All entries for Monday 02 October 2006

October 02, 2006

ICA newsletter

ICA Newsletter and top TV picks? Indeed. See below.


This is the first weekly newsletter this year from the International Current Affairs Society (ICA, for short). These three stories should be what we will be (broadly) discussing in our first meeting (Wednesday 2-3pm, in Social Studies, S0.13) and some questions which might arise. The newsletters provide an opportunity to read about the discussion topics or think about your views on the topics. If you just want to turn up without, that’s fine too. All members get the newsletter as an e-mail each week automatically (usually on Monday night or Tuesday morning), which makes the URLs a lot easier to follow.

As well as the newsletters, we also have quite a few things in the pipeline for this year, including a trip to London and other great social events. Of course, if you were a member last year then please re-join.

The first topic for discussion is the coup in Thailand which ousted the democratically elected Prime Minister Thaksin and replaced him with a military junta. The army has now appointed a new PM, Retired General Surayud Chulanont. Despite the point that the military said that they would appoint a civilian PM they have decided to retain substantial powers themselves, at least until October 2007. What I wonder is, can a democratic government, which has majority support, ever really be ousted? Is it not inevitable that a similar, if not the same, government will be re-elected? And can government be secure in Thailand now that this precedent is set with the army?
(for more info see )

Secondly, turning to Britain, new laws against ageism in the workforce were introduced on October 1st, these laws aim to abolish employers seeking only younger or only older candidates or forcing older workers out of the business when they reach 60. The problem with these laws is that the minimum wage already discriminates, as does the amount of redundancy pay which workers can expect. People will still need to be over 18 to work behind a bar. But are these laws even worth while, they might endanger the minimum wage, they might harm businesses who could be forced to keep places open for apprenticeships for older workers who will soon leave. The law fails to stop people being forced to retire at 65. The law also fails to take into account different abilities from different age groups and to allow recruitment based on that. Do we need anti age discrimination laws at all? Do we need stronger laws? Will this law cause more harm than good?
(more info at )

Thirdly, Zimbabwe. In August the inflation hit 1,200%, up by over 200%, in September that figure could increase again, by the end of the year the figure could hit 1,800%. These are just one symptom of Mugabe’s handling of the country and the land seizure from white farmers, others include a lack of food, fuel and housing. Mugabe still blames all of Zimbabwe’s troubles on the UK. With the country in such trouble, and free and fair elections seeming unlikely I wonder, is it time to force regime change on Zimbabwe for the good of the people? Or is this just another Iraq waiting to happen? Could a peaceful solution work in Zimbabwe?
(Info at )

If you want any more info or have suggestions for the newsletters or society you can e-mail me at;
Joe (the Chairman)

Recommended viewing for this week:


Dispatches: Burma’s Secret War (C4 9pm) – “Journalist Evan Williams goes undercover to investigate Burma’s brutal military regime, where mass ethnic cleansing, forced labour and vicious clamping down of political opposition characterise the dictatorship.”

The Bradford Riots (More4 9pm) – “Written by Neil Biswas and featuring music by Asian Dub Foundation, this drama tells the story of the night of rioting in Bradford in July 2001 from the perspective of a group of young Asian men. Karim, a Manchester University politics student, comes back to his home town for the summer to find racial tensions are brewing. After a series of riots in other areas of the north, it appears the BNP are preparing to target Bradford for their next march.”


The Tank Man (More4 9pm) – “Documentary in which Antony Thomas investigates the identity of the Tank Man – the solitary protester who held up a column of tanks during a protest in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. Through the testimony of witnesses and archive footage, the film recreates the historic events as Beijing citizens and students defended their city against soldiers aremed with live ammunition and tanks.”


Dispatches: That Data Theft Scandal (C4 9pm) – “The current affairs series investigates the call centre security failures which allow personal financial details to be stolen and illegally traded. In a year-long undercover investigation, Channel 4 News reporter Sue Turton infiltrates criminal networks who trade the confidential information of British consumers for large profits in India.”


Bremner, Bird & Fortune (C4 8.30pm) – “Topical satirical comedy from impressionist Rory Bremner and regular collaborators John Bird and John Fortune.”

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