Monday, 25 January 2010

Real hell in Haiti

WE complain about all kinds of things here in the UK, traffic jams, the weather, the price of food, overcrowded trains. Well, ALL that is nothing compared to the troubles in Haiti. The devastating earthquake left more than 100,000 people dead and the entire country in ruins. Water supplies, houses and hospitals have all been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands are at risk of starvation or dehydration. And many of the injured are simply lying in the street with no medical help and nowhere to go. It’s one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our time. The world’s response has been tremendous. Food,water, troops, rescue workers, engineers, vehicles and medical supplies have been flooding in from around the globe. Amazingly, old foes have put their differences aside to help. For the first time bolshie Cuba has allowed US aircrafts to fly through its airspace so they can reach Haiti faster. The UK public have donated more than £23 million. British charities like Oxfam, CAFOD and Christian Aid are pulling out all the stops to get relief to the people who need it most. There are even British firefighters out in Haiti, searching for survivors and helping with the rescue work. That’s a true human good news story. But it doesn’t take away from the catastrophe. With the ports damaged and roads destroyed loads more people will die. On top of this, a lot of the United Nations workers based in Haiti were killed in the quake so the relief effort has taken a real battering. As if things weren’t bad enough,a strong aftershock on Wednesday wrecked even more buildings and hampered rescue work further still. So here’s mychallenge to all you: if you haven’t donated yet, cut out a couple of pints down the boozer on Friday, log on to and give a few quid to the appeal. By converting your ale into aid, you’re actually going to save yourself a hangover and save some lives in Haiti. If every Sport reader chucks in a fiver that’s over five million quid. We can make a REAL difference—and I hope we do.
DID you hear about that lucky family who won 26 million quid on the lottery this week? It’s more dramatic than the lottery to win tickets for the 80 places to watch former Prime Minister Tony Blair give evidence at the Iraq War inquiry. He’s the Star Witness. The lucky winners will watch Tricky Tony being grilled on why he led the country into a war that killed British soldiers and Iraqi civilians and cost billions. I don’t know what he’ll say,but I’m pretty sure he won’t say “Sorry, I got it wrong” or “We did it for the oil” or “Saddam was asking for it.” But how on earth can he make good the worst decision of his political career? I like Tony.He’s decent, friendly and smart. Which makes it all the stranger he committed us to a war which wiped out hundreds of thousands of lives. If you had the choice of a ticket for the Blair session or the lottery ticket which won the £26m, which would you choose? IF Tony comes clean at the inquiry, it would be a priceless moment in British politics. But what are the chances of that? Put it this way, I’d take the money . . .
THERE’S a storm in Israel at the moment surrounding sexy lingerie model Bar Rafaeli. Busty Bar, famous for her raunchy photo shoots and on-off relationship with actor Leo DiCaprio, is getting flack off the Israeli army for dodging military service! Israel is the only country in the world where women, as well as men, have to do a compulsory stint in the forces. But they can get out of it if they’re married. So the fetching Ms Rafaeli married a man friend, got exempt for the draft, then got a divorce! Cunning. Now the army are calling for a boycott of her products and fellow supermodel Esti Ginzberg — who did do her military service — has joined in the criticism. I don’t know how good a soldier she’d be. Perhaps they should set up a platoon specifically recruiting ladies like Bar and Esti. They’d certainly be model soldiers who’d excel on the front.
THE UK Independence party caused a rumpus this week by calling for a total ban on women wearing burkas. They say this piece of clothing – which completely covers a Muslim lady’s face – is a sign of a “divided Britain”. No, no, no! The fact people are allowed to wear their own religious clothes shows just how tolerant and inclusive Britain is. If we use UKIP’s logic to ban burkas we’ll have to follow it up with a ban on turbans, skull-caps, crucifixes and whatever it is that Jedi Knights wear. We might as well go even further and just give everyone a string vest, rolled up trousers and a hanky for their head so that we can all look “British”. Diversity is the spice of life – it’s one of the things that makes Britain a good place to be. It might be okay to ask people to take off face coverings when they enter a bank or passport control. But
you’d need to be a berk to ban the burka!

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