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March 16 - 22 2011
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-32
‘Sack the Duke’ Former ambassador calls for prince to step down as trade envoy
‘Fred the Shred’ gagging order Banker Sir Fred Goodwin has taken out a super injunction
Ancient crossroads Richard Dorment on an extraordinary display of Afghan art
Tchenguiz brothers arrested Billionaires detained by SFO over collapse of Kaupthing bank
11 9 37 40 41 49 7 17 19 29 30 38
Bonus Ball 33
Bonus Ball 40
There was one winner of Wednesday’s £17.8m jackpot but no one won Saturday’s £4.1m prize
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By Christopher Hope Whitehall Editor ANDREW LANSLEY on Sunday signalled a retreat over his plans to reform the National Health Service and give more powers to GPs.
The Health Secretary suggested that he could “amend” his reforms after delegates at the Liberal Democrat spring conference condemned them as “damaging and unjustified”.
The Health Bill proposes handing control of 80 per cent of NHS spending on commissioning to GPs and introduce more private competition, abolishing primary health care trusts.
Doctors are reportedly preparing to debate a series of motions that are highly critical of the policy at a meeting of the British Medical Association this week. One motion includes a vote of no confidence in the Health Secretary.
There are also fears that the changes would mean decisions were taken on the basis of cost rather than priority.
A motion condemning the reforms as a “damaging and unjustified market-based approach” was passed unanimously at the Lib Dem conference in Sheffield.
Speaker after speaker demanded a rethink, while the backbencher Andrew George insisted that the Lib Dems should not be “the architects of [the NHS’s] demise”.
Baroness Williams, the former Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords, said the plans could allow private firms to “cherry-pick” profitable NHS services
The party’s activists are now hoping that the plans will be amended by Lib Dem MPs or peers in coming weeks.
Speaking on BBC One’s The Politics Show, Mr Lansley said that if the Government could “clarify and amend in order to reassure people” then it would do so. Mr Lansley said he recognised the concerns expressed by the Lib Dems in Sheffield, adding that the plans were “always under review”.
Despite the criticism, Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, insisted in his keynote speech that the Government was right to press ahead with the reforms.
“No government of which I am part will tamper with the essential contract at the heart of the NHS: to care collectively for each other as fellow citizens,” he said. “World-class health care for all … Yes to health reforms,
but no — always no — to the privatisation of health.”
The possible about-turn follows the decision to scrap plans to sell large tracts of forest after widespread criticism. Last year plans to scrap free milk for the underfives were also swiftly dropped.
This week, doctors at the BMA meeting are expected to accuse Mr Lansley of deliberately distorting the NHS’s record to justify restructuring the service in England. One motion reportedly criticises “the Government’s use of misleading and inaccurate information to denigrate the NHS”.
Separately, Mr Lansley released figures that indicated that the “NHS can’t afford to stand still if it is going to cope with the increasing number of people with one or more long-term conditions”, which is set to increase dramatically by 252 per cent by 2050.
Almost one in three of the population has a long-term condition such as asthma, heart and lung disease, arthritis, hypertension and diabetes.
The Department of Health said that the NHS “will not be able to meet this increase in demand unless it changes”.
By Rob Crilly in Benghazi FORCES loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi continued their march towards the opposition stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya this week, seizing another key oil town along the Mediterranean coast.
Witnesses said a ragtag army of rebel fighters withdrew in disarray from Brega under heavy aerial bombardment.
The past week has seen a string of rebel towns recaptured by government forces equipped with tanks and supported by warplanes.
Zawiyah to the west was reclaimed by Col Gaddafi’s forces, and the deputy foreign minister said at the weekend that leading al-Qaeda members had been arrested in the town and would be put on show for the television cameras.
Col Gaddafi’s forces were also edging closer to Misurata, the last major town in western Libya still in rebel hands. An army spokesman denied reports that soldiers from the Khamis Brigade, which was fighting to take control of Misurata, had defected. He added that outright force would not be needed to defeat rebels “because they just put their hands up and run away”.
‘Today I’m going to teach you how to surrender with your bare hands’
The loss of Brega is a major setback for the opposition, which last week held a swath of eastern Libya but now fears a rapid assault on Benghazi, Libya’s second city, and the prospect of a long, drawn-out guerrilla war.
“There’s no uprising any more,” said Nabeel Tijouri, whose machinegun had been destroyed in the fighting.
“The other day we were in Ras Lanuf, then Brega, the day after tomorrow they will be in Benghazi.”
Retreating fighters, mostly young volunteers, leapt into pick-ups mounted with antiaircraft guns before racing along the coastal road towards Ajdabiya, a little more than 50 miles away, the gateway to the main rebel cities of Benghazi and Tobruk. Libyan state television later declared Brega “purged of the armed gangs”.
The flat, empty terrain has left the rebels desperately exposed to the Libyan regime’s superior firepower as they try to defend a series of road checkpoints.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the provisional rebel government in Benghazi, told The Telegraph that military units had been kept back from the front line to defend the city. However, he said the opposition was out-gunned and would remain vulnerable without a no-fly zone and air strikes targeting Col Gaddafi’s network of palaces and command centres.
On Sunday, mobile phone networks in Benghazi went down, spreading panic that an attack was imminent. Residents are buying weapons to defend their homes and families, sending the black market price of an AK47 rifle spiralling from a couple of hundred dollars to up to $2,000 (£1,200).
Arab League calls for no-fly zone to be imposed, page 15 Con Coughlin, page 21
MORE than 1,000 Saudi troops have entered Bahrain where anti-regime protests have raged for a month, a Saudi official said on Monday, as demonstrators took over Manama’s central business district.
Pro-democracy protesters poured into the banking hub, witnesses said, as Saudi forces appeared poised to help the embattled government restore order in the strategic Gulf kingdom, home to the US Fifth Fleet.
The Saudi troops entered Shia-majority Bahrain on Sunday as part of the Gulf countries’ joint Peninsula Shield Force, the Saudi official said.
The intervention came “after repeated calls by the [Bahraini] government for dialogue, which went unanswered” by the opposition, he said.
The Bahraini government has not confirmed the presence of Saudi troops in the archipelago, which has been ruled by a Sunni dynasty for more than 200 years.
But the website of Bahrain’s Alyam newspaper, which is close to the Al-Khalifa royal family, said forces from the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council were expected to enter Bahrain to help boost security.
Helicopters buzzed over the Financial Harbour business complex which was blocked off by protesters, a day after more than 200 people were injured there in clashes between riot police and demonstrators, residents said.
Sunday was the worst day of violence in the tiny Gulf kingdom – which is joined to Saudi Arabia by a causeway across the Gulf – since seven people were killed at the start of anti-regime unrest a month ago.
Police appeared to have deserted the area, while shopping malls and office towers were closed, witnesses said. Protesters continued to hold a sit-in at Pearl Square just outside the financial district, while others were blocking roads leading to the business district. Most workers seemed to be following a trade union call for a general strike to protest against violence by the security forces.
The Saudi intervention came two days after Robert Gates, the US Defense Secretary, visited Manama and urged King Hamad to undertake rapid and significant democratic reform, not just “baby steps”.
Britain and Australia urged citizens to avoid all travel to the country.