Texts and emails, Monday 4 January 2010

Topic:  Vincent and his panel of guests look ahead to 2010 and predict some of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 

Panelists: Siobhan O'Donoghue, Matt Cooper, Sam Smyth and Terry Prone.

Al-Qaida: the Yemen factor

The closing weeks of 2009 have seen an intensive focus among western policy-makers and media on the war in Afghanistan. The long-awaited surge in American troop deployments ordered by President Barack Obama, whose effects will be seen as 2010 unfolds, sets the scene for increased combat. The new United States strategy is mainly a response to the increased activity of Taliban and other militias; there are even claims by Mulla Sangeen that 80 per cent of Afghanistan is under Taliban influence (see “Taliban claim control of over 80 per cent of Afghanistan”, PakTribune, 22 December 2009).

Barack Obama, the fallen messiah

During a time of economic decline, persistent cultural strife, deepening American involvement in far-off military conflicts, and rapid environmental deterioration, is there any wonder that some have turned to apocalyptic “salvation narratives” promising both a transcendent, everlasting future and violent retribution against perceived evildoers? A CNN poll in 2002 found that 59 per cent of Americans believe that the prophecies in the Book of Revelations will come true.

Motorists cautioned over severe weather

The Irish Road Safety Authority has launched new publication today entitled ‘Severe Weather Advice for Road Users’. The publication contains advice for road users in various adverse weather conditions including Heavy Rainfall and Flooding, severe fog and snowy conditions.

Israeli Embassy's reply to De Rossa and Martin

Reply to Foreign Minister Martin's statement 21 December 2009 :

Contrary to the Minister's statement, Israel has no policy of 'punishment' of the people of Gaza.

Israel has facilitated the entry of, and increased the quantities of, food, medicine and humanitarian supplies to Gaza since the end of its military operation in January last.

De Rossa calls for an end to “apartheid” in the West Bank and Gaza

Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa last night criticised Israeli policy and the system of “apartheid” in operation in much of the West-Bank and Gaza. Mr. De Rossa made the comments during a briefing following last week’s visit to the Palestinian Territory, where he led an official European Parliament Delegation.

De Rossa, in his capacity as President of the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), led a cross-party delegation of eight MEPs on a four-day fact finding mission to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Balochistan rejects Pakistan's deal and fights on for freedom

Baloch nationalist leaders have rejected the latest settlement package proposed by the Pakistani government, on the grounds that it is inadequate and coincides with increased military repression

The 'Rahe-i-Haqooq Balochistan' deal offers a cessation in military activities, a ban on the construction of new military camps (although existing ones would remain), the release of most (not all) political detainees and a payment of $1.4 billion (approx €1 billion) in gas royalties over 12 years.

A vision of a just world where women are equal

18 December marked quite an occasion for gender equality advocates: the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has just turned 30. With near-universal ratification and countless stories testifying to the ways in which this Global Bill of Rights for Women has been used to challenge gender injustices, there is much to inspire us. Already momentum is building for the next milestone: the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action in 2010.

‘Recession Racism’: a new trend in Irish society

The celtic tiger years brought a new phenomenon to Ireland; large scale immigration, and a more culturally diverse, and some would argue, tolerant society. That is until the bubble burst. A stricken economy and spiralling unemployment appear to have prompted a backlash against immigrants from many sectors of society. Racism is becoming increasingly prominent in Ireland with adverse effects for non-nationals, many of whom greatly contributed to the prosperous years. By Deirdra O'Regan.

Texts and emails, Tuesday 15 December 2009

Topic:  Sex in Ireland

Panelists: Diarmaid Ferriter, Breda O’Brien and Tom Inglis.

The regulatory structures are already in place, the problem is the regulators are too close to the bankers and the regulation is not bfing enforced. That's it. No need to spend millions to discover this.