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December 28 2011 - January 3 2012
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituariesPAGES 22-23 & 26
Leveson Inquiry Piers Morgan suggests Heather Mills leaked own voicemail
WORLD NEWS P14
Falklands shipping sanctions Ex-Royal Navy chief urges Britain to send nuclear submarine
Yuletide No1 Forces sweethearts who are ruining Simon Cowell’s Christmas
Welcome to Christmas Town A tiny corner of America famous for being a Scrooge-free zone
28 7 30 34 38 45
Bonus Ball 6
There were no winners of Wednesday’s £2.5m jackpot. The Telegraph went to press early because of the Christmas break and could not carry the results from Saturday’s draw. Our apologies.
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Emergency services inspect the damage after a huge car bomb was detonated in Baghdad
By Richard Spencer MORE than 70 people were killed last Thursday in a wave of bombings across Baghdad as Iraq plunged towards unfettered sectarian conflict within days of the departure of American troops.
At least 16 separate blasts struck mostly Shia neighbourhoods of the city, though some Sunni areas were also hit. The attacks ranged from “sticky bombs” — a bomb stuck to the side of a vehicle — to fully loaded car bombs, some doubled up to ensure emergency crews were caught by the second blast, a common tactic of Sunni insurgents.
Officials said that 72 people had been confirmed dead, and 217 injured, with the figures expected to rise.
Political leaders immediately connected the attacks to an angry breakdown last week in the relationship between Nouri al-Maliki, the Shia prime minister, and the country’s most senior Sunni figures.
“The timing of these crimes and the places where they were carried out confirm to all the political nature of the targets,” Mr Maliki said in a statement last Thursday night, suggesting they were a revenge attack and hinting they had political support. “The criminals and those who stand behind them will not succeed in changing events or the political process, or in escaping punishment.”
The worst single incident was a suicide attack near a government anti-corruption office in which a stolen ambulance packed with explosives was detonated by its driver, sending debris into the grounds of a nearby kindergarten. Police said 23 people were killed, including five investigators from the office.
A string of three explosions killed 18 people at a construction site in central Baghdad. The series of attacks was the most lethal since August and the second worst this year.
Major Gen Qassim Atta, the Baghdad security spokesman, said: “They didn’t target any vital institutions or security positions. They targeted children’s schools, day workers, the anti-corruption agency.”
President George W Bush’s “surge”, combined with a tactic of using militant Sunni groups against the even more violent local al-Qaeda network, brought the intense violence of 2006-07 under some sort of control by 2008.
Elections last year, which ended in an uneasy coalition government, were supposed to cement the truce between Sunni and Shia politicians and gangs loyal to them.
By agreement, the prime minister was to be Shia, the president Kurdish and the vice-president Sunni.
The irony of the Iraq war was that the minority Sunnis, who had most to lose from the fall of Saddam Hussein, were left with most to fear from the US departure and the prime political position left to Shia parties.
After the final pull-out of American troops two weeks ago, Mr Maliki moved quickly to assert control.
Sectarian divisions: Page 15 Shashank Joshi: Page 21
By Robert Winnett AIRLINES, travel companies and retailers are to be banned from charging fees when people pay by credit or debit cards, ministers announced last week.
Customers are being charged as much as £12 to use their cards when they pay, though the transactions cost as little as 20p to process.
In some cases, the surcharges are higher than the value of the item being purchased.
A Treasury minister said people were “sick” of being “ripped off” by the hidden charges. Legislation would be introduced by the end of next year.
Mark Hoban, the financial secretary to the Treasury, said consumers should be able to shop around. “They have a right to understand the charges they may incur up front and not be hit through a hidden, last-minute payment surcharge,” he said.
“We’re leading the way in Europe by stopping this practice. Consumers are sick of the rip-off culture and we are determined to do what we can to end it.”
Over the past few years, card surcharges have risen sharply particularly among low-cost airlines, who were among the first to bring in the levies. The cost of booking a Ryanair return flight with a debit card has risen 15-fold to
£12 since 2004. The charges have now spread to many other areas including cinema tickets, utility bills, holidays and even some government departments. The DVLA and HM Revenue and Customs charge extra for credit card payments.
Consumer experts say Toyota levied a £75 fee to buy a car with a credit card. The fees are believed to cost consumers hundreds of millions of pounds a year.
In many cases, the charge is only disclosed during the closing stages of the booking process, making it difficult for consumers to compare prices. Ministers intervened after Which?, the consumer watchdog, complained about the fees to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the regulator.
In June, the OFT found that the fees were detrimental to consumers and proposed that firms should be more open about the levies.
Earlier last week, the OFT ordered banks to stop charging consumers so-called foreign exchange fees when they use their bank cards abroad.
Banks had been accused of “charging customers for the privilege of taking money out of their own account”.
The move could save consumers millions of pounds a year.
However, the ban on credit card fees is expected to be vigorously opposed.
Continued from page 1
Mrs Hodge has been especially critical of the fact that HMRC had done deals with business that are not available to ordinary people.
Last year 1.4 million people were sent backdated tax demands totalling almost £4 billion after problems with the PAYE system. The taxman has also sought to raise extra revenues by clamping down on any tax avoidance by workers.
The revenue claimed that the committee’s report is “based on partial information, inaccurate opinion and some misunderstanding of facts”.
A spokesman said the conclusions were “risible given that we’re bringing in more money than ever before”.
“Senior HMRC officials sought to be co-operative by providing as much information as possible within the legal constraints of taxpayer confidentiality,” said the spokesman.
The report also warns that HMRC may be ill-equipped to deal with changes to child benefit as complex alterations to the system come into force.
The changes to the benefit will be administered by HMRC from 2013. telegraph.co.uk/expat
December 28 2011 - January 3 2012
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By Anita Singh IT IS a tale of courage and devotion that could have come straight from the pages of War Horse.
A teenage soldier in the First World War braves enemy fire to rescue one of his horses from a lonely death on the battlefield.
The selfless act earned the Military Medal for George Turner, the young man in question, but his heroics were known to few outside his family. Now his story is being shared as Steven Spielberg’s War Horse adaptation throws light on the real-life stories behind the fictional adventures.
The Hollywood film is based on Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling book about a boy named Albert who follows his horse, Joey, to war. Like Albert, George Turner was just 16 when he joined the Army in 1914. The apprentice carpenter from Hereford was assigned a job as a driver transporting supplies by horse with the 56th (London) Division Royal Artillery.
Armed with the Blue Cross Drivers and Gunners Handbook, he taught himself to look after his charges, During one battle, his division was crossing a field when a German observation balloon picked up the glint of sunlight on the horse brasses.
The convoy was shelled and Turner was blown off Dolly, his particular favourite. Picking himself up, he realised Dolly was relatively unscathed but another horse had severe injuries. Turner led the horse to a copse and returned to the front line to ask an officer to go back with him to put the horse out of its misery.
The officer got half way across the field but was forced to turn back as shells rained down. But Turner pushed on, risking his life to lead the horse back to the trenches,
where the officer humanely ended its suffering.
Turner’s heroics were witnessed by a French soldier and the teenager was rewarded with the Military Medal for bravery in battle.
His granddaughter, Ruth Turner, said: “This act of courage shows how deep the bond was between my grandfather and his horses. Very few survived the shelling that day but, despite great danger to himself, he refused to leave the horse to die a painful, lonely death.”
Turner’s story was brought to light by the Blue Cross animal charity, which has opened its First World War archives to coincide with the film of War Horse. The Army used 1,183,228 horses during the conflict, of which 484,000 were killed. The Blue Cross treated more than 50,000
War horses: 16-year-old Military Cross winner George Turner on his horse Dolly during First World War, above left, and pictures and posters from the Blue Cross archive, showing the role of horses, and the charity, in the Great War injured horses and collected donations to fund horse hospitals, ambulances and veterinary supplies.
Steve Goody, of the Blue Cross, said: “We are immensely proud of the Blue Cross’s history helping the brave animals of war.”
By Henry Samuel in Paris TURKEY has halted military co-operation with France and suspended political visits in retaliation for a French bill making it a criminal offence to deny the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was genocide.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said last week’s vote, which received cross-party support in France’s National Assembly, its lower house, would open “very grave and irreparable wounds” in bilateral relations. Ankara had been threatening grave consequences if the law was not scrapped. Mr Erdogan said he was recalling the ambassador in Paris for consultations. “As of now, we are cancelling bilateral level political, economic and military activities,” he said.
This means French military planes have no authorisation to land and warships to dock in the country.
Turkey categorically rejects the term “genocide” to describe the deaths of up to 1.5 million Christian Armenians in the First World War in what is now eastern Turkey. Many Armenians and historians say that the Ottoman government pursued a deliberate policy of genocide. But the vast majority of Turks and their politicians take the term genocide as an insult to their nation, arguing that there was heavy loss of life on both sides during fighting.
The bill, which still must be approved by the Senate, was put forward by members of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling party. While the government insists it did not propose it, the bill needed Mr Sarkozy’s tacit consent.
By Tim Ross FOR millions of families, half the fun of Christmas is tearing the paper from presents that have been neatly wrapped, carefully labelled and placed under the tree.
So great is the British passion for cards and the wrapping of gifts with elaborate ribbons and bows that each Christmas we collectively throw away 226,800 miles of wrapping paper, which is enough to stretch nine times around the world.
Other waste includes 125,000 tons of plastic wrapping and 10million items of turkey packaging. Twentyfive million Christmas pudding packages are also thrown out. The Government wants to cut the waste produced at Christmas because it costs millions of pounds to dispose of.
Ministers held a summit last week to encourage retailers and manufacturers to cut the millions of tons of packaging generated during the festive season. One idea is a law that has been introduced in Sweden, giving customers the right to return used packaging to the shops where they bought their goods.
According to Whitehall figures, every ton of landfill costs £56 in tax, and the potential bill for taxpayers for disposing of all the plastic, card, foil and other materials used this Christmas could reach £168million.
Grant Shapps, the local government minister, is speaking to executives from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, B&Q and Morrisons, as well as councils and recycling experts to discuss ideas for cutting the bill for festive waste.
“Christmas should always be a time for sharing and celebrating but we must remember that every trussed-
On the last day of Christmas, the UK sent to landfill...
226,800 miles of wrapping paper, enough to go around the world nine times 125,000 tons of plastic packaging 10m items of turkey packaging 25m Christmas pudding packages up turkey, shrink-wrapped sprout and over-packaged pudding adds to the burden [of refuse services] in the new year,” the minister said.
Mr Shapps urged customers to use their influence on shop chains by choosing less heavily packaged goods, such as loose fruit and vegetables, rather than fresh items in plastic wrapping. “Taxpayers can prevent their public pounds going straight to landfill by insisting on less packaging and recycling whenever possible,” he said.
But he also urged food firms and supermarkets to cut the amount of packaging they used, while councils should ensure residents understand their recycling schemes.
“At a time when councils are watching every penny, supermarkets should be thinking about how they can help shoppers minimise their waste,” he said. “I want every supermarket to commit to cutting packaging by this time next year, and taxpayers can help to pile the pressure on in the choices they make.”
Ministers aim to create a “zero-waste economy” where valuable and costly packaging does not end up in landfill.
Sarah Cordey, of the British Retail Consortium, said shops had made “magnificent progress” at cutting the packaging used on products.
“Packaging exists for a purpose: to protect and preserve what’s inside it,” she said.