Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo: All is forgiven

Can the surviving journalists of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, really forgive the terrorists who last week brutally murdered ten of their colleagues and others at their Paris office?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

We are chemistry

Doctors now believe that a type of medicine - called dopamine receptor agonists - can cause some patients to become compulsive gamblers, binge shoppers or sex addicts.

It’s thought the drug causes this adverse reaction by over-stimulating the ‘pleasure seeking’ chemistry of the brain.  But many people find this hard to believe: how can a drug alter your behaviour against your will? If you do bad things, that’s your choice, and we shouldn't blame a drug.  After all, don’t humans have ‘free will’?

And yet, we are all composed of chemistry that controls everything we do. If your body’s chemistry changes, because of say a serious illness, or a profound injury, or the effects of a powerful drug, is it so difficult to believe that your behaviour and personality could consequently change too?

Friday, 10 October 2014

Should prisoners be allowed to vote?

• Should all prisoners be refused the right to vote?
In the UK all convicted prisoners are denied the right to vote. 

But the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Britain's blanket ban on voting for all convicted prisoners is a breach their human rights. Allowing only some prisoners to vote would be ok, states the Court; but refusing the vote to all convicted prisoners is unacceptable. What do you think? (What I think is posted at the end of this article)

Monday, 29 September 2014

Last guests at the 'spy hotel'

Way off the beaten track and nestling high on the cliff tops of the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England, is one of the strangest hotels I've ever stayed in. 

The building used to be a Ministry of Defence underwater weapons facility that, back in the late 1950s, was mysteriously infiltrated by Soviet spies, causing an international scandal.  Known as 'The Portland Spy Ring', the core of the traitorous network was finally detected in 1961 and the five main perpetrators arrested by Police Special Branch in collaboration with the secret services. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Daily Express Fury About Illegal Immigrants

Today’s Daily Express front page headline screamed, ‘Fury over Britain’s 2m illegal migrants’.  

Yet, on closer scrutiny, the ‘fury’ should instead be about the Express’s careless journalism.  The ‘exclusive’ statistic, claimed the Express, came from 'think tank' Migration Watch – yet Migration Watch this morning denied this, and announced that they, “declined to cooperate in this story”.

The UK government described the Daily Express number of 'illegal migrants' as a 'guestimate' and fact-checking organisation, today reported that nobody actually knows the true statistic, but previous estimates put the number of illegal migrants in Britain at between 417,000 and 1.1 million. The FullFact headline read, 'Think tank says it didn't estimate Express '2 million illegal migrants' figure

Friday, 4 July 2014

Desperate for health care in the richest country

• Journalist Jon Danzig with British philanthropist, Stan Brock
Last night I met Stan Brock, founder of ‘Remote Area Medical’ which gives free acute medical care to hundreds of thousands of poor people in the world’s richest nation – the USA.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Latvia between Unions (Soviet and European)

The rooftops of Riga, capital city of Latvia
© Photo:  T─ôvijas Sargs/The Latvian Institute
In the summer of 1999, I visited the Baltic State of Latvia in north-east Europe. It was eight years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Latvia was forced to join in the 1940′s. And it was five years before Latvia chose to join the European Union. 
My visit was a snapshot of a country between Unions – Soviet and European. The personal account of my journey to Latvia in 1999 appears below.  On my blog at EU-ROPE.COM, I've written the story of Latvia's 60-year journey from one Union to another: 'Latvia: From Soviet Union to European Union'

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sleepless in London

● Jon Danzig couldn't sleep during his overnight sleep test
Photo by David Mansell The Guardian

The average Briton only sleeps six-and-a-half hours a night. It's not enough.

Last week BBC TV broadcast an experiment showing that such little sleep can lead to less mental agility, more stress, and a possible risk of cancer and diabetes. Volunteers underwent overnight sleep tests for the BBC, and demonstrated that just one extra hour of shut-eye each night can considerably improve health.  

I had an overnight sleep test at one of London’s most prestigious hospitals.  It was a comical disaster and I didn't sleep a wink.  That's because the machinery to test if I snored was louder than my snoring.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

UK SOS! Our human rights are under attack

Home Secretary, Theresa May, with support of Prime Minister, David Cameron, wants the UK to scrap the Human Rights Act and leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

Instead, they want a new UK-only 'Bill of Rights' giving less human rights to certain humans (mostly foreign ones).

Many (but not all) Conservatives, currently in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, don't much like the Human Rights Act, and many (but not all) don't like the European Union either.  The two are connected, as a commitment to Human Rights is a condition of EU membership.  

The Conservative party, if it wins the next General Election in May 2015, has pledged to scrap the Human Rights Act and the UK's binding obligation to the European Convention on Human Rights.