News this week (12w13)

Guatamala's president Otto Perez says the 'War on Drugs' has failed, and it is time to end the taboo on discussing decriminalisation. Perez thinks that decriminalisation could reduce the amount of drug-related violence. Whilst a complicated issue, there is evidence that this could be a good route. Portugal introduced a progressive drug policy some ten years ago. It is important to realise that information on drugs before this policy change is sketchy, but there are strong indicators of reduced HIV transmission rates and drug related deaths. The workload of the police decreased whilst the amount of drugs seized increased. Perez is right on one thing though. This is something we should be discussing.

Ontario's top court legalises brothels to protect prostitutes. The idea being that it is safer for prostitutes to work in a brothel where protection and security can be provided than in isolation. The situation before the ruling was similar to the situation in my home state the U.K. I agree with the ruling in Canada as I feel nothing will really change except for the improved working conditions of the prostitutes. We won't suddenly be handing them off as we walk down the street!

News surfaces that Murdoch's News Corporation promoted piracy in Australia. By damaging the competing network's pay TV offerings the allegation is that News Corp was able to subsequently corner the market. In case you didn't realise, this is the same News Corp that owned the News of the World newspaper in the U.K. that was ultimately discontinued due to a phone hacking scandal. Ahh, more bad news for Mr. Murdoch, it sometimes makes me wonder weather there is karma in the world, only briefly mind. Here's a Panorama video about the whole thing: There's even suggestions they undertook similar business practices in the U.K.

Pakistan is planning to punish parents who do not have their children vaccinated against polio. They plan to fine parents who don't get their kids vaccinated. This part of an effort to stop the spread of the debilitating disease. Pakistan is one of the few remaining countries that hasn't eradicated polio. I am glad that the government is seeing sense, though there are clearly many obstacles to overcome, particularly when the population can be very suspicious of vaccines and other western initiatives.

Denmark aims to get 50% of its electricity from wind power. They ultimately aim to get all their energy from renewables by 2050, a commendable goal. They, like most of us, lag behind Norway, where over 98% of electricity is from renewables. Countries like these are perfect in my opinion in testing and developing the technology required for alternative energy sources on a medium scale. This is going to be one of the toughest challenges the up and coming generation faces, what to do when the oil tap dries up?

French president Sarkozy announces that he will make it a crime to consult web sites advocating terrorism or hate crimes. This is obviously fuelled by the recent killings in Toulouse which was seemingly a terror crime. There is a question of exactly how the French government hopes to do this without unfairly breaching peoples right to privacy on the web.

And finally, Kazakh gold-medallist is shocked when the wrong national anthem is played. Instead of the proper tune, a parody Kazakh anthem made for the film Borat is played instead. Just how lazy was the person responsible for this?