Talking Points: 4 May

chinaMixed messages about Swine flu over the weekend. Who to believe? Mexico says the virus has peaked, whilst the WHO insist we should continue to take extra caution. This Economist article agrees that this is not a time for complacency.  China seems to be taking this message very seriously. Mexico has expressed fury at the way  it’s citizens have been treated in China. Is it right to discriminate against a population for the sake of your own country’s health?


An Australian court has given a 17 year old girl permission to have her breasts removed to resemble a boyHere’s more on her story. The teenager suffers from  “gender identity dysphoria”. How young is too young to have a sex change operation?


She’s a suspected drug smuggler, has been stuck in a Laos prison for 9 months and she may be facing the death penalty. Nigerian born British citizen Samantha Orobator is also pregnant. Her mother is appealing for her to be brought home but she may be sentenced this week. Should you face the consequences based on the country where you’ve committed a crime?


Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi is being divorced by his wife of nearly 20 years. The Prime Minister considers himself very popular, except of course with his wife. She is fed up with her husband’s endless flirting. This blog looks at the effect of divorce on the reputations of various world leaders . Does divorce hinder your impression of a political leader?


It’s been an eventful week and it looks like the WHYS team will slowly be returning to base this week. Ros remains isolated in his camper van until Wednesday – I’m sure he’d much rather be  here where 16 people are fighting for a job as the caretaker of an Australian island . I’m looking forward to having them all back.

14 Responses to “Talking Points: 4 May”

  1. 1 Tommaso Debenedetti
    May 4, 2009 at 10:36

    The divorce of Prime Minister Berlusconi is now the top news here in Italy. The divorce will have a big influence on the election for European Parlament next June. Polls said that Berlusconi’s party will be the winner of the vote, but leaders of the opposition now can use the news agaist the Prime Minister. Catholics voters don’t agree a Prime Minister two-times divorced, and generally the public opinion thinks don’t agree the private life of Mr. Berlusconi. In this situation, the private life of the Prime Minister will have a strong political impact.
    Tommaso Debenedetti

  2. 2 Peter sc
    May 4, 2009 at 11:58

    Sad that the Mexican took offense to the quarantine of its citizens. Many other nationals were also quarantine without any systems. Just an attempt at China bashing which is getting to the point of stupidity.

  3. 3 Vijay
    May 4, 2009 at 14:00

    Starter for 10, Is the ideology of “Maggie Thatcher milk snatcher” the answer to todays world economic problems or the cause.

  4. 4 Jim Newman
    May 4, 2009 at 14:07

    Hello again,
    To answer the first question I think that all governements have the duty to protect their citizens as best they can. No one seems to have a clear idea about pig flu, so as long as the antidotes used are not racially motivated we will have to put up with them.
    For sex changes only experts can decide when, but in my opinion the younger such a change is made the better so that the young body can adjust.
    If one breaks the law then one would expect to be tried and convicted in the country where one broke the law. Crime and punishment is very much subject to the customs of a country. A crime in one country may not necessarily be a crime in another.
    The best one can hope for is that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law of any particular country.
    In my humble opinion Berlusconi is a clown and no amount of flirting or divorcing will change my mind about that.

    May 4, 2009 at 14:49

    The handling of Mexican travelers by chinese authorities is regreteble. China has become a great country of late and no doubt it will continue attracting citizens of other countries as well as expecting its citizens to be hosted abroad. What will they have felt had Chinese citizens been treated in like manner during the Bird Flue?
    China has made it economically through selling commodities all over the world. This latest move however does not demonstrate any reciprocal goodwill to people of Mexico or any other countries who buy Chinese goods. Chinese authorities have time and again talked of arrogance of western countries. We know and the Chinese know that China is fast becoming a World Power but this incident does not demonstrate a sense of responsibility. The country and its leadership need to make corrections and restore their country’s credibility. Nobody likes to be targetted unfairly especially when away from home and this does not exclude the Chinese themselves. Stop it China.

    • 6 Chinaman
      May 5, 2009 at 11:22

      Shame on those who believe that the Chinese cannot enforce what the WHO recommended actions to isolate risky people just because they have European blood and Chinese should n treat them like lords and rules don’t apply to them when they are in China . Canada is making the same complaints about China . Ros Atkin was quarantined in USA , by a western country it is ok , by China , not ok. Who is doing the discriminating.

  6. 7 Jennifer
    May 4, 2009 at 16:38

    Re: Should you face the consequences based on the country where you’ve committed a crime?

    What concerns me most is that this young lady apparently became pregnant while at an all-female prison. Also, speeding up her trial so that she can not have legal representation is wrong and unfair. It doesn’t even give her a adequate opportunity to defend herself…. I really hope someone helps her very soon before it is too late.

    I think it would be appropriate for her to be brought back and tried for her illegal activities in the UK. I watch Locked up abroad alot and I’ve found that many of the places that people get held do have unusually harsh sentences. Commit the crime; do the time, but that does not mean that someone is not deserving of a fair trial or the basics.

    That being said, how many people know the laws of countries they visit? How many realize that they may get more than a slap on the hand and no no no when they break one?

    May 4, 2009 at 16:55

    The divorce of the Italian Prime Minister should not hinder his success. Recent trends suggest that most voters do not care about the so called spouses given the liberated times we live in.
    We tend too to see divorce at times as a solution to a marriage that no functions instead of allowing people to live in hypocrisy and pretended bliss which may not exist.

  8. 9 Michelle from Jamaica
    May 4, 2009 at 20:30

    Re: Should you face the consequences based on the country where you’ve committed a crime?

    It is unfortunate but I think you should face the consequences of your crime. I hope that the jusctice system is fair to all law breakers in that country. Transporting drugs is a very attractive offer, but there can be grim circumstances.
    I hope she is not abused or unfairly treated during her incarseration.

    China Quarentine

    I feel any country should used its decresion when protecting its citizens. This is a seroius illness and all measures within reason should be adopted. Quarantine is not detrimental, you will get over it.

  9. 10 Dennis Junior
    May 5, 2009 at 04:39

    Is it right to discriminate against a population for the sake of your own country’s health? (Yes…it is semi-OK….to do this type of discrimination….)

    How young is too young to have a sex change operation? (This is way too young!!!)

    Should you face the consequences based on the country where you’ve committed a crime? (If “you” commit a crime in the country….Then you should be punished under the country’s law…..)

    Does divorce hinder your impression of a political leader? (Yes)….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  10. 11 globalcomedy
    May 5, 2009 at 06:31

    Before you judge the Chinese government, maybe you should look at your own first?

    In the past, Muslim American passengers have been kicked off flights. Why? Because they were speaking in Arabic and sounded “suspicious” to the other passengers. All they were doing were praying. Yet, they were treated almost like criminals.

    If you travel overseas, you play by the other countries rules. The same is true if Chinese tourists come to your country.

  11. 12 Dennis
    May 6, 2009 at 09:49

    I think the WHO is making to much of a scare of the swine flu.
    But it’s governments running the operation, so it’s no surprize.

    People are getting tired of hearing about it, so it will fade off like all news stories, and not be mentioned any time soon
    Especially when the news repeats itself to keep the headline……

  12. 13 TrnOvrANewLeaf
    May 7, 2009 at 03:36

    Quarantining foreign nationals who have not been in direct contact with swine flu victims is indisputably controversial.

    Playing the devil’s advocate, I believe it is understandable the Chinese Government is taking such drastic actions in an attempt to contain any risks of outbreak. I would back this up by arguing the infrastructures and institutions needed to control an influenza outbreak in China is still desperately underdeveloped. For instance, I don’t think the Chinese authorities have enough stockpile of Tamiflu to vaccinate even a minuscule proportion of its population.

    One thing that’s absolutely beyond doubt is China’s public relations is atrocious.

  13. 14 Philip
    May 8, 2009 at 04:24

    I think the real question is “How effective is our policy on quaratine?”

    Here in the Philippines, I guess you’ve heard the news of the three individuals who were quaratined for suspected cases of influenza a h1n1. A policy recommended by the World Health Organization, this recommendation is the foundation for a policy in dealing with the new virus.

    Yes and you heard the news about this sportsman together with other politician and government officals who refused to observed self quaratine. Inspite of the effort of the department of health to persuade them to do self quarantine, still they insist not to. Tonight, they will hold a victory party free for all here in Manila. If an outbreak occur, its going to be a nightmare for the healthcare sector just to track down those who are possibly infected. Even the authoritie from the dept of health cant do anything about it. I dont wanna know why?

    Quarantine is not discrimination if impose to all regrdless of your social and financial status, nationality and even political party.

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