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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Wednesday, 11 October, 2006
By Kirsty Wark
Presenter, BBC Newsnight

An Iraqi mourns over the coffin of a relative.
Presented by Kirsty Wark

COMMENT ON THE PROGRAMME

Body counts

"655,000 Iraqis, or around one in 40 of the Iraqi population, have died as a result of the 2003 invasion."

That shocking statistic is published today, not in some sensation seeking tabloid, but in The Lancet.

This is 10 times as many deaths as have been estimated elsewhere. The US army famously said "we don't do body counts", but the UN does make estimates based on information from the Iraqi Health ministry and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, and most recently the Ministry of Health said that 50,000 Iraqis had been killed between 2003 and June 2006.

So how has the Lancet study come up with its figure, is it true and if it is what does it say about the prosecution of the so-called war on terror?

Read Paul Mason's analysis of the figures

Shoplifting

Can you thieve with impunity? The answer would appear to be - yes!

No matter security cameras watching your every step, tags containing damaging dye attached to garments, sensors at shop doors, not to mention burly security guards - it seems that shoplifting is a breeze.

Businesses say shoplifting has increased by 70% in six years.

Shop crime in 2005 totalled two point one BILLION pounds according to the British retail consortium, but there are moves to make shoplifting no longer a custodial offence.

So what's to stop the criminals?

Northern Ireland talks

Will it be Groundhog Day at the All Party Talks on Northern Ireland?

If you have to engage in three days of intensive talks on the seemingly intractable arguments over power sharing, St Andrews is a pretty good place to be - one lot of talks with Sinn Fein at one end of the beach while Ian Paisley and his DUP mark out the sand at the other end.

The deadlock this time is over support for police and justice institutions. The Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has warned that he will close down the Assembly on November 25th should a deal not be reached. Is he bluffing?

Chuck

And we celebrate Chuck Berry at 80 with the man himself? What else can I say, except please don't miss it.

Read Steve Smith's "In search of Chuck Berry"


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