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August 18 - 24 2010
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-32
Golfing gag Colin Montgomerie uses an injunction to protect his privacy
Property before the ladder Archeologists in Yorkshire unearth Britain’s oldest house
Infinite power Funding is in place at last, but will the fusion reactor really work?
EXPAT LIFE P30-31
Special report Peter Pallot’s guide to health care for expats moving to Canada
21 4 25 27 31 34 5 13 17 31 42 46
Bonus Ball 45
Bonus Ball 4
There were three winners of Saturday’s £4.4m jackpot and one winner of Wednesday’s £2.5m prize
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By David Millward LONDON’S newest airport could be in Birmingham, thanks to improved rail links that will eventually cut the journey time to the heart of London down to 38 minutes.
With the coalition Government blocking expansion at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted, the West Midlands airport says it is “the solution” to the lack of capacity in the South East.
“Regional airports are part of an integrated transport solution,” said Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s chief executive. “I hope that any forthcoming aviation review will recognise the capacity that can be released through their efficient use as part of a networked ‘bigger picture’. Airports need to work better with other transport modes – and not just be bigger.”
“We have plenty of capacity and with excellent transport links we are uniquely positioned to attract passengers – including from the overheated South East – as part of an integrated approach. I hope that the Government’s new thinking will encourage others to take a fresh look at their travel habits and see that there are compelling alternatives to Heathrow.”
There is little doubt that the airport is ambitious. Birmingham has spent £100million over the past decade and wants to invest the same amount over the next 10 years. But much depends on its success in cutting the time it takes to get from the airport to London before the high-
Vital to the success of Birmingham Airport’s plans is the speeding up of the rail link to London speed line is built, which will slash the journey to Euston to 38 minutes.
Virgin Trains believes some engineering work around Coventry would, within a couple of years, make it possible for a passenger to get to Euston in about 50 minutes. This would bring Birmingham as close to the heart of London as Stansted, which is 45 minutes away from Liverpool Street. A journey will take about 15 minutes longer than coming into the capital from Gatwick and half an hour more than the Heathrow Express.
Virgin, which is hoping to renew its rail franchise on the West Coast Main Line, is also in talks with both the airport and a number of airlines over ticketing, which would enable passengers to pay for their plane and train trip at the same time.
“There are massive opportunities for growth at Birmingham International and we are working closely with the airport to deliver it,” said a Virgin Trains spokesman.
Within its existing structure, Birmingham could double to 18million the number of passengers it handles a year, a million less than currently handled by Stansted. The airport’s growth plans could take the figure up to 30million.
Birmingham also has permission to extend its runway by 400metres, which means that destinations such as China, Cape Town and the American West Coast would be within reach.
Connections within the airport are good, thanks to the
“SkyRail” train which takes only 91 seconds to transfer passengers from the railway station to the terminal. But much depends on convincing passengers that Birmingham is a viable alternative to London’s traditional airports.
One option is persuading people that it is worthwhile to “fly the train”, which would see the train ticket being included as part of the air fare. This is common practice in Germany, where passengers flying to Frankfurt pick up a high-speed train to nearby cities such as Cologne. Virgin Atlantic throws in a ticket on the Heathrow or Gatwick Express for its business class passengers.
Such initiatives would establish Birmingham as a major airport which could be an alternative to Heathrow.
By Stephen Adams DEATH rates from breast cancer in Britain have dropped by a third in a generation, according to a study released last week.
Between 1989 and 2006, the number of deaths fell by 34.3 per cent — faster than in any other main European country.
Cancer charities hailed the declining figures as evidence that new treatments and the reorganisation of services were beginning to yield results.
Despite the fall, Britain still has the eighth worst record out of 28 countries, with breast cancer killing 12,000 women every year.
Survival rates are better in Romania, Estonia and the Czech Republic. Women in Britain are more likely to die of the disease than in Spain, Scandinavia or Italy.
Researchers in Northern Ireland, France, Italy and Norway compared mortality rates from breast cancer, as recorded on death certificates,
from countries across western and central Europe.
Their analysis, published in the British Medical Journal, found British annual mortality rates from the disease fell from 41.6 deaths per 100,000 women in 1989, to 28.2 per 100,000 in 2006. Only Iceland saw a faster decline.
Between 1993 and 2008, the number of deaths dropped from 14,799 to 12,047, while the number of new cases rose from 40,451 to 45,695.
Anna Gavin, director of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, who co-authored the report, said: “Even though cases are going up, death rates are going down. In the past 20 years there has been massive investment. There are now new ways of treating the cancers that are targeted to individual patients.
“The treatment that people are getting in the NHS is as good as in other countries and we are now starting to see some of the benefit of that.”
By Matthew Moore and Larisa Brown STUDENTS have been warned that they may not receive their full loans in time for the start of the new university term because the body responsible for awarding funds is having administrative problems for a second successive year.
Twelve months ago, hundreds of thousands of undergraduates were left without money for rent and books following the collapse of the student loan system.
This year, students applying for loans and grants have reported weeks of delays as the Student Loans Company deals with a backlog of forms, caused by a record number of applications. It is expected there will be 80,000 more firsttime applicants than 2009.
Many students have complained that documents they sent to support their application have been lost or mislaid.
The company insisted that there would be no repeat of last year’s fiasco, but admitted it was facing an “uncomfortable” few weeks after A-level results are published on Thursday. Tens of thousands of teenagers who have delayed applying until they receive their grades may struggle to get their funding requests processed by September.
The company has created a scheme to allow students who fail to provide all the necessary documents by the start of term to receive three quarters of their maintenance grant.
The National Audit Office has warned of a “substantial risk” that some students will face delays similar to those of 2009.
A spokesman for the University and College Union, which represents lecturers, said renewed problems would be “deeply embarrassing” for the loans company.
The National Union of Students warned of “catastrophic” consequences for undergraduates.
Matthew d’Ancona, page 20 telegraph.co.uk/expat
August 18 - 24 2010
T Place a pin for a chance to win Tell us the best place in the world to live and win two flights telegraph.co.uk/expatproperty
By Murray Wardrop IT IS one of mountaineering’s most fiercely debated claims: that George Mallory and Andrew Irvine conquered Mount Everest 29 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Now, scientists claim to have found conclusive evidence that the history books do not have to be changed.
A study of weather data collected at the time of the 1924 expedition established that Mallory and Irvine were killed by a “perfect storm” as they closed in on the summit.
The scientists, who examined meteorological measurements taken at the Englishmen’s base camp, discovered that there was a catastrophic drop in atmospheric pressure as the pair made their final ascent, triggering a blizzard and a fatal drop in oxygen levels.
The sudden drop in oxygen was far greater than that which killed eight climbers on Everest on a single day in May 1996, according to the team from the University of Toronto.
“The disappearance of Mallory and Irvine is one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century, yet throughout the debates surrounding their disappearance, the issue of the weather has never really been addressed,” said Prof Kent Moore, of the university’s physics department.
“We analysed the barometric pressure measurements and found out that during the Mallory and Irvine summit attempt, there was a drop in barometric pressure at base camp of approximately 18millibars. This is quite a large drop. In comparison, the deadly 1996 Into Thin Air storm had a pressure drop at the summit of approximately 8millibars.
“We concluded that Mallory and Irvine most likely encountered a very intense storm as they made their way towards the summit.”
Mallory and Irvine were last seen vanishing into the clouds on Everest’s Northeast Ridge on June 8 1924, sparking decades of debate as to whether they reached the summit. In 1999, an expedition discovered the remarkably well preserved body of Mallory at 26,760ft on the north face of Everest.
The findings, which were based on data held at the Royal Geographical Society library in London, are published in the latest edition of Weather, the journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.
No relief Flooding spreads to the south as China mourns the dead
TORRENTIAL rain in China caused flash-flooding in the centre of a newly built residential complex in Yingxiu town, south-western China, on Sunday.
The latest disaster came as the nation held a day of mourning for victims of landslides in the north.
China has been hit by a series of landslides across the country as it battles the worst floods in a decade.
More than 1,200 people were killed in a remote mountain region in northern Gansu province, and at least 31 people were missing and 8,000 moved to safety after landslides in southern Sichuan. State television broadcast images of about 10,000 people who gathered in Tiananmen Square in Beijing to mourn the victims and watch a flagraising ceremony.
President Hu Jintao and other leaders paid tribute to the victims,
amid warnings that torrential rains forecast for the coming days could hamper relief efforts. Thousands of residents and rescuers in Gansu stopped search efforts to take part in their own ceremony.
Reports, pages 11 and 14
The ban will apply until Dec 31, but Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, has indicated it could last well into next year if the harvest is poor.
“We must not allow an increase in domestic prices
By Tom Balmforth in Moscow AN EMERGENCY ban on Russian grain exports came into force on Sunday, raising fears that bread prices around the world could increase sharply.
and must preserve the headcount of our cattle,” Mr Putin said, announcing the ban.
wildfires destroyed a third of Russia’s grain crop, meaning it will struggle to even meet the country’s own domestic needs.
Russia, the world’s number three wheat exporter last year, has already said that its grain harvest this year will be just 60-65million tons, compared with 97million tons harvested last year.
The Kremlin moved to halt grain exports after an unprecedented heatwave, drought and hundreds of
The ban has caused wheat prices worldwide to rise, fuelling fears of a repeat of the 2008 food crisis.
“The ban will drive up prices across the board but only temporarily,” said Chris Weafer, the chief strategist at Moscow-based Uralsib bank.
Although wheat prices have surged by a third, America’s “bumper crop” of wheat this year and surplus elsewhere will cover the shortfall, he said.
The wildfires across central and western Russia have killed at least 50 people, and destroyed thousands of homes.
Economists estimated the cost of the fires and drought at £9 billion.
News Digest, page 13
By Jon Swaine in Copenhagen and Martin Beckford LORD KINNOCK’S son faces a possible police inquiry after fresh evidence emerged that he may have avoided paying thousands of pounds in tax.
Police in Denmark are considering a complaint about the financial affairs of Stephen Kinnock, the 40year-old son of the former Labour leader. Mr Kinnock, who is married to the Danish opposition leader, has been accused of avoiding tax by understating the amount of time he spent in the country.
He is already under investigation by the Danish authorities in relation to his earnings last year. However, the investigation could now be widened to cover the past five years.
The scandal threatens to derail the career of Mr Kinnock’s wife, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the leader of the Left-wing Social Democrats, who has called for higher taxes. Miss Thorning-Schmidt, who was poised to become prime minister, has returned early from holiday to fight the claims. Mr Kinnock, a director of the World Economic Forum in Geneva, pays income tax on his £110,000 salary in Switzerland, where the rate is considerably lower than in Denmark. He told the Danish authorities that he spent no more than 33 weekends, from Friday to Monday, in Denmark each year.
Residents are liable for income tax if they spend 180 days in the country, including arrival and departure days. Mr Kinnock’s status allowed Miss Thorning
Schmidt to deduct about £40,000 in tax against mortgage repayments on their £500,000 Copenhagen town house. However, when she applied to make Mr Kinnock co-owner of the house, she said he was there “every weekend of the year”.
Amid Denmark’s biggest political row in recent years, Miss Thorning-Schmidt has apologised for her “error”. Mr Kinnock insisted that his original declaration was correct but promptly paid an estimated £29,000 Danish tax bill for 2009, to avoid any “grey areas”.
Frode Holm, an accountant for the couple, said they denied any wrongdoing. “There is no problem here,” he said. “Stephen was liable for tax in Switzerland. He did not break the Danish 180-day limit.”
The Telegraph can also disclose that the couple receive rental income from a flat they own in central London. It is thought that Miss Thorning-Schmidt pays Danish tax on her half of the income. But Mr Kinnock is assumed to have paid tax on his half in Britain, where tax was lower. Søren Aagaard, a tax lawyer, said his income from the London flat could also be called into question.
From 2004 to 2008, Mr Kinnock worked for the British Council in Russia. Its overseas employees have their salaries reduced by the amount they would have been taxed in Britain, under the assumption that they are based here.
But it is thought the Danish tax authority will examine whether Mr Kinnock’s domestic arrangements meant he was in fact liable for tax in Denmark.
Stephen Kinnock and his wife Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark’s Left-wing opposition leader at their Copenhagen town house (top); at their holiday home (above, right); and Mr Kinnock’s apartment in Geneva (above left)