Talking Points May 12

The pictures that are coming through from Burma over the weekend are incredibly shocking and disturbing.  I know a few people who decided to send donations after reading this report in the Guardian.

The arguments go on about how to force aid through go on. Nick Cohen argues that if the Junta won’t play the game, Burmese airspace should be violated and aid drops should be made anyway. 

Other columnists argue that China is the key – put pressure on them, they’ll in turn put pressure on the military government. 

China is coping with it’s own natural disaster this morning – a 7.8 magnitude earthquake has been felt near the city of Chengdu. ATOW we don’t know any news of the scale of casualties.

Morgan Tsvangirai says he will go back to Zimbabwe for the presidential run-off, which – surprise, surprise -, may be delayed.

Professor Stephen Hawking (who i will always love for his excellent cameos in the Simpsons apart from anything else) is looking for an “African Einstein” by creating a 75 million pound postgraduate centre for advanced maths and physics. Peter fancies asking if the world is wasting intellectual resources – are we making the most of brainy people ?

Thanks to Victor and Selena for a lively and interesting debate at the weekend.  The standard of the blank pages has been going up every week.

We’re all a bit nervous today as it’s Sony night so the regular team will be handing over the reins of the programme to a team led off-air by my colleague and fellow Hammer David Cole, and on-air by Peter Dobbie. The rest of us will be at a pub near the Grosvenor House Hotel, where the draw will take place to see who gets to go the awards do with Ros , and Alan Johnston.

It’sbrilliant to get a nomination but it would also be quite nice to turn that into a bronze, silver…..or even gold award. We’ll let you know, don’t worry about that, but if you fancy finding out for yourself, there’s a webcasyt of the awards which you can watch here.

5 Responses to “Talking Points May 12”

  1. 1 Jumah
    May 12, 2008 at 10:49

    Recently our president in Kenya signed in to law the new labour laws. Under these laws, women shall now be entitled to three months maternity leave and their husbands a two weeks paternity leave..
    This has sparked a hot debate between COTU the umbrela body for all trade unions of Kenya and the Federation of Employers of Kenya, FEK. The hot question still remains; “do female workers have rights especialy on matters touching on their family affairs?”

    many of the employers are now contemplating not having female employees so as to cut down on costs that will go with granting their female employers a three months maternity leave and paternity leave for their husbands. Is this fair?

  2. 2 Ros Atkins
    May 12, 2008 at 12:56

    Hi Ros Atkins,

    May it is time to focus on the soaring food prices. (Why? & how to control them?)

    After hearing your program in BBC which was on Thailand rice market, I realized the problem needs real attention.

    The hike of food prices is not genuine it is speculated by traders.

    I don’t see the bio fuel manufacturing in Asia and why Asia is affected.

    Yes it is the middle men making the profits. Howe can it be controlled should be the topic.

    We need to educate the governments to monitor the food price and many more.

    For simple example: I’m in Singapore I have seen the food prices hike almost 100% double.

    5KG rice packet used to be $S4.50 cents (last month) now today it is $S11.50.

    Common middle class people are robbed in daylight by the trades and middle men.

    Farmers are earning pennies.

    Can we find solutions on world have your say?

    Thanks & regards,
    John Anil

  3. 3 Joel Salomon
    May 12, 2008 at 14:09

     “Wasting intellectual resources?” C’mon, Peter. Who exactly should be the judge of whether someone is squandering his talents?

     The hike in food prices is mainly due to the rise in fertilizer & diesel costs, not middle-man profiteering or speculation. I’m not completely sure of why fertilizer has become so expensive lately, but I’ve seen a theory (from Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s site) that makes sense:
     Nitrate-based fertilizers require the production of ammonia via the Haber process, which uses vast amounts of hydrogen & energy, both currently produced from fossil-fuels. Given the recent 5× increase in crude oil costs, and presumably similar jumps in the price of natural gas (does anyone have data on this?) it seems reasonable that that’s where most of the food price increase is coming from.
     An alternate source of hydrogen could be the electrolysis of water, but electricity is currently too expensive to make that feasible. Given cheap electric power (i.e., more nuclear plants) the oil dependence of food production can be lessened.
     Energy is fungible.

  4. 4 Dennis
    May 12, 2008 at 16:17

    A great set of Talking Points on 12 May !!!

    Dennis from Madrid, United States of America

  5. 5 Janet T
    May 12, 2008 at 19:53

    Most of the inexpensive types of ammonia nitrates now fall under the purview of the office of Homeland Security- so as a supplier you have to track and report who you are selling to, how much you stock, how it is transported etc… making it difficult and expensive to deal with.
    Fertilizers are also fairly heavy and bulky to transport- making the cost of diesel for trucking a factor- many suppliers have been adding a fuel surcharge to offset thier costs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: