Monday, September 28, 2009


Three out of four vehicle crashes are caused because the driver is distracted at the wheel, according to researchers.
The study, by Heriot-Watt University academics, found texting behind the wheel or dealing with children were the two biggest causes of accidents.
Anonymous questionnaires were used to understand people's driving behaviour.
Despite the penalties, the study showed more than 52% were prepared to admit using a mobile phone while driving, and 40% said they had written a text.
Technology was found to play a big role in accidents and near misses, with satellite navigation systems and MP3 players cited as major distractions for drivers.

Research leader Dr Terry Lansdown said: "I think there is a social component to texting particularly and I think many people rely on their business communications.
"There is no doubt that whether you are using your phone hands-free or hand-held and if you read or write texts it is a risky activity to do while driving, it will distract you."
Having unruly children in the car was found to be the most frequent cause of accidents.
Mother-of-three Elaine Bruce said: "It can be absolute chaos at times, particularly if I am picking them up after school and they are really hungry and tired.
"The minute they get in the car they're shouting for food and maybe bored and asking 'where are we going, what are we doing?' and it's just constant, constant noise."
Police said the research spells out exactly why it is important drivers minimise the distractions in the car.
Ch Insp Bryan Rodgers, of Lothian and Borders Police, said failure to do so can have catastrophic consequences.
He said: "The reality is that one very small lapse of concentration can devastate lives.
"Nobody goes out intending to cause harm in these situations, but not focusing on your driving can mean that you change your family life forever, you change someone else's family life forever and even maybe face criminal charges or even imprisonment."



British Asians are hiring contract killers to carry out up to 100 murders in India every year, according to campaigners in rural Punjab state.
BBC Asian Network understands targets such as family or business associates are lured to the sub-continent, where assassins can be hired for just £500.
Punjab Police deny corruption allows the British Asians to evade justice.
Scotland Yard says it is aware of the problem. The Foreign Office says six British nationals are missing in India.
A member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, British-born Jassi Khangura, has investigated the trend which he believes claims the lives of between 50 and 100 overseas Indians every year.

He says most of the killings are carried out in Punjab where, he claims, police corruption and bureaucratic or legal loopholes mean the perpetrators are seldom tried.
The Punjab Police force says the figures are exaggerated and deny the force is riddled with corruption.
Some victims' families are now turning to authorities in the UK for assistance.
Metropolitan Police detectives say they do not know how many people are killed in this way.

Full details will be broadcast as part of the Passport to Murder programme on BBC Asian Network at 1830 BST on Monday.



The Children's Minister has ordered a review of the case of two police officers told they had broken the law by caring for each other's children.
Ofsted said the arrangement contravened the Childcare Act because it lasted for longer than two hours a day, and constituted receiving "a reward".
It said the women would have to be registered as childminders.
Minister Vernon Coaker said his department was talking to Ofsted about this particular case.
According to the Mail on Sunday, Ofsted told two detective constables, Leanne Shepherd, from Milton Keynes, and Lucy Jarrett, from Buckingham, to end their arrangement.
Ms Shepherd told the newspaper: "When the Ofsted inspector turned up, the first thing she said was: 'I have had a report that you're running an illegal childminding business'.
"I straightaway thought she must be mistaken, so invited her into my home to explain we were police officers and best friends helping each other out.
"But she told me I was breaking the law and must end the arrangement with Lucy immediately.
"I was stunned, completely devastated... I couldn't see how I could continue working."

According to the newspaper, the Thames Valley officer is believed to have been reported by a neighbour.
Thames Valley Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the pair had its "full support".
Secretary Andy Viney said: "Both of them are experienced professional officers.
"They just want to return to work after having children and have found that the system is working totally against them.
"They've been threatened with prosecution by Ofsted if they continue doing this."
An Ofsted spokesman said it applied regulations found in the Childcare Act 2006, but was currently discussing the interpretation of the word "reward" with the department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
"Reward is not just a case of money changing hands. The supply of services or goods and, in some circumstances, reciprocal arrangements can also constitute reward.
"Generally, mothers who look after each other's children are not providing childminding for which registration is required, as exemptions apply to them, for example because the care is for less than two hours or it takes place on less than 14 days in a year.
"Where such arrangements are regular and for longer periods, then registration is usually required."
Close relatives of children, such as grandparents, siblings, aunts or uncles, were exempt from the rules, he added.
But Michelle Elliott, director of the children's charity Kidscape, told the BBC's Breakfast programme that the decision defied common sense and would impose extra childcare costs on families.
She added: "These children were looked after in a secure environment with people that they knew.
"There must be thousands of people out there who are doing the same thing who are now going to think: 'Do I have to spend £300 a week or whatever it is?'"
Minister for Children, Schools and Families Vernon Coaker insisted the Childcare Act 2006 was in place "to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children" but the government needed to make sure it did not "penalise hard-working families".
"My department is speaking to Ofsted about the interpretation of the word 'reward' in this particular case," he said.

A petition to scrap the rules governing reciprocal child care on the Number 10 website had gathered more than 5,300 signatures by 0530 BST on Monday.
Anyone required to register to become a childminder would also have to undergo a criminal records check.


Sunday, September 27, 2009


An essay written by Sir Paul McCartney as a 10-year-old has been found after lying undiscovered in Liverpool's Central Library for more than 50 years.
Years before the Beatles received their MBEs, he beat hundreds of other school children to win a prize for his 1953 essay marking the Queen's coronation.
In neat handwriting, he refers to "the lovely young Queen Elizabeth".
In 2013, the library will display the essay - found in a scrapbook - to mark the 60th anniversary of the coronation.
Thought to be one of the earliest surviving written works by Sir Paul, the essay gave him an early taste of appearing in public.
Liverpool's Lord Mayor presented him with the prize - despite the work having been marked down for grammatical errors.
McCartney's neat writing has the same curly ends on capital letters which he used later on the "B" of "Beatles" on the group's drum skin.
The schoolboy compares the happy scenes expected outside Buckingham Palace with the coronation of William the Conqueror nine centuries earlier, when a massacre of Saxons took place.
He declares that Britain's "present day royalty rules with affection rather than force".
McCartney's earliest creative contribution found in Liverpool Central Library
The essay also mentions a coronation cup with Elizabeth II on the front and Elizabeth I on the back, and he concludes it by saying: "After all this bother, many people will agree with me that it was well worth it."
Some 16 years later, with the Beatles nearing their break-up, McCartney was still writing about the monarch.
His song Her Majesty, featuring the lyrics "Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl, some day I'm going to make her mine", was recorded for the Abbey Road LP.
The Queen knighted him in 1997.



Film director Roman Polanski has been taken into custody on a 31-year-old US arrest warrant, Swiss police say.
Mr Polanski, 76, was detained on Saturday as he travelled from France to collect a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.
The Swiss justice ministry said he was being held ahead of a possible extradition to the US for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Mr Polanski fled the US in 1978 after pleading guilty to the charges.
In recent years, he has tried to have the rape case dismissed, but a US judge formally rejected his requests in May.
Mr Polanski was initially indicted on six counts and faced up to life in prison.
He claims the original judge, who is now dead, arranged a plea bargain but later reneged.

1977 - Polanski admits unlawful sex with Samantha Geimer, 13, in Los Angeles
1978 - flees to Britain after US arrest warrant is issued
1978 - immediately moves to France where he holds citizenship
1978 - settles in France, where he is protected by France's limited extradition with US
2008 - Polanski's lawyer demands case be dismissed and hearing moved out of LA court
2009 - Polanski's request to have hearing outside LA is denied

Earlier this year, Judge Peter Espinoza agreed there was misconduct by the judge in the original case, but said Mr Polanski must return to the US to apply for dismissal.
Mr Polanski's lawyers said he would not return to the US because he would be immediately arrested as a fugitive.
The victim at the centre of the case, Samantha Geimer, has previously asked for the charges to be dropped, saying the continued publication of details "causes harm to me, my husband and children".
She has also called the court's insistence that Mr Polanski appear in person "a cruel joke".
The Swiss justice ministry said on Sunday that Mr Polanski was being held under a 2005 international alert issued by the US government related to a 1978 arrest warrant.
He will not be sent to the US until extradition proceedings were complete, the ministry added.
He can contest his detention and any extradition decision in the Swiss courts.

The Paris-born Polish filmmaker - who is also a French citizen - has not set foot in the US for more than 30 years. He has even avoided making films in the UK for fear of extradition.
His Oscar for directing the 2002 The Pianist was collected by Harrison Ford, who had previously starred in his 1988 thriller, Frantic.
France's culture minister said he was "dumbfounded" by Mr Polanski's detention in Switzerland.
Frederic Mitterrand said he "strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them".
He added that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was "following the case with great attention and shares the minister's hope that the situation can be quickly resolved".
The organisers of the Zurich Film Festival said Polanski's detention had caused "shock and dismay," but that they would go ahead with a planned retrospective of the director's work.
A special ceremony is planned for Sunday night "to allow everyone to express their solidarity for Roman Polanski and their admiration for his work," festival managers said in a statement.


Cathy Buckle's Weekly Letter from Zimbabwe !

It's time !

Saturday 26th September 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

I was about 8th in a queue in a supermarket this week and kept looking to the front of the line impatiently to see why things were moving so slowly. I was waiting to buy airtime for a mobile phone and suddenly the reality of what I was doing struck home. I'd recently heard from someone who wanted "the real scoop" about daily life in Zimbabwe and in fact here it was, right in this queue.

Less than a year ago I wrote about this very same supermarket which sometimes used to open at 9 or 10 in the morning, some days it didn't open at all because it had nothing to sell. Less than a year ago huge supermarkets had only cabbages, condoms or bundles of firewood for sale. Now the shelves are brimming with goods again and if we have money there is food to buy.

This time last year if there was a queue in, or outside a supermarket, you were literally taking your life in your hands if you joined it. Queues for bread, sugar or maize meal were controlled by riot police. People were waiting outside supermarkets all night for the chance to get a single loaf of bread or little plastic packet of sugar. At opening time thousands of people would surge forward, some were injured and others even died in the stampedes.

This time last year we were still dealing in Zimbabwe dollars - worthless paper in denominations of billions and trillions which had expiry dates. We were queuing outside banks for days at a time to be allowed to withdraw miniscule amounts of our own money. Amounts that weren't enough to even buy a bar of soap or a cup of tea. This dreadful time is also now a thing of the past and the banks are deserted places because most people don't have enough money to save and don't trust the banks who so recently treated their customers and their life savings with such casual contempt.

The reality of life in Zimbabwe this October 2009 is that the basics are back: food, fuel and bank notes. Yes the food is all imported and the bank notes are American but they have given such relief to an existence that had become almost unbearable. Everyone, without exception, knows that the bank crisis, the currency crisis and the food crisis were bought on by bad politics and bad governance and we also know who fixed their mess and what courage and determination it took.

And now, as we are just a fortnight away from the rainy season, it is time for the next battle of the basics to be fought and won. Now its time for Zimbabwe to start growing its own food again. Bad politics and bad governance forced us to import our every need and now its time for the brave and determined people who gave us back money food and fuel, to give us back functional farming and our own food on tables. We've wasted eight good rainy seasons and its time to turn the corner.

Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy



A massive rescue operation is under way in the Philippines, where at least 72 people are feared to have died following torrential rains.
Tropical Storm Ketsana triggered the worst flooding in decades in the capital Manila and nearby provinces.
Defence Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said troops, police and civilian volunteers had rescued more than 4,000 people - many clinging to each other on roofs.
More than 250,000 have been driven from their homes, officials say.
Military chief Gen Victor Ibrado flew by helicopter over suburbs of Manila on Sunday to see for himself drenched survivors marooned on top of half-submerged buses and on rooftops.
TV footage showed some survivors clinging to high-voltage power lines.
Correspondents say the rescue effort is intensifying as the weather cleared on Sunday.
But some reports estimate that 80% of the capital is still under water.
The government has declared a "calamity" in Manila and 25 provinces, allowing access to emergency funds.
Officials said that 51 people had been confirmed dead and at least 21 others were missing.

In pictures: Philippines floods
Philippines floods: Your comments

Manila bus driver George Andrada said he had lost everything in the floods.
"It happened very fast. All of a sudden everything was under water. I was not able to save anything except the shirt I am wearing," he said.
Some residents have emailed the BBC with their experiences. Lovely Lansang in Marikina, near Manila, says: "I am currently seeking refuge in a shopping centre. Many people are stuck either on their roofs or in the second storey of their houses.
"The city is also without clean water and electricity. Right now, I am still in the shopping centre because the roads here are impassable," the email adds.
The equivalent of a whole month's rain fell in six hours as Ketsana, also known as Ondoy, lashed the northern island of Luzon.
On Saturday, TV images showed gushing water turning roads into rivers, with floods chest-deep and rising.

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo appealed for donations and called for calm.
"I am calling on our countrymen, especially residents of metro Manila and other provinces in the path of the typhoon, to please stay calm, follow the instructions of local officials and civil defence authorities," she said in a TV message on Saturday.
Also on Saturday, Mayor Mon Ilagan of the town of Cainta, in Rizal province east of Manila, told local media his town was "almost 100% under water".
Rizal Governor Casimiro Ynares was quoted by local media as saying other towns were completely inundated.
Roads leading into Manila were rendered impassable by stalled vehicles, and some ferry services were cancelled.
The Philippines chief weather forecaster has blamed climate change for the downpours that saw 40cm (16in) of rain fall on Manila in a single day.
Thousands of passengers were stranded as international and domestic airports were shut down.
Ketsana, with winds of up to 100km/h, is expected to head out over the South China Sea on Sunday and Monday.


Saturday, September 26, 2009


The last witnesses have given evidence in the trial of two people accused of killing the British student, Meredith Kercher in Italy.
American Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, deny stabbing Ms Kercher to death in Perugia in 2007.
Prosecutors say Miss Kercher, an exchange student from London, was killed during what began as a sex game.
The trial resumes on 9 October with a verdict expected in several weeks.
On Friday the court heard a neurologist called by Ms Knox's defence team explained why he thought she gave police differing stories about her whereabouts on the night of the killing.
Carlo Caltagirone said Ms Knox was under stress after long police questioning, which might have confused her.
Ms Knox, 22, now maintains she spent the night at Mr Sollecito's house elsewhere in Perugia.
One man, Rudy Guede from the Ivory Coast, has been jailed for 30 years for killing Miss Kercher, a Leeds University student.
He has denied wrongdoing and is appealing against the conviction.



10 things we didn't know last week

Snippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. Banana skins can take two years to biodegrade.
More details

2. The longest speech at the United Nations lasted almost eight hours.
More details

3. Brazil always speaks first at the UN General Assembly, according to long-standing protocol, and is followed by the host country.
More details

4. Jay-Z has Barack Obama's mobile phone number.
More details

5. Swine flu gel can get you drunk.
More details

6. British heroin comes from Hampshire.
More details

7. Michael Gambon, star of the Harry Potter films, has never read any of the books.
More details

8. The only woman ever in the French Foreign Legion is British.
More details

9. Ceefax was created by accident.
More details

10. Fifteen Billy bookcases are made every minute.
More details


At least 16 people have been killed in two suicide car bomb attacks in north-western Pakistan.
Ten people are reported to have been killed and scores injured in a bombing in the city of Peshawar.
Earlier, a suicide car bomb in the town of Bannu killed at least six people, police said.
The BBC's Aleem Maqbool, in Islamabad, says the attacks show the Taliban appear to be reasserting themselves after a series of setbacks.
In Peshawar, police said the bomb had exploded in the car park of a bank in a commercial area. Witnesses said the blast was heard across the city.
"It was a very big explosion. I could see smoke rising from the scene," Asad Ali, a resident, told Reuters by telephone.
More than 70 people are reported to have been injured, some critically, and officials say the death toll could rise.
In the attack in Bannu, the bomber detonated his vehicle outside a police station.
Reports say the police building and several neighbouring houses collapsed in the blast. A number of people are thought to be trapped in the rubble.
Bannu is close to the tribal region of North Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold.
The attacks come after a period of relative quiet from the Taliban, our correspondent says, after insurgents suffered a series of setbacks.
In August, the then leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed after a US missile strike.
After his death, Hakimullah Mehsud took over as the group's leader.
Earlier this month, the Taliban suffered another blow when Pakistani police arrested Muslim Khan, one of the highest ranking Taliban officials in the country, along with four other senior militants.

In pictures: Pakistan blasts

The Taliban have also vowed to strike back after being ousted from the Swat valley in a huge offensive by the Pakistani army.
The head of the Taliban in Swat, Maulana Fazlullah, was reported to have been seriously injured in an air strike in July.
A Taliban commander, who trains suicide bombers, claimed responsibility for the Bannu attack in a call to the Associated Press on Saturday.
"We have broken the silence as the government did not understand the pause in attacks, and from now there will be an increase in the number of suicide bombings," said Qari Hussain.
Pakistan's mountainous north-west region, near the Afghan border, is a favoured area for insurgents planning attacks on US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.



A group of elderly South Koreans is making a rare journey across the heavily fortified border to visit long-lost relatives in the communist North.
Two hundred families were chosen to take part in the reunions after more than half a century of separation since the Korean civil war.
The two Koreas began reunions in 2000, but the programme was suspended two years ago because of political tension.
The resumption is being seen as a sign of a possible thaw in relations.
There has been no phone or even postal contact between North and South since the end of the Korean war in 1953.
Over the next six days the families - half from the North and half from the South - will meet at a tourist resort on North Korea's east coast. The event has been organised by the Unification Ministry which handles inter-Korean affairs.

The BBC's John Sudworth, in Seoul, say that with many of them in their 80s and 90s, it is likely to be their only chance to see their families.
Widow Lee Sun-ok, 80, travelled to North Korea on Saturday to meet two younger sisters and one younger brother for the first time in 60 years.
"I never thought I could see them again," she told the Associated Press. "I can die after visiting the North with no regrets."
Reunions were last held in October 2007.
North Korea agreed last month to resume them as part of a slight easing of tensions with South Korea and the US over its nuclear and missile programmes.



By Frank Gardner - BBC security correspondent

Security and intelligence experts are deeply worried by a new development in suicide bombing, the BBC has learned.
It has emerged that an al-Qaeda bomber who died last month while trying to blow up a Saudi prince in Jeddah had hidden the explosives inside his body.
Only the attacker died, but it is feared that the new development could be copied by others.
Experts say it could have implications for airport security, rendering traditional metal detectors "useless".
Last month's bombing left people wondering how one of the most wanted al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia could get so close to the prince in charge of counter-terrorism that he was able to blow himself up in the same room.
Western forensic investigators think they have the answer, and it is worrying them profoundly.
Peter Neuman of Kings College London says the case will be studied intensively, and that there are "tremendous implications for airport security with the potential of making it even more complicated to get on to your plane".
"If it really is true that the metal detectors couldn't detect this person's hidden explosive device, that would mean that the metal detectors as they currently exist in airports are pretty much useless," he said.
The bomber was a Saudi al-Qaeda fugitive who said he wanted to give himself up to the prince in person.
The prince took him at his word and gave him safe passage to his palace.
But there, once he got next to his target, the bomb inside him was detonated.
Miraculously the prince survived with minor injuries, but footage emerging this week shows a sizeable crater in the concrete floor and the bomber's body blown in half.
It is believed the force of the blast went downwards which is why only the bomber died.


Friday, September 25, 2009


25th September 2009.

Dear Friends,

"Pass a law no whites are allowed to farm," said a white commercial farmer this week, "Then it makes it clear." It's not hard to understand the white farmer's bitterness, anyone with a white skin in Zimbabwe, farmer or not, knows very well that the possibility of his or her being declared a non-citizen at any time is never far away. Accurate population statistics are a thing of the past in Zimbabwe but I can't believe there are more than 20-30.000 whites left inside the country but if Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF apologists are to be believed, this handful of people is responsible for every evil under the sun.

Mugabe is at the UN this week, no doubt loving the opportunity to outdo all his friends in their anti-imperialist rhetoric. It was Gadaffi's turn earlier in the week and he ranted on for over an hour; Iran's man was also there with his holocaust denial and claims that his recent hotly contested election was all above board and today it will be Mugabe's turn. More of the same, no doubt! How he loves these opportunities to rub shoulders with world leaders and play the international statesman! As a foretaste, perhaps, of what he will say today, Mugabe gave an interview to CNN's Christiane Amanpour yesterday. She asked him some pretty direct questions but, as usual, Mugabe was in total denial of the facts; he prefers his own version of reality. When taxed with the vexed question of sanctions by Amanpour who reminded him that sanctions were directed only at individuals within his regime, he simply told her she was wrong. Sanctions had ruined the country's economy and thus harmed the whole population, he claimed, while at the same time stating that the country's economy was healthy! On the question of land, Mugabe said, "The land reform is the best thing that could have happened to an African country. It has to do with national sovereignty." That old chestnut again! The problem is that Mugabe has never defined exactly what he means by this catchall label. What it appears to mean is that he can do exactly as he likes with ‘his' Zimbabwe and ‘foreigners' must just keep out –except those with money to give, of course. And who are these ‘foreigners'? Now we come to the nub of the matter, "Zimbabwe belongs to Zimbabweans, pure and simple." he said, "White Zimbabweans, even those born in the country with legal ownership of their land, have a debt to pay. They occupied the land illegally. They seized the land from our people." And if that wasn't clear enough, he went on, "They are British settlers – citizens by colonization, seizing land from original people, the indigenous people of the country."

When I read those words of his I was reminded of an incident that happened when I was living in Murehwa. In one of the only racially motivated incidents I experienced in my twelve years in Murehwa as the only white person in an all-black town, a complete stranger stepped out into the road as my vehicle passed, stuck his clenched fist in the air and shouted "Go back to Britain!" ‘How does he know I'm British?" I thought, I could be any European nationality.' Then it struck me, what that complete stranger saw was not my nationality but the colour of my skin. If my pigmentation was white, then I was a foreigner, in the eyes of Mugabe and his followers and apparently not a part of the ‘national sovereignty' that he constantly refers to.

So, like the white farmer quoted at the beginning of this Letter, I too wonder why Mugabe doesn't come right out and say clearly that whites are not and cannot ever be Zimbabweans? My five children were all born and brought up in Zimbabwe but to Mugabe they are still ‘settlers' who, in his words, ‘have a debt to pay'. That nonsensical argument is used to justify the hideous violence and injustice being meted out not only on white farmers but also on black farm workers who are caught in the tsunami of land invasions that rolls across the country. Are they not ‘the indigenous people of the country' to use Mugabe's definition of what it is to be a true Zimbabwean? The truth is that anyone, black or white who stands in the way of the bottomless greed and corruption displayed by Mugabe's followers and – dare I say it – perhaps some newly powerful MDC followers too, is liable to be beaten or killed and have his property destroyed or stolen. The police will not lift a hand to defend them, they are too busy invading farms.

Week by week, we hear of the moral collapse that has engulfed Mugabe's Zimbabwe. The lack of response from the population at large to actions that would once be totally unacceptable in African culture is shocking. A seventy-year old woman is stoned to death by Zanu PF youths for daring to protest at the mini-murambatsvina being proposed by Harare City Council against market traders; a man is beaten bloody for wearing a T shirt saying ‘No to the Kariba draft' and forced to don a Zanu PF T shirt and at the Chiadzwa diamond fields another young man is killed by soldiers anxious to protect the ‘blood diamonds' for greedy army generals. Zimbabwe seems to have totally lost its moral compass. Even the churches remain strangely silent about the abuse of basic human rights in the country. As for the MDC, having ‘sat down with the devil' they appear powerless to raise their collective voice above a whisper to defend anyone from Mugabe's vindictive spite against all his perceived enemies, be they black or white. We are all ‘paying the debt' for our complicity in permitting thirty years of Zanu PF's tyrannical rule.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.







A man who produced a do-it-yourself jihad book has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in Australia.
Bela Khazaal was found guilty last September of producing a 110-page book, in Arabic, entitled Provisions Of The Rules of Jihad.
This advised about terrorist acts such as exploding bombs, shooting down planes and assassinating people such as former US President George W Bush.
Khazaal had claimed his book was never intended to incite terrorist acts.
At his sentencing in Sydney, Justice Megan Latham said she found it "unsurprising" a jury had rejected his defence.
"It beggars belief that a person of average intelligence who has devoted themselves to the study of Islam over some years would fail to recognise the nature of the material," she said.
"The dissemination of extremist activity, connected or unconnected with a terrorist plot, is caught by the government's (anti-terror) scheme ... (because such material) is capable and is shown to foment terrorist activity."
Khazaal, a former Lebanon-born Qantas Airways baggage-handler, compiled the book from a range of Internet sources, his lawyer George Thomas told the court at an earlier sentencing hearing.
Its full title is Provisions Of The Rules of Jihad - Short Judicial Rulings And Organisational Instructions For Fighters And Mujahideen Against Infidels.
He is the first person to be convicted on the charge of making a document connected with assistance in a terrorist act, which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that US international terrorism consultant Evan Kohlmann, who was called as a witness at Khazaal's trial, described the book as a "do-it-yourself jihad" manual, aimed at people who "don't have Osama bin Laden's telephone number".
The Supreme Court heard that, in December 2003, a military court in Lebanon sentenced Khazaal to 10 years' hard labour for terrorism-related offences, including forming a terrorist association for the purpose of committing crimes against people and property.




Sixteen members of al-Qaeda in Iraq have escaped from a prison north of Baghdad, Iraqi security officials say.
Reports said five of the group, who were being held at a facility in Tikrit, had been sentenced to death for involvement in attacks.
A security official said that the men removed the windows from a bathroom, crawled through the opening and climbed a ladder over the prison walls.
One of the men has since been caught, but the rest remain at large.
Checkpoints have been set up around Tikrit, which is a predominantly Sunni town in Salah al-Din province about 80 miles (130km) from Baghdad.
Iraqi military spokesman Maj Gen Abdul-Karim Khalaf said extra surveillance had also been ordered at Iraq's borders and throughout the north-west of the country.
A senior provincial security official told AFP news agency that the escapees had probably received assistance from within the prison system.
"It is clear there was co-operation with specific groups that helped them escape. Probably one of the officials helped them," he said.
In a separate development, 24 people have been arrested in Morocco on suspicion of having links to a cell recruiting suicide bombers for Iraq, according to a state news agency.
It said the group, based in towns and cities across Morocco, was also suspected of recruiting men to fight in Somalia and Afghanistan.



President Robert Mugabe criticises ''illegal'' sanctions against Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe has accused the West of using "filthy clandestine divisive antics" to undermine Zimbabwe's power-sharing government.
He again called for sanctions to be lifted, saying they were "ruining the lives of our children".
The sanctions prevent him and his closest allies from travelling and accessing their assets abroad.
Donors are wary of releasing aid money to the government, fearing they could be misused by Mr Mugabe or his allies.
They also point to continued harassment of activists of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change, even after the MDC joined the government.

EU: 2002 to present - Assets freeze and travel ban on some Mugabe allies, arms-sale ban
US: 2003 to present - Trade ban against 250 Zimbabwean individuals and 17 companies
Other countries - Canada, Australia and UK among nations to have imposed their own targeted sanctions
Sources: EU, Reuters, US treasury, UK Foreign Office

Long-time rivals Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, and Mr Mugabe signed a power-sharing agreement a year ago, after a disputed election.
During his address to the UN General Assembly, Mr Mugabe said southern African nations had made huge sacrifices to help his country during the global economic crisis, but the West's sanctions had not been lifted.
"If they will not assist the inclusive government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please stop their filthy clandestine divisive antics?" he said.
The European Union recently sent its first high-level delegation to Harare for several years but afterwards refused to lift its travel ban on Mr Mugabe.
He is still allowed to attend UN meetings.
Mr Mugabe blames sanctions imposed after a disputed presidential election in 2002 for ruining the country's economy.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have recently restored some funding to Zimbabwe after several years.
Zimbabwe's economy was in meltdown before the MDC joined the government in February, with Mr Tsvangirai becoming prime minister.
The situation has since stabilised but Zimbabwe says it needs some $10bn to rebuild the shattered country.
Donors and the MDC say Mr Mugabe's economic policies, including the seizure of productive farmland, were responsible for Zimbabwe's economic collapse.



Two million people are now recognised as being descendants of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, more than tripling the number in the last count.
The announcement was made as the fifth update to Confucius' family tree was unveiled on the 2,560th anniversary of his birth, say Chinese state media.
Last updated in 1937, the book lists all 83 generations of descendents.
For the first time women, ethnic minorities and descendants living overseas have been included.
The 43,000-page document, spreading over 80 books, was unveiled at a ceremony in Confucius' home town of Qufu, said Xinhua news agency.
It adds 1.4 million names to the family tree of Confucius, known in China as Kong Fuzi, and is believed by the authorities to be the world's largest.
"Confucius' family tree is a national treasure," said Kong Deyong, a 77th generation descendant and head of the International Confucius Association.
Mr Kong said the family tree was important not only for academic research, but also for "helping Confucius' descendants around the world discover their ancestors and strengthen family bonds".
Confucianism has traditionally given women a lower status than men in its strict hierarchy, so female descendants were not counted, but genealogists announced in 2006 that they had decided to "move with the times".
Mr Kong said that even if many descendants were not Chinese nationals or Han Chinese - the majority ethnic group in China - "we should count them in because we are one big family".
Kong Dejun, a former university teacher who travelled from Switzerland for the ceremony, said being included in the book was "the most exciting moment in my life".
"In terms of genes, Confucius' blood is flowing in our body," she told Xinhua, adding that the inclusion of women "shows Chinese females' status is improving".
The new family tree cost 10m yuan ($1.4m; £1m) to produce, paid for by the descendants.
Confucius was dismissed as bourgeois and a relic of China's feudal past by Mao Zedong during the 1960s Cultural Revolution.
But Confucian thought has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years and the Chinese government has even funded a film of the philosopher's life, starring Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat.



Fans with fake tickets will be unable to watch World Cup games.
Fifa is warning football fans to beware of fake tickets for next year's World Cup in South Africa as it cracks down on fraudulent Internet sales.
In order to prevent forgery, official match tickets will only be printed a few weeks before the tournament kicks off next year.
Fifa have revealed that it is working with international authorities to address the problem.
It praises in particular British efforts to shut down websites selling fake tickets.
Fifa have reiterated that fans who buy fake tickets will not be able to access the stadium on the day of the match.



Iran has revealed to the UN nuclear watchdog the existence of a second uranium enrichment plant, reports say.
Tehran made the announcement in a letter to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei, sources are quoted as saying.
Iran has previously acknowledged it has one enrichment plant at Natanz, some 250km (150 miles) south of Tehran.
Iran is supposed to have stopped all enrichment under threat of sanctions from the UN Security Council.
News of the Iranian letter comes days before Iran is due to enter fresh talks over its controversial nuclear programme.



By Stephen Robb - BBC News, in Central Perk, London.

Five years after Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey stopped entertaining millions worldwide with their tangled love lives and flawless complexions, the sitcom and its devoted fans remain the best of friends.
In 1994, Friends opened in a New York coffee shop where five twenty-somethings were hanging out, when Rachel burst in wearing a wedding dress, having jilted her fiance and seeking the support of her childhood friend Monica.

While the characters' apartments would become hugely familiar settings during 10 hit seasons of Friends, it was the coffee shop, Central Perk, where all six gathered each week, that would become the show's defining location.
"It's the heart of it," says David Brownlie-Marshall, at the front of a queue of excited fans for the opening of a replica Central Perk in Broadwick Street, central London.
The venue, open for just two weeks to mark the 15th anniversary of the show's start, expects to welcome about 900 visitors a day - but with a limit of 50 at one time for space reasons.
It serves only coffee, free with a voucher downloaded online, and available in five varieties faithful to the original Central Perk menu board.
But the 150 or so people who make their way through Central Perk's doors in the first hour of opening are not there for refreshments.

After more than a season of 'will they, won't they?', and some difficulty unlocking the doors, Ross and Rachel share their first kiss
After Ross starts, the friends join in humming The Odd Couple theme; Ross's attempt at an encore is quickly silenced by Chandler
Phoebe splits from a boyfriend with a quick word and a hug, as Chandler records "the worst break-up in the history of the world" with Janice
A flashbacks episode shows a bar due to become "some kinda coffee place", where Ross and Phoebe share a clinch on the pool table
Friends' final scene sees them deciding to get a coffee before Chandler and Monica leave the city for their new home; "Where?" quips Chandler

"I don't even like coffee," says 22-year-old Katie Walker, from Surrey, giving her free drink away to her friend.
"I was big fan of the TV show and it's just a nice novelty thing to do. It looks pretty authentic," she adds.
The most desirable seat in the place is the iconic orange sofa, which was perpetually free to be sat in by the main characters.
But in the replica Central Perk there is no possibility of getting comfortable there, due to the constant disruption of people wanting their photographs taken on it.
"I just had a moment when we were sitting on the sofa and I thought, 'We're in Friends,'" says Mr Brownlie-Marshall, a 25-year-old press officer from London.
"I felt like I was in it - everybody was sitting around on the stools. It's really quite surreal."
"I think it's recreated it really, really well," says his friend, Claire Chin-Sue. "It's good to see all the memorabilia, especially the Geller Cup - I love that episode."

There are other props displayed alongside the disgustingly ugly trophy contested by Ross and Monica as children.
There is the equally ugly bridesmaid dress Rachel was forced to wear to her ex-fiance's wedding, the turkey that two characters manage to get on their heads, and "The List" Ross composed to help him choose between Rachel and Julie.
"It's brought back all the memories," says Miss Chin-Sue, a 28-year-old editor from London.
"We are sad that it ended, to be honest. Everyone watched it; all my friends watched it. We all watched Friends together as friends."

Tracey Evans, 39, and Sophie Atkinson, 31, are incorporating a Central Perk visit into their London honeymoon.
"At university we used to get the videos out and watch all the episodes back-to-back with a few glasses of wine generally," says Miss Atkinson.
Miss Walker says: "The only other show is Sex and the City, I went to some of those locations in New York, but I wouldn't for any other shows."
"It kind of had a different cultural significance," Miss Atkinson adds. "Everyone went out and got the Rachel haircut; it kind of set fashions and trends.
"I didn't get the highlights, but I did have the choppy thing going on," she admits. "It's sad, isn't it?"
While other sitcoms during Friends' lifetime also won critical acclaim and vast global audiences, fans' relationship to Friends seems unusually personal and affectionate.
Dr Brett Mills, senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia and author of books on television sitcom, considers Friends the key sitcom of its era.
It is distinguished, he says, by successfully engaging viewers' emotions as well as making them laugh.
"The first cliffhanger we were given was, will Ross and Rachel get together? So the programme says to you from the outset, this is a romantic comedy," Dr Mills says.
"You feel as an audience an emotional attachment to the characters - I feel like I have lived through the relationship of Ross and Rachel for 10 years."


It was reportedly based on a coffee shop at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, where the show's creators studied
Insomnia Cafe was among other titles considered for the show (with contenders including Friends Like Us, Six of Us and Across the Hall)
Manhattan's West Village is the setting of the coffee house and main apartment building, although filming was in Los Angeles
The artwork in Central Perk changed every three episodes
The Central Perk set was dismantled once to make way for a Caesar's Palace set seen in episodes based in Las Vegas.

The pre-credits sequence after Ross and Rachel kiss for the first time in the doorway of Central Perk typifies the show's skilful juggling act.
Rachel describes the kiss in the minutest detail to a rapt Monica and Phoebe; "They started on my waist. And then they slid up, and then they were in my hair," she says, recalling Ross's hand movements, to gasps from her friends.
The show then cuts to the three men eating pizza: "Then I kissed her," says Ross; "Tongue?" queries Joey; "Yeah," says Ross; "Cool."
Dr Mills says: "Men and women watch it together and they might be watching for completely different reasons, but it's managed to straddle those two sides."
Paul McNeilage, a 22-year-old graphic designer visiting the replica Central Perk, talks of feeling "part of the Friends family".
"We followed them each week; not only did you identify with the characters, you are looking forward to seeing them the next week."
"People felt like they belonged to the show," he adds. "That must be one of the reasons why the majority of people coming here will be here.
"A lot of Londoners haven't had the occasion of going to California and going to the set. It's a way of belonging to the whole thing."


Thursday, September 24, 2009






By Megan Lane - BBC News Magazine.

For 96 long minutes, Colonel Gaddafi spoke to UN delegates about Somali pirates, the death of JFK, jet lag and his conspiracy theories about swine flu. Call that a long speech? It's but a tiddler.
But wait, there's more...
Speaking schedule:
First up, Barack Obama. Next, for 15 minutes, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, followed by Gordon Brown.

That was the planned running order at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. Only instead of speaking for 15 minutes, the Libyan leader launched into a passionate and wide-ranging invective in which he touched on everything from the failings of the Security Council to his theory that swine flu was developed for military purposes, by way of complaints about the time difference and promoting his own website, Gaddafi Speaks.
After an hour and a half of Mr Gaddafi speaking in person, it is not known how many of those listening logged on for more.
But while lengthy, his debut speech to the UN is by no means the longest delivered to that organisation.

Four hours and 29 minutes is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest speech in front of the General Assembly, given in September 1960 by Fidel Castro. The former Cuban leader is known for his interminable speeches - his longest on record in Cuba clocking up seven hours and 10 minutes at the 1986 Communist Party Congress.

Even that was topped, when at the UN Security Council in 1957, the Indian politician VK Krishna Menon talked for nearly eight hours defending India's position on Kashmir. (The transcript is on the UN website and runs to 160 pages.)

Yet Mr Menon's place in the annals of marathon speech making is unusual in that he represented a democracy.
"You are only ever going to get long speeches when the speaker doesn't have to worry about the audience running away," says Robert Service, professor of Russian history at Oxford University. "At the UN Gaddafi was depending on the good manners of the people listening. But at home, it is more about the self-preservation of the audience."

AthensIt was also made in an age when the political elite made long, elegantly constructed speeches liberally sprinkled with quotations, says historian Hywel Williams, author of In Our Time: The Speeches That Shaped the Modern World.
"Now [a long speech] is seen as a sign of political weakness, for example Neil Kinnock or Gordon Brown when he uses too many words and too much jargon.
"But earlier generations, ending with Harold Macmillan, had a taste for very long speeches which demonstrated their learning. We have now less patience with people who show their authority by speaking at great length."
One factor that drives moderately long speeches into the realms of eternity is the amount of time taken for applause.
Soviet leaders, for example, gave long speeches with orchestrated applause and ovations, "because particularly in the 1930s those listening didn't want to get arrested", says Prof Service.

In the book Gulag Archipelago, author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn recounted how a fellow prisoner in the USSR labour camps told how he came to be arrested. At a local party conference, someone toasted Stalin and "stormy applause, rising to an ovation", broke out. Even though the great leader was absent, it continued. "But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching... However, who would dare be the first to stop?
"Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a business-like expression and sat down in his seat." That same night, he was arrested.
And Robert Conquest's Stalin: Breaker of Nations recalls a recording of a speech by Stalin released on vinyl - the eighth side consisted entirely of a standing ovation. It's an anecdote that makes it into Martin Amis's 2002 novel Koba The Dread.
Although associated with long orations, Stalin only ever spoke at length while delivering Central Committee reports at congress, as did his successors, says Prof Service.
"These were enormously long, but did have to cover economic, political, cultural and foreign policy developments and predict what was going to happen in the next 10 to 20 years. And when Brezhnev did it, he was so doddery that he sometimes read the same page twice. The speech was long enough without that."
And when that other communist leader associated with marathon speeches, Fidel Castro, visited Chile in the 1970s to drum up support, Salvador Allende criticised his speaking style.
"Allende took the view that his vastly long speeches haranguing the Chilean people were counter-productive," says Prof Service.
But the roots of Castro and Gaddafi's oratory lie in ancient Greece, and the first demagogue Cleon, who understood the power of speech to win over the masses.
And among the most famous of long speeches is that made by the Athenian politician Pericles at a public funeral for those who had first fallen in the Peloponnesian War. He took the opportunity not only to praise the dead, but Athens itself.



Ceefax, the world's first teletext service, is gradually being switched off around the country as the digital switchover takes hold. To mark its 35th birthday, Ceefax journalist Ian Westbrook has compiled 10 little-known facts from its history.

Thirty-five years isn't bad going for something which started life as an afterthought (more of which, below). But that's the milestone being passed by Ceefax on Wednesday.
Since its launch in 1974, the BBC's teletext service has, for millions of people, become the first port of call for football results, breaking news and international flight arrival times.

These days, thanks to the proliferation of the internet, there's nothing novel about the idea of "on-demand" news - news you can access when you want. And while Ceefax is being gradually phased out, along with the analogue TV signal, BBC viewers who have made the switch to digital are getting their on-screen text via the Red Button services.

While Ceefax still commands a loyal audience of millions, it has just three years until it is completely switched off. Time then, to take stock with 10 ways Ceefax changed the world.

1. Ceefax wasn't actually meant to be. The technology was developed by BBC engineers who were trying to find ways of providing subtitles on TV programmes for the deaf, rather than produce a news service. They found that a normal television picture of 625 lines has "spare" lines at the top of the picture that could be used to transmit words or numbers.
When it went live, 35 years ago, just one journalist produced the 24 pages of news. He worked regular office hours so the service was not updated in the evenings or at weekends.

2. Glenn Hoddle's daughter used Ceefax to lobby for her father as his job as manager of the England football team hung in the balance. Hoddle was in hot water in 1999 following a row over comments he had made about disabled people.
Glenn Hoddle's comments about disabled people in 1999 caused a furore
Fearing the worst for her dad, the then 13-year-old Zara Hoddle contacted Ceefax to lend him some public support.
"I am Zara Hoddle and I would just like to say that I am very supportive of disabled people, so is my dad, but this is the most pathetic reason for someone to have maybe lost their job and to have so much hassle over. If you would just take the time to listen to what his explanation is then maybe you would understand this a bit more."
But the heartfelt plea failed and Hoddle was fired.

3. On the subject of sackings in the football world, in November 1997 QPR assistant manager Bruce Rioch first heard about his dismissal from the team by reading about it on Ceefax.
"I was at home watching the Louise Woodward case on television when I turned on Ceefax and read that I had been sacked," he said. "I am bitterly disappointed they didn't have the courtesy to... phone me... before I read it on television."

4. Night-owls without a Ceefax-enabled television could still enjoy a peek at the service during BBC Two's overnight transmission of Pages from Ceefax, as the stories ticked over with an often-jaunty musical accompaniment.
New joiners to the Ceefax department were sometimes baffled by requests from the public for the "Songs from Ceefax" - with some viewers believing that it was the job of the news editor to pick the track to accompany a particular story.

5. Video on the web... what's the big deal? Ceefax was there first, in the 1980s, when it experimented with some revolutionary coverage of the annual University Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford. A journalist decided to construct a page showing the route of the course using the graphics usually used for building the weather maps.
Two dots represented the boats and they were moved across the screen to track the crews once the race got under way. What is not recorded is how many people decided to watch this instead of the actual live race coverage on TV at the same time.
6. Back to football, and in March 2001 a third-tier club reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup thanks to Ceefax's hitherto unexploited role as a sort of recruitment agency.
Wycombe Wanderers faced the prospect of taking on Leicester City in the quarter-finals without a recognised frontman following an injury crisis. However, they issued a press release to Ceefax detailing their plight and asking for any interested strikers to join them.
When the agent of Roy Essandoh saw the story, he contacted the club and shortly afterwards the player found himself among the Wycombe substitutes at Filbert Street. With 20 minutes to go and the score at 1-1, Essandoh was let onto the pitch and responded by heading a dramatic winner to take the club into the last four.

7. Ceefax has had its fair share of celebrity callers. John Cleese once wrote to politely complain that the latest Somerset cricket scores were not up-to-date. Others to have phoned the main newsroom include Princess Diana's mother Frances Shand Kydd and the former president of the National Union of Mineworkers Arthur Scargill.
8. Also on the celebrity front, the service has reportedly featured in rock stars' on-tour riders. Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers was once said to have led his band out of a hotel as there was no Ceefax on the TV in their room. Canadian songstress Avril Lavigne also, apparently, insisted on "Ceefax and Bovril" being supplied in her hotel room during a British tour.
Radio One's Dominic Byrne and Carrie Davies were often teased by breakfast show host Chris Moyles about taking their news and sport headlines straight from Ceefax. There was even a jingle created along these lines three years ago.

9. Football again. A Ceefax April Fool's Day story in 1994 caused mayhem at Wolverhampton Wanderers' Molineux home. The club's switchboard was flooded with calls from angry fans after the story claimed manager Graham Taylor was changing the club's strip to white from their traditional gold. Taylor had previously managed England, who had missed out on qualification for the World Cup after losing to the orange-clad Netherlands team.
The item claimed Taylor reportedly said he felt Wolves' shirt colour was too close to the Dutch strip and he "did not like orange".
10. In 1994, a newsflash was erroneously broadcast on Ceefax during a rehearsal saying that the Queen Mother had died. The message was only on screen for 30 seconds but that was enough time for it to be spotted and the BBC apologised to her.

My dad loves the music on Ceefax. He even used to record it on a little tape recorder, so he could listen to it in his car.Alan Stringer, Milton Keynes

My dad always used to get home from work and lie on his side on the floor in front of the telly and read the headlines on Ceefax before doing anything else. I always used to think he was rather odd. The cat loved it though, and used to clamber all over him. Think he just gets his headlines here nowadays.Emily, Edinburgh

Fifteen years ago, when I first started using the world wide web, I thought it was remarkably similar to the way Ceefax was structured - the way each page is labelled with the four coloured buttons that provided direct links to other pages. My thanks to Ceefax engineers for their foresight.John

My mum was a Ceefax addict - after her day as a full-time teacher and mother to four, very often her only opportunity to catch up with what was going on in the world was by Ceefax. Even after her retirement and all of her children leaving home, she was still more likely to catch up with the news on Ceefax than by watching TV - and she read just about every page that was published - letters, jokes, competitions - everything. She died last year, but my abiding memory of her will always be sitting in her chair, late at night, flicking through the Ceefax pages.Judith Ormston, London

Have always loved Ceefax and in ad breaks on shows would flick back to the BBC just to see any news, mainly football. Always hoped I would time it right, as nothing more frustrating than it rolling over and having to wait for the page you want to come back.Alexander Maitland, Leicester, England

When I was younger, I "watched" all 38 of my team's Premiership matches in the 97/98 season on Ceefax. Page 316, I believe, would allow you to watch what was on the Beeb and also keep you up-to-date with the latest score. Who needed Sky when you had Ceefax and Match of the Day.Simon, Leicester, UK

I have fond memories of reading page 302 for football headlines, always tuning in to see if Man Utd had signed a new player when I was growing up. The main headline always stood out as it was big and bold, unlike on BBCi which also takes longer to load. Ceefax is just a great quick way to get info for cinemas/plane times and news headlines. It will be sorely missed by me.Paul Balcombe, Northampton



This gold strip with a Biblical inscription is one of 1,500 items in the hoard. Courtesy of
The UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure has been discovered buried beneath a field in Staffordshire.
Experts said the collection of 1,500 gold and silver pieces, which may date to the 7th Century, was unparalleled in size and worth at least £1m.
It has been declared treasure by South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh, meaning it belongs to the Crown.
Terry Herbert, who found it on farmland using a metal detector, said it "was what metal detectorists dream of".
It may take more than a year for it to be valued.

The Staffordshire Hoard contains about 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver, making it far bigger than the Sutton Hoo discovery in 1939 when 1.5kg of Anglo-Saxon gold was found near Woodbridge in Suffolk.
Leslie Webster, former keeper at the British Museum's Department of Prehistory and Europe, said: "This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries.
"(It is) absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells."
The Book of Kells and Lindisfarne Gospels are intricately illuminated manuscripts of the four New Testament Gospels dating from the 9th and 8th Centuries.

Mr Herbert, 55, of Burntwood in Staffordshire, who has been metal detecting for 18 years, came across the hoard as he searched land belonging to a farmer friend over five days in July. The exact location has not been disclosed.
"I have this phrase that I say sometimes; 'spirits of yesteryear take me where the coins appear', but on that day I changed coins to gold," he said.
"I don't know why I said it that day but I think somebody was listening and directed me to it.
Duncan Slarke, Portable Antiquities: ''It is a hugely important find''
"This is what metal detectorists dream of, finding stuff like this. But the vast amount there is is just unbelievable."

BBC correspondent Nick Higham said the hoard would be valued by the British Museum and the money passed on to Mr Herbert and the landowner.
Duncan Slarke, finds liaison officer for Staffordshire, was the first professional to see the hoard which contains warfare paraphernalia, including sword pommel caps and hilt plates inlaid with precious stones.
He said he was "virtually speechless" when he saw the items.
"Nothing could have prepared me for that," he said.
"I saw boxes full of gold, items exhibiting the very finest Anglo-Saxon workmanship.
"This is absolutely phenomenal.
"It is a hugely important find - the most important one that I have dealt with, but this has got to rank as one of the biggest in the country."

The collection is currently being kept in secure storage at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery but a selection of the items are to be displayed at the museum from Friday until 13 October.
Dr Kevin Leahy, who has been cataloguing the find for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, said it was "a truly remarkable collection".
He said it had been found in the heartland of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia.
"All the archaeologists who've worked with it have been awestruck," he added.
"It's been actually quite scary working on this material to be in the presence of greatness."
He said the most striking feature of the find was that it was almost totally weapon fittings with no feminine objects such as dress fittings, brooches or pendants.
"Swords and sword fittings were very important in the Anglo-Saxon period," Dr Leahy added.
"The Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf describes after a battle a sword being stripped of its hilt fittings.
"It looks like a collection of trophies, but it is impossible to say if the hoard was the spoils from a single battle or a long and highly successful military career.
"We also cannot say who the original, or the final, owners were, who took it from them, why they buried it or when.
"It will be debated for decades."



A campaign group against Donald Trump's £1bn golf resort plans in Aberdeenshire has dressed up statues around Scotland as the American tycoon.
The Menie Liberation Front group said the masks and golf clubs had been added to about 20 statues in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.
Grampian Police said it had launched an investigation into the incidents in Aberdeen.
Mr Trump hopes to build the world's greatest golf resort at Menie.
A spokesman for the protest group said: "We are dressing up famous Scottish statues as the American tycoon to symbolise the way Trump thinks he can walk over Scotland.
"This development has gone too far. Throwing families from their homes for a private development is outrageous."
The protest group - which has threatened further action - said no statues were damaged.

Grampian Police are looking for a man in his 30s and one in his 50s in connection with the incident.
Officials from Aberdeen City Council have been removing the pictures, banners and sets of plastic golf clubs which were placed on the statues.
Martin Glegg, of the Tripping Up Trump group, said he was not aware of the protest and had never heard of the Menie Liberation Front.
He told BBC Scotland: "It shows lots of people are upset by the issue."
The Trump Organisation has already won outline planning permission for two golf courses, a "residential village" and a hotel.
Mr Trump has said his vision comprises a world class golf course, a second 18-hole course, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses.
The proposal was originally rejected by a committee of the council before being called in by the Scottish government and approved.
The Trump Organisation has said it has made "incredibly generous" offers to the owners of four homes on land which forms part of its planned golf resort.
Some local residents at Menie in Aberdeenshire have been refusing to sell to the US tycoon.
Mr Trump's son, Donald Trump Jnr, told BBC Scotland the owners had been offered a 15% premium on market value.
He said they had also been offered the chance to buy new homes at cost price, and the lifetime use of facilities.



A 3m-euro (£2.7m) painting by Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte has been stolen in broad daylight from a Brussels museum, curators say.
The 1948 nude - entitled Olympia - was stolen by two unidentified people, one of whom was armed, officials told AFP.
It was stolen from a gallery dedicated to Magritte's life and work at his former home, officials said.
Magritte died in 1967 and is recognised as one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.



Hollywood actor John Travolta has given evidence during an extortion trial in the Bahamas.
Former senator Pleasant Bridgewater and medic Tarino Lightbourne are accused of demanding money from the star after his son died in the Bahamas in January.
They allegedly wanted $25m (£15m) in return for keeping secret a document relating to 16-year-old Jett's treatment. The pair deny the charges.
Since the death of his son, the actor has rarely appeared in public.
Ms Bridgewater resigned her seat on the Bahamas senate after she was arrested in January. Mr Lightbourne was one of the paramedics who responded when Mr Travolta's son was taken ill.
John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston arrived at Nassau Supreme Court on Wednesday with a large security escort.

The court was told that Mr Travolta and Ms Preston had travelled to a resort on Grand Bahama with Jett and their eight-year-old daughter, Ella, accompanied by four nannies.
The actor began his testimony by recalling the moments before his son's death.
He said he had been woken by one of the nannies pounding on his door and had run downstairs to find his son on the bathroom floor and one of the other nannies trying to resuscitate him.

Mr Travolta said he took over the resuscitation attempts helped by a visitor at the resort.
The actor told the court his son was autistic and suffered from seizures.
Earlier, police inspector Andrew Wells told the court that Mr Travolta had wanted his son flown to the US instead of the nearest Bahamian hospital.
He said Mr Lightbourne had wanted a signature on a statement confirming that Mr Travolta waived medical treatment for his son.
Mr Travolta said he was so intent on saving his son that he signed the medical liability release document - which is thought to be the subject of the alleged extortion - without reading it.
Bahamas prosecutor Bernard Turner testified on Tuesday that Mr Travolta had been threatened with the release of potentially damaging statements if money was not paid.
The case continues.



White House officials rejected repeated requests from Britain for a formal meeting between President Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, it has emerged.
The prime minister's team were "frantic" after being unable to secure the talks at the UN summit in New York, a diplomatic source has told the BBC.
However, the president held private meetings with the leaders of Japan, China and Russia.
Downing Street said reports of a snub were "completely without foundation".
A spokesman said the men had had a "wide-ranging discussion following last night's climate change dinner".
It has emerged this was a few minutes of conversation in a kitchen at the United Nations.

I don't mean to suggest the president has any negative feelings towards Britain, I just don't see why he would see us as all that special.
Mark MardellBBC North America editor
Read Mark's thoughts in full

The spokesman went on to say the prime minister and president would co-chair an "important" meeting on Thursday on Pakistan, and would have further meetings at the G20 later this week.
The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Brown wanted a similar event to the substantial meetings President Obama held with the leaders of Japan, China and Russia.
But the White House rejected that Mr Brown had been given a lower priority than other leaders.
A spokesman said: "Any stories that suggest trouble in the bilateral relationship between the United States and UK are totally absurd.
"We would add that President Obama and Prime Minister Brown enjoy a terrific relationship, they speak regularly on a range of the most difficult challenges facing our two nations and meet frequently."
The spokesman pointed to "the tight and extensive work our countries carry out together to address common challenges across the globe" as evidence of the closeness of the relationship.
The row comes after Mr Obama described the Lockerbie bomber's release as a "mistake".


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Villagers in India have accused the Hollywood superstar, Julia Roberts, of interrupting one of their most important religious festivals.
They say that her huge film set in the town of Pataudi near Delhi has prevented them from celebrating the Navratri religious festival.
The Pretty Woman star used the Hari Mandir temple to shoot scenes of her new film, Eat, Pray, Love.
Neither Ms Roberts nor the film makers has commented on the claims.
A spokeswoman for Sony Pictures Entertainment, which owns the production company making the film, told the BBC they did not want to say anything about the allegations.

Some locals are unhappy the actress is using the temple during the festival of Navratri, marked by Hindus through nine days of worship of the Goddess Durga.
Police say they are under strict orders to stop devotees from entering the temple while filming is under way because of security considerations.
The restrictions come at a sensitive time because a number of Hindu festivals take place in the autumn.
One worshipper said: "It's the holiest time of the year and we are being stopped from visiting our own temple. It's outrageous."
Eyebrows have also been raised at the scale of the security operation to guard the Hollywood star - some newspapers have described it as "presidential".
Reports say she is also using a bullet proof car and a helicopter for protection.
Up until now, the star of Erin Brockovich and Notting Hill has been seen as one of the West's most "Hindu-friendly" actors, even sporting a bindi spot during a visit to India earlier this year.
In Eat, Pray, Love, Ms Roberts plays a woman hoping to find herself in Hindu spirituality after experiencing a traumatic divorce.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert.



Council chiefs have reversed a decision to rename the pudding Spotted Dick after receiving "abusive letters" and accusations of political correctness.
Canteen staff at Flintshire council had decided it would be referred to as "Spotted Richard" on their menu after "immature comments" by some customers.
The council now says the pudding will revert to its traditional name.
But it has warned any customers who act in a "childish way" to behave themselves or be refused food.
Spotted Dick is a steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit, and is thought to have originated in the middle of the 19th Century.
The "spotted" part of the name refers to the currants, which resemble spots, and "Dick" is believed to derive from the word dough.
Two weeks ago, the council said the pudding had been renamed Spotted Richard or Sultana Sponge because of "several immature comments from a few customers" at its headquarters in Mold.

One Flintshire councillor, Klaus Armstrong-Braun, criticised the name change as "ludicrous" and said those responsible for the decision would soon be "frightened of their own shadow".
Now the council's chief executive, Colin Everett has said: "Although the majority have seen the humorous side of the story, the impression given in the media that the council might have been 'politically correct' has led to some derision and, sadly, to a number of abusive letters being sent in from across the country."
He said Flintshire was a "sensible" council and catering staff had used their initiative in ordering the name change following the "childish comments of one regular customer".
He added: "In full agreement with the catering management Flintshire County Council will observe proper tradition and refer to all dishes by their proper name.
"Spotted Dick will be back on the menu under its proper and proud name. In future, any customers who act in this childish way will be asked to behave properly or will be refused service.
"Let common tradition and common sense prevail."
Mr Armstrong-Braun, who was interviewed by radio stations as far away as Canada when he complained about the name change, said: "It's a great victory for Spotted Dick and for everyone who makes it.
"It's made Flintshire a laughing stock all over the world. I've had lots of letters criticising them.
"It's all the more ridiculous when we now learn that only one person was responsible for making smutty remarks which led them to get rid of something which has been a tradition for more than 150 years."







The parents of missing toddler Madeleine McCann have returned to Portugal for the first time in over two years, their spokesman has confirmed.
Kate and Gerry McCann are due to meet their lawyers in the capital, Lisbon, but do not plan to visit Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared in 2007.
The couple plan to return to the UK this evening, their spokesman said.
Clarence Mitchell said the visit would be "daunting" for the McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire.
He added the couple planned to hold a press conference later on Wednesday.
Mr Mitchell said: "Obviously, this is Kate's first return to Portugal since Madeleine's abduction.
"Whilst this is undoubtedly difficult for her, she remains determined to do whatever is necessary to assist in the search for her daughter."
Mr Mitchell told Sky News that private detectives hunting for Madeleine had been in Europe for the last couple of weeks.
Madeleine was three years old when she disappeared during a family holiday in the Portuguese resort town of Praia da Luz in May 2007.
There have been no confirmed sightings of the missing toddler since then, despite extensive publicity and a Europe-wide alert.



US officials have ordered workers to stop the construction of a tent for Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi near New York, a local attorney says.
The erection of the tent "violated several codes and laws of the town of Bedford", attorney Joel Sachs says.
It also emerged the Bedouin-style tent was being set up on property rented from real estate mogul Donald Trump.
Col Gaddafi had reportedly planned to use the tent for entertaining during the UN General Assembly in New York.
Libyan officials have so far not publicly commented on the issue.
Col Gaddafi - who arrived in New York on Tuesday - traditionally shuns official residences during his trips abroad.
Bedford town attorney Joel Sachs said officials had given "a stop work" order to teams pitching Col Gaddafi's tent in the town, about 30 miles (48km) north of New York.
But he said the workers did not speak English and the order was then issued to the property caretaker.
"There is no such thing as diplomatic immunity when it comes to complying with local laws and ordinances," Mr Sachs was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
"This is a private piece of property and they have to comply with the laws of this municipality."
Mr Sachs said the authorities in Bedford had learned of Col Gaddafi's plans from the US secret service.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump said in a statement that part of the estate "was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners, who may or may not have a relationship to Mr Gaddafi".
"We are looking into the matter," the statement added.
Last week, Libyan officials agreed not to pitch Col Gaddafi's tent in the grounds of a Libyan-owned property in the New Jersey town of Englewood because of opposition from local residents.
They protested against the warm welcome given in Libya to the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, following his release from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.
Dozens of families in New Jersey lost loved ones when Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Scotland.



By Andy McFarlane - BBC News

The publication of guidance on when prosecutions should be brought in assisted suicide cases represents a victory for multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy.
But amid the celebrations, her husband Omar Puente still faces the prospect of helping her die.
Like many husbands, Omar Puente thinks his wife talks too much. They bicker a lot, he admits, but enjoy Indian takeaways - like any normal couple.
However, unlike anyone else, Mr Puente has seen his terminally-ill wife become the face of Britain's right-to-die campaign.
Debbie Purdy's fight for clarification of the circumstances in which her husband could be prosecuted for helping her commit suicide is being rewarded by the release of guidance on the issue.
Through every step of her battle, Mr Puente - a Cuban-born jazz violinist - has been at her side.
"It's a big day. I'm really happy for her," says the 47-year-old.
After sharing her life for nearly 15 years, how does Mr Puente cope with media coverage focusing on the prospect of his wife's death?
"I love my wife and I'm going to lose a lot when she's gone. But I don't think she's going to die tomorrow.
"At the same time I could be run over by a bus. You just don't think about that - you think positive and enjoy life. We have a good life together, good times."
This philosophy has served the couple well since Ms Purdy's illness was diagnosed.

It happened barely a month after the couple met - in 1995 in a Singapore bar where, as a music journalist, she muddled through an interview with him despite neither speaking the other's language.
Mr Puente was working in Malaysia when she telephoned him with her news.
"I didn't really know what she meant because this isn't common in Cuba, so I said 'just take a plane and come back to me and we'll do something about it'," he says.
Despite the devastating diagnosis, their love grew.
"We were both foreigners in a third country and it was a necessity to help each other - that was one of the ingredients from the beginning of our strong relationship," he says.
"Since then we've stuck together - good times and bad."
They made the most of life in the far east. Even as Ms Purdy's mobility became too restricted to allow her to indulge in her love of dancing, Mr Puente would balance her feet on his and sweep her round the floor.
When Ms Purdy felt her deteriorating health left her with no choice but to go back to the UK, Mr Puente followed. They married in 1998.
"I arrived in England in the middle of winter and it was freezing cold and I thought 'what is this'," Mr Puente recalls.
"I struggled a lot at the beginning and people didn't want to hear the violin, so I played double bass in an orchestra to put food on the table."
As years went by, Mr Puente built a network of friends and saw his reputation as a musician grow - working with artists such as Jools Holland, Kirsty MacColl and Courtney Pine.
But since the death in 2002 of motor neurone disease sufferer Diane Pretty, who lost a legal battle to allow her husband to help her take her own life, Mr Puente and his wife have seen a cloud on the horizon.
Without assurances that her husband would be immune from prosecution, Ms Purdy insisted her only option was to die in Switzerland while still physically able to travel alone.
He husband says: "If [the law] wasn't clear, Debbie would have to go to Switzerland before she was really ready to end her life."
Now, he hopes the guidance will give him - and other couples - the confidence to travel with their loved ones when the time comes.
"It will be clear for most people to decide whatever they want to do. If something's not clear at least they will feel able to ask."
Until such time, Mr Puente is keen to focus on playing music - and passing on his skills on to students at both Leeds College of Music and London's Trinity College of Music, where he teaches.
On 5 October, he releases his debut solo album - the Courtney Pine-produced From There to Here - followed by a launch event during London Jazz Festival in November.
Keen to take the positives from his experiences, he believes the rough and smooth of his life in England have helped him improve his work.
"Maybe I could have recorded it a long time ago but I've gathered experience in England and had the opportunity to play with great musicians here," he says.
"I'm really happy. It's time to get on with life and we're going to have a lot of fun."



All US embassies and consulates in South Africa have been closed following warnings from security officials.
"We received information from the regional security office which I cannot discuss," said embassy spokeswoman Sharon Hudson Dean.
She said she expected the mission to reopen on Wednesday.
The closure affects the US missions in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, as well as all government aid and development offices.
Ms Hudson Dean said it was the first time in at least 10 years that the embassy had been closed for security reasons.



Australia's biggest city, Sydney, has been shrouded in red dust blown in by winds from the deserts of the outback.
Visibility is so bad that international flights have been diverted and harbour ferry traffic disrupted.
Emergency services reported a surge in calls from people suffering breathing problems. Children and the elderly have been told to stay indoors.
Sydney's landmarks, including the Opera House, have been obscured, and many residents are wearing masks.
Traffic has been bumper-to-bumper on major roads.

The dust blanketing eastern parts of New South Wales has been carried by powerful winds that snatched up tons of topsoil from the drought-ravaged west of the state.
One Sydney resident told the Associated Press news agency: "The colour was amazing... I'm 72 years old and I've never seen that in my life before."
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology warned of "widespread damaging winds" in Sydney and other areas, as gusts of 65km/h (40mph) hit the city.
Forecasters predicted the winds would weaken later on Wednesday.
The BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney says it has been a difficult 24 hours for Australia, which has been hit by earthquakes, hail storms and bushfires.
In parts of New South Wales, huge hail stones whipped up by thunderstorms smashed windows and sent residents running for cover.
Further north in Queensland, officials banned open fires in many areas when bushfires sprang up after a spell of hot, dry weather.
Two minor earthquakes hit Victoria state on Tuesday, and heavy rains that followed led officials to issue a warning of flash floods.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Michael Jackson film This Is It is to have simultaneous premieres in more than 15 cities around the world.
Cities hosting the premieres on 27 and 28 October include Los Angeles, London, New York, Berlin, Seoul and Rio de Janeiro, Sony Pictures said.
The movie is based on more than 100 hours of footage from rehearsals for the 50 London shows he had planned to do. Jackson died in June aged 50.
Names of the other cities hosting the premiere have not yet been released.
Hollywood films often hold premieres at different locations around the world but rarely at the same time.
"Michael Jackson has an army of fans everywhere around the world... we are giving the audiences an incredible opportunity to join together in celebration of Michael Jackson's incredible career," said Jeff Blake, chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony Pictures.
The Los Angeles premiere will take place on the evening of 27 October, while the London event will happen after midnight local time on 28 October.

In total, more than 25 cities will host premieres but not all will take place at the same time - they include Moscow, Tokyo, Sydney and Paris.
This Is It, directed by Kenny Ortega - the choreographer of Jackson's planned shows at London's O2 arena - offers a behind-the-scenes look at preparations.
The content is drawn from footage shot in Los Angeles between March and June.
The film will go on general release in cinemas on 28 October for just a two-week run.
The $60m (£36.4m) movie deal was made between Jackson's estate and concert promoter AEG Live and Sony Pictures.
Tickets for This Is It go on sale on 27 September.
The singer died after suffering a cardiac arrest on 25 June, weeks before he was to have started the concerts.



China will increase efforts to improve energy efficiency and cut CO2 emissions, President Hu Jintao has told a UN climate change summit in New York.
Mr Hu said CO2 emissions would be cut by a "notable margin" by 2020, but gave no overall figure.
About 100 leaders are attending the talks, ahead of the Copenhagen summit which is due to approve a new treaty.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said failure to agree a treaty in December would be "morally inexcusable".
Negotiators for the Copenhagen summit are trying to agree on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol to limit carbon emissions.
Mr Ban called the meeting an attempt to inject momentum into the deadlocked climate talks.

Shirong Chen, BBC China analyst

Change from Beijing is partly a reaction to international criticism as China becomes the world's biggest polluter.
The country's rapid economic growth has created demand for more energy and fuel. There is a growing need for Beijing to provide clear answers on what is being done to deal with the problem.
Image-conscious Chinese officials want to be seen as co-operative internationally and accept that China must become part of the solution to major global issues such as the financial crisis and climate change.

"Your decisions will have momentous consequences," he told the assembled leaders.
"The fate of future generations, and the hopes and livelihoods of billions today, rest, literally, with you," he added.
The Chinese president said his country's cuts would be measured by unit of Gross Domestic Product.
He also pledged to "vigorously develop" renewable and nuclear energy.
He restated China's position that developed nations needed to do more than developing nations to fight climate change because they were historically responsible for the problem.
"Developed countries should fulfill the task of emission reduction set in the Kyoto Protocol, continue to undertake substantial mid-term quantified emission reduction targets and support developing countries in countering climate change," he said.
United States President Barack Obama said Americans understood the gravity of the climate threat and were determined to act, but there was much more work to be done.

TUESDAY (all times GMT)
Middle East:
1430 - Obama talks with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
1500 - Obama meets Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
1530 - trilateral talks
1300 - General debate begins
1330 - Obama's speech
Nuclear non-proliferation:
1200 - Obama chairs UN Security Council meeting

"If we are flexible and pragmatic; if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, then we will achieve our common purpose: a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier than the one we found; and a future that is worthy of our children," he said.
According to the BBC's UN correspondent, Barbara Plett, discussions have stalled because rich nations are not pledging to cut enough carbon to take the world out of danger, while poorer countries are refusing to commit to binding caps, saying this would prevent them from developing their economies.
China's role is crucial, because it is both an emerging economy and a big polluter, our correspondent says.
Despite all its advances in green technology, China still gets 70% of its energy from coal - and as its economy increases, this means yet more growth in greenhouse gases, our correspondent says. There is also concern about the world's other big polluter, the United States.

Airlines plan 'to cut emissions'
Challenge to developed world

President Obama has recognised climate change as a pressing issue, unlike the previous administration, our UN correspondent says.
He has already announced a target of returning to 1990 levels of greenhouse emissions by 2020, but critics say Washington is moving too slowly on legislation which does not go far enough.
President Obama is currently dogged by domestic issues such as the economy and healthcare reforms, but his speech to the UN meeting will still be watched for signs he is willing to fulfil his pledge to take the lead in reaching a global carbon deal.
A demonstration of political will by both China and the US will be important in breaking the deadlock in negotiations, correspondents say.
China and the US each account for about 20% of the world's greenhouse gas pollution from coal, natural gas and oil.
The European Union is responsible for 14%, followed by Russia and India with 5% each.