Should Bill Clinton have gone to North Korea for the release of two US reporters?

Two US journalists detained in North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of hard labour have been pardoned after former US President Bill Clinton visited North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to ask for their release.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee had been found guilty of entering illegally in March.

Bill Clinton was the most positioned US politician to secure the release of the two American journalists thanks to his negotiating skills. His mission was a face-saving for both the US and North Korea. NK tried to look as peace loving country. The US didn’t send an official from Obama administration. This could have been interpreted as making concessions to NK, at least in the form of “secret” economic aid.

But it seems the great beneficiary from this release is Bill Clinton’s wife, the Secretary of State. He must have saved her a lot of diplomatic efforts. Now she can concentrate on more urgent topics like Iran nuclear programme.

Now I can imagine Bill Clinton telling his wife, ” I did you a favour by securing the release of the two journalists. Will you return it by never reminding me again of Monica Lewinsky when you get in one of your bad tempers?”


Are mobile phones damaging children’s sexual development?

A worrying number of teenagers are swapping intimate or sexually explicit photos, called “sexts”, on their mobiles, police say.

Sexual communication online and on mobiles isn’t new. There are many people, including teenagers, who use the webcam to send sexually expletive images of themselves. The mobile photos and videos have made it more easy for anyone to establish sexual communication.

Concerning sexting among children , it can be damaging to them. Children need sexual education to abstain from sex or to have safe sex when they’re above 16. However, sexting can expose them to more sexual risks as they can view themselves as sexual objects and the way to impose themselves is by projecting themselves as sexually desirable.

In schools, for example, as a result of sexting, children can have just sex as their main gossip , not just by words but also by showing images. As children aren’t allowed to be seen in indecent positions in public, it goes without saying it is damaging for them to have their bodies revealed to strangers and the object of sexual comments. Maybe, they must be told they can reveal their bodies to their trusted friends who can see them directly and not to be sent as an image that can be seen by anyone. The beholder can keep the pictures in their head instead of their mobile phone!

Does any graduate have the right to a job?

Morocco has been the scene of protests by unemployed graduates in front of the parliament. These scenes have become a common sight for more than ten years. The graduates’ demand is to get a job in the public sector as working in the private sector isn’t a guarantee of a job for life.

In the case of Morocco, although graduates get a free education at state universities, they still feel it their right to be secured a job. The problem is that many of them have degrees that don’t fit the market. Many of them are offered to work in the education sector.

In the case of poor graduates, they have the right to get a job as they spent their years of study in material hardship for a better future only to be confronted with joblessness.

However, graduates should be realistic when training or taking a course for a degree. They should bear in mind that there could be a fifty-fifty chance that they can get the job they desire and for which they have invested so much money, effort and time.

They should take into consideration that the market can look different between the moment they set foot in a college and the time they graduate. Their degrees can be worthless in view of the economic crisis that can affect their country.

In general, the current economic downturn worldwide has so much to do with the unemployment of graduates. Who knows, when the economy improve there will be demand for their skills.

Has anything changed in Iran following massive protests against the reelection of Ahmadinajad?

Neda’s death has become a symbol for those fighting for change in Iran. The ongoing discontent with the reelection of Ahmadinajad is somewhat a discontent with the Iranian regime dominated by the clergy, top of whom is Ayatollah Khamenei , the spiritual leader.

The ongoing protests in Iran, in one way or another, is an indication of the split in the Iranian leadership, if not, a split in national unity. This can lead to deep political divisions which can erupt into a regime change.

Currently, Iran has become a weakened state with a regime under pressure at home from the strong opposition and abroad because of its pursuit of nuclear programme. Maybe, this can be a golden opportunity for the USA to force the hardline conservatives out of power and support a moderate Iranian leadership that can be a reliable, economically and militarily.

From what’s going on in Iran, from protests to statements by influential opposition figures, it seems the regime in Iran isn’t as solid as it appeared to be before the presidential elections. The biggest change is that the Iranians, from politicians to ordinary people, have become more vocal and confrontational. This is the biggest test for the current regime. It remains if it will survive protests at home and international sanctions.

The Iranian regime is using its nuclear programme as a weapon to get national unity and to weaken its opponents. It remains to see if the Iranians will accept having a strong nuclear weapon in exchange of a shaky economy. In other words, what will they prefer a strong army or weak enterprises plunging their living standard into further deep pits.

Hamas new morality code

Hamas has launched it’s “virtue campaign” in Gaza .
Lingerie can’t be displayed in shop windows, female lawyers will have to wear headscarves in court and teenagers must stop playing “suggestive” music.
Men and women are also being told to celebrate separately at wedding parties.

At the moment the new moves are voluntary but deputy minister Abu Jarbou predicted Islamic law would eventually be imposed…..despite previous promises not to force it on the strip’s 1.5 million people.
Here’s the story of a Palestinian journalist who officials tried to arrest for being dressed immodestly and laughing in public.

It seems now people in Gaza are besieged from all fronts. There is the Israeli blockade coupled with Egypt closing borders with Gaza. Now they are besieged by morality code. Concerning this, it is a foreshadow what an independent Palestinian state will be, a state in continuous division as there are secular Palestinians ( Muslim and Christians), mainly those living in the West Bank who won’t favour such hard Islamic measures.

One should really fear sorry for the Gazans who are surrounded by all sorts of woes from Israeli blockade to Hamas stringent measures. One should really wonder if the Gazans are now really living in a collective prison subjected to all sorts of discipline to keep things apparently in order when the majority are trying to escape for a normal life.

The most ludicrous aspect is threatening a woman with arrest for laughing “heartily” in public. It seems even feeling openly happy is a crime. Hamas wants people under its authority to feel and look grim not to lose the spirit of resistance. Maybe next time there will be punishment for eye contact between men and women as now there are plans not to allow them to mix in public places and in parties.

Is Islamic extremism Africa’s newest fear?

It seems Somalia is becoming the replica of the once Taliban ruled Afghanistan. The exception is that it is a land where pirates and jihadists co-exist under the nose of the international community which appears hesitant about direct intervention to make Somalia a normal state with a functional central government.

Islamic extremism in Africa can lead just to civil wars as the majority of African countries are partially Muslim. Which means there will be a clash between Muslims and people of other faiths, mainly Christians.

In the case of Nigeria, the rise of extremist Islam can be caused by the tension between Muslims and Christians, each making almost half of Nigeria’s population. However furthering democracy in African impoverished countries and enhancing development is the best way to tackle extremism of whatever sort.

Should you get paid for your blood, sperm or eggs?

Actually, it is somewhat belittling to make one’s body a commercial machine to get money from the donation of blood, sperm and eggs.

It can be accepted to give free amount of one’s blood to help save lives. The ethic problem rises when there is donation of sperm and eggs resulting in the procreation of children one shall never meet. It’s a form of having oneself dispersed in different families without belonging to them.

It can be queer if one becomes the biological parent of tens, if not hundreds of children, without having the chance to meet any of them and if one meets them, it is a kind of embarrassment. One has the right to know them but not to keep any of them as they are the property of those who paid for them.

Does a criminal have to ask for the death penalty?

The attacks in Mumbai in November last year killed almost 170 people, and shattered the lives of countless other loved ones. Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, a surviving attacker has said he’s ready to be hanged and wants no mercy from the court.

So if Qasab is claiming some responsibility and is volunteering to die for his crimes — should the state kill him? If a killer asks to die then should authorities oblige?

There are some who believe that one should live and let live. Others think that they should kill and be killed.

A killer shouldn’t commit a crime and then sets the rules by which they should be punished. It’s up to the judiciary system to decide what form of punishment should be inflicted on them.

In the case of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab , the presumed terrorist, he wants to be killed as a reward for his crime as his death will, for him, prolong his life among his sympathisers and those who sent him to carry out the deadly attacks. He essentially should get the punishment that fit his crime, not according to his wish but according to the decision of the judiciary system that should respect the victims and their loved-ones who are currently putting up with their losses.

Does the character of a politician matter as long as he gets the job done?

The character of a politician is important in accordance with the established views of the society in which they hold responsibility.
However, any politician should have a degree of respectability and not a appear as a fun figure, worthy of gossip like a character in a comdey. Although politicians presumably have a private life, it becomes of importance to the public as his/her private life becomes a public property.

Apparently, the public can be forgiving towards a male politician with numerous liaisons and affairs. But there is still to debate if a female politician with a lewd behaviour can have a sympathetic public. Or how will the public react if two key politicians from different countries are known to be engaging in an intimate relationship?

In general, political figures should minimise the risk of being exposed as lusty characters and not to establish the norm that to be a successful politician one should be more sensually than politically adept.

Is it time to re-evaluate what ‘old’ means?

You are as old as you feel, as it goes.
As long as people can keep in good health, physically and mentally, they can live as long as possible. With birth control, there is no danger of getting an overpopulated world. Thanks to technology, there are many jobs that can be done by the elderly, not necessitating great physical effort.

The great step now awaiting scientific researches is not just to help people be past 100 but to keep looking as young as if they were still in their forties. This can help the world population keep young for ever.

Actually, people belong to age categories. Statistically, age means a number of years. There are people who age before their time. They look and are rundown. There are those who keep vibrant although they are more than 60.

There should be no fear of getting old. One of my favourite old people is the late BBC correspondent Alistair Cook , who On March 2, 2004, at the age of 95, following advice from his doctors, Cooke announced his retirement from Letter from America. In his nineties, he kept lucid and with a strong voice.
Such great people should be set as a good example for those who are afraid of getting old. Even if the body becomes less strong than it used to be, there is still the chance to keep a strong mind.

As long as people can keep in good health, physically and mentally, they can live as long as possible. With birth control, there is no danger of getting an overpopulated world. Thanks to technology, there are many jobs that can be done by the elderly, not necessitating great physical effort.

The great step now awaiting scientific researches is not just to help people be past 100 but to keep looking as young as if they were still in their forties. This can help the world population keep young forever.

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