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December 30 2009 - January 5 2010
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-32
Best of British Vote for your favourite expat places and win a trip to London
Christmas secrets Letters by the Princess of Wales reveal her impatience with gifts
WORLD NEWS P15
Happy new health Obama gets a new year boost as Senate passes health care Bill
Hope in Helmand Thomas Harding on how things are looking up in Afghanistan
Imaginary friends How a fictional teacher got pally with the powerful
1815 26 32 36 37 2 8 23 25 36 42
Bonus Ball 22
Bonus Ball 30
There were no winners of either Wednesday’s or Saturday’s jackpots. Next week is a double rollover
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Continued from page 1 agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. British security officers will need to explain why they remained unaware of a would-be terrorist living in London for three years.
Earlier this year, Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, suggested that al-Qaeda cells in Britain were being forced to “keep their heads down” due to the success of the service’s operations.
The attempted atrocity will also prompt concerns in the US that Britain is increasingly being used as a base by Islamic extremists planning attacks overseas. In Washington, US officials are already under pressure to explain why the threat posed by Mutallab was not taken more seriously and why alarm bells did not ring when he paid for his ticket in cash and did not check in any luggage.
Embassy officials in Nigeria, who had been warned of Mutallab’s behaviour by his father, were accused of not wording their warning more strongly. Mutallab has told the FBI that al-Qaeda provided the bomb materials and training after he made contact with a cell in Yemen. He bought a ticket for almost $3,000 and, carrying a US visa issued in London last year, returned to Nigeria on December 24. He flew to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam and transferred to the flight to Detroit.
His device included PETN, one of the ingredients of the plastic explosive Semtex, but got through security in Nigeria and Holland. He had allegedly hidden the powder in a condom strapped to his inner thigh along with a syringe of liquid to mix with it. It is thought that he assembled the device in the lavatory after complaining to fellow passengers about a stomach upset. It ignited but did not explode. Mutallab lived with relatives in a West End apartment while studying at UCL but cut off ties with his family after he graduated. He
> ON BOARD FLIGHT 253
> SEATING ON FLIGHT 253
SEAT 20J Jasper Schuringa
passengers and crew were onboard the A330
SEAT 19A Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab
1 Shortly before Northwest Flight 253 is due to land at Detroit, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab spends 20 minutes in the lavatory before returning to seat
19A clutching a pillow
2 He complains of an upset stomach and pulls a blanket over himself to conceal a syringe used to inject chemicals into a powder-filled condom sewn into his underwear
3 Passengers hear a popping sound and smell a strange odour. Those closest see Mutallab's trouser leg and the wall of the airplane next to him on fire
4 Jasper Schuringa (below),
in seat 20J, sees the smoke and jumps across the centre section of seats.
He rips the device from Mutallab's leg and pats down the flames
Schuringa pulls Mutallab from his seat as crew douse the flames. Mutallab is taken to first class where he is stripped, searched and handcuffed.
He remains there until police board the plane
Graphic Andrew Blenkinsop moved to the Middle East and then to Yemen, sending a text message last August warning them that they might not see him for a number of years.
There was another alert on
Sunday night after a second plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Detroit.
The pilot raised the alarm after a Nigerian on the flight from Amsterdam locked himself in the lavatory for up to an hour. He was eventually dragged out after crew broke down the door. It later emerged that he had been feeling sick.
By Richard Spencer CRACKS appeared in the Islamic regime’s control of Iran on Sunday as security forces failed to quell protests across the country.
Demonstrators set fire to banks and government buildings, including local headquarters of the feared Basij militia, and there were reports that some police officers were refusing orders to shoot into the crowds.
Opposition groups said at least nine people were killed in Tehran and Tabriz as the Basij and other regime forces used gunfire and tear gas in an unsuccessful attempt to clear crowds of people chanting slogans against the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Videos and photographs posted online and emailed abroad by opposition groups showed scenes of conflict. One was of a young protester, who was being comforted on the ground on Keshavarz Boulevard with blood pouring from his head.
Another of the five victims in Tehran was an elderly man, who also received gunshot wounds to the head. Also among those killed was the nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the pro-reform former prime minister whose defeat in presidential elections by the hardline incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, triggered weeks of protests in June.
Police and security forces had been expecting trouble on Sunday, the seventh day of mourning for the death of Iran’s leading reformist cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Hossein Montazeri.
It was also the politically symbolic commemoration of Ashura, when Shia Muslims remember the Imam Hussein, the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, whom they believe was martyred by the tyrannical Caliph Yazid. The authorities had issued warnings, roundly ignored, that the commemorations should not be tainted with anti-regime demonstrations.
Attempts to force back demonstrators – chanting “Death to the dictator” and “Khamenei will be toppled”– with tear gas failed. Baton charges and shots fired into the air also had little effect, leading to the order to shoot directly into the crowds, according to opposition websites. Three people died in the first volley. There were also dozens of injuries, with victims reportedly leaving hospital as soon as they were treated to avoid being identified by the authorities. telegraph.co.uk/expat
December 30 2009 - January 5 2010
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By Anita Singh THE nation owes a “profound” debt of gratitude to the Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan, the Queen said in her Christmas message as she spoke of her sadness at the large number of casualties.
The families of those killed in the conflict have shown “immense dignity in the face of great personal loss”, she said. In a Christmas Day broadcast that evoked memories of her 1992 “annus horribilis” speech, the Queen described 2009 as a year “best forgotten” for many, a reference to the recession.
“Each year that passes seems to have its own character,” she said. “Some leave us with a feeling of satisfaction, others are best forgotten. 2009 was a difficult year for many, in particular those facing the continuing effects of the economic downturn.
“I am sure that we have all been affected by events in Afghanistan and saddened by the casualties suffered by our Forces serving there.
“Our thoughts go out to their relations and friends who have shown immense dignity in the face of great personal loss. But we can be proud of the positive contribution that our servicemen and women are making, in conjunction with our allies.”
The number of military personnel who have died in Afghanistan in 2009 stands at 106, with four deaths in the week before Christmas. “Well over 13,000 soldiers from the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth — Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore — are currently serving in Afghanistan,” the Queen said. “The debt of gratitude owed to these young men and women, and to their predecessors, is indeed profound.”
The television broadcast featured footage of thousands lining the streets of Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, on the July day when the bodies of eight British soldiers were brought home. Wearing a turquoise dress, and a brooch from the collection of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the Queen also spoke of the “personal and living bond” between Commonwealth countries.
“In many aspects of our lives, whether in sport, the environment, business or culture, the Commonwealth connection remains vivid and enriching. It is, in lots of ways, the face of the future. And with continuing support and dedication, I am confident that this diverse commonwealth of nations can strengthen the common bond that transcends politics, religion, race and economic circumstances,” she said. The Queen ended her speech by urging people to show compassion and concern for those less fortunate, even though “we may ourselves be confronted by a bewildering array of difficulties and challenges”.
The address had echoes of the Guildhall speech in which the Queen referred to 1992 as her annus horribilis.
It was the year that Windsor Castle was damaged by fire, and that the Duke and Duchess of York announced their separation.
Members of the Royal family attended a Christmas Day service at Sandringham,
Clockwise from left: the Queen with a young well-wisher, the Countess of Wessex (top), Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Princes Charles and Edward, and Zara and Autumn Phillips, all at Sandringham
Norfolk. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Princes William and Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Countess of Wessex and Zara Phillips were among those who walked from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalene Church.
Four deaths in four days, page 5
By Paul Stokes THE search is continuing for a British graduate who disappeared in the Swiss Alps last week. Myles Robinson, 23, was last seen in the early hours of last Tuesday when he walked a family friend from a bar to her hotel in Wengen. He was staying with his family in another hotel a few hundred yards away. His mother, Sarah Robinson, 59, said: “We are just so confused that he has just vanished into thin air. We can’t think of any reason why, we just don’t know. It’s all a bit of a nightmare.
“Christmas hasn’t occurred in our lives this year, we just live one day at a time and we do the best we can. Christmas Day was just another day of looking for him.” Police have taken DNA samples from Mr and Mrs Robinson for possible identification purposes.
Army helicopters with thermal imaging equipment and sniffer dogs have been used to help in the search, along with mountain rescue teams and friends of the missing man. Mr Robinson attended Charterhouse School before going to Newcastle University, where he graduated in economics and maths in June. He is due to start a job with a financial services company in London next week. Mr Robinson, who is 6ft 5in tall, spent the last evening he was seen playing pool and drinking beer with his friends and his sister, Cara. He was wearing blue jeans, a white polo shirt, a dark sweater and a dark jacket.
Myles Robinson, above with his sister Cara, was last seen when he walked a family friend to her hotel at a Swiss Alpine resort
By Paul Stokes A BRITISH skier was killed in an avalanche while on holiday in the French Alps.
Nigel Jackson, 43, failed to return for dinner on Christmas Day to a chalet he was sharing with a friend in the resort of Chamonix. His body was discovered face down in a snow drift by police in the ski area of Le Tour the next day.
It is believed he had veered off-piste and became caught in a small avalanche while out alone in a blizzard.
Mr Jackson, originally from Liverpool but living in London, was the second person to die in an avalanche in the area within a week. On December 21, a 25-yearold French snowboarder was found under 6ft of snow just over the Swiss border in Tête de Balme.
The risk of avalanches in Chamonix was classed as “considerable” over Christmas, with heavy snow followed by warm winds of up to 80mph.
Before Mr Jackson was reported missing, temperatures had risen suddenly, tempting skiers back on to the slopes.
A spokesman for the mountain police in the Haute Savoie region said: “Conditions were extremely dangerous, with visibility often down to zero and snow falling constantly. The man went missing while out skiing and then failed to meet a friend who was on holiday with him.
“A search was launched but it was called off on Friday night as conditions deteriorated.”
By Myra Butterworth A RECORD number of shoppers are taking advantage of the high street sales to make extra savings before the rise in VAT at the end of the week.
Stores reported high demand for so-called bigticket items such as television sets and washing machines as shoppers sought to benefit from the past few days of the lower rate of value added tax.
The tax was cut from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent in November 2008, but is due to go back to its former level on New Year’s Day.
The number of people on Britain’s high streets on Boxing Day was the highest level since 1998, according to researchers Synovate.
Tim Denison, director at Synovate, said: “We anticipate that the rest of the week will carry on in a similar strong vein, before the VAT rate returns to 17.5 per cent. The week immediately following Christmas has increasingly become a key trading week of the year, when people shop primarily for themselves, rather than for others.
“Householders cannot expect high-ticket items to become any cheaper in 2010, so many of us will be out exploring what deals can be had this side of the new year.
“They know VAT is going up and so if they can save money, they will do.”
Felicity Wilson, 28, queued from 6.30am on Boxing Day for the Next sale to start at the Bullring in Birmingham. “I’ve had a bit of Christmas money and wanted to make sure I spent it wisely” she said. “I’m a sucker for a good bargain so I thought I’d fight my way through the masses in the hope of getting something. I’ve already bought a coat for £30 – it should have been £100, so I’m really chuffed with that.”
Bluewater shopping centre in Kent expected Sunday to be the busiest over Christmas. Sales at John Lewis are up almost a quarter on the Christmas period last year, while Boxing Day saw the highest number of visits to its website. Andrew Murphy, director of operational development, said: “We’ve seen some VAT purchases, particularly in white goods, where sales figures have been stronger than usual.”
John Lewis is not returning VAT to its original level until the end of January, saying that the new year is the worst possible time for the rise. It joins other leading retailers and restaurateurs in condemning the timing of the return of VAT to its original level as “an administrative nightmare”.