The events concerning the Columbia are indeed tragic but let us not be too quick to call it a national tragedy. It is a terrible thing when people die but this has no relevance to the people of a nation as a whole. I didn't know the seven passengers and you probably didn't but their families did and it is them that I feel sorry for.

I especially feel sorry for the family of Ilan Ramon. The first Israeli in space. While America may mourn at this "national catastrophe", the fact that there was a non-American on board may indeed be overlooked. Let us not forget that the events on September 11th were deemed a national tragedy and that there were many foreigners killed on that day, too

In other news, John Gregg was shot dead in Belfast and this could lead to more troubles in Northern Ireland, for which British Forces may be needed in a peace-keeping capacity. Combined with the second day of the current fire-strike, for which the British army and their Green Goddesses are covering, this leaves the British army stretched. Let us hope that the War on Iraq does not happen because we do not have the forces to deal with that as well.