The Great Debate UK
- Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher for Human Rights Watch, has worked extensively on counterterrorism issues. The opinions expressed are her own. -
Torture is prohibited under international law, at anytime and anywhere. No exceptions are allowed. Yet the UK, France and Germany are engaged in ongoing counterterrorism cooperation with foreign intelligence services in countries that routinely use torture.
These European governments use foreign torture information for intelligence and policing purposes. And the rules in each country meant to keep torture evidence out of the courts – including foreign torture evidence – don’t work because the burden falls on defendants to prove the information was obtained under torture, a nearly impossible task.
In Human Rights Watch’s new report, No Questions Asked: Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture, we argue that uncritical use of foreign torture information violates the duty of all countries under international law to prevent and eradicate torture worldwide.
So keen is the British prime minister to airbrush out his decade as a "light touch" finance minister that he embraced the heretical idea of a levy on financial transactions as one way to make banks pay for future bail-outs -- the so-called Tobin tax.
No longer just a hopeless cause for anti-capitalist activists, the idea of a global tax on financial transactions is gaining ground in Europe.
European Union leaders could not agree to put it on the agenda of this week's G20 summit on reforming the financial system in Pittsburgh, but the leaders of France, Germany and the European Commission endorsed the concept.
More strikingly, the head of Britain's Financial Services Authority, which regulates the world's second biggest banking centre, said last month that such a levy could help shrink a swollen financial sector.
In his cautious Franglais central-bank speak, Jean-Claude Trichet has pointed to the strong possibility that the euro zone may face a double-dip or W-shaped recession.
Of course, that's not exactly what the European Central Bank president said. But how else are we to interpret his repeated references to a "bumpy road" ahead, and his comment that we are likely to see quarters with positive growth and other quarters with "less flattering" figures? All this was illustrated with a hand gesture that drew a W (or a corrugated iron washboard) rather than a V or a U.
It beggars belief that humbled telecom equipment supplier Alcatel-Lucent could be scooped up by a Chinese rival with nothing better to do. Huawei or ZTE seem credible candidates. The question is, why would they ever bother?
That didn't stop shares of Alcatel-Lucent from rocketing up as much as 21 percent on Wednesday on rumors of an unnamed suitor. Momentum was helped by a rating upgrade on the depressed stock by French broker Natixis. The shares later settled back somewhat to trade at 2.75 euros, up 12 percent on the day in Paris.
from The Great Debate:
In America, the health care debate is about to come to a boil. President Barack Obama has put pressure on both houses of Congress to pass versions of his flagship domestic legislative program prior to their August recess.
- Nick Hewitt is a historian in the Department of Research and Information at the Imperial War Museum in London. He studied history at Lancaster University and War Studies at King’s College, University of London, where he specialised in naval history. He joined the Imperial War Museum in 1995. The opinions expresed are his own.-
“D-Day at last! Invasion! Hurrah! God save the King!” wrote a Cheshire schoolgirl on the evening of 6 June 1944. For her, news of the successful D-Day landings clearly meant a great deal. But looking back after sixty-five years, what was the historical significance of D-Day?