Dienstag, 18. Mai 2010

Jewellery competition: win a pair of diamond earrings from Ernest Jones - by Natasha Cowan - telegraph.co.uk

To celebrate their diamond anniversary, Ernest Jones is giving away six pairs of 9ct white gold, diamond stud earrings, worth nearly £600.

by Natasha Cowan

Published: 3:59PM BST 14 May 2010

Win a pair of white gold and diamond earrings from Ernest Jones

To celebrate Ernest Jones’s diamond anniversary, The Daily Telegraph fashion desk is giving away six pairs of diamond earrings worth £99 each.

The 9ct white gold stud earrings are set with round, brilliant-cut sparkling diamonds.

The setting is designed to give the stone a floating effect, as light passes through the diamond from as many angles as possible.

Since 1949, Ernest Jones has grown from a single-store on London's Oxford Street to a chain of over 190 jewellery stores nationwide. The 60 year old company now offers wedding jewellery, fashion-led pieces including cocktail rings and vintage-style pieces as well as luxury accessories by Mont Blanc, Alfred Dunhill and Hugo Boss.

It is also a destination for prestigious watch brands including TAG Heuer, Gucci, Emporio Armani, Rado, Omega, Dreyfuss & Co and Longines.

Enter the Ernest Jones 'diamond earrings' competition here

Stockists: www.ernestjones.co.uk; 0845 602 1112.

Terms and conditions: six readers to win one pair of earrings worth £99 each.

Market chaos warning after German ban on shorting - By Harry Wilson, Financial Services Correspondent - telegraph.co.uk

Traders are predicting chaos on the world's second-largest government bond market after the German authorities on Tuesday announced a ban on all naked short-selling in European public debt, as well as shares in the country's 10 largest financial institutions.

By Harry Wilson, Financial Services Correspondent

Published: 9:04PM BST 18 May 2010

The unprecedented step saw the euro sink to a four-year low after Germany said that from midnight shorting of credit default swaps of any European government would be banned. The prohibition is an attempt to counter speculators that Berlin believes are trying to destabilise the region's sovereign bond market.

Traders greeted the move by BaFin, the German regulator, with a mixture of anger and astonishment. One bond trader said he expected Wednesday's trading session to be one of the most volatile in living memory: "It will be complete chaos, I really don't know what the Germans think they are doing."

One immediate effect was that the cost of insuring European government debt fell as markets were hit by a so-called "short squeeze" where investors with short positions are forced to offload their holdings and buy the bonds, causing the price to increase.

This is certain to please the German authorities, who have waged an increasingly hostile war of words with supposed speculators.

BaFin said the ban was being introduced due to "extraordinary volatility in debt securities issued by eurozone countries".

In a statement, it said short-selling had led to excessive price movements "which could have led to significant disadvantages for financial markets and have threatened the stability of the entire financial system". However, traders said that the measures, which will also prohibit the naked short-selling of shares in major German financial institutions, such as Allianz. Commerzbank, and Deutsche Bank, could lead to an immediate backlash from investors around the world.

They added that the ban was likely to be effectively unenforceable. It will not stop traders from shorting the bonds and shares using other European markets.

"Without the two-way flow the German market is likely to become utterly dysfunctional," said one London-based bond trader. "Nobody ever thought they'd do this in a million years and it raises the long-term question of who is now going to want to buy their debt."

Germany, like other European governments, must raise hundreds of billions of euros by selling new bonds, but banning short-selling could jeopardise demand.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch summed up the mood with a note titled What's Germany going to ban next? Rainy days, harsh words, the Macarena?

US shares fell as traders began to assess the consequences. After an early rally, the Dow Jones closed down more than 100 points, despite a day of gains for European markets.

The German authority's actions echo those taken by many major Western governments in the wake of the financial crisis in late 2008 following the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers. Britain and the US both temporarily banned shorting bank shares, fearing that speculators could cause the collapse of other major financial institutions.

Speaking to Reuters, Lawrence Glazer, managing partner of Boston-based Mayflower Advisors, said: "The motive is probably more towards limiting volatility and trying to prevent some sort of raid on debt, or equities. We have seen this before, but whenever you see any type of regulatory changes it is worth paying attention."

Barrister was consumed by jealousy, says lover - By Andy Bloxham - telegraph.co.uk

A barrister who lost a £33m race discrimination case tried to "destroy" her ex-boyfriend's relationship with a German model because she was "consumed with jealousy", a court heard.

By Andy Bloxham

Published: 8:07PM BST 18 May 2010

Aisha Bijlani, 43, branded herself the "sweet global phenomenon of the entire universe" and described the other woman as a "German prostitute" in her bid to win back her lover.

Biljani's former boyfriend, marketing executive Atul Sehgal, said she rated herself highly and thought she was "cleverer than anyone else".

Last year, Indian-born Bijlani lost a damages claim against the high-profile chambers Four New Square in which she claimed she was viewed as an "educated wog".

Yesterday, Blackfriars Crown Court in London heard that Bijlani became intent on "destroying" her ex-boyfriend's life after he met catwalk model Nicola Koenig, whom he fell for quickly.

Mr Sehgal said: "When I first met her I was single and thought "wow, she's got her own website".

He said he began "falling in love" with her.

The court heard he sent an email link showing Miss Koenig to his ex-girlfriend and she responded with abusive emails calling Miss Koenig a "flat-chested, too long-faced, asexual freak", a "cheap hooker", and "a working class trollop" who was only good for licking toilet bowls.

Mr Sehgal said: "She was a woman who was consumed with jealousy, a woman who could not compete with Nicola."

When asked if he thought sending the web link to photos of the model might not "wind up" his ex-girlfriend, he said: "No, I thought she would be happy for me."

He said in an attempt to manipulate him, Bijlani invoked the memory of his dead mother, who shared a birthday with him and was killed in front of him in a car accident on Oxford Street.

He said she asked what his mother would think about his behaviour knowing that it was close to the anniversary of her death.

When he did not respond favourably, she called his mother a "whore".

The court heard Bijlani also pleaded with him saying: "Why are you abandoning me? I need to de-stress on your chubby cheeks."

Biljani, from Belgravia, London, demanded tickets to see "India v England at Lord's", entry onto the guest list of a marketing event, to be driven to her chambers, and never bought her own drinks, the court heard.

Mr Sehgal, whose "hobby" is film writing, also invited her to the short film festival at Cannes.

She used his password to get access to his email account and sent Miss Koenig an abusive message which scared her.

Miss Koenig said she and Mr Sehgal had only been friends and denied they had a sexual relationship.

Miss Koenig, 28, said: "I wasn't interested in him because I had a boyfriend.

"After reading the email I felt very frightened, I lost weight, I couldn't sleep - I was so frightened.

"I said that I wanted to go to the police."

Bijlani and Mr Sehgal, 41, had had a four-month relationship that ended in 2004 but they remained friends.

However, things deteriorated and, in 2007, she was convicted of two counts of harassing him and Miss Koenig.

Bijlani, who has been diagnosed with severe reactive depression, is appealing the convictions..

The case continues.

Protestors killed as Thai troops move into encampment - By Damien McElroy And Ian MacKinnon in Bankok - telegraph.co.uk

Thai troops have broken through protest barricades in Bangkok, killing at least two protestors, as the army launched a long-planned clearance operation against opposition demonstrations in the city centre.

By Damien McElroy And Ian MacKinnon in Bankok

Published: 5:56AM BST 19 May 2010

Government soldiers were engaged in gunbattles with the Red Shirt protestors after armoured personnel carriers stormed the tyre and bamboo barricades.

Many of the protestors fled further within the encampment as the army advanced.

At least two protestors were killed in the violence, with witnesses describing how one man was shot in the head by troops before being carried away.

There were also reports that two foreign journalists had been wounded in the fighting, and that one Italian journalist may have died.

As troops closed in on the encampment from several sides, checkpoints were set up to filter movement in and out of the area, but the army later claimed that some of the leaders had escaped. Platoons also used the elevated rail line cutting through the area to advance on the demonstrators and water cannons targeted staged positions.

Under a banner proclaiming "Peaceful Protestors not terrorists" the remaining protestors, including a few hundred women and children, vowed not to leave, but hours later troops were seen clearing parts of the camp, removing banners and leftover food.

By mid morning the army claimed to have retaken the central Bangkok area. Some protesors were openly crying and others put on face masks in fear of tear gas attacks.

"Please stay calm today, no matter what happens we will stay here together," leader Nattawut Saikuar said from the stage where protesters were gathered for safety, directing them to a nearby Buddhist temple if necessary.

"Those who fear for your life go to the temple, but those who volunteer to stay here you are free to do so."

From the north there was heavy gunfire on Wireless Road in the vicinity of the British and American embassies. Residents of the area watched in horror from roof tops as the operation began.

Government officials said that the government and army chiefs gave the order to move only after determining that leaders were incapable to disperse the demonstrations even if negotiations were successful.

"The protest must end immediately and leaders must surrender and stop the violence," said chief negotiator Korbsak Sabhavasu. Mr Korbsak blamed former prime minister Thaksin Shinwatra for preventing compromise from exile.

A government spokesman warned people in affected areas to stay indoors as troops "narrowed down" the protest area. "We would like to reassure residents of Bangkok that operations are designed to stabilise Bangkok," said Panitan Wattanayagorn. "Thank you for your cooperation." "This is D-Day," said one soldier.

The demonstrators began the protest in mid-March, `demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, dissolution of Parliament and immediate elections.

They created an encampment in Bangkok's posh downtown Rajprasong district in April, surrounding themselves by a barricade of tires and bamboo spears.

"This is the last push. Looks like the government really wants to end it this time," said Senator Lertrat Rattanawanit, who had tried to mediate between the two sides. "They have laid out the steps, giving out deadlines for people to move out and all that. It's a pity that using force is inevitable."

Asked if losses could be prevented, he said: "It's impossible."

The protest site contains dozens of office buildings and condominiums, as well as two hospitals, including one right next to the main stage.

Using loudspeakers, authorities told women and children to leave the protest site, the state-owned NBT television network reported today.

Since 1946, when King Bhumibol Adulyadej took the Thai throne as an 18-year-old, Thailand has seen nine coups and more than 20 prime ministers. Only two of 17 constitutions since absolute monarchy ended in 1932 have mandated parliaments that are entirely elected. The king, who is revered across the nation, has been in hospital since Sept. 19 and hasn't spoken publicly about the current demonstrations.

Mr Abhisit himself has never won a national election: He was picked by legislators in December 2008 after a court dissolved the pro-Thaksin ruling party for election fraud. The decision coincided with the seizure of Bangkok's airports by protesters wearing yellow shirts who oppose Mr Thaksin.

Rise in number of Billionaire Rows - By Myra Butterworth, Personal Finance Correspondent - telegraph.co.uk

Almost 2,000 streets in Britain now have average house values of £1 million, it is disclosed today.

By Myra Butterworth, Personal Finance Correspondent
Published: 7:00AM BST 18 May 2010

The most expensive street is in London’s Kensington Palace Gardens, where the average property costs £18 million.

Three quarters of Britain’s so-called “Golden Streets” are in London, while a high concentration can also be found in Guildford, Richmond and Leatherhead.

Virginia Water in Surrey – where the average property is now worth £920,000 – is the only area outside London to make the top 10 most expensive postcodes, according to the research by property website Zoopla.

Today’s total number of 1,995 streets where the average property value is more than £1 million is an increase of 36 per cent on 15 years ago when there were 1,471 streets.

Nick Leeming, commercial director of Zoopla.co.uk, said: “As a nation we’re obsessed with property values. The past 12 months has seen house prices in the leading areas of the country rebound at a far faster rate than the average, contributing to a widening of the North-South divide.”

Boris Kofman, a director of Mayfair-based property consultancy Virtus Real Estate, which acquires super prime London property on behalf of some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, said the very top end of the market has been immune to the collapse experienced further down the property chain.

“There are always people who are extremely rich and who will want to buy super prime properties as trophy assets, whatever market conditions may be,” he said.

“The exchange rate having been so favourable to overseas buyers over the past two years has put even more of a premium on super prime London properties. You also have to remember that properties at the top end of the market are very scarce, which again ensures prices remain high.”

It comes as a separate survey by spareroom.co.uk suggested a third of people who rent do not think they will ever be able to afford to buy a property.

Coalition Government: families braced for the emergency Budget - By Rosie Murray-West and Kara Gammell - telegraph.co.uk

With the coalition Government in place and the date for an emergency Budget already set, households throughout Britain are scrutinising their own finances to see how they might be affected.

By Rosie Murray-West and Kara Gammell

Published: 6:23AM BST 18 May 2010

Gemma Dowers, pictured with her husband, Gareth, and their children Jude, six, Ffion, two, and Iestyn, nine months

Although some people may end up better off after June 22, others fear that the Government's pressing need to cut the deficit will lead to them struggling to balance their own books.

George Osborne, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced yesterday that his Government would outline £6 billion of spending cuts this year with its first Budget, and warned that if Britain does not bring down its budget deficit we risk an economic crisis similar to the one that is happening in Greece.

The coalition agreement has given a hint of what is to come. Some measures have already been announced, or look like a certainty.

Pensioners will benefit from earnings-linked pensions, while higher income families will find themselves stripped of tax credits. Child Trust Funds will be reduced, while those on the state pension will find that their income rises in line with earnings.

Other measures, such as a higher rate of capital gains tax paid with a lower threshold for exemption, have not yet been formally announced – but are widely expected.

Higher rate taxpayers who contribute to pensions are wondering what will happen to the tax relief that they receive on their pensions, which looks likely to be cut as well.

Accountants have suggested that some families could be more than £2,000 worse off every year after the changes, partly because they receive tax credits to help with the cost of bringing up children that now seem likely to be taken away, and partly from the expected increases to National Insurance, capital gains tax and VAT.

A recent survey from the financial advisers unbiased.co.uk showed that 31per cent of consumers expected substantial tax hikes after the election, and many people are already counting the likely cost.

We talked to three households who are assessing the impact that the new Government measures will have on their finances. Ian Porter, who is married and has two children is frustrated at the loss of the personal allowance for anyone earning more than £100,000.

He already suffers from the effective 60 per cent tax rate caused by the tapering away of the personal allowance, and would like to see this anomaly changed.

This was put in place by Alistair Darling during the previous government, but he hoped that the coalition agreement would state that the effective 60 per cent tax rate would be tackled.

"I am now a couple of hundred pounds worse off a month, and there has been no announcement on this," he said. He is also waiting to hear what will happen to higher rate tax relief on pension contributions.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto had said that this relief would be scrapped to pay for the removal of income tax on the first £10,000 of earnings, and with the Lib Dem Steve Webb appointed as pensions minister, it looks increasingly likely that this pledge may become policy.

Mr Porter said that if higher rate pension tax relief was scrapped and the lifetime allowance, which limits the amount you are allowed to pay into a pension, remains, this would remove many incentives to save for retirement. "This gradual chipping away does not incentivise people to save for the future," he said.

He is also likely to be liable for the increased capital gains tax, which higher rate taxpayers are expected to have to pay at 40 per cent instead of the current 18 per cent. However, he said that he understood that those who made gains should pay tax.

"It is wonderful for those people who have managed to pay it at a low level for some years, but those who make a lot of money should have to pay some tax so I'm relatively sanguine about that."

Although his children, including new baby Sophia who arrived six weeks ago, will get the first payment into their Child Trust Funds, it looks unlikely that they will receive a second payment.

"I'm lucky that they have grandparents who help save for them," he said. Bridget Mead, 74, receives a state pension and claims pension credit. This amounts to around £170 a week. She also receives winter fuel allowance and cold weather payments which helped pay her heating bills this winter.

The coalition Government has already promised that it will restore the link between earnings and pensions.

Pensions used to rise automatically in line with increases in average earnings, but this rule was abolished by Margaret Thatcher's government in 1980, and since then pensions have been linked to prices which generally rise at a slower rate. From April 2011 pensions will rise by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent.

However, Mrs Mead fears that the extra money she will get from this may be paid for by cuts to other benefits. "I don't think I'm going to end up any better off," she said. "After all, £167 billion is a lot of money and I can't see how it won't affect us. If we get better pensions something else will be cut, such as fuel payments, bus passes or other help."

The coalition agreement did not spell out what would happen to pensioner benefits such as winter fuel payments, free television licences and bus passes and pension credits.

The Conservative manifesto said that it would ''protect'' these benefits, but there has been no explanation for what ''protected'' actually means. These benefits could still fall in real terms if they are not linked to rising prices, or eligibility rules could be changed so that fewer people benefit.

The Liberal Democrats said openly that they would cut the winter fuel payments for those under 65.

One of the Conservative manifesto promises that would have helped pensioners such as Mrs Mead the most, a two-year freeze on council tax, has already been discounted by the coalition Government. Pensioners are also one of the groups worst affected by rises in council tax, which has risen far faster than the cost of living.

Gemma Dowers, pictured with her husband, Gareth, and their children Jude, six, Ffion, two, and Lestyn, nine months, said that she did not feel that families would benefit from the coalition Government.

Mrs Dowers stays at home to look after their children while her husband works full-time, as Jude has learning difficulties so needs special care. The couple receive about £500 a month in child tax credits, and Mrs Dowers is worried about what possible cuts to tax credits will mean for her family.

She said: "We are all mindful that the deficit has to be reduced somehow, but it feels like the Government is taking with both hands. Middle-class families, who work and pay taxes while raising a family, are going to be the ones to suffer."

The Dower children have benefited from the Child Trust Fund payments, and the money has been invested in ethical funds with Family Investments. However, it remains to be seen if they will see the second payments promised by the Labour government when they reach the age of seven.

Critics have said that by cutting the Child Trust Fund payments, the Government will ruin the savings culture that has been built up since the scheme was launched in 2003. However, it looks likely that only those children whose parents earn less than £16,000 will qualify for the funds.

Mrs Dowers said: "In my opinion, with all these cuts, the average family is going to be hit with a double whammy."

Spotify opens up to free users but caps listening hours - By Emma Barnett, Technology and Digital Media Correspondent - telegraph.co.uk

Spotify has unveiled a new pricing plan and removed the need for an invite to join the service but new free users will have their listening time capped.

By Emma Barnett, Technology and Digital Media Correspondent

Published: 9:54AM BST 18 May 2010

Previously all new users had to be sent an invite by an existing Spotify user to sign up to the service. However, now under Spotify Open, new users can create an account without an invite code, but if they intend upon not paying for the service, their listening hours will be capped to 20 hours per month which, according to Spotify, equates to 25 albums or 300 tracks.

These users will still be exposed to advertising and if they want to continue using the service after reaching their cap, they now have two payment options. They can either sign up to Spotify Premium, which costs £9.99 a month, offers offline mode and gives unlimited access to the service either through a mobile or PC without any adverts. This option has been in existence since Spotify launched.

Or users can choose a new payment option announced today called: Spotify Unlimited, which costs £4.99 a month and offers an advert-free, all-you-can-listen-to service. However, unlike Spotify Premium, users who sign up for this option cannot access their Spotify music on the move via their mobiles or their library in offline mode.

Existing Spotify users, who do not pay for the service, will not have their time capped. Nor is the company suspending the invitation service. Users who sign up with an invite code will not have their music consumption capped.

The service is continuing to add invitations to premium users’ accounts and free users are still able to issue invites to non-users.

“We’re really excited to offer more choices for users and existing users who are happy with their current plan won’t be affected by these updates,” said Andres Sehr, Spotify’s global community manager on the company’s blog.

The full range of user options has been clearly mapped out by the company on its site.

The new pricing structure resembles that of We7, a British streaming service, which launched a two-tier plan in January 2010.

Last month Spotify upgraded its service with the addition of several significant social features, including a ‘Spotify Music Profile’ and Facebook friend integration tool.

The service has also rolled out in Holland, in addition to the UK, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Finland and France.

Iceland volcano ash cloud: airline passengers face further misery - By Andrew Hough, David Millward and Caroline Gammell - telegraph.co.uk

Passengers face another day of delays and cancellations amid the fallout from an abortive British Airways strike and a continuing backlog from the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

By Andrew Hough, David Millward and Caroline Gammell

Published: 8:15AM BST 18 May 2010

A plume of ash rises from a volcano erupting under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, Hvolsvollur, Iceland. Photo: BARCROFT MEDIA

Delays were still expected at airports throughout the country despite a last minute block being placed on industrial action planned by BA cabin crew strike and an overhaul of aviation “no fly” rules to reduce future airspace closures caused by Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano.

Officials on Tuesday admitted disruptions would likely continue for most of the week.

Airlines were struggling to return schedules to normal after plumes of thick ash drifted over the continent, closing major airports and leaving more than 1,000 flights cancelled.

Airlines, which have lost millions of pounds due to the ash alerts, condemned Monday's closure of airports and criticised the model used to predict the spread of the volcanic ash as "outdated and inappropriate".

Executives reacted with fury to what they argued were unnecessary restrictions introduced by overcautious safety watchdogs.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh led the criticism, labelling restrictions as "a gross overreaction to a very minor risk”.

Experts said the volcano, which last month caused much of Europe's airspace to be shut down for a week, has emitted massive amounts of ash, which can clog jet engines, since it began erupting a month ago and warned there was no end in sight.

Last month’s volcano eruption forced most countries in northern Europe to shut their airspace, grounding more than 100,000 flights and an estimated 10 million travellers worldwide.

The Air Transport Association (IATA), the international airline industry body, estimated that last month's shutdown – Europe's biggest since World War II – cost carriers more than £1.1 billion.

The latest eruption forced London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports to shut for six hours on Monday, leading to hundreds of delays and scores of aircraft in the wrong place.

Nearly 200 flights were cancelled at Heathrow, 88 at Gatwick and 40 at Liverpool airport. Up to 50,000 passengers were affected.

Airport officials warned travellers it would take time for airlines to clear the backlog of delayed flights and advised them to contact their airlines before going to the airport.

After the day of chaos, passengers later received a double dose of good news after the High Court outlawed the back-to-back strikes by BA cabin crew while the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) altered its criteria for permitting aircraft to fly.

The court ruling came too late for BA to reinstate its full flying schedule at Heathrow, which had been disrupted earlier in the day by the ash cloud.

Despite the High Court injunction, British Airways admitted that flights will still be affected for the rest of the week

The airline has been frantically trying to reinstate the 80 short haul and 30 long haul flights from Heathrow which faced cancellation had the strike gone ahead.

A spokesman for the airline said half of short-haul and 40 per cent of long-haul services from London’s would be affected because it is too late to reinstate a full service.

He added that its operation, however, was expected to return to normal by the weekend.

The ruling was a huge relief for the airline which told the court that the planned four five-day strikes would have cost the airline £138 million.

Unite, the union representing BA cabin crew, is preparing to appeal against an injunction which halted strike action planned by thousands of its members in the bitter row over jobs, pay and staffing levels.

The judgment came as the CAA announced that it had created a new “time limited zone” (TMZ) to allow certain aircraft to fly through a greater density of ash than previously permitted.

The change, which came into affect at midday on Tuesday, will only affect Flybe at first, but other airlines are expected to follow.

Once manufacturers and airlines have presented a joint “safety case” which proves they can fly through the ash without damage, they will be allowed to fly.

"As a result of this change, there are no predicted restrictions on UK airspace in the immediate future,” said Richard Deakin, the chief executive of Nats, the Air traffic control company.

The CAA appeared to blame the Met Office for the latest shutdown.

“The Met Office model was predicting ash which was not there when the test flights were done,” a CAA spokesman said.

“We have asked the Met Office why their forecast model showed something which was not subsequently backed up.”

The Met Office defended its computer model, insisting it was supported by satellite imagery, observation, laser checks of the dust in the atmosphere and other evidence from test flights.

It said the ash was present over the South East but not in the levels that ground aircraft

“The amount of ash is fluctuating on an hourly basis. The situation is very fluid,” a spokesman told the Daily Mail.

In Iceland meanwhile, there is no sign of the volcano stopping.

Experts said the Eyjafjoell eruptions, which began on April 14, have peaked three times, with the latest surge of activity coming Friday.

“Since the beginning of the eruption, we estimate that 250 million cubic metres (8.8 billion cubic feet) of tephra (ash and other fragmental material) has been produced," said Icelandic geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson.

The Icelandic civil protection agency said the ash cloud was drifting to the north and was not expected to travel to Europe in the next two days.

England's World Twenty20 success on a par with Ashes triumph, says Paul Collingwood - By Telegraph staff

England's triumphant World Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood has said their first ever ICC tournament trophy success is on a par with their Ashes triumph last year.

By Telegraph staff

Published: 12:24PM BST 18 May 2010

England ended their one-day final drought when they defeated Australia by seven wickets in Sunday's showpiece.

The result capped a memorable tournament for Collingwood's side who, after scraping through the group stage, won their final five games to clinch a breakthrough success.

"We went over there to win a World Cup and we achieved that," Collingwood said. "It's a massive achievement. We've had a monkey on backs having not won a ICC trophy and put that right.

"It's right up there with last year's Ashes win," Collingwood said, before describing beating their arch rivals in the final as "sweet".

"Of course it's different to Ashes. But in the last five years we've done well against them (Australia)," he said.

"It's a different form of game but beating them is always sweet.

"When you do something for the first time - winning the World Cup for us as the England cricket team - it's definitely something very special," he said.

"You're playing against world-class outfits, there's always challenges that come along at different stages throughout the tournament.

"The way that the guys have overcome all them and come out on top, a lot of credit goes to the boys. The euphoria of winning it is very, very similar to the Ashes."

-- Read the verdict of Shane Warne on England's success in his first column for Telegraph Sport.

Collingwood denied that his success as Twenty20 skipper would put Andrew Strauss under pressure to retain his place as captain of the 50-over side.

Strauss was not selected to go to the Caribbean while he opted to rest from the tour of Bangladesh earlier this year, when Alastair Cook led England to a whitewash success in the Test and one-day series.

"I don't think so, not at all. Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower have been a real force for us over the last year," Collingwood added.

"They're a great combination together. I guess all the team ethos and all the values they've installed in us over the past year is one of the reasons why we've gone out there and done so well in winning the World Cup.

"You can give him (Strauss) a lot of credit, even though he wasn't there, for what we've achieved. Andrew Strauss is our one-day captain and our Test captain and that's final."

1980s movie remakes: 10 of the most ridiculous - By Tom Chivers - telegraph.co.uk

From The A-Team to Top Gun, 10 upcoming 1980s movie remakes and how ridiculous they're likely to be.

By Tom Chivers

Published: 8:30AM BST 18 May 2010

The next two years or so will see an unrelenting barrage of movie remakes and belated sequels, almost all of them mined from that anti-golden age of cinema, the 1980s.

It seems to be a symptom of the credit crunch: a sort of security blanket for studio execs in their late 30s with a nervous eye on the bottom line. The recent success of the dreadful Transformers movies, among other things, have suggested that there is money to be made from shameless nostalgia-exploitation, no matter how ridiculous. And some of them will be very ridiculous indeed.

But which are likely to be the worst offenders? We take a look at 10 of them.

The A-Team

UK release date: 30 July 2010
Four special-forces operatives jailed for a crime they did not commit, etc, etc. Technically not a remake - astonishingly, a spin-off movie of the original series was never made - but close enough for our purposes.
Ridiculousness potential: Middling. The casting of Liam Neeson as Hannibal should fill fans of the original with trepidation: he's a Serious Actor, not a cigar-chomping walking grin like George Peppard, and will probably want to show us the character's inner angst or somesuch. But if it sticks to explosions and building improbable super-weapons out of discarded auto parts, it could be good fun. Besides, in the cold light of history and whatever post-ironic 20- and 30-somethings might tell you, the series really wasn't very good, so if the film's not very good either then no harm done.

Ghostbusters III

UK release date: 2012
Venkman, Stantz and Spengler - and Dana Barrett - are back, and getting on a bit, in this seriously tardy sequel, scheduled for release a mere 23 years after Ghostbusters II, seemingly undeterred by the horrors of Die Hard 4.0 and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Ridiculousness potential: Enormous. The original Ghostbusters films dragged their way through the somewhat daft plots on the sheer strength of Bill Murray's (and to a lesser extent Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis's) charisma. Murray's still got charm - see his lovely cameo in last year's Zombieland - but surely he can't cut it as an action lead any more? It's not impossible that it'll be done well, but the omens aren't good; Indiana Jones and John McClain both suffered in their reboots. Plus it is expected to feature the bantamweight Eliza Dushku. And, of course, with so much computing power at the director's fingertips nowadays, it could turn into a soulless special-effects blockbuster. Which it emphatically should not be.

Police Academy

UK release date: not known
Not content with a mere six sequels, New Line Cinema is going to squeeze a few more drops of money-milk out of the £158m Police Academy cash cow. "It'll be anything but another movie with a numeral next to it", promises producer Paul Maslansky. We're hoping it'll be a mime act.
Ridiculousness potential: Low. As has been pointed out by one of our readers, it's hard to get too exercised about a remake of a film that was remade every year for a decade. And they're bringing in a whole new set of idiotic recruits, so we'll be spared the sight of a superannuated Tackleberry using his assault rifle as a walking stick.

The NeverEnding Story

UK release date: not known
Warner Bros announced last year that they would be remaking the 1984 favourite ("with a modern spin", as The Hollywood Reporter says, chillingly). There have been rumours of Leonardo DiCaprio's involvement, great news for fans of insipid cardboard-flavoured leading men everywhere.
Ridiculousness potential: High. Not least because a remake of a story that claimed never to end in the first place leads to logical difficulties. (Not as bad as Final Fantasy XII, but still.) Also, in the wake of Harry Potter and the Twilight series, children's fantasy is suddenly hot property, which could lead to the gentle, whimsical original being shoehorned to fit their template.

Tron Legacy

UK release date: 26 December 2010
Baffling bike-racing-in-cyberspace nonsense which hinges on a computer programmer being "digitised" with a big laser or something is rebooted (appropriately enough) as baffling bike-racing-in-cyberspace nonsense with better graphics.
Ridiculousness potential: Huge. In 1982, the word "cyberspace" was freighted with possibility, thrill and danger, and it was possible to believe that being a web hacker would involve driving around a 3D virtual world on a magic light-cycle fighting artificially intelligent security software. In 2010, the word "cyberspace" is as dangerous and thrilling as the word "Willesden", and we know that most of it involves supermarket home delivery services and pornography. We also now know that hackers are not digital daredevils but overweight, bearded men in Red Dwarf T-shirts who, in between battles on World of Warcraft, find time to trick your Hotmail account into firing out spam. None of this lends itself to an exciting cinema experience.


UK release date: 2011
Early breakthrough film for the future Governor of California which set the tone for his future work - gay-friendly oiled muscles, strangled accent and a tendency to be out-acted by his own loincloth - remade with the dreadlocked Jason Momoa in the Schwarzenegger role.
Ridiculousness potential: Low. It would take something special to make this more ridiculous than its toweringly ridiculous origins. That said, we're not ruling it out.

Karate Kid

UK release date: 16 July 2010
Will Smith's son Jaden Smith will play the lead in this remake of the chopstick-wielding 1984 kung-fu-lite movie. Except he'll be Dre-san instead of Daniel-san, Mr Miyage is replaced by Jackie Chan, and the whole thing has upped sticks to China for some reason.
Ridiculousness potential: High, despite the original being pretty embarrassing all on its own, not least because Will Smith is going to direct. Young Jaden better be able to kick people at least as convincingly as his predecessor or the cries of "nepotism" will be deafening.

National Lampoon's Vacation

UK release date: not known
Still little more than a rumour, but apparently it will feature Rusty Griswold, the son of Chevy Chase's character Clark from the original. It may also be directed by David Dobkin, who was behind Wedding Crashers, which was not a dreadful film.
Ridiculousness potential: Impossible to judge. The National Lampoon films are much-loved but slightly overrated, and a strong lead actor (rumours suggest Vince Vaughn or Paul Rudd) could keep it entertaining.

Clash of the Titans

UK release date: 2 April 2010
He's a god, but he's also a mortal, and he has to battle a Kraken and stop evil creatures flooding out of the Underworld while trying not to get on his father Zeus's wick too badly. A mega-budget, all-star-cast 3D version of the 1981 Ray Harryhausen stop-motion fantasy.
Ridiculousness potential: Well, not potential since it's already out, but negligible anyway. A daft special-effects-led original remade three decades later, equally daft but with better special effects. It's hardly cultural vandalism. What on earth Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are doing there is not clear though.

Top Gun

UK release date: unknown
Another rumour, we're afraid, and one that seems to have died down a little in the last few months, but a truly terrifying one nevertheless. Apparently Maverick is back, now a Top Gun instructor with a young, female protege. Yes: Tom Cruise is playing Kelly McGillis.
Ridiculousness potential: Titanic, gargantuan, impossible to overstate. Anything with Mr Cruise anywhere near it has the potential to be as mad as a box of frogs (even Oprah Winfrey's sofa can be the scene of a meltdown). Plus it was set in a time when jet fighter battles against a superpower enemy actually seemed likely, so it will be laughably dated. Finally, the original, a hilariously over-the-top mix of gung-ho patriotic drama and thinly disguised homoerotic love story, is a treasured piece of kitsch history. This is a terrible idea. Please let it not be true.

Music unlocks the key to children's souls - By Stephen Hough - telegraph.co.uk

The Conservatives pledged that every child would have the chance to sing or learn an instrument. Bravo, says Stephen Hough.

By Stephen Hough

Published: 8:41AM BST 18 May 2010

It seems a long time since the publication of the three political party manifestos, and now we find that two of them have had to be combined into one bumper volume – with duplications expunged and contradictions resolved or ignored. But one item from the Conservative Party's arts manifesto delighted me, and I hope it will be kept on the table in the new Government.

In the days leading up to the election I came across an interview with Jeremy Hunt, who is now Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. He said that a Conservative government would ensure that "every child will have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument; that every child has the chance to learn to sing; that every child is able to receive a solid cultural education".

This seemed like a wonderful idea, and something that I had given up hoping for even when I was at school myself, almost half a century ago. I'm used to my profession being thought of as a luxury, something in which to indulge after the serious business of real life has been taken care of. Politicians in Britain – left, right and centre – have nodded at the arts with respect over the years (one even conducted symphony orchestras), but usually as a sideline to the main event; a cherry on top of the cake rather than deep in the very mix of the dough.

But what I found so refreshing about this Tory proposal was its emphasis on the active: not so much "music appreciation classes", but rosin on a bow, reed in a mouth, fingers on keys. It recognises that learning a musical instrument is something positive in itself – a discipline that helps a person to acquire skills of co-ordination, concentration and perseverance. It shares these with sport, of course, but there is more.

What makes playing a musical instrument worthy of special attention is that its physical and mental complexities are a springboard to something beyond the tangible or measurable. Unlike sport, music is not about winning, or keeping fit, or promoting your town or school; it's about celebrating, to a level approaching ecstasy, the deepest human longings. At moments of acute joy or sorrow, men and women throughout history have sung or reached for musical instruments to express the inexpressible. When minds are taut with emotional entanglement, there seems to be an inner compulsive instinct to release and harness this tension through the measured vibrations in the air that we call music.

We can learn to draw, but our involvement with Rembrandt remains behind a rope inside a museum. When we read a book, we may understand it, we may mutter its more melodious words under our breath, but it, too, is a passive engagement. Whereas playing a musical instrument really allows us to touch the cloak of Beethoven. In fact, without our fingers on the keys his sonatas remain mere dots on a page – a soulless, soundless, unbroken code. Music only flares into life when you or I dare to strike the match. Our libraries, our museums are sacred temples to be preserved with all our might, but music creates its own cathedral in any room where a violin is bowed or an oboe is blown.

Later in the interview, Jeremy Hunt claimed that the arts make us more "civilised, emotionally literate, self-aware. If I was going to wax lyrical, I would talk about how they make people better able to cope with the recession."

I would go further. The arts call to question what we do when we actually come out of a recession. What makes a society happy, fulfilled, creative, law-abiding? Few would suggest that money can do this by itself. Discovering how to spend leisure time well, especially during a time of austerity, could be as important in the effort to reduce crime as having extra police on the streets; and increasing the population of concert halls may actually help decrease the population of prisons. As Pascal put it: "The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." Few occupations pass the solitary hours more fruitfully than the playing of a musical instrument.

Children with genius levels of musical talent will always find a way to flourish, despite opposition or deprivation; and those from families where music is already present will have countless opportunities (even if sometimes with coercion) to learn an instrument – the BBC Young Musician competition has been the rich showcase for such lucky young people for more than 30 years now. But what about the rest? That political leaders are willing to be proactive in this area is something to be celebrated, because change will not happen by itself. The ubiquitous low culture, the inaccessibility of instruments and teachers, peer pressure, schoolwork pressures, the generation gaps, the blare and glare of technology's latest gadgets – all of these make it more difficult for children to begin studying the violin or horn, or to persevere beyond discouragement or boredom.

But it will not be re-inventing the wheel, because examples are already up and running. The most famous case is El Sistema, the staggeringly successful Venezuelan project begun in 1975. This network of free music tuition for under-privileged children began as a way of keeping troubled youngsters off the streets and led to the founding of more than 120 youth orchestras, the most prestigious of which is the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, which performed under its director Gustavo Dudamel over a five-day residency in April 2009 to an enthusiastic audience of 60,000 at London's South Bank Centre. Sir Simon Rattle has described El Sistema as "nothing less than a miracle … From here, I see the future of music for the whole world". Meanwhile in Lambeth, Norwich and Liverpool, Julian Lloyd Webber has been working with the In Harmony scheme, inspired by the Venezuelan experiment and described by the cellist as "a gang in some senses – a gang with instruments rather than knives; but it's much better to call it a team".

The most cursory glance at a music history textbook will contradict any nonsense about classical music being for the rich or privileged in society. Most of the great musicians came from modest or even seriously disadvantaged backgrounds – one only needs to look at the Jews in Eastern Europe to see clear examples of this. It is possible to combine an unflinching demand for excellence with a passionate insistence on equality of opportunity. That this might become a norm in the early years of a child's schooling is an exciting prospect – a vast UK orchestra, a finely tuned machine for social improvement and enrichment.

In fact, isn't an orchestra a good example of the most melodious coalition? Up to a hundred personalities sitting within the proximity of a poking bow or spitting mouthpiece, each with their own heartfelt ideas, are forced to put aside their egos for the sake of a greater good.

The concert pianist and Telegraph blogger Stephen Hough won the Royal Philharmonic Society's 2010 Instrumentalist Award last week

Muslin - Islan - France has first 'burka rage' incident - Peter Allen, Paris - telegraph.co.uk

A 60-year-old lawyer ripped a Muslim woman's Islamic veil off in a row in a clothing shop in what police say is France's first case of "burka rage".

Peter Allen, Paris

Published: 10:25AM BST 18 May 2010

France is set to ban the burka Photo: GETTY

The astonishing scene unfolded during a weekend shopping trip after the woman lawyer took offence at the attire of a fellow shopper resulting in argument during which the pair came to blows before being arrested.

It came as racial tensions grow in the country as it prepares to introduce a total ban on burkas and other forms of religious dress which cover the face.

A 26-year-old Muslim convert was walking through the store in Trignac, near Nantes, in the western Loire-Atlantique region, when she overhead the woman lawyer making "snide remarks about her black burka". A police officer close to the case said: "The lawyer said she was not happy seeing a fellow shopper wearing a veil and wanted the ban introduced as soon as possible."

At one point the lawyer, who was out with her daughter, is said to have likened the Muslim woman to Belphegor, a horror demon character well known to French TV viewers. Belphegor is said to haunt the Louvre museum in Paris and frequently covers up his hideous features using a mask.

An argument started before the older woman is said to have ripped the other woman's veil off. As they came to blows, the lawyer's daughter joined in.

"The shop manager and the husband of the Muslim woman moved to break up the fighting," the officer said. All three were arrested and taken to the local gendarmerie for questioning.

A spokesman for Trignac police said that two complaints had been received, with the Muslim woman accusing the lawyer of racial and religious assault. The latter, in turn, had accused her opponent of common assault.

The French parliament has adopted a formal motion declaring burkas and other forms of Islamic dress to be "an affront to the nation's values." Some have accused criminals, from terrorists to shoplifters, of wearing veils to disguise themselves.

A ban, which could be introduced as early as the autumn, would make France the second country after Belgium to outlaw the Islamic veil in public places.

But many have criticised the anti-burka lobby, which includes the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for stigmatising Muslim housewives.

Many French woman from council estates are forced to wear the veils because of pressure from authoritarian husbands.

The promise of a ban has prompted warnings of racial tensions in a country which is home to some five million Muslims – one of the religion's largest communities in Europe.

Mr Sarkozy's cabinet is to examine a draft bill which will impose one-year prison sentences and fines of up to £14,000 on men who force their wives to wear a burka.

Women themselves will face a smaller fine of just over £100 because they are "often victims with no choice in the matter", says the draft.

The law would create a new offence of "incitement to cover the face for reasons of gender".

And it would state: "No one may wear in public places clothes that are aimed at hiding the face."

Google in international snooping row - By Nick Collins - telegraph.co.uk

Google is facing a series of international investigations over private information it obtained over families' use of the internet.

By Nick Collins

Published: 7:52AM BST 18 May 2010

The search giant is braced for inquiries in America and Germany after it admitted recording information broadcast via unsecured wireless networks in family homes.

It will not face any action in the UK because the Information Commissioner is satisfied with the company's promise to delete the data "as soon as reasonably possible".

But the international inquiries are a fresh embarrassment for Google, which on Friday backtracked on earlier denials that it had stored data collected from wireless networks by its Street View cars.

The company said it used its fleet of camera-rigged vehicles – which provide the 360 degree pictures for its online mapping service – to amass information on Wi-Fi addresses in order to help target its location services.

It admitted that the cars, which have spent two years taking pictures of homes on British streets for publication online, inadvertently recorded short bursts of people's internet activity while passing by.

Google insisted that the information was collected by mistake, that it was never used and had never been made available to other companies.

But the company now faces questions over its harvesting of the data, which UK authorities said appeared to be in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Peter Schaar, the German commissioner for data protection, said a "detailed probe" was required, while the US Federal Trade Commission was also reported to be preparing an inquiry.

Marc Rotenberg, of the not-for-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, told the Financial Times: "This may be one of the most massive surveillance operations by a private corporation that has ever occurred.

"It is unprecedented vacuuming of Wi-Fi data by a private company."

Peter Barron, a spokesman for Google, said: "We didn't want to collect this data in the first place and we would like to destroy it as soon as possible."

Online budgeting tools may not cover fraud - By Rosie Murray-West - telegraph.co.uk

Bank customers who use popular online budgeting tools may be left high and dry if their accounts are emptied by fraudsters.

By Rosie Murray-West

Published: 10:57AM BST 18 May 2010

The tools, such as Egg Money, lovemoney.com and First Direct's Internet Plus service, require users to input their bank passwords to keep track of balances on all their accounts and make sure that they are not overdrawn.

These sites, known as aggregator services, have become increasingly popular with savers who are trying to make the most of their money in a low-interest rate environment by moving it around. Similar services are also being developed as 'apps' on customers' mobile phones.

However, several banks have now made it clear in their terms and conditions that customers would not be compensated if they are victims of fraud while using these sites.

A spokesman for Barclays said that customers would not be covered by the bank's online fraud guarantee, which ordinarily means that if the customer falls victim to online fraud on their account the loss will be covered.

"It's not for us to answer the question on whether these types of sites are safe, as we don't run any aggregator services," the spokesman said. "Some customers who may wish to use an account aggregation service need to be satisfied that they are receiving the same level of protection for their money as Barclays offers. Since Barclays has no control of these sites we are unable to provide our online fraud guarantee to customers who use these services."

NatWest has a similar clause in its terms and conditions. It states that "if you pass on your security details to an account aggregation service provider, you will be in breach of your terms and conditions and may be liable for any unauthorised transactions".

Confusingly other banks, such as Lloyds TSB, do not treat the use of aggregator sites as a breach of security, meaning that customers must check the small print before signing up to these tools.

First Direct, which owns its own aggregator site, said that it would consider fraud issues due to use of similar sites on a 'case by case' basis.

A spokesman for the British Bankers Association (BBA) said that all the banks had different stances when it came to use of the sites, and suggested that customers speak to their own providers before using the sites. "You need to check so that you don't find yourself out on a limb," a spokesman warned.

Dan Moore, senior researcher for Which? said that the confusion around the safety of aggregator sites was a particular problem for consumers. "People do not believe that they are being reckless with these sites and most believe they are perfectly safe," he said. "Some accord in the industry would be good on this point."

Egg Money, which is owned by Citibank, said that it was confident that customers' money was safe when using Egg Money Manager. "Egg guarantees to repay any money removed from a third party account aggregated via Money Manager, unless the customer hasn't followed our guidelines or terms & conditions," a spokesman said.

Ed Bowsher, head of consumer finance for Lovemoney, said that banks needed to change their stance on this issue. "We doubt that the banks' opposition is wholly due to security concerns," he said.

"These days banks want to 'own' customers, and personal finance management services on third party sites don't help them do this." He said that banks in the US, where these sites are extremely popular, have a far more sympathetic stance on their safety.

David Divitt, at fraud consultancy ACI Worlwide, warned that the technological advances in online banking were being outpaced by the speed and sophistication of password-stealing malware services and so-called 'Trojan' viruses.

He said that online banking customers were falling prey to 'man in the browser' attacks – where a Trojan virus embeds itself into an internet browser. When a user logs onto a banking site the Trojan intercepts and manipulates data as it is being communicated to an online banking system.

"These attacks are designed to circumvent even the strongest user authentication techniques," he warned.

He said that if banks were allowing their sites to be accessed by aggregator sites, they must be operating at a fairly basic level of security. "Although the risk to customers is pretty low in using these sites, a fraudster who wanted to do an ID attack could get quite a lot of information," he said.

Many of these sites download a password file onto your computer, rather than holding the data on their own site. Mr Divitt said that these files would be heavily encrypted so would be difficult for fraudsters to read.

The use of aggregator sites is just one of the seemingly safe actions that may invalidate fraud protection from your bank. Your bank requires you to take reasonable care of your security details.

However, recent Which? research shows that one in ten people are writing down their debit or credit card Pin number or passing it on to a family member, which could mean that they would not have money refunded if their card was stolen and used. Online banking users could also forfeit any refuind if they forget to log off after online banking or leave their computer unattended while they are logged in.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill: fears slick could spread to Florida Keys - telegraph.co.uk

The US Coast Guard is preparing for the possibility that tar balls from the massive Gulf Coast oil spill might be swept up in a current and reach the southern Florida coast.

Published: 7:00AM BST 18 May 2010

Rear Admiral Peter Neffenger, deputy national incident commander with the Coast Guard, said in testimony before a Senate committee that the government was closely watching whether the oil would be swept up into the "loop current" that moves around Florida.

"Currently it shows to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 40-50 miles from the southern edge of the spill," Mr Neffenger said of the current that could sweep the oil down to the Florida Keys and even up the US East Coast.

"We are watching that carefully and as a result of that we are preparing for potential impact on the southern Florida coast and impacts around the southern Florida coast," he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at a hearing on the oil spill.

He said the oil would likely be in the form of tar balls that are a "little easier to manage" when they come ashore.

"This is not to say this is a good thing," he said. "I think it will be a more manageable piece than what we're currently looking at in the Gulf."

Once the oil is in the loop, it could take 10 days or longer to reach the Keys.

"It's only a question of when," said Peter Ortner, a University of Miami oceanographer.

In the month since an offshore drilling platform exploded, killing 11 workers, BP has struggled to stop the leak, trying in vain to activate emergency valves and lowering a 100-ton box that got clogged with icy crystals. Over the weekend, the oil company finally succeeded in using a stopper-and-tube combination to siphon some of the gushing oil into a tanker, but millions of gallons are already in the Gulf.

The pollution could endanger Florida's shoreline mangroves, seagrass beds and the third-longest barrier reef in the world, the 221-mile-long Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which helps draw millions of snorkellers, fishermen and other tourists whose dollars are vital to the state's economy.

Pollutants can smother and kill corals - living creatures that excrete a hard exterior skeleton - or can hinder their ability to reproduce and grow. That, in turn, could harm thousands of species of exotic and colourful fish and other marine life that live in and around reefs.

Chief constables call for bonuses to be scrapped - telegraph.co.uk

Chief constables have called for the scrapping of tens of millions of police bonuses.

Published: 6:15AM BST 18 May 2010

A delegation of force leaders told Home Secretary Theresa May that the system of payments are not part of the country's ''policing culture'' and should be dumped.

They said the system of making special payments to all ranks was imposed on police despite concerns that private sector remuneration was not suitable for their unique role.

The bonus system was covered during a wide-ranging discussion between a handful of chief constables, the Home Secretary and Police Minister Nick Herbert yesterday.

Among those present were Humberside chief Tim Hollis, Thames Valley chief Sara Thornton, West Midlands chief Chris Sims and West Yorkshire boss Sir Norman Bettison.

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), who also attended the meeting, said bonuses have always been ''anathema to policing''.

He said: ''There is a bigger debate here about the whole public sector. To deliver, the public sector needs to look at the whole reward structure.

''There are some unique things about policing. These guys work in imprecise environments, we rely on them to make split second decisions.

''That has got to be recognised, but we need to recognise it in a fair way. Acpo recognises there is pressure on the public purse. It is about recognising professional working practices and rewards.''

News of the meeting emerged after Scotland Yard boss Sir Paul Stephenson called for an end to bonus payments for all police officers to repair public confidence.

Britain's most senior officer said the service was damaged by the bonus culture, it does not motivate police to work harder and warned the payments could be ''divisive''.

The subject is now sure to feature when Mr Herbert faces rank-and-file officers at the Police Federation conference in Bournemouth today and when Mrs May attends tomorrow.

Prime Minister David Cameron moved to curb public spending by announcing an end to ''crazy'' performance-related pay for senior civil servants.

Sir Paul, who is paid £250,000 a year and previously called for a ''fundamental review'' of bonuses, said he has turned down more than £100,000 of performance-related pay since 2005.

He told the Daily Telegraph: ''If I had accepted a bonus I always felt as though I would compromise my operational independence and discharge of duties, and that is something that forms the basis to my whole approach to policing.

''I am very disappointed that we still have bonus payments in policing. Now is the time to get rid of them, as far as I'm concerned. They should never have been there in the first place.''

The issue of bonuses for top officers hit the headlines last summer when it emerged several forces were paying extra cash to their highest-ranking officers.

Chief constables Ian McPherson at Norfolk, Sean Price at Cleveland and Sir Norman received incentives in addition to their published salaries.

But the latest discussions included bonuses for all ranks of officers, including special payments for frontline officers who undertake particularly difficult or unpleasant tasks.

Sir Paul added: ''I've been an opponent right from the very outset of bonus payments for chief officers, special priority payments and competency threshold payments.

''I think there is a whole scheme of payments and remuneration brought into policing that I do not think has served policing very well.

''I think it has been divisive. I think it has complicated the whole purpose of policing and the tradition of police officers being paid a salary and the public knowing that for that salary they will get the officers' independent discharge of their duties.''

Paul McKeever, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said bonus payments have always been controversial.

Speaking in Bournemouth, he said the ''time is right'' for a review of all types of bonus for every level of officer.

Mr McKeever said: ''Bonus payments have not been working well for some time. The implementation is patchy as it is down to individual senior officers.''

Clive Chamberlain, chair of Dorset Police Federation, said removing bonus would be difficult.

He said the payments were originally implemented to cover for lost allowances, such as clothing payments for detectives and subsidies for firearms officers.

Mr Chamberlain added: ''It is not like it is new money. If they take away bonuses then people will have lost out.''

Thailand violence: government rejects talks - Damien McElroy In Bangkok - telegraph.co.uk

The Thai government has rejected the offer of mediated talks from protest leaders setting the scene for further violence on the streets of Bangkok.

Damien McElroy In Bangkok

Published: 12:26PM BST 18 May 2010

Five days of clashes with troops have seen 38 people killed and reduced parts of Bangkok to battle zones, with columns of smoke billowing overhead from piles of tyres set ablaze by the "Red Shirt" protesters occupying the city's main shopping district.

As the United Nations urged Thailand to "step back from the brink", some 60 senators sent a letter to the government and the Reds Shirts, urging them to halt the violence and enter into talks organised by the upper house.

The Reds agree to accept the proposal by the senate speaker who wants to mediate the talks, and are ready to join from now," said the protest leader Nattawut Saikuar. "We will not go with any conditions, the senator is free to offer any proposals and we are willing to consider them."

However, the government then refused to go ahead with peace talks saying they would not negotiate until the protesters had dispersed.

The cabinet minister Satit Wonghnongtaey quoted the prime minister as saying that "the situation will end only when the protest stops."

The government announced three more public holidays for government agencies in Bangkok, in a move to keep civilians off the violence-wracked streets until the end of the week.

Government offices were already closed Monday and Tuesday, and schools have been ordered to delay their return from holidays for a week until next Monday.

The capital's two main train systems, the underground and the overhead monorail, have been closed for four days. Two previous rounds of negotiations have raised hopes for a peaceful resolution but then collapsed, and the government has not responded to the latest proposal.

Thailand's chief negotiator accused exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is supported by the Red Shirts, of standing in the way of a deal by insisting his corruption conviction be overturned.

"He wants amnesty for himself, which we can't do," Korbsak Sabhavasu, an aide to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. "No government can accept that. It would mean another coup and amnesty for everybody." Mr Thaksin, who was ousted by the Thai army in 2006, said in a statement that he wanted both sides in the conflict to "step back from this terrible abyss." Police said casualties around Bangkok have declined as the government and protesters seek talks to end six days of gun battles. "There should be good news," said police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri. "That means tensions may ease or protests will probably end." The military meanwhile defended its use of deadly but limited force, saying troops only fired to protect themselves and Bangkok citizens and did not pursue pre-emptive attacks.

"If they don't move close to us, there won't be any losses," army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said. He also accused the Red Shirts of using a child of about three years as a human shield, holding him up above a barricade in the streets.

The government also announced that a two-day public holiday was being extended to Friday.

Red Shirt protest leaders had previously set conditions for any talks.

The government had rejected earlier offers for talks that included demands to withdraw troops and submit to UN mediation.

The Red Shirts have occupied 1 square mile of downtown Bangkok, camping in the streets next to shuttered five-star hotels and shopping centres.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill: BP faces 'civil and criminal' investigation - By James Quinn in New York and Rowena Mason - telegraph.co.uk

BP looks set to be investigated by the Department of Justice after a group of eight senior American politicians called for a full-blown examination of BP’s alleged "civil and criminal" transgressions.

By James Quinn in New York and Rowena Mason

Published: 7:15AM BST 18 May 2010

Only hours after the British oil major claimed partial success in stemming the flow of some of the oil from its damaged Gulf of Mexico oil rig, a group of US Senators asked Eric Holder, US Attorney General, to investigate the company in connection to the spill.

Claiming that BP "made false and misleading statements" to the US government about its ability to respond to the growing oil slick, the politicians, led by Senator Barbara Boxer, urged Mr Holder to open an inquiry into whether BP misled regulators on its ability to respond to such spills.

The eight cite a BP document from February last year in which the company told the Minerals Management Service (MMS) that "in the event of an unanticipated blowout resulting in an oil spill, it is unlikely to have an impact based on the industry-wide standards for using proven equipment and technology for such responses".

BP’s current problems stem from an explosion which led to the failure of the well’s blow-out preventer, causing a leak that is pushing 5,000 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf.

However, the company claims it is now plugging around a fifth of the leaking Deepwater Horizon well, as a result of a pipe from the leak to a tanker, which was affixed on Sunday. The Senators have asked Mr Holder to assess BP’s actions "with respect to civil and criminal laws related to false statements to the federal government" as well as "any federal law or regulation that may have been violated in connection with issues surrounding the spill".

Their letter was published as it emerged the main MMS regulator charged with overseeing BP’s offshore drilling has resigned from his post.

Chris Oynes, associate director of the MMS, yesterday resigned almost four weeks after the fatal explosion that killed 11 workers.

Mr Oynes’ departure came just three days after US President Barack Obama slammed the MMS’s "cosy relationship" with the oil industry, and follows considerable censure of the agency’s work by other politicians. His exit also came after a lobby group, Food & Water Watch (FWW), said it is taking legal action to get BP’s Atlantis well in the Gulf of Mexico shut down.

FWW claims the MMS failed to act on a whistleblower’s warnings that the Atlantis platform lacked safety and engineering documentation. BP dismissed the allegations.

Compounding the oil major’s woes, the price of crude sunk below $70 in New York in early trading for the first time since the beginning of February on fears of a European sovereign debt crisis. Brent crude for July delivery slipped $2.83, or 3.77pc, to $75.10 a barrel.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - telegraph.co.uk

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has covered world politics and economics for 25 years, based in Europe, the US, and Latin America. He joined the Telegraph in 1991, serving as Washington correspondent and later Europe correspondent in Brussels. He is now International Business Editor in London.

Congress blocks indiscriminate IMF aid for Europe

Europe may have to clean up its own mess after all. The US Senate has voted 94:0 to block use of taxpayers’ money for IMF rescues that make no economic sense or bail-outs for countries like Greece that far are beyond the point of no return.

“This amendment will help prevent American taxpayer dollars from underwriting dysfunctional governments abroad,” said Texas Senator John Cornyn, the chief sponsor. “American taxpayers have seen more bailouts than they can stomach, and the last thing they should have to worry about are their hard-earned tax dollars being used to rescue a foreign government. Greece is not by any stretch of the imagination too big to fail.”

Co-sponsor David Vitter from Louisiana said America had run out of money. “Our country already owes trillions of dollars in debt. We simply can’t afford to take on other countries’ debt in addition to our own.”

It is unclear where this leaves the EU’s $1 trillion “shock and uh” package. Urlich Leuchtmann from Commerzbank said the IMF share of $320bn was the only genuine money on the table, the rest being largely euro smoke and mirrors, or plain bluff.

The measure is an amendment to the US financial overhaul law. Backed by both parties, it can hardly be ignored by the Obama administration whatever Tim Geithner may or may not want to do. The bill has to go to Conference for reconciliation with the House, but the point is made.

It instructs the US representative at the IMF to determine whether a country with a public debt above 100 per cent of GDP can be expected to repay IMF loans. If this cannot be certified, the US must oppose the rescue package.

This is obviously aimed at Greece, which will have a debt of 130 per cent by the end of this year. The debt will rise to 150 per cent by the end of its the rescue/death package, leaving Greece in a worse position than before.

The IMF share of the Greek bail-out is 30 times quota, more than double any other rescue in the history of the Fund. There is a very strong suspicion in Washington that the IMF is being misused by French chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn – French presidential candidate in waiting – to support ideological purposes regardless of economic logic or sanity. This can (and in my view most likely will) destroy the credibility of the Fund itself unless the US and Asians can wrench the institution back from the Europeans.

The US is the IMF’s biggest shareholder and can veto aid packages, though it has never done so because the Fund has never been so stupid as to defy the world’s dominant financial and strategic power.

In this case it fair to assume that China shares many of the Senate’s concerns. The latest US Treasury Tics data shows that China is rotating is vast reserves back into dollars, and presumably away from euro bonds. If we treat this as Chimerica – the US/Chinese single currency or condominium – we have a force in the world that cannot be pushed around.

Personally, I have changed my mind on Greece. My initial reaction earlier this year was that it had to be saved to avoid a sovereign Lehman. Many posters on this blog cried “shame”, saying it was just another moral hazard rescue for bankers. They were right. I flagellate myself and wear a dunce’s hat.

The correct policy would have been – and still is – to help Greece out of its debt-deflation death spiral through an orderly “pre-emptive debt restructuring” along the lines of the IMF package for Uruguay. In Greece’s case it would require a haircut of 50 per cent or so for foolhardy creditors, ie your bank and mine, your pension fund and mine. This would not do much good unless Greece also devalued by 30 per cent to 40 per cent to retrieve competitiveness and put the whole fixed-exchange nightmare behind it.

This would be the normal IMF policy in these circumstances as countless ex-IMF officials have stated. I suspect that many in the Bundesbank and the Bundestag finance committee would have liked this policy too – making an example of a country that was so far gone, and had so flagrantly broken the rules.

The IMF-EU should instead have drawn up its defences in Iberia, along the Lines of Torres Vedras – to borrow from Wellington. Portugal and Spain are at least defensible – arguably – and more deserving.

The solution is being blocked because Brussels views any step back in the EMU Project as intolerable. So the IMF is squandering its scarce resources on an unworkable plan in Greece.

As we can now see, by misusing the IMF so cavalierly the euro-elites have provoked a reaction from Washington that will vastly complicate any future rescue for any eurozone state.

In fact, we are already living in a post-IMF world. There is no bailer-of-last-resort. Sobering, isn’t it?

Russel Crowe based Robin Hood accent on Michael Parkinson - telegraph.co.uk

Robin Hood was a Yorkshireman, Russell Crowe has claimed, as he stepped into a centuries old row over the provenance of the outlaw

Published: 9:33AM BST 18 May 2010

The New Zealand born Oscar winner, says he based the character on a Yorkshire outlaw from the village of Barnsdale which nestles on the border between Doncaster and West Yorkshire.

However residents of Nottingham claim the famous outlaw was born near Sherwood Forest and had no connection with Yorkshire.

Crowe, who stars in the blockbuster 'Robin Hood', even admitted he based his accent on South Yorkshire television personality Michael Parkinson.

"This is one of the first times that Robin has an accent that is close to his place of origin which I believe was Barnsdale," he said.

"I believe he was associated with Nottingham but he wasn't born anywhere near Sherwood -I think it was Barnsdale. The facts, if you can call them that, all point to that."

It was the Doncaster connection that prompted Peel Airports to controversially name Doncaster's airport after Robin Hood.

Pakistani students arrested in terror raids win deportation battle - telegraph.co.uk

Two men who were arrested in major counter-terrorism raids but never charged today won their appeals against deportation.

Published: 10:46AM BST 18 May 2010

Pakistanis Abid Naseer and Ahmed Faraz Khan, both 23, who were detained by police as part of Operation Pathway in the north west of England in April last year, took their cases to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in London.

The commission today upheld their appeals.

A third man detained in the raids, Shoaib Khan, 31, who is already back in Pakistan, won his appeal against exclusion.

But two other men already back in Pakistan, Abdul Wahab Khan, 27, and Tariq Ur Rehman, 38, had their appeals against exclusion rejected.

Commenting on today's Siac ruling Home Secretary Theresa May said: ''Protecting the public is the Government's top priority.

''We are disappointed that the court has ruled that Abid Naseer and Ahmad Faraz Khan should not be deported to Pakistan, which we were seeking on national security grounds.

''As the court agreed, they are a security risk to the UK.

''We are now taking all possible measures to ensure they do not engage in terrorist activity.''

At the time of the raids, police and the security services said the men were part of a major plot but there was not enough evidence to charge them so they were ordered to be deported.

An earlier hearing was told Naseer, the alleged plot ringleader, was the author of a series of emails allegedly exchanged with a member of al Qaida.

The emails referred to a ''nikah'', or wedding, that MI5 said was a coded reference to a planned attack.

Lawyers for Naseer said the emails were entirely innocent. All the men rejected the accusation that they were involved in a terrorist plot.

The five men were arrested during anti-terror raids in Manchester and Liverpool.

MI5 was forced to swoop early after former Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Bob Quick accidentally showed secret documents with details of the plan to photographers outside Downing Street.

Neither Naseer nor Ahmed Faraz Khan were present for today's ruling.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson calls coalition policy of attacking banks 'nuts' - By Kamal Ahmed, The Sunday Telegraph Business Editor

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has said that attacking UK's banking sector as a matter of government policy is "nuts".

By Kamal Ahmed, The Sunday Telegraph Business Editor

Published: 11:29AM BST 18 May 2010

In a passionate defence of the City and Britain's financial sector, Mr Johnson said that a vibrant banking sector was vital to support businesses who want to raise capital.

Speaking at the Google Zeitgeist conference near London, Mr Johnson said that the UK's financial sector produces 9pc of Britain's annual GDP and 13pc of "value added" in the economy.

"I think it is completely nuts for people to want, as a matter of public policy, to attack the financial sector," he said.

"We need a great City where business can raise capital in order to expand and I will continue to protect that."

Mr Johnson's remarks are in stark contrast to the position of the new Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who described bankers as "Arthur Scargills in pinstripes".

The new Government has announced that there will be an inquiry into the future of banking in the UK which will report next year.

The commission will consider proposals on breaking up banks between retail and investment operations.

It will also look at ending proprietary trading where banks use clients funds to make investments.

Mr Cable has said he supports the break up of banks and says that the UK should act unilaterally if necessary.

Banking leaders believe that such a move will destroy the UK banking sector where the main players all offer "universal services" across retail and investment.

Many would consider moving out of London or downgrading their presence.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, has said that he wants to look at the break up of banks but has said that the UK government will only act as part of a co-ordinated global approach.

Mr Johnson, who before the election was seen as one of the most powerful Tories in the UK and has been spoken of as a future Conservative leader, said that bankers had made mistakes but that "bashing bankers" was mistaken.

"There have been huge mistakes and grotesque errors," he said. "Not all of them have paid a sufficient price and there are things to be criticised."

UK inflation jumps to 17-month high - Reuters - telegraph.co.uk

Britain's inflation rate jumped more than expected in April to hit a 17-month high, driven by big rises in tax on alcohol and tobacco, as well as women's clothing and food prices.


Published: 9:44AM BST 18 May 2010

The Office for National Statistics said consumer prices rose by an annual 3.7pc last month compared to 3.4pc in March, above economists' expectations of an increase to 3.5pc.

Mervyn King, the Bank of England Governor, has had to write to George Osborne, the new Chancellor, explaining why inflation is still more than 1 percentage point above the government's 2pc target, as inflation has not eased significantly in the three months since the BoE last wrote.

The Bank predicts that the inflation spike will be short lived, as one-off effects are gradually outweighed by weak growth and high unemployment, which limit the ability of firms and workers to raise prices and wages.

Mr King said today inflation was likely to fall back to its 2pc "within a year", adding that inflation had been "somewhat higher than expected over the past year".

The governor said the temporary factors were "masking the downward pressure on inflation" from the slack in the economy built up in a record recession.

Mr King added that policymakers had not ruled out further emergency support to the economy, potentially paving the way for more quantitative easing.

Mr Osborne responded that he noted the Bank's view that the current spike in inflation would be temporary and said he expected the Bank to "remain vigilant" towards any upside risks.

Today's figures will add to pressure for interest rates to rise from their record low levels later this year.

Britain's annual Budget fell a month earlier in 2010 than in 2009, bringing forward annual rises in tax on alcohol and tobacco, which accounted for a third of the increase in the annual rate of CPI between March and April.

Higher prices for food and for clothing and footwear both also contributed a similar amount to the increase in the CPI rate from March to April.

On the month, consumer price inflation rose by 0.6pc.

The retail price inflation gauge rose to 5.3pc from 4.4pc, versus forecasts for a rise to 4.9pc, the highest since July 1991. That was largely driven by base effects after the sharp fall in mortgage interest rates in 2009 was not repeated in 2010.

RPI includes more housing costs than CPI, which matches the European Union Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), and is used to index many social security payments and some wages.

David Page, economist at Investec, said: "Governor King will have to write another letter explaining the divergence from the 2 percent target. He'll point to a slowdown ahead, but the Monetary Policy Committee is going to be increasingly concerned about the rise in inflation and its effect on inflation expectations. We think this is consistent with our view of the MPC having to start to tightening policy by the end of this year."


Imagens retiradas dos sites:

Bolo integral com banana

Tipo de Culinária: Outros
Categoria: Café da manhã/lanches/festas
Subcategorias: Bolos simples (sem glacê)
Rendimento: 6 porções

2 unidade(s) de ovo
2 colher(es) (sopa) de margarina Qualy Sadia
1 copo(s) de iogurte natural
1 xícara(s) (chá) de açúcar mascavo
1/2 xícara(s) (chá) de leite
1 xícara(s) (chá) de farinha de trigo
1 xícara(s) (chá) de farinha integral
1 xícara(s) (chá) de aveia em flocos
1 colher(es) (sopa) de canela-da-china em pó
2 unidade(s) de banana em rodelas
1 colher(es) (sopa) de fermento químico em pó

Misture em uma tigela os ovos, a margarina, o iogurte e o açúcar mascavo. A seguir, acrescente o leite, as farinhas e a aveia, mexendo muito bem a cada adição.
Por último, misture a canela em pó, as rodelas de banana e o fermento em pó.
Coloque a massa em fôrma de anel untada e leve ao microondas por 8 a 9 minutos na potência alta.
Desenforme ainda morno. Sirva ao natural ou polvilhado com açúcar e canela.

Sem brilho e com cores fortes, esmaltes foscos prometem virar tendência em SP - G1

/ são paulo / cosméticos

10/03/10 - 07h35 - Atualizado em 10/03/10 - 07h38
Sem brilho e com cores fortes, esmaltes foscos prometem virar tendência em SP

Linhas nacionais chegam ao mercado e devem fazer sucesso.
Novidade foi moda no verão do hemisfério norte.

Juliana Cardilli
Do G1, em São Paulo

Esmalte costuma ser sinônimo de brilho para as brasileiras. Os cintilantes sempre foram sucesso no país. Entretanto, os esmaltes foscos, novidade importada dos Estados Unidos e da Europa que acabou de chegar às lojas brasileiras, devem deixar o brilho um pouco de lado. Eles foram o hit do verão do hemisfério norte e prometem ganhar espaço nas mãos das paulistanas no outono e no inverno, com cores fortes e chamativas, contrastando com a usual sobriedade da estação.

“No verão, estamos acostumadas com o brilho. Acho que os foscos vão vir com força total no inverno. As roupas são mais sóbrias, mas os esmaltes são de cores bem quentes. Eles deixaram de ser um adorno de mão, passaram a complementar a vestimenta”, afirma a podóloga e manicure Miriam Aparecida de Carvalho.

saiba mais
Fábricas de esmaltes ignoram liderança dos brancos e apostam no colorido
Aplique caseiro e esmalte que seca em 45 segundos são novidades de feira em SP
Manicure que deixa a cutícula conquista mulheres de SP

Para executivos do setor e mulheres que gostam do assunto, a novidade ressalta o papel dos esmaltes como acessório para a produção. “Ele é algo que valoriza o 'look'. Além disso, liberta algumas mulheres que trabalham em ambientes mais formais, onde se exige uso do uniforme ou um 'dresscode' mais formal”, diz a consultora de imagem e de comportamento Mara Pusch.

Dona de um blog que fala sobre esmaltes, ela é uma entusiasta das novidades e se empolgou com os lançamentos nacionais. “O bacana é que o mercado nacional está muito antenado com as últimas tendências. Quanto à textura e cobertura da Impala eu gostei muito. Além disso, o esmalte seca mais rápido”, afirmou.

A primeira linha brasileira a ficar disponível para as consumidoras é justamente a da Impala, que chegou às lojas na semana do carnaval. A marca aposta nas cores flúor, que brilham no escuro. A idéia é aproveitar o fim do verão e o calor que normalmente ainda atinge o Sudeste no outono, que, segundo a marca, combina com as cores.

A consultora de imagem Mara Pusch gostou da cobertura e da secagem do esmalte da Impala (Foto: Arquivo Pessoal)

Está sendo lançada também a linha Jóias Místicas da Risqué. Das seis cores, três são foscas – em tons de vermelho, roxo e azul, feitas em parceria com o estilista Reinaldo Lourenço. Segundo Mel Girão, diretora-executiva de marketing e consumo da marca, as clientes já haviam se manifestado pedindo a novidade. “Nossas consumidoras mais antenadas nas tendências do exterior entraram em contato para dar a sugestão”, afirmou.

Ela concorda com a aplicação do esmalte como complemento no visual das mulheres. “Independentemente de sua idade, a mulher usa a cor que se sente mais a vontade, de acordo com o momento, com seu estado de espírito ou para combinar com algum 'look'.”

No salão de beleza Jacques Janine, as novas linhas devem acalmar a busca das clientes pela novidade. “Cerca de 90% das clientes já traziam de fora do país, em cores como pink, azul e roxo, e muitas falavam que foram procurar aqui e não acharam. Outras usavam as coberturas que davam efeito fosco para os esmaltes tradicionais”, contou a podóloga Miriam.

Programas de TV e Revistas

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