Five reasons to be serious during the silly season

At the moment the papers are full of “silly season” stories (and blogs seem to be full of stories about how the media are full of silly season stories – we just need the TV to start covering how the blogs are covering … !), but just because J Prescott and G Brown go off on their summer holidays, it doesn’t mean the world stops turning.

So here are five serious (but I hope interesting!) stories that have just caught my eye in between the piece of Lego retrieved from the sea / remember to shake the sand out of your shoes before leaving the beach / etc stories:

a. Good news from the Amazon: the rate of deforestation has fallen by a quarter. Good news for our environment and for us all – which ever country we live in.

b. Sierra Leone has had pretty successful and free elections – and credit where credit’s due, this was one country where Labour’s much vaunted “ethical foreign policy” did seem to amount to something, with effective intervention to stop horrendous violence.

c. Big floods in China, affecting over 1.2 million people. Many stories of individual tragedy – and as with the Brazil story – possibly an interesting impact on us here in the UK too, because – will we see a run of major floods which the Chinese put down to climate change, and so hastens their own action on the global environment?

d. There looks to be a power struggle going on in Iran with the ministers for oil and mines and industry being sacked. With its nuclear potential, oil supplies and influence over Iraq and other countries the fallout could be a big story. Or it might be just a minor shuffling of names. Time will tell us…

e. Fears of the spread of bird flu may have subsided here recently, but it has just accounted for its first human victim on the island of Bali.

In fact – looking at that list again, I’m not sure that the news isn’t more interesting when the silly season arrives!