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December 16 - 22 2009
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μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 29-32
Afghanistan latest Army chief appeals for public support as 2009 deaths hit 100
Kings of credit Jeremy Warner examines the role of the rating agencies
Playing away Desmond Morris on our irrepressible urge for infidelity
Going nowhere fast Maureen Cleave recalls hanging out with The Beatles
EXPAT LIFE P30-31
Special report What international schooling might mean for your child
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Bonus Ball 6
Bonus Ball 4
There were two winners of Saturday’s £4.3m jackpot and two winners of Wednesday’s £2.8m prize
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By Robert Winnett Deputy Political Editor in Kandahar BRITISH troops in Afghanistan find a homemade bomb every two hours, the Prime Minister disclosed on a visit to the country on Sunday.
The Government was due to announce on Tuesday that an extra fund of more than £150million will be allocated to tackle the increasing threat from guerrilla warfare. This follows the death of 100 British soldiers in Afghanistan this year.
After talks with military commanders, Gordon Brown disclosed that British forces had defused 1,600 improvised explosive devises (IEDs) – an average of one every two hours – in recent months.
The Taliban’s increased use of the devices will heighten fears that the British death toll in Afghanistan could rise sharply in coming months as the first of Britain’s additional 500 soldiers arrive. IEDs are responsible for more than 80 per cent of British deaths. The number of amputees also doubled this year to 32.
It is thought that Mr Brown became the first Prime Minister since Churchill to stay in a war zone overnight after sleeping in basic military accommodation in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, last Saturday. The visit was symbolic as the city is the spiritual home of the Taliban. Sunday marked the eighth anniversary of its liberation.
In a rare visit to the city, President Hamid Karzai travelled to Kandahar for talks with the Prime Minister in which he expressed regret over the loss of British lives in the conflict and discussed next month’s conference in London which will look at a new strategy for Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister stayed in a prefabricated block on the Kandahar Allied Force base with shared latrine and bathroom facilities. The base is targeted by frequent rocket attacks. After recent criticism about his handling of the Armed Forces, Mr Brown said he wanted to experience military life first-hand. “I want to be here with the troops to thank them for what they are doing and to see what it is like working with them,” he said.
Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, will this week announce a “reprioritisation within the defence budget” and a new £150million initiative against IEDs.
Speaking about the devices on Sunday, Mr Brown said: “The reason they [the Taliban] are using this tactic is they can’t take on British forces face-to-face in armed conflict. They are now trying to fight a guerrilla war and cause maximum damage.”
Brig Dickie Davis, the British Chief of Staff of the Allied operation in southern Afghanistan, said the increasing number of IEDs showed the “evolving nature of the fight”.
He added: “I think we have seen a change in tactics – you
MATT CARDY/GETTY IMAGES
On the front line: Prime Minister Gordon Brown wears a helmet and body armour as he leaves an airbase in southern Afghanistan have action, reaction then action.” ÞA Giant hydroelectric turbine dragged through Taliban-controlled territory by 2,000 British troops in September 2008, in what was hailed as one of the conflict’s biggest success stories, may never be installed because of security problems. The government-run United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has admitted it is now packing the turbine parts away and looking for other energy projects to invest in across Afghanistan because the area remains overrun with Taliban.
Continued from Page 1 Š Overseas visitors who bring groups of children into Britain for activities such as international camps or sports events must register only if they are here for more than three months. Š Parents who are hosts for exchange visits for fewer than 28 days, in cases where they have been directly chosen by an overseas family in a private arrangement, will not have to register. Š The minimum age for registration will be reviewed and ministers will make immediate changes so that those aged 16, 17 and 18 and in education will not have to sign up – covering Duke of Edinburgh award scheme volunteers.
The new scheme will come into force in July. Anyone who falls within the scope of the rules and is not cleared by the ISA before working faces a £5,000 fine.
Organisations that use such individuals without checks could be fined the same amount. Officials at Mr Balls’s Department for Children, Schools and Families said that the scheme was never meant to operate if an arrangement was a private, family one or had been made between friends and was not on a commercial basis. Mr Balls said: “Our aim throughout has been to develop an approach which is proportionate, balanced and effective, with the scheme operating in a way which is neither burdensome nor bureaucratic, or off-putting to potential volunteers – while still meeting the concerns of parents.
“However, some significant concerns have been expressed about the interpretation of one particular aspect of the scheme; the degree of contact with children which should trigger the requirement to register.” Mr Balls ordered the review after angry protests at the scope of the original regime.
Last week, head teachers from state and independent schools protested in a letter to Mr Balls that the legislation was excessive and disproportionate – and put at risk activities such as foreign exchange trips and work experience placements.
Philip Pullman, the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, one of several writers who had protested over the scheme’s proposals, said: “This sounds like an improvement. My concern, and that of countless other people – not only authors, but relatives and friends who volunteer to work with children – is that we would all have to be vetted, which is quite ridiculous.”
The Scout Association criticised many of the original scheme’s requirements. Simon Carter, a spokesman, said: “We have yet to receive any official announcement but if these suggestions are true, then we are very pleased.”
By Nick Pisa in Rome SILVIO BERLUSCONI, the prime minister of Italy, was left bloodied and shaken on Sunday night after he was punched in the face as he left a political rally in Milan.
The 73 year-old collapsed after he was apparently struck by a man who was clutching a small statue of the Duomo, the city’s world-renowned cathedral.
Police arrested Massimo Tartaglia, 42, a local man who has received treatment for mental health issues for the past 10 years.
A shaken Mr Berlusconi was dragged to his waiting car by his security guards and driven to the city’s San Raffaele Hospital. A hospital spokesman said: “The prime minister has suffered trauma to the front of his face, around the lips and nose, and he has two loose teeth, one of which is fractured and there may be damage to the nasal bone.’’ telegraph.co.uk/expat
Go online for the lastest celebrity picture galleries telegraph.co.uk/pictures
December 16 - 22 2009
By Anita Singh Showbusiness Editor JOE McELDERRY, the cherubic 18 year-old hailed as a new Cliff Richard, was crowned The X Factor winner on Sunday night.
In what was billed as the closest final in the history of the television talent show, McElderry beat Olly Murs, a call centre worker, to the biggest prize in the music business.
In front of an estimated television audience of 20million, the performing arts student from South Shields, Tyne and Wear landed a £1million recording deal and an all but guaranteed number one in the Christmas chart with a cover of the Miley Cyrus hit The Climb.
McElderry appeared stunned as the judges lined up to congratulate him. “I can’t even speak, thank you so much everyone,” he managed. His mentor Cheryl Cole was in tears as she saw her protégé crowned.
Later, he told ITV2’s Xtra Factor: “I couldn’t believe it, I nearly collapsed on stage, it’s amazing. I’ve had the best experience of my life.”
McElderry intends to spend his first royalty cheque on a house for his mother, Eileen, 47, who raised him as a single parent in a Tyneside flat.
He honed his talents in local singing competitions and first entered The X Factor in 2007, when he reached the boot camp stage.
This year, he was a bit-part player in the early shows, as the producers focused on the phenomenon that was Jedward.
However, he impressed the judges and the public week after week with his faultless vocals, and his squeaky-clean image and old-fashioned appeal prompted Louis Walsh, the X Factor judge, to describe him as “like a young Cliff”.
Victory was sealed last
£500,000 Value of the show’s sponsorship deal with Talk Talk
£75m The amount raised through phone votes and advertising during the 30 shows in the series
10m The number of people who voted in this year’s final. The figure is an increase of 2million on the 2008 final, which was won by
61.3 p c Proportion of callers who voted for Joe McElderry
Joe McElderry celebrates his victory with mentor Cheryl Cole. Inset: beaten contestant Olly Murs
Saturday night when he held his own in a duet with George Michael, who said the teenager had a “great future”.
After his victory was announced, Walsh said: “Joe, you’ve got everything. You’ve got the walk, the attitude, the charm. You’re a small boy with a big voice and a great future.” Simon Cowell, who will sign McElderry to his record label SyCo, said: “I remember the first time I saw you and I remember telling the other three, ‘This guy could actually win the show.’ I feel responsible for your success and very proud of everything you’ve achieved.”
Sunday night’s show, on ITV, also featured performances from Sir Paul McCartney and former winner Leona Lewis. It received the royal seal of approval from Prince Harry, who took his seat in the studio audience alongside his girlfriend, Chelsy Davy. His appearance comes after the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were outed as fans of Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC’s Saturday night offering.
The X Factor has trounced the dance show in the ratings this year. Last Saturday’s show pulled in 14.5million viewers to Strictly’s 9.1million.
A National Grid spokesman said there was a surge in demand equivalent to more than 250,000 people switching on their kettles — 750
megawatts, or the output of a medium-sized power station — after the final finished.
The talent show is a banker for ITV, making the broadcaster £75million this series. However, Cowell has threatened to pull the programme unless a further £3million is invested for production costs.
He wants to change the format next year and sign Robbie Williams, the pop singer, as a fifth judge.
Neil Midgley Review
JUST for one evening, the nation could come together and rejoice. Gordon Brown might have bankrupted us, our children might be illiterate, our Christmas cards might be stuck at the depot. But on Sunday night on ITV1, in an explosion of gloss, glamour and glitter, Simon Cowell let us forget it all for two precious hours.
In recent memory, no TV show has united the country like this series of The X Factor, and Sunday’s final admirably crowned three feelgood months. Mr Nice — cheeky Essex boy Olly Murs — squared up against Mr Nicer, Geordie teenager Joe McElderry.
This was classic Cowell commerce. ITV milked each ad break for every eyeball it could get, the 35p-a-go phone lines reeled in 10 million calls, the winning single was shamelessly plugged. The studio audience stamped, outside broadcasts from the finalists’ home towns of South Shields and Colchester roared and 20 million viewers or more cheered, shouted and sobbed.
Cowell and his crew showed that greed is good. Because that shameless, mass-market entertainment was a public service tonic like nothing the BBC has broadcast all year.
In the end, McElderry triumphed, and could barely contain his glee as he belted out his debut single, a cover of Miley Cyrus’s The Climb.
“There’s always gonna be another mountain,” he sang. “I’m always gonna wanna make it move.” When Cowell thinks of trying to top this lot next year, he must feel much the same way.
By Nick Allen in Los Angeles TIGER WOODS’S financial empire was crumbling last weekend after Accenture, one of his most important sponsors, pulled the plug on a £12million advertising deal.
The global business consulting company said it would not continue its agreement with Woods following the scandal surrounding his private life.
The announcement came as Woods’s wife, Elin Nordegren, was said to be considering ending their marriage and returning to her native Sweden, despite the sports star’s decision to take a break from golf, which could ultimately cost him £100million, to focus on his family. Miss Nordegren was reported to have spoken to divorce lawyers but any process would only begin in the new year, for the sake of their
10-month-old son and two-year-old daughter.
The couple are expected to spend Christmas together at a sixbedroom home Miss Nordegren recently bought on an island off Stockholm, where Woods is expected to make a last-ditch effort to save his marriage.
His wife is said to have told him to see a therapist following allegations that he had affairs with more than a dozen women.
One of them, Jamie Jungers, a 26year-old Las Vegas cocktail waitress, claimed on Sunday that she was with Woods at his home in California in 2006 when he learned that his father, Earl, had died from cancer. Woods admitted publicly for the first time last week that he had been unfaithful and said he was taking an “indefinite” break from golf. A year-long absence of its biggest star could cost the golf industry more than £300million.
In its first statement since the scandal erupted, Accenture said: “Given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising.”
The relationship between Woods and Accenture goes back six years, and the business has credited its “Go on, be a Tiger” marketing campaign, rolled out in 27 countries, with significantly boosting its image. It was the first major sponsor to sever links with Woods completely.
Gillette also distanced itself from the golf star, saying last Saturday that it would not air advertisements featuring Woods for an unspecified period. AT&T has said it is “evaluating” its relationship with the golfer.
It has been estimated that if Woods is out for a year he could lose £66million in income from advertising endorsements. He made £12million in prize money in 2007, his last full season, and would have been expecting to make even more in 2010. He could also lose out on an estimated £10million in appearance fees.
Nike, his main sponsor, said last Friday that it supported Woods’s decision to take time off. He signed a five-year deal with the company in 2006 for an estimated £70million.
In a further blow to Woods’s image, it was reported that officials from the Florida department of children and families visited his home.
Radar Online, a celebrity news website, claimed that they were escorted by police and were at the house for an hour. It said the visit was a routine follow-up to the investigation into Woods’s car crash.
The veteran BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss said it was possible Woods might not play professionally again.
“He’s going to have to put up with a lot of nonsense and ridicule and comment for the next 20 to 30 years and it depends how well he tackles that,” he said.
However, Max Clifford, the British publicist, said that taking a break was a “clever move”.
He said: “The golf world will miss him more than he will miss them because you’re taking the world’s top player out, the biggest attraction, the one that everyone wants to see.” Media analysts are already expecting his comeback tournament to be one of the most watched events in sporting history.
Features, page 24