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March 16 - 22 2011
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-32
‘Sack the Duke’ Former ambassador calls for prince to step down as trade envoy
‘Fred the Shred’ gagging order Banker Sir Fred Goodwin has taken out a super injunction
Ancient crossroads Richard Dorment on an extraordinary display of Afghan art
Tchenguiz brothers arrested Billionaires detained by SFO over collapse of Kaupthing bank
11 9 37 40 41 49 7 17 19 29 30 38
Bonus Ball 33
Bonus Ball 40
There was one winner of Wednesday’s £17.8m jackpot but no one won Saturday’s £4.1m prize
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By Christopher Hope Whitehall Editor ANDREW LANSLEY on Sunday signalled a retreat over his plans to reform the National Health Service and give more powers to GPs.
The Health Secretary suggested that he could “amend” his reforms after delegates at the Liberal Democrat spring conference condemned them as “damaging and unjustified”.
The Health Bill proposes handing control of 80 per cent of NHS spending on commissioning to GPs and introduce more private competition, abolishing primary health care trusts.
Doctors are reportedly preparing to debate a series of motions that are highly critical of the policy at a meeting of the British Medical Association this week. One motion includes a vote of no confidence in the Health Secretary.
There are also fears that the changes would mean decisions were taken on the basis of cost rather than priority.
A motion condemning the reforms as a “damaging and unjustified market-based approach” was passed unanimously at the Lib Dem conference in Sheffield.
Speaker after speaker demanded a rethink, while the backbencher Andrew George insisted that the Lib Dems should not be “the architects of [the NHS’s] demise”.
Baroness Williams, the former Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords, said the plans could allow private firms to “cherry-pick” profitable NHS services
The party’s activists are now hoping that the plans will be amended by Lib Dem MPs or peers in coming weeks.
Speaking on BBC One’s The Politics Show, Mr Lansley said that if the Government could “clarify and amend in order to reassure people” then it would do so. Mr Lansley said he recognised the concerns expressed by the Lib Dems in Sheffield, adding that the plans were “always under review”.
Despite the criticism, Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, insisted in his keynote speech that the Government was right to press ahead with the reforms.
“No government of which I am part will tamper with the essential contract at the heart of the NHS: to care collectively for each other as fellow citizens,” he said. “World-class health care for all … Yes to health reforms,
but no — always no — to the privatisation of health.”
The possible about-turn follows the decision to scrap plans to sell large tracts of forest after widespread criticism. Last year plans to scrap free milk for the underfives were also swiftly dropped.
This week, doctors at the BMA meeting are expected to accuse Mr Lansley of deliberately distorting the NHS’s record to justify restructuring the service in England. One motion reportedly criticises “the Government’s use of misleading and inaccurate information to denigrate the NHS”.
Separately, Mr Lansley released figures that indicated that the “NHS can’t afford to stand still if it is going to cope with the increasing number of people with one or more long-term conditions”, which is set to increase dramatically by 252 per cent by 2050.
Almost one in three of the population has a long-term condition such as asthma, heart and lung disease, arthritis, hypertension and diabetes.
The Department of Health said that the NHS “will not be able to meet this increase in demand unless it changes”.
By Rob Crilly in Benghazi FORCES loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi continued their march towards the opposition stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya this week, seizing another key oil town along the Mediterranean coast.
Witnesses said a ragtag army of rebel fighters withdrew in disarray from Brega under heavy aerial bombardment.
The past week has seen a string of rebel towns recaptured by government forces equipped with tanks and supported by warplanes.
Zawiyah to the west was reclaimed by Col Gaddafi’s forces, and the deputy foreign minister said at the weekend that leading al-Qaeda members had been arrested in the town and would be put on show for the television cameras.
Col Gaddafi’s forces were also edging closer to Misurata, the last major town in western Libya still in rebel hands. An army spokesman denied reports that soldiers from the Khamis Brigade, which was fighting to take control of Misurata, had defected. He added that outright force would not be needed to defeat rebels “because they just put their hands up and run away”.
‘Today I’m going to teach you how to surrender with your bare hands’
The loss of Brega is a major setback for the opposition, which last week held a swath of eastern Libya but now fears a rapid assault on Benghazi, Libya’s second city, and the prospect of a long, drawn-out guerrilla war.
“There’s no uprising any more,” said Nabeel Tijouri, whose machinegun had been destroyed in the fighting.
“The other day we were in Ras Lanuf, then Brega, the day after tomorrow they will be in Benghazi.”
Retreating fighters, mostly young volunteers, leapt into pick-ups mounted with antiaircraft guns before racing along the coastal road towards Ajdabiya, a little more than 50 miles away, the gateway to the main rebel cities of Benghazi and Tobruk. Libyan state television later declared Brega “purged of the armed gangs”.
The flat, empty terrain has left the rebels desperately exposed to the Libyan regime’s superior firepower as they try to defend a series of road checkpoints.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the provisional rebel government in Benghazi, told The Telegraph that military units had been kept back from the front line to defend the city. However, he said the opposition was out-gunned and would remain vulnerable without a no-fly zone and air strikes targeting Col Gaddafi’s network of palaces and command centres.
On Sunday, mobile phone networks in Benghazi went down, spreading panic that an attack was imminent. Residents are buying weapons to defend their homes and families, sending the black market price of an AK47 rifle spiralling from a couple of hundred dollars to up to $2,000 (£1,200).
Arab League calls for no-fly zone to be imposed, page 15 Con Coughlin, page 21
MORE than 1,000 Saudi troops have entered Bahrain where anti-regime protests have raged for a month, a Saudi official said on Monday, as demonstrators took over Manama’s central business district.
Pro-democracy protesters poured into the banking hub, witnesses said, as Saudi forces appeared poised to help the embattled government restore order in the strategic Gulf kingdom, home to the US Fifth Fleet.
The Saudi troops entered Shia-majority Bahrain on Sunday as part of the Gulf countries’ joint Peninsula Shield Force, the Saudi official said.
The intervention came “after repeated calls by the [Bahraini] government for dialogue, which went unanswered” by the opposition, he said.
The Bahraini government has not confirmed the presence of Saudi troops in the archipelago, which has been ruled by a Sunni dynasty for more than 200 years.
But the website of Bahrain’s Alyam newspaper, which is close to the Al-Khalifa royal family, said forces from the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council were expected to enter Bahrain to help boost security.
Helicopters buzzed over the Financial Harbour business complex which was blocked off by protesters, a day after more than 200 people were injured there in clashes between riot police and demonstrators, residents said.
Sunday was the worst day of violence in the tiny Gulf kingdom – which is joined to Saudi Arabia by a causeway across the Gulf – since seven people were killed at the start of anti-regime unrest a month ago.
Police appeared to have deserted the area, while shopping malls and office towers were closed, witnesses said. Protesters continued to hold a sit-in at Pearl Square just outside the financial district, while others were blocking roads leading to the business district. Most workers seemed to be following a trade union call for a general strike to protest against violence by the security forces.
The Saudi intervention came two days after Robert Gates, the US Defense Secretary, visited Manama and urged King Hamad to undertake rapid and significant democratic reform, not just “baby steps”.
Britain and Australia urged citizens to avoid all travel to the country. telegraph.co.uk/expat
March 16 - 22 2011
T Japan in crisis For breaking news of the unfolding disaster and information on British expats and travellers telegraph.co.uk/japan
Continued from page 1
sleeping in makeshift shelters in areas that were still cut off.
The British-based charity Shelterbox, which normally distributes packages containing tents and other vital supplies in the Third World, was among those trying to reach them.
Its operations director, John Leach, said: “Japan is a very rich nation, but the sheer volume of people displaced is what will cause a problem.
“We are fairly certain that tents will be needed in the north. In this cold weather, without access to shelter, humans who are exposed to the elements really start to suffer, especially if they are wet.”
He added that the shortage of drinking water in areas swamped by sludge could cause health problems.
“The worry for somewhere like Japan, with pretty high levels of sanitation, is that most people will have very low levels of immunity to waterborne diseases,” he said.
A spokesman for Save the Children added: “Our team has been in Asahi today, three hours from Tokyo. It’s a town that has hardly had any media coverage and yet 19,000 households have been affected. That gives you an idea of the scale of this.”
The British Red Cross was among the charities to have set up disaster relief appeals. Even the southern Afghan city of Kandahar pledged £30,000 in aid to Japan.
The final death toll from the disaster is unlikely to be known for weeks. Police in the Miyagi prefecture, which includes the devastated port of Sendai, said 10,000 lives were likely to have been lost there alone. The Foreign Office said it had received 3,200 calls from Britons who had been unable to contact relations in Japan.
As rescue teams from more than 70 countries helped sift through the rubble of collapsed buildings and tried to reach those still stranded, there were warnings that the country was in danger of more earthquakes. Japan’s meteorological agency said on Sunday there was a 70 per cent chance of a magnitude7.0 tremor hitting the region in the next few days — significantly smaller than last Friday’s earthquake but bigger than any of the scores of aftershocks over the weekend.
The risk of a nuclear accident also remained as experts continued to work on preventing three reactors at the ageing Fukushima atomic plant from overheating.
The crisis at the plant – where the outer shell of the building that housed reactor No1 exploded last Saturday – was rated as a four out of seven on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, compared with a five for the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979 and seven for the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
The Japanese government admitted that there was a risk of a second explosion at the Fukushima site, but insisted that there was no major health risk, despite 160 people being exposed to radiation at the plant over the weekend, of whom 22 suffered contamination.
A state of emergency was also declared at the Onagawa nuclear power plant and there were also reports of a problem with the cooling system at the Tokai No2 reactor about 80 miles from Tokyo. ÞTo donate to the Red Cross tsunami appeal go to www. redcross.org.uk. To donate to Shelterbox visit www. shelterbox.org.
Total devastation: above, rescue workers search for victims in Noda village, and (left) underneath an upturned house in Natori City. Below, a boat washed ashore by the force of the waves crushes a home near Sendai. Bottom, before and after satellite images show how an area of Sendai was stripped bare by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami
SCIENTISTS and technicians have been battling to control two overheating reactors at the 40-year-old Fukushima Daiichi facility after cooling systems were knocked out by the earthquake.
Just after Prime Minister Naoto Kan went on television to tell the nation that the plant was in an “alarming” state, its No3 reactor erupted in a resounding blast that was felt 25 miles away.
The explosion injured six workers and four soldiers, and sent clouds of white smoke billowing into the sky.
Japan’s government sought to play down fears of a dangerous radiation leak, saying the reactor’s inner containment vessel, which holds the nuclear fuel rods, was still intact following the blast, caused by a hydrogen build up.
A similar, previous explosion blew apart the building
The explosion at Fukushima nuclear plant on Monday surrounding the plant’s No1 reactor last Saturday.
A total of 22 people were confirmed to have suffered radiation contamination following that blast, and up to 190 may have been exposed.
Sea water is being dumped into both the affected reactors in a desperate attempt to cool them amid fears of a possible meltdown. If that happens they could release radioactive material into the air.
The nuclear safety agency rated the Fukushima incident as a 4 on the 1 to 7 International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. Chernobyl was a 7.
Following the latest explosion, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: “The soundness of the reactor container has been maintained.”
But nuclear experts said it was probably the first time in the industry’s 57-year history that sea water had been used in this way, a sign of how close Japan may be to a major accident.
Some 210,000 people living near the battered nuclear reactors have been evacuated. But 746 elderly people, including patients and care workers at three hospitals and nursing homes, are known to have remained within a 12-mile exclusion zone imposed by the government.
By Gordon Rayner FEARS that Japan could be tipped back into recession by the cost of the tsunami triggered concerns on Sunday about the economic impact of the disaster on the rest of the world. Within minutes of opening early on Monday, the Nikkei shares index had dropped more than five per cent, while Japan’s central bank injected a record seven trillion yen (£51billion) into the economy to provide liquidity.
Japan accounts for more than seven per cent of the world economy, meaning that any major disruptions to its output are felt all over the planet.
Economists warned that up to two per cent could be wiped off the value of UK
stocks and shares, which would equate to a £30 billion drop in the value of the FTSE 100 index. British insurance firms which do business in Japan are likely to suffer the biggest losses.
Prof Douglas McWilliams, the founder of the Centre for Economic and Business Research, said: “In this country, insurers are the ones in the direct firing line, because a proportion of the cost of the disaster, which is likely to be in the fifties of billions, will come through the UK.” With a large percentage of Japan’s factories temporarily shut down because of earthquake and tsunami damage, other British firms doing business in Japan are likely to suffer a knock-on effect.
Japan was already trying to overcome the world’s biggest deficit before the tsunami devastated the north of the country last Friday. It had slipped to third, behind China, in the list of the world’s biggest economies. Ministers have suggested that taxes might have to be raised to pay for the rebuilding programme.
Some of Japan’s leading manufacturers, such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Sony and Panasonic were forced to halt production. Many industries are suffering from a shortage of electricity caused by the shutting down of nuclear power plants and damage to oil refineries and gas facilities, some of which caught fire after the earthquake.
By David Barrett BRITISH families were among thousands across the world who this week posted desperate pleas on websites for information about loved ones caught in the Japanese earthquake.
As the country’s communications network suffered almost complete collapse in the areas worst hit by last Friday’s tsunami, friends and family of the missing searched desperately on the internet for even the smallest crumbs of comfort.
Google has created a special “person finder” page, originally launched last year after the Haiti earthquake, which gathers messages about the missing, and matches them with information emerging from Japan.
At the weekend, there were more than 60,000 entries on the database, the total rising by the hour. The Red Cross had set up a similar site.
The family of Brian Hickebottom, a British teacher, were desperate for news of the 34 year-old, his infant daughter and Japanese wife, who live in the city of Tagajo, about seven miles from Sendai, among the areas worst affected by the disaster.
Mr Hickebottom, from Birmingham, has lived in Japan for three years and teaches English in schools. His sister, Emma, 28, said: “We are all very worried. Mum and dad were due to visit Brian in two weeks’ time because they haven’t yet met their granddaughter.”
Mr Hickebottom’s wife,
Sanae, gave birth to their first child, Erin, six months ago. His sister posted an appeal for information on her brother’s whereabouts on the Google page.
“We have tried emailing, phoning and texting to see if the family are all OK, but we’ve heard nothing yet,” she said.
Some of those feared missing managed to pass messages to their family on the internet as communications were haltingly restored.
Shirley Joy, from Hull, said she had traced her son Christopher Andrews, 34, who is teaching in the city of Mito.
“We had a brief message on Facebook saying he was OK. He had 85 missed calls on his phone asking if he was all right,” she said.