at 1100GMT from Karachi, Pakistan.

I am a corporate lawyer dabbling in the both electronic and print media with varied interests that include adventure travel. My media hat is exciting and gives me an opportunity to hear what thousands of ordinary Pakistanis have to say about whats happening in Pakistan and we'll drill down into those conversations today.

Today's show is part of a week of special programmes reflecting conversations happening in five countries that have had a tumultuous year and yes first up, it's Pakistan.

Its been another trying year for Pakistan, the war on terror has wrecked untold horror at home with over 40,000 Pakistani casualties, civilian and military. Add to that the raid on Abbottabad and the killing of OBL, and the recent NATO bombing which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and the dynamics take a serious turn.

Most Pakistanis have expressed their outrage at what they see as an infringement of their territorial sovereignty. In all this we find Pakistan looking increasingly isolated and that makes me wonder that going forward how will Pakistan interact with the rest of the world?

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Return to St Christopher's hospice

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 12:34 UK time, Thursday, 8 December 2011

This blog was written by Sarah at St Christopher's and posted by me.

Some of you may remember the programme we did back in January from St Christophers Hospice in London.

In January spoke to patients and their families about what it was like to be dying of a life-limiting illness like cancer. life-limiting illness like cancer.

We had a really strong response from our listeners, so we've decided to go back and revisit St Christophers.

Unfortunately, not everyone who took part in January's programme can join us. Joan, who charmed everyone with her charisma and stoicism, died earlier this year. We have invited her husband Derrick to join us again.

Some of the voices will be familiar to you from the programme in January and others are joining us for the first time.

Among other things, we'll be discussing how people deal with bereavement and how it feels to be a carer for people with terminal illnesses. Our guests will be happy to answer any questions you have for them so please do get in touch.

The Buffalo and the Bentley

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 12:46 UK time, Tuesday, 6 December 2011

DLF sign

This blog post was written by Lyse Doucet in Gurgaon and posted by me.

In ancient Hindu Mythology, it's the Village of the Guru in the epic of Mahabharata.

In the modern epic that's the new India, Gurgaon is the city growing so fast, no one can keep pace.

From a farming village that was a speck on the map two decades ago, Gurgaon is also known as the "City of Malls." Nearly thirty gleaming shopping centres, (who can keep count?) along with soaring office towers, and gated residential communities, keep rising from the fields.

What does this booming city in the southern suburbs of New Delhi, tell us about India today? World Have Your Say is in Gurgaon today to find out.

We'll be hearing from Indians who moved to Gurgaon to live the high rise dream complete with swimming pools and golf courses.

But we'll also hear from residents and officials who complain about a city with no public transport, no city wide sewage system or garbage collection.

Gurgaon has not developed because of India's famously bureaucratic state. It's risen in spite of it. And the private sector has had to move in to fill the gaps - providing generators for electricity, wanter tankers, cars to ferry the workers.

Can a city become a shining civic star without reliable public services, urban planning and infrastructure? Can this Asian giant, poised to become the world's third largest economy in 15 years, surge forward like this?

And what about the social costs? Some Gurgaon farmers, who've sold their land, became millionaires overnight. They still hold on to their buffalo while holding fast to the wheel of their new Bentley.

This is India today. 1.2 billion people strong, the world's biggest democracy - moving ahead at breathtaking speed - held back by stubborn poverty, corruption, and inequality.

I've been coming to India for more than two decades but this is my first trip in a few years. I've been marvelling at New Delhi's sleek new airport, its swish Metro system, and the proliferation of well known global brands in everything from coffee to clothing.

But this is also still the India of old, with its tangle of rules and regulations.

Gurgaon is a microcosm of this nation's great wealth and weaknesses.

So, what's working and whats not? Take a trip with World Have Your Say to hear how one city is racing ahead, a magnet for investment and ingenuity.

Join us on World Have Your Say at 1800G/2230 India time.

What's it like to live on an "average" household income?

Ben James Ben James | 13:24 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

On WHYS on BBC World TV at 1500GMT, we'll continue to talk about your experiences of living on an "average" income in 2011.

We're talking about it because of the big reaction to this piece on the BBC news website - all about the experience of the so-called "squeezed middle" in these economically tricky times.

Take part in the conversation and tell us your stories by posting on our Facebook page or tweeting with #whys; follow us on Twitter @BBC_WHYS.

While we're on air, you can call us on +44 20 70 83 72 72.

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