Talking Points for 20 June

UPDATE: Ros here. We’ll be broadcasting live today from the Civicus World Assembly in Glasgow. We’ve just met with some of the people who are coming along . Here are their five suggestions for you to consider.

1. Are you satisfied with how your government is tackling the threat of ‘terrorism’?                              

2. Is a Western lifestyle something to aspire to?

3. Should leaders be left to lead? Or do you want more involvement in the decisions they make?

4. Should the developing world be left out of the fight against climate change? Why should it compromise the wealth and lifestyle that it’s only just getting?

5. Are there some services, such as trasnport, healthcare and education, which should always be in the hands of the state?

Let us know what you think. Here are the other stories that we’re considering….

The story leading the BBC news bulletins today is about the UN Security Council voting unanimously to classify rape as a war crime. Also in the news is a pronouncement by the UN refugee agency that the reasons why people flee their homes are becoming increasingly complicated…

At a time of immediate crisis in Zimbabwe, widespread concern about the food supply – see for example this report on how flooding has destroyed 16% of the grain crop in Iowa, in the US farm belt – and increasingly grave warnings about the risks of climate change, is making a few grand statements the best the UN can do? Perhaps it’s a good time to talk about how relevant the UN is as a body for addressing and even tackling some of the international issues of the day.

An interesting little discussion seems to be getting going on the blog about teenage pregnancy (see below). It’s been triggered by a story about seventeen teenaged girls getting pregnant at the same US high school, but also comes on a day when statistics in the UK have shown a 10% rise in abortions for the under-16s.

There are lots of thorny little issues around this subject: is it always a disaster for teenaged girls to get pregnant? Or is it better to have kids when you are young and energetic? Should societies encourage women to postpone childbearing until they are emotionally mature and financially secure – or does this just lead too often to the heartbreak of infertility? When young women give birth, should the state support them if their own families can’t? Or does this foster a culture of dependency that lasts for generations? Moreover, when is it too young to start having sex? Should very young people be taught about contraception so they can take responsible decisions? Or should parents take strict steps to supersvise their children’s social lives so they can’t start having sex too early – this, after all, is what happens in many non-Western cultures, and was the norm for my grandparents’ generation. Hmm.

74 Responses to “Talking Points for 20 June”

  1. 1 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 19:33

    Greetings: Here is an interesting story about the credit crisis, including criminal charges against some former fund managers, accused of misleading people.


    More arrests related to mortgage fraud


  2. 2 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 19:34

    Jamie Lynn Spears gives birth to a girl


    $50 on Jamie Lynn Spears becoming a grandmother by 32.

  3. 3 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 19:35

    I posted this story in the education topic, but I found it fascinating, but frightening.


  4. 4 Dennis
    June 19, 2008 at 19:36

    Hi Steve….

    I hope you are enjoying your night time assisgnment….

    I will look for some goodies later in the time.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  5. 6 Zak
    June 19, 2008 at 19:53

    The media coverage lacking of the fighting in Afghanistan is huge in my opinion. There’s nothing but cautious assessments of the situation where even before this conflict Karzi was proclaiming that the government was losing control.

    BBC news has nothing currently beyond this article. First woman killed in Afghanistan.

    LA Times usually takes a wider perspective google turned up.

  6. 8 Will Rhodes
    June 19, 2008 at 20:24

    I can’t see what is wrong with tattoo’s but some see it as socially wrong. I have a fair few myself.

    Wouldn’t that come under dress code, though?

  7. 9 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 20:32

    @ Will

    Could be also a consequences issue. If you realize people are “judgmental” and choose to do something that would make them pause to think, then you must accept that your actions have consequences.

  8. 10 Lubna
    June 19, 2008 at 20:38

    Salaam Precious Steve… How are you feeling today ?! My dearest Ros : There’s a question that I’d really love to put to your young assembly if you please : As young people from different parts of the world, does each of you guys prefer to live an a homogenous society in which all people are of the same race, ethnicity, religion, ect., ect., or in a heterogenous society in which all people are of different races, ethnicities, religions, ect., ect., ?! How do each of you guys view the ‘OTHER’ ?! Did anyone of you guys make any effort in order to get to know and understand the ‘OTHER’ with an open heart and mind ?! Lots of love and blessings to all of you guys from Baghdad.. Yours forever, Lubna..

  9. June 19, 2008 at 20:56

    Hi Lubna nice to hear from you,

    I’m thinking you mean in the general sense of societies not specific to blood lines.

    I have heard views lately to suggest that beyond, perhaps the furthest reaches of the Polynesians, or the mountains of Columbia, there’s no such thing as a purely homogenous society anymore. It’s clearly one of the most dramatic changes in evolution; there’s definitely predictions that even those remote villages will one day be mixed with other cultures. This change will likely permanently alter the cultural mix on the planet.

  10. 12 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 19, 2008 at 21:00

    I know many people with tatoos at work, but I was always told not to get tatoos on any part of your body that could been seen at work. I am too much of a chicken to get a tatoo, but I know senior managers at my job may not look fondly at a person with many tatoos, especially a female. This guy that I work with has several tatoos that he covers up most of the time and has done very well, but some managers expect females to dress and look a particular way. Actually this morning a manager was discussing a lady was dyed the top portion of her head (hair) bright red. He thought it was not the best thing and first impressions are very important a job.

  11. 13 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 21:04

    @ Angela

    Ever been to Murky Coffee in Clarendon? (it used to be common grouns), apparently it is a job requirement to have a tattoo there. Seems the more senior they are there, the more tattoos they have.

  12. 14 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 19, 2008 at 21:09


    The article about the pregnant high school girls was very interesting. I know many girls in my high school class got pregnant and many of the girls were very smart. The girls who was ranked fourth, academically, in my graduating class got pregnant her junior year and lost the baby. Then she got pregnant again her senior year and gave birth five days before graduation. The girl had a lot of problems. I didn’t want a kid in high school and I don’t want one now. Everytime I go home to Augusta, I run into these pregnant girls. I can’t believe these girls get pregnant and dont have a job, many of them are on their third or fourth child.

  13. 15 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 19, 2008 at 21:15


    I have not been to Clarendon, nor anywhere in the city but work. However, I think Tyson’s corner is the best place to shop!! It surprises me when people do things to their appearance and get mad because people don’t see their appearance as being socially acceptable. My parents would have a heart attack if I did something drastic to my appearance, but it just depends where you work. Plus, I have to go places for work where people may have tatoos and wear casual clothes, but I must wear a suit, no exceptions.

  14. 16 Anthony
    June 19, 2008 at 21:17

    @ steve and Angela

    I’m glad they made that movie Juno, now girls know if you get pregnant in high school, your daddy will love you, your step-mommy will support you, your friends will think its cool, you’ll find people to take your kid (even sell your kid too), plus you get a hamburger phone. 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  15. 17 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 21:19

    @ Anthony

    God, I hope people are smarter than to base their lives off of what they see in movies. I really like war movies, maybe I should start killing more people… oh wait, I’m supposed to be responsible for my actions. darn it!

    I’ve heard that in the UK, the government makes it very financially worthwhile to be a single mother?

  16. 18 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 19, 2008 at 21:21


    Do you really think most girls are stupid enough to think things will be fine if they get preganant in high school?

    Your also have Jamie Lynn Spears with a child, now!

  17. 19 Will Rhodes
    June 19, 2008 at 21:23

    Excuse me!?

    I based my life on Star Trek: The wrath of Khan!

  18. 20 Will Rhodes
    June 19, 2008 at 21:24

    I’ve heard that in the UK, the government makes it very financially worthwhile to be a single mother?

    Not in poverty – but not worthwhile, either.

  19. 21 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 21:24

    @ Will

    How would you have handled the Kobayashi Maru test?

    Wow, I’ve just revealed what a dork I am right now. I shall hide in shame now.

  20. 22 Anthony
    June 19, 2008 at 21:26

    @ steve

    My friend’s sister is a DAMN LEECH!! She literally has kids so she doesn’t have to work, and she openly states this too! It’s disgusting! When I worked at a bank, I would see these women some in with their bunches of kids, overweight, tattoos on their necks, and you can tell they have NO INTENTIONS of ever getting a job! Yet Uncle Sam was handing out money “for her children”. I hate it!

    p.s. How is it that these poor women are so overweight? It doesn’t make sense to me!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  21. 23 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 21:29

    I’m curious how much it impacts someone’s self esteem to not be self reliant. I would rather die than even ask my parents for money, let alone have the state provide for me..

    Speaking of overweight, did you hear that Australia is now the most obese nation and it’s no longer the US???

  22. 24 Anthony
    June 19, 2008 at 21:30

    @ Angela

    I have heard sooooo many girls (18 and 19) who say they want to have a child because “I think it would be fun”. I’m serious. You should come down to Los Angeles and witness the mentality of these young girls for yourself. INSANE!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  23. 25 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 21:33

    @ Anthony

    An easy way to discourage teen pregnancy is to show before and after pictures, of the thin woman, and then after, with stretchmarks, etc. Enough women are shallow enough that that will discourage them. But as of now, society is just enabling bad decisionmaking.

  24. 27 Robert
    June 19, 2008 at 21:48

    Lubna and Zak.

    The idea of being “other” and “different from” is one that I find fascinating. Due to my job I have moved around a lot over the last few years and experienced many differing cultures. It still continues to surprises me what people will consider to be “other” and how often this will change depending on the topic or context.

    I do however have one minor quibble with Zak’s post. It is the use of the word anymore which implies that at some point a homogeneous culture has existed somewhere. Remember that until very recently writing was not something the masses of any country would have been able to do. All the text’s we have from history tell us only the view of the literate minority who most likely held power at the time. Safe from today’s concept of the right to reply the picture painted by the historical texts are going to show the world where everybody agreed with the writer and hence the ruling elite. I can imagine that if all future historians had has source material for Zimbabwe was the official newspapers then the view that later generations would develop is that it is a country united under Mugabe with a common goal against the colonial powers.

  25. 28 Jens
    June 19, 2008 at 21:55

    @ Anthony,

    poor diet and having their children fetching their beers and wine coolers from the fridge while watching TV and waiting for the SS check makes them fat. simple enough explanaition.

  26. 29 Rick
    June 19, 2008 at 21:59

    Great! Now I have to tell my fellow Australians to put down the fork after the first platefull too. Too many big macs & KFCs. Its still your guys fault!

  27. 30 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 22:01

    @ Rick


    Maybe Mcdonalds could increase the $1 menu and the US and decrease it in Australia and things will return to USA #1 and Australia #2 ?

  28. 31 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 22:04

    Well people, in a few short moments I will be leaving work, and walking home, to do my part to save the planet. Actually I’m lying, I’m walking to get some exercise, and some sun. It’s 4 miles, so it should take me about 1.5 hours. In the meantime, if any other mods are around, could you please moderate? Thanks.

  29. 32 Will Rhodes
    June 19, 2008 at 22:15

    How would you have handled the Kobayashi Maru test?

    To me there is only one logical facet to follow, Steve – you have to leave the stricken ship in the Neutral Zone. You obviously send for help or give as much as you can – then you report that there may be Klingons in the NZ, it will then be them starting the war and not your side.

    The loss of 380 lives as opposed to several million – no comparison.

  30. 33 Shirley
    June 19, 2008 at 22:23

    Steve & “tax cuts for the rich”: The wealthy pay a higher % of their incomes in taxes than do the “non rich”. The highest rate now is about 35%, and you have to make over $250k or so to ever reach that tax bracket. Why not lower it?

    Because, as some billionaire out there (Warren Buffet? honestly cannot remember the guys’ name) has already pointed out, rich people can afford to pay higher taxes. That’s part of being rich. Why don’t poor people pay more taxes? Try asking the folks waiting in line for a box of food at the food pantry. They would probably tell you that by the time they finish paying for housing, electricity, water, essential transportation, hygenic supplies, medicine, and clothing, they have nothing left to contribute to Uncle Sam, even though they work hard for what they had hoped would be a living. The fact is that inflation has put life’s basic necessities so out of reach for the working poor while their wages have stayed the same or decreased that they can no longer afford everything that they need. And the very programmes that could support them – government-sponsored food aid, government-sponsored health care, government-sponsored housing support, etc. are losing the rug out form under them because of this attitude that I hear so much of where I live that we shouldn’t have to pay a dime in taxes for social pogrammes, but don’t you dare take away our precious wars and military from us.

    Once again, I am plugging for a culture of death vs culture of life theme. Is a culture of life based entirely on the banishment of euthenasia and abortion? Does it have anything to do with support for the environment? Do government-sponsored public programmes have anything to do with a culture of life? Does the removal of regulations and restrictions on gun sales promote a culture of death, or a culture of life? And was Pope John Paul II talking about any of this at all when hebrought up the topic? Was he the first to mention the clash of these two “cultures”? Is there any connection between the politics of big oil, reduced social programmes, and unrestricted gun sales? Or is it just a big Catholic conspiracy theory? How does a religiously conservative person balance his religious conservatism with a more liberal political agenda when politicans whoa re more liberal do not back religiously conservative politics?

  31. 34 Anthony
    June 19, 2008 at 22:28

    Speaking of Star Trek, what about George Takei tying the knot? Those anti-gay protesters are funny. All I hear is “Its not Adam and Steve”, and “Whats next, marriage to dogs and cats?”. Its pretty laughable.

    P.S. Did you guys know George Takei was thrown in a internment camp during WWII, where he fell in love with country music. He’s HORRIBLE at singing country by the way!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  32. 35 Jens
    June 19, 2008 at 22:38

    i am disgusted by the news that the aussies are fater than the yanks. i thought us septics were long term world leaders in at least one thing.

  33. 36 Venessa
    June 19, 2008 at 23:22

    Anthony ~

    Good for George Takei! Did you see this article? http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91625735

    I still have yet to hear a reason to ban gay marriage that does not involve religion.

  34. 37 Anthony
    June 19, 2008 at 23:44

    @ Venessa

    The only thing I dont like is that now it says “Party 1” and “Party 2” instead of husband and wife on the certificate. And I think a different term, besides “marriage” would be good. I mean, straights are called “heterosexuals”, and gays are called “homosexuals”, so why not have a different name for a union between to people of the same sex. Thats just my opinion though. Besides that, who cares!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  35. 38 Anthony
    June 19, 2008 at 23:47

    Oh, and who here thinks it would be a benefit to people around the world to make WHYS Mobile Web friendly? I think a lot more people would participate! I know I would be on more!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  36. 39 Zak
    June 19, 2008 at 23:48


    Try making a slight effort to make that comment make sense as more than just a derogatory insult to both nations which isn’t blog material.

  37. 40 Jens
    June 19, 2008 at 23:53


    lighten up it all has to do with cockney rhyming slang.

    sorry if you feel offended by it, it was ment in jest. i shall try to be my boring nerdy scientist self…..

  38. 41 Virginia Davis
    June 19, 2008 at 23:58

    In the Middle East today, Hamas and Israel begin a truce. A new baby girl as well. Best wishes to both. Virginia in Oregon

  39. 42 Venessa
    June 19, 2008 at 23:59


    Personally I could care less if it’s called marriage or not and don’t think it should be changed, but at least you have a compromising view compared to most people who just flatly say it should only be one man and one woman.

  40. 43 Jens
    June 20, 2008 at 00:07


    i had to smile at the ONE man and ONE woman quote. that is certainly not true after your sencond and first marriage.

    i do not get the issue. i mean we heterosexuals are that great at the marrige thing. why not let homosexuals have the equal right of having divorces, as well.

    the hole nonsens it is a religiouse thing has been proven to be wrong over and over again……

  41. 44 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 00:10

    So Jens I’ll take it you mean we when you say us, not the US as a country?

    If you sense a bit of suspicion in me it does come form your classification of ‘stupid people’ by which I’ve always figured you might as well mean me as I still see you use it without disdain seemingly in passing judgment, and far be it form me to place myself above anyone else based on judgment. You can try to correct me if I’m wrong here but I’m not sure that I’ll believe it until I see it some altruistic regard for others here.

  42. 45 Amy
    June 20, 2008 at 01:10

    To all discussing the Kobayashi Maru test, thank you so much. It put a smile on my face! And Steve, you think that Jamie Lynn will have to wait until she’s 32 before becoming a grandmother? You are being very generous.

    Amy in Beaverton

  43. 46 Dennis
    June 20, 2008 at 02:09

    Did anyone heard the news that the European Union has decided to lift its “sanctions” against Cuba….

    I would like to see the United States also, follow the example of the Europeans…
    But the chance of that happending is very low…

    Here is the link to the Story:

    Here is a blog from Mark Mardell, BBC’s Europe editor
    (look for EU to lift Cuba sanctions:::19 Jun 08, 11:28 PM)

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  44. 47 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 02:23

    Hey Denis, that’s good news for the EU, unfortunately the roots of the embargo in the US go a lot deeper and there’s much more animosity. Essentially since JF Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs invasion, possibly even before that if you look at the arms embargo.

    Then there was the Cuban Missile crisis when they obtained nuke warheads from the Soviets.

    Then Kennedy enacted the trade embargo. Carter lifted it in 77, Reagan reinstated it in 80.

    What the EU had was a tiff; what the US has is what GW would term a ‘hotbed of controversy’. If you really want Cuban cigars though hope Obama wins, because even then it’s not a certainty but he’s willing to talk to Raul Castro. GW will be rolling over on that one, ‘That Obama will sure stir up a hornets nest!’, I can hear it now.

  45. 48 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 02:37

    A shout out to Justin in Iowa who mentioned this first and sympathies.

    We really haven’t covered the flooding in the mid-west at all either +20 levees broken and billions of dollars in damage.

    Stoic can’t even begin to describe the few shots I’ve seen of the new, that is next after the last guy got fired, FEMA director pledging aid. I can’t help but think what they’re going to do, they haven’t really even found a solution to the formaldahyde in the trailers, so seriously, I wonder how they plan on housing people who’ve lost there homes. For anybody who hasn’t seen the Mississippi River in that area you should look at it to see what a massive body of water it is there:
    There’s one shot of buildings and houses literally floating up against the side of the top of a iron truss bridge.

    FEMA would be a good topic for WHYS, I’d love to see them ranked out as one of the worst aid organizations as compared other GO’s. Even China’s response to the quake puts FEMA to shame.

  46. 49 Virginia Davis
    June 20, 2008 at 03:35

    Lovely summer evening here – I’m going to go have a Chinese supper in the neighborhood and read my hard copy of the Christian Science Monitor. Happy Juneteenth! to all…..

    Virginia in Oregon

  47. 50 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 04:36

    Evening Virginia. Good’ay Bob, now that I know you’re a transplant that will only up my treatment in giving you the full down under greeting!

    When I was about 19 living in a Sea Side house, not far from where I live now, I’d been doing some traveling back to DC for the second time. I stayed in the youth hostel, met a beautiful young Aussie lady with a suitcase like Amelda Marcos and for all the hometown courtesy not the cabbie (what do they call them in England) nor the hostel people would help her with the thing, needless to say I jumped from my seat and the rest is in a song…

    But I digress, a few months later in that Sea Side house it was my turn to play host to a chap who I met on the porch of the community store across HWY 1 from my house. All kinds of characters came to that spot it was an international foot path of sorts, and this was another foot traveler. At first I took him to be English and, must be nice on the BBC here, but let’s just say since he was actually a New Zealander so I didn’t tell him to go on up the road where he was planning on pitching a roadside camp, which is a fairly risky endeavor in my parts. Instead we started swapping travel stories immediately and it turns out he had come from living on a yacht in NZ, traveled to India and biked all the way to England where he’d been staying for the last 6 months which threw his accent off a bit. Mettie was his name and he ended up staying on my porch for about 2 weeks while we conversed. He even went N. to Washington with his thumb and on his way back he stopped by again.

    Point being you can always count on the land down under to be complete in destination form for world travelers.

  48. 51 Venessa
    June 20, 2008 at 05:27

    @ Jens

    I certainly have to agree with you that “ONE man and ONE woman” is certainly not true after your second and first marriage.” I get a chuckle every time I hear that quote too. I couldn’t resist using it.

    I might actually be less annoyed by all of this nonsense if someone could give me a clear justification as to why/how the marriage of a homosexual couple can personally effect other people and that reason is not related to religion.

  49. 52 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 06:09

    OK this may not even get past square one but I’ve got to pick a challenge for Pangolin, I’ve had Butte Creek organic Porter and IPA, and I don’t want to hear about Oregonian until you can show me organic, beer. But Butte creek has got nothing at all on Eel River, nothing nothing nothing.

    Eel River is the King from CA! Going from amber ale to IPA is like heavy taste to light feeling;) Butte Creek is very stiff and sour, I mean I can see pounding one after lifting rock all day long or some such activity. But Eel River is civilized, just sweeter on the IPA than the ale and on the down low (some of us will take the e off the end of that other beer:)

  50. 53 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 06:58

    Possible cure for melanoma: T-cell placebo effect. T-cells fighting cancer are separated out, enriched and injected back into the body in massive doses. The cost is high to do it but at least one person has been cured, who’d a thought, our own bodies have the ability to fight disease. This is also relevant to the healthcare debate, I honestly believe our bodies don’t ‘need’ healthcare but if you can include something like this where even belief in your bodies own ability can be enough to avoid a disease then you can convince people to want healthcare.

  51. 54 Bob in Queensland
    June 20, 2008 at 07:03

    That possible melanoma cure is (for obvious reasons) big news here in Australia. Aus has one of the highest instances of melanoma in the world but, despite huge advertising campaigns about sun safety, you still see tons of people out baking themselves brown.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this one develops.

  52. 55 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 07:14

    Curious when you heard about it, Bob? I just saw it on our best local hour long 10 O’clock news but they didn’t even have it on their website, and the only link I got from google is ABC from 5 hours ago. It did happen here in the states but of course we’re a day apart so if Au has heard of it that means it’s probably got some weight behind it.

    Dealing with cancer in my family and losing 2 siblings to it has made me think a lot about this. It seems the external presence of the bodies T-Cells are so strong that they can be enriched to fight the cancer. That really makes sense to me, the body knows how to get rid of the disease in exact measures, stimulating the T-Cells into antigen is almost a natural reaction when they reenter the blood stream. God for the first time since my sister died 2 years ago I feel a slight relief of the chain that’s been dragging my family down. The man who was cured apparently had advanced stages of melanoma where it had metastasized into his Lymph Nodes and Lungs. That really is amazing.

  53. 56 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 07:51

    Alright I’m signing off this slow train tonight and hopefully Bob can keep up the moderation of some definitely odd comments.

    I’ll leave you with a question, what happens if the UN monitors state that Mugabe looses the election in Zimbabwe, after which he has already said he won’t relinquish power? What is the next move when he says he will only give up power when all the land is back in the hands of black Africans alone. His rhetoric is touting the MDC as the puppet of the British.

  54. 57 Jack Hughes
    June 20, 2008 at 08:30

    All this “CIVICUS” stuff reminds me of the “Committee to Save the Gay Whales”.

    Maybe mixed in with Saffy from Ab-Fab and Ned Flanders from The Simpsons.

    Is it for real ? Or just a spoof ?

  55. 58 Katharina in Ghent
    June 20, 2008 at 10:36

    @ Kubayashi: I cheated, if you’re faced with a complete no-win situation, you have to change the conditions.

    Dear Lubna:

    I was so relieved to read from you, I heard about this terrible blast at a Baghdad market the other day and was quite worried. Regarding your question, I much rather live in a multiethnic society, I’ve tried both (more or less). What happens is that when you’re open about other peoples culture, you learn about how they do certain things (eg cooking) and when you like it, you include this in your own life. You also learn to see things in a relative, not absolute way. But this style of living requires an open mind and a willingness to learn, it’s easier (the lazy man’s approach) to shut out everything that’s different and rely on your prejudices.

  56. June 20, 2008 at 11:21

    While rape being classified as a war crime may have little effect on those women living in fear or living with trauma, it is an important step. It highlights the issue of rape around the world and challenges the notion that rape is simply a side-effect of war.
    Rape is a weapon, and one that works in a way similar to that of other terrorist-style attacks.

    As far as teenage pregnancy goes, I live in Dundee, Scotland and have seen some of the culture that surrounds teenage pregnancies (which are reputedly more common in Scotland).
    In the case of some communities it may not be helpful to talk about teenage pregnancy as an aberration. There are families here where the grandmother, mother, and pregnant daughter go shopping together for the same types of clothes. While some girls are accused of getting pregnant to get money or to get attention, it is also true that they simply see nothing wrong with having children at what some would consider a very young age. This may be part of a ‘culture of dependency’ as you say, or something more complex.

    Women and girls have more control over their bodies these days, but it is one-sided to assume that this will always mean that girls will choose NOT to get pregnant.

    In a way, these families that show a pattern of teenage pregnancies may be stronger for the fact that several generations get involved in the raising of the child. Scotland is also known for the strong presence of its grandparents in family life.

    The rise in abortion numbers is interesting to me because it could indicate several things (aside from the question of whether more teens are having unprotected sex).
    Perhaps the global financial downturn has affected people’s willingness to face the financial burden of having a child. (In the US, the abortion rates went down when the economy was doing really well).
    Perhaps these girls see more opportunities for themselves due to community and education initiatives.

  57. 60 Mohammed Ali
    June 20, 2008 at 11:34

    @Pregnancy Boom,
    What a good topic. If there were awards for teenage pregnancy, Liberia would have scoop all. Here in Liberia children well below the age of 16 are getting pregnant at a rate that have never exixted in any country.
    I work with an American NGO and basically we are doing Accelerated Learning Program for those overage children who because of our civil war could not go to school. In my area of assignment in rural Liberia, most of the girls children (majority below 18) either have children or are pregnant. I’m talking about elementary/primary school children here because the program’s objective is to speed up their primary education.

    Most of these children even carry thier babies to school with them. Children in classes as low as grade 3 and 4 have babies.

    If I am permitted and have the know how, I would have posted pictures of teenagers breast feeding their babies in classes.

    This is posing a sreious problem for our society.
    Steve, thanks for bringing up this topic. I hope it will be discussed ON AIR.

  58. 61 Mohammed Ali
    June 20, 2008 at 11:55

    *I actually mean the majority below 18 years.

  59. 62 Mohammed Ali
    June 20, 2008 at 12:29

    @Threat of terrorism,
    Here in Liberia we have not experience any terroeist threat or attack. You the children of UNCLE SAM and JOHN BULL and probably the SPANISH and the FRENCH will have better answer to this question than any other person. May then you could ask the PAKISTANIS, THE IRAQIS or the AFGHANS to help you with some answers.

    @Western Lifestyle
    The Western life style has already destroy the African Society. They called our secret societies “Devilish Acts”. It has eroded the respect the younger ones use to for the elders, women no longer respect their husbands and the list goes on. i see nothing in the western lifestyle to aspire to.

    If a rape is comitted in war, then it should be war crime. If it is comitted where there is no war, then it should be considered as crime against humanity.

    We voted our leaders but with the view that they will consult us from time to time on the activities of the country. I beleive that they should left alone to take decisions that are not critical to the survival of the state. In the case where a decision is critical to very survival of the country, I think the citizenry should be consulted.

    @Climate Change
    Why should the developing world be left out the fight against climate change when some are among the worst polluters (China, India, etc.) on earth. The issue of climate cahnge is affecting the whole world and as such everyone should be involve in the fight against it including the underdeveloped world.

  60. 63 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 12:38

    Alleged that Hezbollah is going to target Jews outside of the middle east


  61. 64 Dennis
    June 20, 2008 at 12:59

    Hi Everyone, Good Morning (afternoon, evening and night) depending on what part of the world….))

    I think the United Nations, should be given kudos for once: about recognizing the rape is a Symbol of War and classifying it as is..

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  62. June 20, 2008 at 12:59


    News about how New Jersey is cracking down on fraud in the petrol stations. The fraud that increase the price of petrol.

  63. 66 Brett
    June 20, 2008 at 13:15

    Too tattooed to work?

    I have a couple tatts, but theyre on my back so no one sees them at work, though I plan on getting a few more. I’m actually working on my next design now. I would be interested to see the reactions of some of my co-workers (mostly conservative people twice my age or more) of the two I have (Military Free zone (No Bombs) and the recycling symbol). A few are strongly pro Bush/McCain, cars with ribbons, american flags, freedom stickers and all… If I had some late 90s tribals I wouldn’t mind showin them off at work haha. I try to keep it toned down when I’m in the workplace.

  64. 67 John in Germany
    June 20, 2008 at 13:26

    How can the normal person have more influence in decision making?. Look at the referendum in Ireland. the people made a decision, and now the politicians are looking for a way around it. No matter what majority, and how many voted, the politicians set the Brackets, now they are working hard to move the brackets, without upsetting those that wanted to have some influence in decision making.

    Those that should have influence-the people cannot afford it. Finance, industry, NGOs can afford to employ lobbyists to get what they want. Their interest are not connected to what the people want, but to what they think we want. They only help those that can afford to help in decision making, so that they get more money to make more decisions for us. Let us be clear the normal voter does not have a lobby, the day after an election, and he is forgotten. How laughable, Lobbyists are accredited to the EU parliament, can you see what a world we live in.

    John in Germany

  65. 68 Jens
    June 20, 2008 at 17:04


    i am not sure what planet you are on or if you just have issues with me for some personal reason.

    there is no dounbt that there are stupid and intelligent people on this planet. the degree of stupidness or inteligentness is in the eye of the beholder. maybe you should try to read my posts regarding these comments with a grain of salt, but i fear you are not the most humerouse person. plenty here seem to get the ironic and partialy even sacrcastic undertone of some of my contributions. if you don’t like it then that is more your problem than mine. in case you think you are less annoying, may i point out that your almight high preaching down from the horse of high morality is a slight bit irritating. you seem to have an awfull lot of answers without real solutions, lifing in a romaticised world of health naative americans and the conspiracy that reasechers like me are intentionally slowing the development of alternative fuels etc. you could not be further away from the truth on that point. i am still relativly new to this field but it is one of the reasons i get up in the moring and look froward to going to work.

    and us can be us or the US, what difference it makes is not clear to me since I do live in the states, as a permanent resident and I do count myself as much as american as an american does. nevertheless, ojne should not for get the ability to poke some fun at oneself, otherwise we are truely in dire straight govererned by the religiouse right and morally infalable left.

  66. 69 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 07:33

    1.”Are you satisfied with how your government is tackling the threat of ‘terrorism’?” Let’s throw this question back at the BBC:

    Why do you continually throw doubt on the reality of terrorism by putting it in quotes and using phrases like “Bush’s war on terror” and “the so-called war on terror” when terror is obviously not simply America’s problem and there is nothing “so-called” about fighting terror?

    2. “Is a Western lifestyle something to aspire to?”

    Hell, no. Let’s brush up on our survival skills and go back to living in caves!

    4. “Should the developing world be left out of the fight against climate change? Why should it compromise the wealth and lifestyle that it’s only just getting?”

    Ros, your second query is what is known as a ‘leading question’ with people simply required to nod in agreement that this is unfair. So I suppose the philosophy here is that the developing world should simply go ahead and destroy the planet because they haven’t had a turn at it yet.

    This would be an extraordinary notion if man-made global warming had been proven. However, it hasn’t, despite the best efforts of the BBC to convince everyone that it has. The BBC tells us that the debate is over and ignores evidence such as petitions signed by eminent scientist worldwide that human activity has a negligible effect, if any, on global warming. The BBC always insists that it is an impartial news organisation. It shouldn’t be campaigning and taking a stand on any particular issue.

  67. 70 Rick
    June 21, 2008 at 10:05

    First of all the use of the word terror in the context of war on terror is a misnomer because by my Macquarie dictionary it is defined as ‘intence, sharp, overpowering fear’. How do you have a war against that?
    When Bush coined the phrase after 9/11 mayby it sounded better than terrorists or terrorism. Probably the latter two words were just too big for him.
    Secondly he used it as a catchall phrase to justify his attack on Iraq which wasn’t about terrorism at all. So it became a joke. “Bush’s war on terror” nudge nudge wink wink. That phrase epitimises Bush’s stupidity. Thereby the quotation marks.

  68. 71 John in Germany
    June 21, 2008 at 12:18


    Well done sir. You have turned on a bright light, lets hope it keeps burning. Not because it is aimed at a specific person, but because you have put your point over very well, and without malice.

    I feel that sometimes people forget to look straight, most look down, very few up. An inclination of a lot is to look down. You are looking straight, and it is enjoyable.
    Not all of us in this world have had University education, not all of us have many words with the same meaning in our vocabulary (good old computer), some through no fault of there own cannot read or write. Ok they cannot partake in this form of enjoyment.(A point for discussion. Why in this day and age are people that cannot read or write (illiterate)),but those that can like to be looked at straight, and not down.

    It is boring when, go away is turned into a paragraph. Takes all sorts to make a World.

    Have a nice weekend all.

    John in Germany

  69. 72 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 13:22

    Rick, terror has long ago become synonymous with terrorists and terrorism. Besides, it’s a catchy phrase, and shorter than “war on terrorism” so it tends to stick.

    The BBC is a public broadcaster and it is obliged by its charter to be impartial, not to join in the Bush-bashing or cast doubt on the fact of terror. And I’ll bet that few, if any of the BBC journalists who habitually mock him for his “stupidity” would be able to address a hostile group like the UN for half an hour without faltering once, as Bush has done. It’s so easy to join the herd and follow the latest political fashion. Try sticking your head above the crowd once in a while.

    Maybe someone from the BBC can tell us if the poster in the newsroom portraying Bush as Hitler has been taken down yet.

  70. 73 Rick
    June 21, 2008 at 22:21

    You alone stand above the croud with your unabashed hatred of everything that isn’t pro jewish/Isreali.
    If you dispise the BBC so much, why are you here? When I look at the Jeruselem Post, a quarter of the front page is a picture of a beautiful young woman with the caption “do you want to meet an aribic girl?”. Your precious source of information is also a pimp! I don’t see that on the BBC or Al Jazeera or SBS.

    If you were refering to the scientists in your earlier blog as those from the NAS tell me please how many of them were specialists in the field of climate change.
    Or were they medical reserchers, neucular scientists, rocket scientists that have no more than the average bloggers knowledge of the subject? My brother has a phd in food science but he is a christian. Science has
    proved evolution but he is a scientist who is a creationist. Just because you fall into the category of scientist doesn’t make you any different than anybody else. So you and Tino should stop using the NAS as part of your climate change arguement.

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