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January 18 - 24 2012
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μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-32
What to give a royal Hats top the gift list, but a lute or a spear could hit the spot
The ‘fury’ of Gordon Brown Angry call to Murdoch after ‘Sun’ switch, Leveson inquiry is told
Worth watching Read reviews of top British films, ‘War Horse’ and ‘Iron Lady’
Tesco in double trouble Supermarket giant issues profit warning and its shares crash
9 2 27 33 39 40 7 10 12 15 25 42
Bonus Ball 45
Bonus Ball 33
There were three winners of Saturday’s £3.3m jackpot and one winner of Wednesday’s £2.5m prize
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Distress: passengers waiting to evacuate; survivors Salici and Agata Martisi; British dancer Rose Metcalf, one of the last off the ship
By Patrick Sawer THE survivors of the Costa Concordia disaster described scenes of chaos and confusion on board the vessel and spoke of their anger at the actions of some of the ship’s crew. Some warned that they are prepared to take legal action against the vessel’s owners.
The parents of two British dancers, who were working on the ship at the time of the accident, spoke about their daughters’ ordeals as they tried to flee the vessel.
Sandra Cook, whose daughter Kirsty had to get down a rope ladder on to a boat to escape the listing ship, told BBC News: “I asked whether she’d lost everything, and she said she was lucky to be alive and very thankful.”
Another dancer, 22-year-old Rose Metcalf, was performing on the ship when the incident happened and was one of the last to be winched to safety by a helicopter, her father Philip said. Mr Metcalf, who lives near Witchampton, Dorset, also said: “The ship rolled over on its side so they had to get a fire hose, which they strung between the railings to stop them falling overboard.
“She thought she’d have to make a jump for it as it was dark and cold, like the sinking of the Titanic, but the helicopter winched her off.”
His daughter was told by superiors to put on her cocktail dress and tell passengers that the problem was just an electrical fault.
He told the BBC: “Luckily she ignored them, because being one of the last five people off the boat she would have been stranded there with a dress on and without a lifesaving vest.”
Mr Metcalf also said that his daughter had revealed that the captain had abandoned ship in the early stages of the evacuation, leaving his staff onboard: “Everybody was left to their own devices, hence some of the chaos, so the crew took it upon themselves and decided in the absence of the captain to organise and try to help people.”
Because of the listing, some lifeboats couldn’t be used. Mandy and John Rodford, from Rochester, Kent, were forced to slide the width of the deck in order to reach lifeboats that were still usable. “When we got to the railings we managed to jump on to the bottom of an upturned lifeboat and from there on to another lifeboat that was still upright,” said Mr Rodford.
Monique Maurek, 41, an undertaker from Holland, said: “There was no evacuation drill at any point after we set sail. Nobody had any idea where the lifeboats were or where the life jackets were kept, so when it came to having to evacuate the ship it was chaos.
“Most people didn’t even have any idea of what the evacuation warning sound would be. It was only because some of us had already been on a cruise that we recognised that seven blasts of the horn is a signal to abandon ship.”
Mrs Maurek added: “What scandalised me most was
The stricken ship a few hundred yards from the island of Giglio when I saw the captain spending much of the evening before we hit the rocks drinking in the bar with a beautiful woman on his arm.”
Takayuki Yabumoto, 52, a business consultant from Tokyo, who was sitting down to dinner when disaster struck, said: “There was an announcement saying the situation was under control. We left the restaurant and went on deck. Some women and children were crying; there was panic.” He climbed into a lifeboat with a group of Russian passengers.
“The metal cord on the lifeboat was broken and the crew had to force it with a hammer,” he said. “It was not well handled, we were waiting around not knowing what to do. There was a lack of information and not enough warning. There was no leadership. The waiters, the ordinary staff, were fantastic, they helped us a lot.”
Fabio Costa, a crewman, said some fathers ignored the request for women and children to go first because they did not want to be parted from their families.
Newly weds Francis and Caterina di Cutro said they had been “staring death in the eye”. And Patrizia Perilli, 47, said: “I saw the lighthouse but knew I couldn’t swim that far. Lots of people threw themselves into the sea, and I think they are some of the dead.”
Continued from page 1
nautical chart, there should have been sufficient water underneath us.” It seemed the ship steered toward shallow waters near the island of Giglio, but became unstable and capsized.
Italian authorities said two French tourists and a Peruvian sailor drowned. Officials in Porto Santo Stefano said up to 40 people remained unaccounted for, but it was unclear if they had been saved in the chaotic rescue or had drowned. Most passengers were Italian, with others from the UK, France, Germany and the US. Ennio Aquilini, head of the fire-service rescue operation, said: “We are not sure of the numbers, we cannot exclude that some people are missing, in fact it is very probable.”
Giuseppe Linardi, a senior regional official, said the ship’s owner had reported that dozens of the 4,234 passengers and crew were missing.
The accident occurred as some passengers were taking their seats for the second dinner sitting. Others were watching a magic show when the magician fled the stage, prompting panic.
The ship began to list and water poured into cabins.
Agata Martisi, 40, said: “We were having dinner when I heard a huge bang and suddenly it felt as if the ship was being ripped apart. I turned to my husband and said, ‘My God, that sounds like we’re on the Titanic’.”
It was announced over the Tannoy that there had been a technical problem and passengers were told not to worry. It took another hour for horns to sound, signalling the order to abandon ship.
Other passengers confirmed there was a power blackout and a large “boom” noise at around 10.30pm last Friday. Malcolm Latarche, editor of global shipping magazine IHS Fairplay Solutions, said the reports could indicate that the ship suffered an engine-room explosion. A power surge could have caused a malfunction in the generators feeding the ship’s six diesel electric engines, which was then not overcome by back-up systems.
This would have caused the ship to lose navigational power and steering control and veer off course, he said. telegraph.co.uk/expat
January 18 - 24 2012
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By Christopher Hope THE Top Gear India “special”, the BBC assured Indian officials, would highlight the country’s ‘‘beautiful scenery’’ and ‘‘local colour’’.
So when the programme was broadcast over the Christmas break, diplomats at the High Commission of India in London were surprised to see Jeremy Clarkson dressed in boxer shorts while operating a trouser press and speaking to local people, and in another scene, driving a Jaguar with a lavatory fitted on the boot.
Clarkson may have been described recently by the chairman of the BBC Trust as a “leading cultural export”, but his latest foray abroad risks causing a diplomatic incident.
In a letter sent to the programme’s producer, Indian diplomats condemned the programme as “tasteless”, and accused the BBC of breaching undertakings about the filming of the 90-minute show, which has caused outrage in the world’s secondmost-populous country. The High Commission has formally complained to the BBC, accusing its producers of deceiving them over the nature of the programme. The letter said the programme was “replete with cheap jibes, tasteless humour and lacked the cultural sensitivity that we expect from the BBC”.
During the show, banners were put on trains reading: “British IT is good for your company”. Another said:
“Eat English muffins”. The messages became obscene when the carriages parted, ripping the signs.
The BBC said it had received 23 complaints but diplomats at the High Commission told The Telegraph that its staff had received “hundreds” of letters and phone calls. One Indian diplomat said: “The BBC has to make amends, particularly to assuage the hurt sentiment of a very large number of people.”
The High Commission is furious that an outline of the programme, presented to officials last July, bore little relation to the end product.
It described the programme as a “light-hearted road trip”, which was focused on the “idiosyncrasies of the country”. Specifically, it said the programme’s “key ingredients” would look at the “beautiful scenery” and India’s “local colour”.
David Cameron was filmed at the beginning of the programme, waving to the Top Gear presenters in Downing Street. Last Wednesday, Keith Vaz MP, whose parents are from India, said: “It seems that the reasons given by the BBC in order to obtain their visas to go to India did not disclose the true nature of the content of this programme.”
Mr Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, warned that damage could be done to important trade relations with India and called for “a swift apology from the BBC and Mr Clarkson”.
Last week it emerged that Clarkson made £2.14 million from his involvement in Top Gear last year, due to a profitsharing deal he struck with the corporation. A BBC spokesman said: “We will respond directly to the Indian High Commission in due course.”
Last month, the BBC had to apologise after Clarkson told viewers on a live programme that striking workers should be shot in front of their families. MPs told Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, that Mr Clarkson was a “luxury the BBC cannot afford” and should be sacked, but he described the presenter as a “leading cultural export”. ÞChina has accused Jeremy Clarkson of harbouring “colonial prejudices”. Reacting to remarks he made in his Sun newspaper column about Chinese synchronised swimmers and Morecambe Bay cockle-pickers, China’s state owned Global Times said: “Figures like Clarkson, who have been used to making insulting jests, obviously still cling to some obsolete values against developing countries.”
Clarkson joked that Olympic synchronised swimming amounted to “Chinese women in hats, upside down, in a bit of water”, adding: “You can see that sort of thing on Morecambe beach. For free.”
In 2004, 23 Chinese migrant workers drowned as they harvested cockles in Morecambe Bay.
Jeremy Clarkson with the Jaguar fitted with a lavatory on its boot, top; getting assistance from the locals, right; and with fellow ‘Top Gear’ presenters Richard Hammond and James May, left
HOW ‘TOP GEAR’ SOLD ITS PLAN
July 21 2011 Letter from Chris Hale, producer, ‘Top Gear’, to the High Commission of India, London Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will travel across India in three cars filming a lighthearted road trip focusing on the journey and the inevitable idiosyncrasies of the cars they will drive, as well as the country and scenery we see along the way.
There will be spontaneous interaction between the presenters and their environment, and potentially people they meet along the way. This will be in an incidental manner, not interviews. Key ingredients will be beautiful scenery, busy city scenes, local charm and colour within these locations, areas to illustrate the local car culture that exists in India.
January 6 2012 From the High Commission of India to the BBC The programme was replete with cheap jibes, tasteless humour and lacked the cultural sensitivity that we expect from the BBC.
I write this to convey our deep disappointment over the documentary for its content and the tone of the presentation.
You are clearly in breach of the agreement that you had entered into, completely negating our constructive and proactive facilitation.
We strongly protest and expect the BBC to make amends, especially to assuage the hurt sentiments of a large number of people.
By James Kirkup THE eurozone crisis entered a dangerous new phase last Friday night as France and eight other countries had their credit ratings downgraded.
Stock markets and the single currency fell sharply as Standard and Poor’s cut France’s AAA rating.
Italy saw its long-term rating drop two levels, along with Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. Austria, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia had theirs lowered by one.
The move represents a further loss of confidence in the single currency and the European Union’s ability to rescue indebted eurozone members.
The Treasury believes that any collapse of the euro could seriously damage the British economy and banking system, pushing the UK back into a deep recession.
The decision triggered a backlash from European politicians and led to calls for Britain to be downgraded, too.
It also threatens to torpedo the main European bail-out fund set up to support struggling countries such as Greece and Portugal.
Standard and Poor’s said in a statement: “Today’s rating actions are primarily driven by our assessment that the policy initiatives that have been taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may be insufficient to fully address ongoing systemic stresses in the eurozone.”
Those “stresses” included weakening economic growth prospects and disagreement over how to deal with the problems. There are growing fears that Greece, which was not reassessed, is edging closer to defaulting on its debts and being forced out of the single currency. Talks between the country and its creditors were put on hold last Friday.
There was no rating change for Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Estonia, Finland or Luxembourg.
The blow to France is the most significant. It has held an AAA rating since 1975. As well as hurting national pride, the lower rating will mean the country faces higher borrowing costs. It will affect the eurozone bail-out fund as France is partly responsible for underwriting it. The downgrade is a heavy blow to Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, who faces a general election in May.
Worries about the eurozone pushed the single currency to its lowest value against the US dollar since mid-2010. The euro also fell against the pound to 82.9 pence. European stock markets closed before the downgrades were confirmed, but rumours saw shares fall across the continent. The FTSE-100 index also fell on concerns about the impact on Britain, closing down 0.5 per cent.
By Robert Winnett PROPOSALS to scrap child benefit for higher earners will be revised to protect families with stay-at-home mothers, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has signalled. Mr Cameron admitted that the current proposal had been criticised for its “unfairness”. There was a “cliff-edge issue” that meant some families would be stripped of benefits.
He insisted the Government was prepared to “look at the way” child benefit was due to be cut and suggested a new system might be proposed in Chancellor George Osborne’s March Budget.
For the Prime Minister to acknowledge the proposal is being reconsidered because it is seen as unfair will be considered significant two months before publication of Mr Osborne’s plans.
From next year, child benefit is to be removed from any household that has someone earning above the higher-rate tax threshold of £42,745. The move will strip child benefit from about 1.2 million families and save the Exchequer about £1billion a year. It will cost a family with three children about £2,500 a year.
Critics say the scheme is unfair. A family with two people earning £40,000 – a total of £80,000 – will keep the state handout while poorer families, where the mother is caring for the children and the father earns more than £44,000, will lose out. In an interview with House, the MPs’ in-house magazine, the Prime Minister was asked about the unfairness of the scheme on single-earner households.
“Some people say that’s the unfairness of it, that you lose the child benefit if you have a higher-rate taxpayer in the family,” he said.
“Two people below the level keep the benefit. So there’s a threshold, a cliffedge issue. We always said we would look at the way it’s implemented and that remains the case, but I don’t want to impinge on the Chancellor’s Budget.” Mr Cameron’s comments indicate that the Government may be considering ways to help single-earner families with salaries just over the threshold. However, such a system would be complicated because it would require widespread means-testing.
In the interview, it seems the proposal to cut child benefit is now only something the Government is “looking at”, rather than a set policy, as had been thought. Mr Cameron said: “We want to make sure everyone makes a contribution to dealing with the deficit, that’s why we had to look at measures like taking child benefit away from higher-rate taxpayers.”