Happy anniversary

Good morning, how are you today? Thanks for everyone’s suggestions on the mice. I’m not sure how much help they will be, but anyway. I’m pretty sure BBC Workplace aren’t going to let us bring in a shotgun (George) or have a cat (Luci) although there was one (a cat, not a shotgun, as far as I know) when I started at BBC Monitoring 6+ years ago.

Anyway, possibilities today include the sixth anniversary of the arrival of the first inmates at Guantanamo; President Bush’s trip to the Middle East; the death of Edmund Hillary; the release of the FARC hostages; and the British government’s announcement that the UK will have a new nuclear power station by 2020.

Washington says it wants to close Guantanamo but can’t right now. Must try harder is the response from most of the rest of the world: Lebanon’s Daily Star runs a comment titled Six years of injustice need to end”. And Amnesty International is leading events around the world to protest against the US detention centre in Cuba.

Those protests will include people dressing in orange – like the iconic prison jumpsuits, but Tasnim in Libya, writing on Mideast Youth, is not expecting the protests to have much effect. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

President Bush, meanwhile, is of course in the Middle East – his first trip to Israel and the West Bank – and has set out his vision for peace, telling both sides they need to get serious. He seems to be getting serious about it – is it just the legacy thing? Or is now really the time it may all come together? Former PM and current Mideast envoy Tony Blair is certainly hopeful. Are you?

The news of Edmund Hillary’s death just left me with a feeling of “where are the adventurers of today?” I know we have some – BBC TV captions Ranulph Fiennes as “Adventurer” in interviews – but somehow today’s explorers don’t quite measure up to the Scotts (and Amundens) of the past. What’s left to explore? And who are the heroes expanding the world of humans?

How much credit should go to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for the release of two hostages by FARC? The group is thought to hold 700 more, of varying degrees of international notoriety. What does the group gain by the kidnappings? And might more releases follow?

Here in the UK, the goverment’s nuclear announcement has cetainly divided opinion. The Guardian says there was little choice but to move ahead with the nuclear option, but its columnist Polly Toynbee disagrees. What about you? Does nuclear power need to be part of the battle against climate change, or are the environmental risks too great?

7 Responses to “Happy anniversary”

  1. 1 Uzondu Esionye
    January 11, 2008 at 11:21

    If one is not optimistic about the mid east, what will one be, any other possibilty about that region will be one of complete caos.Hope is the only diplomatic word at this point.

    Mr Chavez is a hardliner, that is what he has proven by his involvment in this release.No trusting for hostagetakers because one can’t just predict their next move.

  2. 2 Xie_Ming
    January 11, 2008 at 12:31

    Hugo Chavez is serving as a marvelous, and much needed, catalyst.

    He is shaking many sides into movement from fixed and hostile positions.

  3. 3 John D. Anthony
    January 11, 2008 at 13:29

    My choice of topics would be Edmund Hillary and/or nuclear energy.

    Guantanamo is a disgrace but protests mean nothing to Bush and Bush’s trip to the Middle East is equally meaningless. Chavez is a sideshow.

  4. 4 Brett
    January 11, 2008 at 13:33

    I truly support peace throughout all of the middle east. But how can we try to facilitate peace in certain areas, yet ravage others by war ourselves? I suppose whichever action is in the Bush Regimes best interest is the route they will take (as evidenced by their entire time in office).
    Since Bush’s legacy is plauged with lies, limitations of civil liberties, and could arguably be labeled one of the worst presidents of modern times, I guess he is pushing for middle east peace to try and turn the last remaining bits of an American era of disgrace into saying “well hey, at least I brought peace to a corner of the Middle East!”

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va

  5. 5 Brett
    January 11, 2008 at 13:56

    On the topic of nuclear power, I think it is a scary thing to embark on. Just like with fossil fuels, there is a limited amount of nuclear reserves where in time (albeit probably a long time) these plants will become obsolete.
    Why not invest more in solar energy? Of course it has its limitations but the supply is limitless. It also has a MUCH smaller risk to the environment and people living in it. I for one would not want to live anywhere near a nuclear facility. No environmentally friendly method of disposing of nuclear plant waste has been developed as far as I know, and the danger stays long after the fuel is spent.
    The topic can be debated from both sides for days and each has valid arguments. I myself do not feel safe or good about nuclear power.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va

  6. 6 Luci Smith
    January 12, 2008 at 02:39

    Sir Edmund Hillary

    Am visiting a friend in New Zealand and Sir Edmund Hillary’s death was the major news story here. We were talking about how he is an iconic figure who represents a lot of values that are lacking in leaders today: honesty, humility and the ability to do good works for others. He used his fame to help the Nepalese people by building schools and bridges and hospitals.
    Modern day people have so few icons to look up to. My friend said, “not only is he a good person, but his children are good people, too. This can be said of so few famous people.” She said that his attitudes about being average but showing determination and perseverance are characteristic of Kiwis. All I know is, that the world has lost a great human being who showed the rest of us that we all have a lot to do if we want to make the world a better place and try to help people less fortunate than ourselves.
    I guess that a lot of us think that George W. Bush is deluding himself when he claims that it will be possible to achieve Peace in the Middle East in a year. He is not deluding me. If the Americans had spent some of the money and manpower on New Orleans before Katrine (or after) that they have spent making wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one might be able to believe their words. As it is, Bush stands to have the record as the most inept and crooked Presidency in my lifetime- I am 50 and Bush is a much worse President than Nixon was, by the looks of it. The legacy he is leaving is a bankrupt America with a Supreme Court that he picked. Sad, sad news.
    And one has to pity the people put into Guantanamo. If only things were black and white, but they are not. Bush’s comment that “We should have bombed them” about Auschwitz while visiting Palestine and Israel is par for the course. Bush just thinks that nuking everybody is the solution. And obviously, he did not heed the warnings that his own government gave him about Hurricane Katrine. Just some poor people in New Orleans getting nuked by the weather. Not to worry.
    It probably would be better to think about Sir Edmund Hillary than President Bush, if one wants to be in a good mood!

  7. January 14, 2008 at 13:53

    If Bush cannot resolve the issues within America, how could he resolve the Middle East? The Middle East should be resolved by those who live in it. As for America; Kucinich, Gutierrez, and Wexler [Congressmen and Representatives] have introduced a resolution to impeach Cheney from the Vice Presidency. This resolution is part of another esolution from the Green Party USA. Please report on this important issue. Thank You.

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