Harry’s deployment in Helmand – over

BBC NEWS | UK | Army considers Harry deployment

Let’s see. First off, the Drudge Report must be severely censured for leaking this information, even if it was not part of the agreement. If people get hurt because of the leak, the editor in charge when the leak occurred SHOULD be charged with criminal negligence, both in the UK and the US.

Second, Prince Harry’s safety and the safety of his unit has to be paramount. Since this has now been leaked there is little doubt that insurgents will step up attacks on his unit. I just cannot see how it will be possible for His Royal Highness to continue operating in Helmand, a volatile region in itself, safely following this disgusting and highly unpardonable utter disregard for human safety by the Drudge Report. It won’t be long before HRH is pulled out of Afghanistan, no thanks at all to the idiots who published the information.

By the way – any idea if Harry could sue the Report if he gets withdrawn from Afghanistan for loss of employment? He certainly should consider it in my opinion.

BBC World News editor Jon Williams has blogged about the BBC’s decision to go along with the agreement to not report on the Prince’s deployment. Couple of things he emphasises, including that the blackout was not compulsory and was a voluntary agreement. However, he does – rightly – point out that the decision had to be taken not just with Harry in mind but also the security of the people around him.

“No editor wants to be responsible for increasing the risk they already face from the Taleban. Nor do I think our audiences would have thanked us for doing so.”

Well said, Mr Williams. The BBC and the rest of the British media (for once) have used their heads. A shame Drudge Report couldn’t do the same.

UPDATE (1030 GMT Feb 29):
BBC Radio Five Live’s Victoria Derbyshire show is now reporting that the MOD has decided to withdraw Prince Harry from Afghanistan, according to the BBC’s Royal correspondent Peter Hunt.


World Have Your Say question: Is a resurgent Russia good for the world?

Is a resurgent Russia good for the world? « World Have Your Say

Russia goes to the ballot boxes this weekend to elect a new president to replace Vladimir Putin, who’s been in charge since 2000. There’s only one candidate on the ballot – Dmitry Medvedev, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia. And he’s backed by President Putin, who’s then expected to take up the position of Prime Minister.

The BBC’s World Have Your Say is looking at Russia on Friday, and they’re asking if the West should be scared of Russia, and vice-versa.

Bear in mind this is the same Russia that Continue reading

Obama’s robe: Something to be ashamed of?

I’m sure by now a lot of you have seen the picture of Senator Barack Obama in traditional robes he wore on a visit to Kenya in 2006. If you haven’t yet, here it is:

Barack Obama wearing Somali clothing in Kenya in 2006
(Image: BBC News/AP)

The Obama camp has accused Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign of “shameful, offensive fear-mongering”; Senator Clinton’s aides deny they are involved. The BBC’s North America editor, Justin Webb, notes that the Obama staff were very angry about the photo.

Senator Clinton’s new campaign manager, Maggie Williams, hits the nail on the head with her comments, in my opinion: “If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed.”

What exactly, pray tell, is wrong of wearing traditional dress of the places you visit (let alone your home country)? Is this something Senator Obama should be ashamed of? I’m rather surprised and confused at his reaction to this. There is no shame in immersing in the culture of where he goes to – President Bush and other world leaders (notably at APEC meetings) commonly do so.

And as an aside, CNN polls now suggest that for the first time, Sen Clinton is behind Sen Obama in Texas, which votes on March 4. One to watch.

If you’re a newscaster…

I know it’s funny. In fact, it’s hilarious. And I can’t stop laughing. But if you’re a newscaster it’s probably not the nicest thing to do on air.

(And for those of you who still want a politics fix with this post, well you’re in luck. AP reports Sen John McCain won the GOP American Samoa caucuses, according to local party officials. He also won the Northern Mariana Islands contests and will pick up 18 delegates in total from the two. Furthermore, CBS is reporting that Sen McCain has won the Puerto Rico caucuses and taken all 20 delegates from the island. However, this hasn’t yet been reflected in any major delegate count I’ve seen so far.)

Is this the end of the Democrats’ chances?

A number of people I’ve spoken to have indicated that they would vote for perennial Presidential challenger Ralph Nader over Sen Barack Obama (and over Sen Hillary Clinton even more so).

So, with Mr Nader’s announcement on NBC’s Meet the Press that he will – once again – be running for the presidency this year, does this spell the end of the Democrats’ chances? Mr Nader won 2% of the popular vote in 2000 – widely seen as helping Republican nominee and eventual winner George W. Bush.

Mr Nader, of course, will also provide a convenient choice for independents who do not like Sen Obama but are not fully trusting of Sen John McCain, the almost-surely Republican nominee. Hell, he might just steal some votes from the Republicans who absolutely refuse to vote for Sen McCain’s supposed liberal stances on some issues.

Mr Nader is 73, and will be 74 on Wednesday, making him older than Sen McCain. I’m tempted (obviously) to say this will be Mr Nader’s final run at the Oval Office. And if he can help propel Sen McCain there along the way, why not?

CNN Democratic Debate in Austin

BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Justin Webb – On plagiarism and humanity

BBC North America editor Justin Webb’s take on Senator Hillary Clinton’s attack on Sen Barack Obama in last night’s CNN Democratic Debate in Austin, Texas. Referring to Sen Obama’s speeches using lines originally made by current Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, she said something to the effect of “lifting passages of speech… isn’t change you can believe in, it’s change you can Xerox!”

I’m not a big fan of either Sen Clinton or Sen Obama, but I really liked that. Both Justin Webb and, as he says, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin think it will hurt Sen Clinton that she said that. I’m really hoping Obama supporters wake up and smell the reality that this guy has no real fresh ideas. You make up your own mind – read the comments, both pro- and anti-Obama, both pro- and anti-Clinton on Webb’s blog.

What is hard to disagree, though, was that Sen Clinton made those comments in a state of desperation – she’s now lost ELEVEN straight contests. The results from the Super Tuesday Democratic Global Primary for Democrats Abroad are now in – and Sen Obama has won quite clearly. Justin Webb blogged about this too – apparently, at least, Clinton managed to win the Congo and Liechtenstein.

Moscow somehow loses bid for 2010 Games

It’s happened. The unthinkable. WE BEAT MOSCOW. The Games of the First Summer Youth Olympiad in 2010 have been awarded to Singapore.

I always felt Moscow had the stronger bid for the Games. As has been pointed out, the IOC were in favour of Singapore probably because we’ll never get a chance to host the full thing – Moscow hosted in 1980. So there’re celebrations at the Padang at City Hall tonight while up in the bitter cold and snow in Moscow they’ll be sore and disappointed.

I just find it funny that we probably won’t win a single medal in an event we’re hosting…