A dumbed-down, but forthright article on why US drone strikes are not necessarily OK. 

US drone strikes ‘raise questions’ - UN’s Navi Pillay

US officials defended the policy after al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was reportedly killed in a drone strike earlier this week.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said that the US would “continue to defend ourselves”.

Controversial tactic

Ms Pillay said she had suggested to the Pakistani government that they invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Summary or Arbitrary Executions to investigate some of the incidents.

Ms Pillay said drone attacks were beyond civilian or military control.

The US has also carried out drone strikes as part of military operations in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

But correspondents say drone strikes are highly controversial as significant numbers of innocent bystanders are killed along with intended targets.

The policy has contributed to a recent worsening in relations between the US and Pakistan.

One controversial aspect of drone attacks in Pakistan is that they are not conducted by the US military - which is expected to comply with the laws of armed conflict - but by the Central Intelligence Agency, whose operations are far from transparent, the BBC’s defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus reports.

The legality of the operations is also brought into question by the fact that Pakistan, unlike neighbouring Afghanistan, is not a zone of armed conflict, he adds.

Also, Thursday’s BBC Global News report discusses the simple act of sending in drones to other countries, like Yemen, or Pakistan. People have to live with foreign drones constantly humming over their heads, never knowing when or where it will strike. What sweet freedom…

BBC faces new 24-hour news strike on Monday

Stoppage over redundancies will be followed by ‘indefinite’ NUJ work to rule

Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ’s general secretary, said: “It is only two weeks since we took our last 24-hour strike action when there was a clear impact on programming and I would expect it to be another solid turnout by NUJ members across the BBC.

"They are angry at the way their colleagues are being treated and I would expect there to be significant impact on programming.

"It is unfortunate and our members don’t want to be in this position but they are absolutely taking this action for the right reasons."

A total of 387 posts are due to be scrapped across the BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring – of which around 100 are expected to be compulsory – following a cut in government funding.

Four people have so far left the World Service after being made compulsorily redundant, with another 43 due to leave on the day of the strike.

thepoliticalnotebook:

A BBC map detailing the drought in the Horn of Africa shows the incredibly large percentage of the Horn that is in danger. It also shows that the worst effects are concentrated in the South: the Al-Shabaab controlled areas.

This is particularly bad news, because Al-Shabaab, Somalia’s notoriously brutal Al Qaeda cell, is denying that there is a famine at all. Their spokesman, Ali Mohamud Rage said yesterday that the idea that there was a famine was “utter nonsense, 100 percent baseless and sheer propaganda.”  They say their ban on aid groups in the areas under their control would remain in effect. Meanwhile, nearly half of the Somali population faces a crisis that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said will take $300 million to address.

Read more at Al Jazeera and the BBC.