The Afghanistan war on Remembrance Sunday

Christopher King

Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph when Britain remembers its war dead: a simple ceremony, always in grey weather, its brevity welcome since the attempt to grasp its meaning is unbearable.

Anthony Blair was present. In future he should stay away and similarly Gordon Brown.

Prior to the ceremony, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff, a useful pilot, spoke of our current war. “We have not done a good enough job of explaining what we are doing in Afghanistan,” he said. Curiously, Gordon Brown, our prime minister, said exactly the same thing shortly before. I had listened with interest as the existence of a convincing explanation was implied but none came.

Restore Democracy: Abolish the Electoral College

Len Hart

If the 'President' is elected to represent the people of the United states, then he/she should be elected directly by the people. The Electoral College, in which electors represent states --not people --must be abolished and the 'office' of President elected directly. The voice of the people needs no proxy. The voice of the people must be be heard directly, loudly and often.

Fears that the 'college' might elect a minority President are not merely speculative should the nation be so deeply divided that three or more candidates split the electoral votes among them --no one getting a necessary majority. Precisely that happened in 1824, attempted in 1948 and again in 1968.

There are but two resolutions should it happen again:

■either one candidate could throw his electoral votes to the support of another before the meeting of the Electors, or
■the U.S. House of Representatives would select the president in accordance with the 12th Amendment.

The cost of excluding the Roma minority

Michaela Stanková

With the Roma population in Slovakia growing the issue of how to involve Roma more in the society is becoming ever more urgent. Offering Roma, who in parts of Slovakia live in separate settlements, the chance to improve their living conditions and increase their quality of life is not merely a moral imperative, but also an economic necessity, a new study has concluded.

According to the study, ‘The Cost of Non-Inclusion’, carried out by Anton Marcinčin and Ľubica Marcinčinová and sponsored by the Open Society Foundation (OSF), the costs of non-inclusion of the Roma minority in mainstream society are immense.

“The main reason why the costs are so high isn’t the potential savings in social allowances, but the possibility of significantly increasing the size of the employed labour force in Slovakia and thus increasing GDP,” Anton Marcinčin said. In the study he estimates Slovakia could produce 7 to 11 percent higher GDP if Roma were included.

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