Archive for November, 2007


Governments stay out of climate change

We’re off air now, but you can podcast the programme here.

The moment many of you have been waiting for has arrived. No fluff from me – this is going to be a very short post, as a rare bout of meetings has left me with no time. So here we go.


Post here: Prompted by this story:


Post here: Prompted by this story:


This is about the beginning of the programme (the bit which says ‘you’ve heard the news from the BBC…). Katy in Oregon was unimpressed and you’ve been working the issues over on the blog. This comes from SooJin…. ‘there is no problem. It can be either “we” and “our”, OR “you” and “your”. In other words, as long as the two subjects agree, it’s fine. The punctuation in the daily emails has been bothering me for a while, though. Too many run-on sentences. You could be more generous with the comma!/

Read all the comments here:


Hot on the heels of James’ dog-renting suggestion from Monday, Karnie waded in with this nugget of a story from Texas. Strangely it’s not made the running order. Here’s the story: beard

Speak to you later.


Mosque reform, climate and whales

Mosque reform

British Muslim leaders are to tell mosques to reform and modernise in a government-backed attempt to prevent extremism. Four major Muslim organisations say they want mosques to sign up to a community watchdog with powers to launch spot checks on standards.

The standards include counter-extremism programmes, community relations schemes, support and proper conditions for imams and greater condemnation of “un-Islamic” activity.

Are these measures needed or is this the British government wanting to takeover the mosques?

Climate change – a breakthrough?

More than one-hundred-and-fifty leading global companies have today called on governments to agree international binding targets for cutting greenhouse gases. On the eve of the Bali climate summit a two page advertisement in the London Financial Times newspaper the firms (among them Coca-Cola, Shell, Philips and Volkswagen) say they believe failure to tackle climate change will ultimately undermine economic growth.

The Prince of Wales, who is backing the innitiative, said: ” It is my fervent hope that the communiqué will strengthen the resolve of those gathered in Bali to make the tough decisions the world so urgently needs.”

Is the idea that companies now think it’ll be BAD for business the breakthrough needed to address climate change?

Winfrey vs Streisand

Senator Barak Obama announced last weekend that he will be campaigning in December with Oprah Winfrey, the queen of the TV talk-show circuit, creator of an entire media empire. Not to be outshone, Senator Hillary Clinton quickly announced she has the backing of Barbara Streisand.

But do these celebrity endorsements have any effect..? Will you be voting for Winfrey or Streisand?

Who runs Pakistan?

So General Pervez Musharraf is plain old President Musharraf, now that he’s given up the military.. But who really runs Pakistan? Is it Musharraf, is it the militants or is it America?

Whale curry..

Whilst the Japanese whaling fleet steam towards Antartica, where it has permission to kill protected humpbacks for the first time since the 1960s, a street vendor based in Tokyo has begun selling whale curry lunches. Asian Lunch developed the minke whale curry lunches jointly in conjunction with Geishoku Rabo, a whale meat product development company. Sales of the curry will take place in 14 areas throughout Tokyo, with 600 meals prepared. Would you want to eat it?

As for the whale hunt itself.. The focus of this year’s hunt is the humpback, which was in serious danger of extinction until a worldwide ban just a few decades ago. Since then, only Greenland and the Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have been allowed to catch humpbacks under an IWC aboriginal subsistence program. Each caught one humpback last year, according to the commission.Japanese fisheries officials insist that the population has returned to a sustainable level and the hunt will have no impact. Are they right?

Or is the argument about something more.. Japan says they have support from several developing countries now finding a voice to rebel against what they see as interference by Western activists eager to protect creatures such as elephants and seals, which are no longer universally endangered.

“When we hear that the rest of the world is against Japan, we say: ‘Wait, wait. What is the rest of the world?’ ” says Joji Morishita, from the Japanese government’s Fisheries Agency. ” For many developing countries, whaling has become a symbol of who will dictate resource management. We all support some controls. But as a government, we cannot say to our communities: ‘Give up your way of life because the Western powers and some activists say this is an intelligent animal.’

“We are prepared to protect the way of life for small communities,” Morishita said.



We’re off air now, but you can podcast the programme from 2000GMT right here.

Hi everyone — Peter here with news of todays World have Your Say, on air at 1800 GMT.Today, check out this website because we’re discussing what might turn out to be the final push of OPERATION LAST CHANCE

To quote directly from the website: “Operation Last Chance is a campaign to bring remaining Nazi war criminals to justice by offering financial rewards for information leading to their arrest and conviction. To date the initiative has been launched in Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary. Operation Last Chance is a joint project of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Targum Shlishi Foundation.”As of now, one of the men wanted by the Nazi hunters is an 86-year-old Dane, Sorem Kam, who lives in Germany — and rejects the charges.

He was indicted in Denmark for the murder of an anti-Nazi journalist and is accused of deporting hundreds of Jews to concentration camps during German occupation.This man is now 86 years old, so WHAT’S THE POINT ? Should we arrest and deport someone for crimes committed more than 60 years ago? Is it ever too late for justice? Should Sorem Kam and other Nazi war criminals be hunted down ? The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem, is demanding that justice be done – even if it’s better late than never. They’re offering rewards of US $15,000 to anyone with information on the whereabouts of wanted individuals. This is where this debate gets interesting because there is a school of thought which says most of the world’s worst Nazi war criminals live openly anyway, shielded by governments who apparently don’t care, or they’re protected by statutes of limitations.The new campaign was launched in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and next week representatives from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre will be in Europe to name and shame governments, some of them members of the European Union such as Germany, where wanted Nazis (they say) have succeeded in not being caught and / or brought to justice.What do you think ? Does there come a time when long ago is just too long ago? These people are now not just old, they’re very old, so should they be left to live out whatever time they have left ? Or were the crimes so awful, so (yes, this is the right word) evil, that there should never be a limit on when, and where, and how, they are tracked down. These people however were not the masterminds, they were never the decisions makers. They were the drones, the people who followed through on the decisions taken, on-high.

Let us know, and here’s how:


TEXT: +44 77 86 20 60 80

PHONE: +44 20 70 83 72 72


Operation Last Chance

Leonardo Rocha

Nazi-hunters have announced a new campaign to catch some of the last World War II criminals and have them face justice before dying.

Operation Last Chance will be launched next week by the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem.

One of the men wanted by the Nazi hunters is an 86-year-old Dane, Sorem Kam, who lives in Germany and refutes the charges.

He was indicted in Denmark for the murder of an anti-Nazi journalist and is accused of deporting hundreds of Jews to concentration camps during German occupation. 

But he’s 86 and one could ask: what’s the point?

Should we arrest and deport someone for crimes committed more than 60 years ago? Is it ever too late for justice? Should Sorem Kam and other Nazi war criminals be hunted down?

Let’s hear what you have to say. Post your comments here on the blog.


Another tought for today is the proposal by a Dutch Member of Parliament to ban the Koran.

I heard it this morning on the BBC’s World Today and just couldn’t believe.  

Geert Wilders is his name. He’s now working on a new film to show that the holy book of Islam incites hatred and should therefore be banned from all bookshops.

He says it encourages people to commit “awful acts”.

Just like Hitler’s Mein Kampf It was 7:50 in the morning. I put my spoon down, stopped eating my morning porridge and made a note of one of his quotes:

I have no problem with Muslims. I don’t hate people. I have problems with Islam and the fascist Koran.

Geert Wilders, Dutch MP

I know it’s only one politician, known for being very critical of Islam. But it’s quite strong and I wonder if that’s something we should talk about today.

It also happens in The Netherlands, where film maker Theo Van Gogh was killed for much less.

Tell us what you think, post here on the blog.


Is England losing its identity?

That’s what the former Smiths singer and lyricist Morrissey has been telling the NME magazine.

Other countries have held on to their basic identity yet it seems to me that England was thrown away. If you walk through Knightsbridge on any bland day of the week you won’t hear an English accent. You’ll hear every accent under the sun apart from the British accent.


 His remarks have been labeled as inflammatory and racist.

But the Manchester-born singer, who now lives in Rome, said that was not the intention. “I find racism very silly, almost too silly to discuss.”

Has multiculturalism in Britain (or should I say England?) gone too far? Has England lost its identity? Cosmopolitan, multicultural or just bland, without a soul?


Morrissey and controversy go together. It’s not the first time he’s labelled a racist.

His fans (and I should say at this point I’m one of them) will say people don’t get his sense of humour.

Judge by yourself. This is from is first solo album, Viva Hate, released in 1988:

Bengali in platform
she only wants to embrace your culture
and to be your friend forever
Bengali, Bengali
oh shelve your Western plans
and understand that life is hard enough when you belong here

Morrissey’s Bengali in Platforms


President Pervez Musharraf has switched his army uniform for a black traditional suit (sherwani).

He’s just been sworn in as the new president, one day after resigning as head of the Armed Forces. This follows at least three years of domestic and international pressure.

What does it mean for Pakistan?

Is this the beginning of real democracy in Pakistan? Or just another manouvre by President Musharraf to hold on to power and please his Western allies?

President Musharraf will be addressing the nation in a few hours. Is this something you’d like to talk about?

Send us your views, post here on the blog.


On my Tuesday blog post, I asked: “why so much scepticism?”

I was talking about the Annapolis talks, aimed at getting Palestinians and Israelis to talk again under the auspices of the US.

Well, Annapolis is gone and there’s not a mood of optimism.

Robert Fisk, one of the most respected journalists covering the Middle East, says Saudi Arabia has been offering Israel a peace deal for two years.

Pull out of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and all Arab countries will recognize Israel.

But that, he says, was not discussed in Annapolis.

Would you go for such a deal? Would it be enough to bring peace to the Middle East?

And have you changed your views after Annapolis? Are we closer to peace now?


Do you trust track and field?

We’re OFF AIR now, but you can podcast the programme here.

On the Daily Email new arrivals list today are Mashona, a Zimbabwean in Zambia, Mo Mo in Florida and Heather in Houston. Email me if you’d like to subscribe.

Christine Ohuruogu is the 400m world champion. She also missed three drug tests and served a ban for doing so before the World Championships this year. Her other punishment was to be banned from the Olympics for life. Until yesterday that is… That ban has been lifted and you can expect to see her lining up in the 400m final in Beijing next year.

I probably don’t need to remind you of the travails of track and field. US star Marion Jones has handed back a number of medals after admitting using banned drugs… and of course many more cheats have made the headlines since Ben Johnson threw the issue into the spotlight in 1988.

So come the Olympics next year, will you be tuning in? Or has athletics become so discredited you can’t be bothered?


That’s three nights of rioting in Paris now, with cars also being burned in Toulouse. Over a hundred police officers have been injured and firearms are being used to attack them. All this was came after two teenagers of North African origin died in a motorbike accident involving a police car. But is there more to it than that? Two years ago France experienced similar troubles which threw up far wider issues of poverty, social integration and alleged institutionalised racism. Is that what lies at the root of these riots too? We’ll try and understand and you’re very welcome to help us with analysis, experiences or questions.


Is our grammar wrong?

Hi, this is Ros. Here’s an email we’ve just received… ‘dear world have your say, your ad spot that says, ‘we’ve heard the news from the bbc, now it’s our turn! call us at [etc.]’, is problematic because the ‘we’ and ‘us’ refer to different people in this particular spot. the one that says ‘you’ve heard the news…’ also says ‘call us’, which makes sense. if you take the vantage point of ordinary folks and say ‘we’ve…’, you should then say, ‘call world have your say, at [etc.]’, or something like that. it’s a small point, but i’m a copy editor, and it’s been driving me nuts every day! thank you for your attention to this matter, katy roberts portland, or’

Your comments are welcome….


What’s wrong with France?

 Hello, Leonardo here at TV Centre.

The latest claim from the French police  is shocking: “we’re dealing with an urban guerrilla tactic, with the use of conventional arms and hunting rifles”.

They’re talking about Paris. Yes, I know, the suburbs, or banlieue, but still Paris.

Another night of violent clashes, looting, shops and cars set on fire. This time not only in Villiers-le-Bel, where it all started, but also in other Parisian suburbs and Tolouse, in the south.

High unemployment, strikes, gangs, violence, angry disaffected young people: what’s wrong with France?

What do you think can be done? Is this something we should talk about today? Send us your views, post here on the blog.


Only last week, we were talking about a transport strike that cost the country 400 million euros a day.

President Nicolas Sarkozy survived the strike — his first real challenge in power. But how will he deal with the latest violence?

He was France’s Interior Minister two years ago, when the first wave of violence erupted in the impovireshed suburbs of Paris.

His strong comments at the time made him a much hated figure in those areas.  But he went on to win the election.


It all started, then, with the accidental deaths of two young men in Clichy-sous-Bois

A lot was talked about sice about the lack of integration in French society for immigrants and the children of immigrants.

Things don’t seem to have changed much.

Two years ago, I said that it would just take a spark for France to blow up. I’m not saying nothing has been done since then, but nothing to the scale it should have.

Claude Dilain, Mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois

What has changed in France since October 2005? Is it time for big change in France, in work relations, in the economy, in the police?

Or is this a localized problem that will go if Sarkozy hold firm and challenge the rioters?

You can’t expect things to have changed in two years when the root of the problem goes back 30 years, to when France parked difficult people in estates.

Jean-Christophe Lagarde, Mayor of nearby Drancy

Let us know what you think, post on the blog or send us an email.


Moving on to less mundane issues: Philip Pullman, the (atheist) author and the new controversy involving the Catholic Church.

The peg here is the premiere last night of the Golden Compass, a film based on the first novel of Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials.

It features big screen stars Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. It will open in the US next week and the Catholic League in the US has been calling for a boycott.

The reason: Pullman’s rejection of organised religion.

Much of what was on the book was left out of the film, but there’s still criticism.


The fact that this is a film for children and teenagers has led to accusations of anti-religious (or anti-Catholic) indoctrination.

Lots of blogs are talking about this. The problem is all this talk is lending the film and the book extra publicity.

Is Philip Pullman guilty of indoctrinating children against the existence of God?

Karnie has just sent me a very interesting link where Pullman expresses his views on religion, Christianity, faith. Worth checking before you make up your mind.

Send us your comments, post here on the blog or send us an email


Does calling a teddy Mohammad deserve punishment?

 We’re off air now, but you can podcast the programme here.

Hi, Ros here. New WHYS Daily Email recruits today include Sarah in Hamburg, Thomas in Berlin and Uswege in Tanzania. We’ve two stories for you all to consider, and we’re also looking for volunteers to record Christmas messages that we’ll broadcast around the world. If you’re feeling inspired read on…


Two-thirds of all emails to the BBC today have been about the British teacher who’s been arrested in Sudan for letting her pupils name a teddy bear Muhammad. She’s now facing blasphemy charges for insulting Islam’s Prophet and if convicted could face six months in jail, 40 lashes or a fine.Do you think this kind of punishment matches the ‘crime’? Should she have been more sensitive to the laws of the country she was visiting? This is being described by the teacher’s friends as an innocent mistake, but has that got anything to do with it? If you’re Muslim, I’d be particularly interested to hear whether you think this law is fair? is it quite right to defend Mohammad in this way?


Talks about talks is how they’re being described, something that some of you hail as a first step, and others dismiss as a pointless talking shop. A recent edition of the Economist called President Bush ‘Mr Palestine’ and claimed he alone has the power to drive the Middle-East peace process to its conclusion. Before his time in the White House is up, do you think he can do that? Your expectations of today’s talks are welcome…


On Christmas Day we’re going to be playing some of your Christmas messages. You don’t need to be a Christian to record one either – you just need something you want to say the people about the coming year. If you’re interested drop me an email.Speak to you later.


The Annapolis bubble

Hello, it’s Leonardo here. I’ll start with a question today.

Why so much scepticism?

Palestinians (at least the Fatah side) and Israelis are talking again. This is the first Middle East summit since 2000.

More than 40 organisations and countries are at the Annapolis talks, in the US, including Syria.

And yet, many say this is a road to nowhere: Hamas is not represented, President Bush and Israel do not want peace, Iran is the priority now, construction goes on in the West Bank’s Jewish settlements.

Is there reason for optimism? Do you think Annapolis will lead to serious negotiations and peace or is it just a bubble, ready to burst? Send us your views, post here on the blog.


The bubble quote is not mine. I got it from an Israeli settler in the West Bank, quoted on a report today on Jewish settlementes.

This Annapolis is just a bubble… It will burst and we will build our new community here.

Eilat Cohen-Zada

Eilat is a mother of seven, living in a caravan while she waits for a new house or flat to be built in land occupied by Israel during the 67 war.

The Jewish settlements are just one of thorny issues in the way of peace in the Middle East.

Security for Israel, the future of Gaza, Hamas, the “right of return” for millions of Palestinian refugees, the Israeli wall, checkpoints, all that.

No wonder President Bush has warned that “difficult compromises” will need to be reached. It might be a matter of managing expectations.

Serious follow-through after Annapolis could produce progress and even limited agreements; belief in peacemaking’s ability to actually bring peace may be restored after a too long hiatus. And while not exactly historic, that would certainly be a welcome contribution to the next administration.

Dennis Ross, former US envoy to the Middle East.

Will Annapolis succeed? We want to hear from people in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Israel, in the US and round the world? Post your comments here on the blog.


Another night of riots in the suburbs of Paris. Banlieue, Martin would correct me.

It’s two years now since the nights of violence and burning cars and clashings between the police and disaffected young people.

In October 2005, it started with the deaths of two boys chasing the police in Clichy-sous-Bois.

This time, a very similar incident in nearby Villiers-le-Bell. Two teenagers were killed, again, running away from the police, on a motorbike.


Young people, many of them immigrants and the children of immigrants in the outskirts of the otherwise charming French capital hasve clashed with the police for the second night running.

More than 60 police officers have been injured.

The question for me is: what has changed in the last two years? Are relations between the police and those communities any better? Why so much anger?

Is this about integration in France or just an overeaction to an normal motorbike accident?

Let’s hear from people in France, from some of the people we spoke to two years ago.


A British teacher is under arrest in Sudan for letting her pupils name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons is in a cell in Khartoum, accused of blasphemy against the Prophet.

Under Sharia law, she can be punished with 40 lashes.

In her defense, Ms Gibbons said it was the children — not her — who named the teddy bear. And they did so by asking them to vote.

Twenty out of the 23 pupils decided to go for Muhammad, the name of a popular boy in the class.


But that’s beyond the point. Is there any justification for punishing a teacher with 40 lashes? And for naming a teddy bear Muhammad?

Is this what Islamic law really says? Is this what Sharia law is about?

Or has the religion of the Prophet been distorted beyond recognition here?

Help us understand this one. Post your comments here on the blog.


Do racist views deserve a platform?

A debate at the Oxford University Union scheduled for today has begun well before its allotted start time. Invited guests are Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, and David Irving, the historian who was jailed in Austria for denying the Holocaust. Some people are so outraged that these two men will be given such a public platform, tbhey’re holding a demo… and many more are emailing the BBC.

Now, let’s be clear, Nick Griffin argues that neither he nor his party are racist. David Irving argues that he is not an anti-Semite. But that is how the two are perceived by many people. I’ll let you make your own mind up.

Profile of David Irving / Profile of Nick Griffin

So if the majority finds an opinion abhorrent, should that opinion still be given a platform? Or should some views be given no help to be heard in the public domain?


We’re an open-minded bunch but when WHYS producer James suggested that we discuss the booming popularity of renting dogs in Japan and the US, there were a few raised eyebrows. Interesting but a global talking point? More of Chiwawa of an idea than a Great Dane if you ask me, but James was insistent that quite a few of you would be interested. So I’ve promised to run it by you (though there remains not a dog in hell’s chance of this making the programme).

So two questions: Is renting dogs cruel (to the dogs that is)? And would you be interested in doing it?

Email us (or don’t as the case may be) on


Christmas always bring it with plenty of messages. The Queen gives hers here in the UK just as most of us are thinking about retiring to the sofa. And we’d like to record yours. So if you have something to say in sixty seconds that you’d like the world to hear, send me an email and we’ll get it organised. With cold logic, we’re going to play some of them on Christmas Day.

Cheers, Ros