On AMANPOUR. today, we bring you an interview with former Eurythmics and solo artist Annie Lennox, who is now fighting the AIDS epidemic in Africa and trying to protect women and girls from HIV. She’s been at the United Nations to help launch a five-year plan to address these urgent issues. She’s one of our guests in today’s broadcast. There’s plenty of news to tell you about today as well. Here are some perspectives.
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
PAKISTAN – Why are insurgents stepping up their bomb attacks in Pakistan?
– Twin suicide bombings in Lahore today killed at least 39 people and wounded around 100
– Suicide bombers targeted military convoys, but most of casualties were civilians
– It was the fourth major attack in Pakistan this week, indicating insurgents are stepping up violence after a period of relative calm
QUESTION: Are the bomb attacks a sign that the Taliban in Pakistan has regrouped after recent setbacks?
ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT – Is there a risk of new violence after Israel’s controversial decision to build more housing on disputed land in Jerusalem?
– Israel orders the army to seal off the West Bank for 48 hours and tighten security around the old city of Jerusalem
– Closing of West Bank follows Israeli government’s decision to approve plans for 1,600 new apartments in Jerusalem on land claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians
– Closure announced one day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden concluded a visit to Israel and the West Bank. U.S. attempted to kick-start peace process, but that effort was overshadowed by Israeli housing announcement
QUESTION: Is this U.S. attempt to broker indirect peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians dead in the water?
THAILAND – How secure is the government in the face of a new wave of opposition protests?
– Thailand braces for escalating anti-government protests over the weekend that are expected to draw as many as 150,000 opposition supporters onto the streets
– “Red shirt” opposition protesters include many supporters of the fugitive former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006 and remains popular with many. Opponents though say Thaksin was guilty of corruption and cronyism
– Protesters say current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was not democratically elected and are demanding new elections
QUESTION: How serious is the risk of violent clashes between government security forces and the protesters?