It’s not exactly a quiet day – with more violence in Iraq, and warnings of an impending catastrophe in Somalia, where hostilities continue between government forces and Islamist insurgents – but in terms of talking points, the most interesting possibilities seem to lie around the edges of the main news agenda.
In Britain, the main teachers’ unions have been holding their Easter conferences, and they’ve all been discussing what’s seen as a rise in poor behaviour in schools. Children disrupting classes and bullying their teachers and each other; abusive and unhelpful parents; drugs, guns and knives in the worst cases. Faced with such challenges, it’s perhaps little wonder that many teachers are leaving the profession. Some people blame family breakdown, others an increasingly materialistic culture. And I’ve long been fascinated by studies suggesting there there may be links between poor diet and aggressive behaviour - Could the decline in cooking and the rise in consumption of junk food be one factor in the problems in schools?
Are children becoming more badly behaved in your country? And if so, why do you think this is?
Scientists are amazed and alarmed at the cracking of an Antarctic ice shelf the size of Northern Ireland. They thought the Wilkins Shelf would last for another 30 years – but now it is ‘hanging by a thread’. Rising global temperatures are being blamed. Of course it’s just another sign of major changes occurring in weather systems and the physical environment. Why aren’t people more worried about climate change?
The aftershocks of the controversy over the Danish Mohammed cartoons are still being felt, and there is angst in the Netherlands over a provocative film about Islam. We’re hoping to travel to the Netherlands to explore that story in detail, but in the meantime, have a look at this editorial in the International Herald Tribune. Commentator Celestine Bohlen says Europe is torn over how to accommodate its growing Muslim minority without sacrificing principles that have long been central to European civilisation. Let us know what you think.