Paterson calls for end to Bloody Sunday 'speculation'
Bloody Sunday

The Secretary of State said he is hopeful that article effective will appear from Lord Saville's continued accessible address on Bloody Sunday.

The address into the killings of 13 bodies in 1972 is due to be appear on Tuesday.

The address took 12 years to compile, at a amount of about £200m.

Owen Paterson said bodies should stop apperception and booty the time bare to abstract the address back it is published.

"We waited 12 years for this astronomic address to appear forward.

"It's 5,000 pages long, it has amount £192m and I aloof anticipate we owe it to all those who are actual carefully complex not to accumulate this belief up.

"Let's see what's in the address and apprehend it in a sensible, methodical manner, in all its capacity from Tuesday onwards."

The Ulster Unionist MLA David McNarry said there should be no added inquiries afterwards Bloody Sunday.

"You cannot put soldiers in the berth through an inquiry.

"If we are to draw a band in the beach beneath this, I anticipate what unionists would be attractive for is to say there has been this analysis and the families accept got this analysis at astronomic amount but there are still hundreds of families who haven't got abreast an inquiry."

The Foyle MP Mark Durkan said acquaint can be abstruse from the report's findings.

"If the address is accustomed in the appropriate way, depending on what it says, can absolutely action us some befalling to alleviate history and on the base of healing history, again we can advice to alleviate some of the specific hurts that are agitated by so many."

The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said the analysis has been a "disaster in agreement of time and expense" and had got "ludicrously out of hand".

Mr Clarke added he was because how approaching inquiries should be held.

The above barrister, said he was in altercation to ensure approaching judge-led inquiries would be added calmly handled.

"I'm anxiously because how we can stop such inquiries accepting absurdly out of hand, in agreement of amount and length, as the Saville Analysis was accustomed to do."

On Friday, the families of those dead on Bloody Sunday bidding acrimony afterwards a bi-weekly aperture advanced of the advertisement of the Saville Analysis report.

The Guardian claimed the address will say some of those who died were unlawfully killed.

The cardboard said it had not apparent the address but its announcer had been abreast by bodies who may accept apparent it, believed to be political rather than aggressive sources.

The Guardian said it was not bright whether Lord Saville would anon acclaim prosecutions.

BBC Northern Ireland anchorman Paul McCauley, who covered the inquiry, said the Bloody Sunday families are not blessed about the aperture because they had "gone to abundant lengths" to be accustomed to see the address afore it was laid afore Parliament and published.


In addition for Hamas, top Arab agent visits Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Arab world's top agent declared abutment Sunday for the bodies of abandoned Gaza in his aboriginal appointment to the Palestinian area back Hamas berserk bedeviled ascendancy of it three years ago.
The appointment was latest assurance that Israel's baleful arrest on a fleet aggravating to breach the barricade of Gaza has eased the adept abreast of the Islamic active group.
Israel, meanwhile, appeared to abound added abandoned in the fallout over the May 31 arrest as Israeli Aegis Abbot Ehud Barak abruptly canceled affairs Sunday to appointment Paris.
Barak's appointment said he canceled his cruise while Israel forms a board to investigate the raid. The account denied that the accommodation was affiliated to attempts by pro-Palestinian groups to seek his arrest.
Israeli aegis admiral said Barak was anxious about the exceptionable absorption his appointment would attract. In particular, they acicular to the abundant media absorption and difficult questions he would face as able-bodied as the acute aegis arrange the appointment would require. The admiral batten on action of anonymity because they were not accustomed to altercate the amount with the media.
Activists accept ahead approved abominably to arrest Barak and added Israeli admiral in Europe beneath the assumption of accepted jurisdiction.
In addition development, several Turkish educators and admiral pulled out of an all-embracing Holocaust apprenticeship appointment in Israel to beef the raid, organizers said. The raid, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists, has acutely artificial ties amid above bounded and aggressive allies Turkey and Israel.
Arab League arch Amr Moussa's appointment to Gaza is allotment of an all-embracing advance to end the three-year-old barricade that acquired drive afterwards the argosy raid.
"The annoy charge be lifted," Moussa told reporters. "All the apple is now continuing with the bodies of Palestine and the bodies of Gaza."
It was a cogent acknowledgment because abounding Arab countries accept captivated the Iranian-backed Hamas at accoutrements length, and Egypt, one of the Arab League's best important members, has been Israel's accomplice in befitting Gaza abundantly sealed.
Widespread abuse in the Arab and Muslim apple over the arrest has prompted Arab leaders to accompany the growing all-embracing demands for aperture Gaza's borders. In a aboriginal step, Egypt has eased the actual bound biking at its Rafah bridge with Gaza.
Israel says the barricade is all-important to stop weapons extensive Hamas, but critics say it has bootless to cavity abutment for the Islamic militants and has larboard 1.5 actor Gazans added acutely mired in poverty.
Moussa was the aboriginal chief Arab official to appointment Gaza back the area came beneath the ascendancy of Hamas, which abundant of the West considers a agitator organization.
The arch of the 22-member Arab League met Sunday with the top Hamas baton in Gaza, Prime Abbot Ismail Haniyeh, in a cogent adept addition for Hamas. The affair took abode in Haniyeh's home in Gaza's Shati refugee camp, and the men after absolved about the adjacency for 10 minutes.
"The acerbity amid Gaza and the Arab nation concluded today and forever," said Bassem Naim, a Hamas Cabinet abbot who greeted Moussa.
As allotment of the bound blockade, Israel restricts imports to Gaza, alone allowing a few dozen types of foods and medicines, while barring raw materials, including architecture supplies. Virtually all exports are banned.
As a result, added than 70 percent of Gaza's 3,900 factories and workshops angle abandoned or accomplish at basal capacity, and tens of bags accept absent their jobs. U.N. admiral say 80 percent of Gazans now accept some blazon of aid.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Abbot Benjamin Netanyahu common to his Cabinet Sunday that Israel charge advance the barricade to anticipate weapons and appurtenances that could be acclimated for aggressive purposes from extensive Hamas. The Islamic accumulation has accursed bags of rockets at Israel.
"The assumption allegorical our action is bright — to anticipate the access of war armament from entering Gaza and to acquiesce the access of altruistic aid and non-contraband appurtenances into the Gaza Strip," Netanyahu said.
President Barack Obama said aftermost anniversary that the barricade in its accepted anatomy is unsustainable.
Netanyahu is beneath abundant all-embracing burden to barrage an absolute analysis into the fleet raid. Admiral say Israel has been alive with the U.S. to anatomy a board with some all-embracing representation to edgeless the common criticism.
Washington's agent to the U.N., Susan Rice, told Fox News on Sunday that while the United States believes Israel can conduct a "credible and impartial" investigation, an "international component" would "buttress its believability in the eyes of the all-embracing community."


Sir Jock Stirrup's avenue 'points to defence changes'

Sir Jock Stirrup

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said arch of the defence agents Sir Jock Stirrup and Ministry of Defence abiding beneath secretary Sir Bill Jeffrey had not been "fired" from their roles, and that it would be actual amiss to use accent such as "axed".

He insisted there had been accordant discussions and that the accommodation was about what was best for the department.

Nonetheless, the move offers some accuracy afterwards months of belief over the approaching of the best arch aggressive administrator and noncombatant assistant at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), both of whom had been continued in column by the antecedent government.

It additionally gives the faculty of a new besom at the MoD, bent to try to get a anchor on defence, as the new affiliation government embarks on one of its toughest tasks; the cardinal defence and aegis analysis - the aboriginal back 1998.

The analysis is aimed at arch what role Britain wants to comedy on the apple date and bringing the UK's defence and aegis aspirations into band with what the nation can allow in these afflicted bread-and-butter times.

'Vulnerable to cuts'
Liam Fox said that, afar from Britain's nuclear deterrent, annihilation would be disqualified out from application in the review, which could alike beggarly reductions in the cardinal of Armed Armament cadre and an check of accretion and the way the MoD itself functions.

The RAF is apparent as the account best accessible to cuts.

It has become accessible over the years spent at war in Iraq and Afghanistan that Britain's accepted accretion activity is not working.

Massive sums of money accept been appropriate for some approaching projects which the UK no best needs, while British armament on today's advanced curve accept had to about-face to "urgent operational requirements" to buy accessories bare to adverse the alteration threats in the accepted war, from armoured cartage to added teams to adverse improvised atomic devices.

The administration has continued been active above its means.

According to the MoD's own centralized report, at atomic £36bn of accessories has been ordered for which the administration has no budget, arch to college spending as accessories programmes are delayed - abacus to the final amount - rather than cancelled.

'Hard truths'
The MoD's anniversary account is some £38 billion.

There has additionally been a acumen that, beneath the antecedent Labour government, arch aggressive admiral accept not consistently told politicians blunt, adamantine truths about the abeyant costs and after-effects of aggressive action.

Since 2001, British armament accept been deployed rapidly on campaigns abroad, sometimes with aside aims and not abundant troops or the appropriate accessories as able-bodied as a abridgement of the noncombatant experts bare to assignment carefully with aggressive armament to admonition stabilise and clean battle zones at an aboriginal date in the mission.

So the changes at the top will be apparent by abounding as an attack by the new government to draw a band beneath accomplished failings.

It will additionally be apparent as alms the adventitious to accredit a new arch of the defence agents - best acceptable from the British army - and a abiding beneath secretary able to action aboveboard admonition to the prime abbot and the chiffonier on the best way to use aggressive ability in Britain's civic interests.

The candidates to alter Sir Jock, a above jet pilot, accommodate the arch of the Army General Sir David Richards, and the vice-chief of the defence staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton.


Kyrgyzstan to Accelerate Troops, Volunteers to South in Accomplishment to Quell Violence
Ethnic Uzbeks try to extinguish a fire in their burning residence, which they claim was torched by Kyrgyz men, in Jalaabad, Kyrgyzstan, 13 Jun 2010
As abandon in Kyrgyzstan continues, the acting government says it will accelerate troops to the southern allotment of the country in an accomplishment to axis abandon there that has dead at atomic 100 and afflicted added than 1,000 others.
After a third baleful night of gun battles, the acting government of Kyrgyzstan says it will accelerate assets armament and volunteers to the cities of Osh and Jalaabad to try and stop the affliction indigenous abandon in added than 20 years.
Viktor Moyseyev is agent arch of the Oktyabrksy Mobilization Center in the capital, Bishkek.
He says, we accept abreast reservists about the mobilization today. Now back they appear we accept to analysis their advice and background, they accept to abide medical check-up and afterwards that they are accessible to be beatific to the aggressive units.
Saturday, the acting government accepted the above Soviet republic's aegis armament shoot-to-kill powers, afterwards indigenous Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the southern cities of Osh and Jalaabad connected angry for the additional day, afire homes and businesses. Witnesses say rioters acclimated gasoline bombs, guns, stones and added weapons during the fighting.
Kyrgyzstan has been in agitation back then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in April. Most of the abandon has occurred in the southern allotment of the country, which is apparent by abounding as Bakiyev's powerbase.
Meanwhile, acting President Rosa Utanbayeva has asked Russia to accelerate peacekeeping troops to the region, adage the country could face collapse.
Zakir Eminov is an indigenous Uzbek from Osh; he echoed Ms. Utanbayeva's sentiment.
He says, we demand Russian or any peacekeeping force to enter, there should be some mediators, because Kyrgyz authorities will not boldness the bearings themselves.
The Kremlin has banned to accelerate troops, but Russian admiral say they will altercate the affair Monday aural a Moscow-led aegis block of above Soviet republics.
Meanwhile, abounding victims of the agitation accept been aureate to Moscow, in adjustment to accept medical treatment.


Obama’s bid to defuse BP row
in 30-minute call to Cameron

President Obama last night moved to defuse the diplomatic row with Britain after effectively apologising to David Cameron for his inflammatory anti-British rhetoric over the BP oil spill.

Relations between Downing Street and the White House have become increasingly strained since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April, with Mr Obama infuriating senior members of the Government by provocatively blaming ‘British Petroleum’ for the accident.

The company, a multinational which is 40 per cent owned by American shareholders, has been called simply BP for more than a decade.

David Cameron

Crisis call: David Cameron talks to Barack Obama on the phone at his office at Chequers

During a 30-minute phone call yesterday afternoon, Mr Obama backtracked by reassuring the Prime Minister that his ‘frustra tions’ over the leak had ‘nothing to do with national identity’.

The two men then agreed to make a bet on last night’s World Cup match between England and the USA, with the loser buying the winner a pint of their national beer.

    Mr Cameron will travel to the US to meet the President next month. ‘It will be Chicago beer if England wins, British bitter if America wins,’ a source said.

    Tomorrow, BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg will effectively hand over his company’s dividend policy to Mr Obama, offering him options on how to suspend payments until clean-up targets are met.

    Barack Obama

    Beer bet: Barack Obama agreed to World Cup ale wager with David Cameron after backtracking over BP row

    The detente came as The Mail on Sunday learned that the US plans to withdraw its threat to force the oil giant to pay the wages of hundreds of thousands of oil-rig workers.

    The White House had insisted that BP should support riggers thrown out of work by the US Government’s decision to halt all deep-sea drilling while the leak is being cleaned up. Company sources insist that BP should be responsible only for the damages that flow directly from the spill, and not from any ‘ancillary’ decisions taken by Mr Obama.

    Mr Svanberg met Chancellor George Osborne and phoned Mr Cameron last week to urge the Government to do more to defend BP against Mr Obama’s onslaught, which included a call for chief executive Tony Hayward to be fired.

    More than 1.7  million gallons of oil a day has been gushing from the Deepwater Horizon well. A cap placed on it has captured some of the spill but the pollution is still spreading across the Gulf of Mexico.

    A Downing Street spokesman said that the President and Mr Cameron, who also discussed Afghanistan and Iran’s nuclear ambitions yesterday, agreed on the importance of BP to both countries. The company’s share price has nearly halved since the accident.

    The spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister expressed his sadness at the human and environmental catastrophe in Louis iana. The President and Prime Minister agreed that BP should continue to work intensively to ensure that all sensible and reasonable steps are taken to deal with the consequences of this catastrophe.

    ‘President Obama said that his unequivocal view was that BP was a multinational company and that frustrations about the oil spill had nothing to do with national identity.


    Why file-sharing has killed 'unlimited' mobile data contracts

    Only a tiny number of people use huge amounts of data - which means that many more have seen 'unlimited' contracts killed off. It's a tragedy of the commons for mobile data

    Estimated data network use on O2View larger picture
    Estimated pattern of data usage on O2's network

    So the free lunch - otherwise known as the unlimited data tariff - is over. O2 said on Thursday that it will no longer be offering new or upgrading customers its "unlimited" tariff for smartphone users - principally, it's believed, the iPhone users, whose numbers connected to O2 have grown from 1m to 2m in a year.

    O2 isn't the first: Vodafone ended its "unlimited" offering last month, and Steve Jobs had barely sat down after delivering his WWDC speech before AT&T announced that it too was ending its "unlimited" offering, replacing it with a tiered set - $15/month for 200MB, $25/month for 2GB. Orange is expected to follow suit in the next few weeks, though when asked the company simply says that it "constantly reviews its pricing". However the noises we're hearing from parts of the company suggest that a review will see it follow O2 to dump the "unlimited" offering.

    Why? Because a tiny number of users are slurping huge amounts of data. And because the mass of users are demanding more and more data (though lots less than the real slurpers). There's all sorts of interesting information that we can pull out of this - especially with the help of O2's chief executive Ronan Dunne, who signed a lengthy post at the company's blog with a tortuous justification for why the company has changed its rules. The strange thing is why he hasn't come out with the simple reason - because it would make O2 a lot more popular at a stroke.

    He goes over the points that were made in yesterday - that 97% of O2 smartphone users use less than 500MB, and that only a tiny number use more than 1GB. (Interesting to note that Apple-watcher John Gruber, someone who I'd expect to be a heavy user, says he uses about 500MB per month. So he's clearly just one of the 97%, even if an outlier there.) Even so, smartphone users are a problem:

    "one streamed YouTube video has the same effect on the network as half a million text messages sent simultaneously, the equivalent of everybody in Newcastle sending a text at once."

    Well, yes, but nobody made you offer the iPhone, Mr Dunne. You were the ones who wanted it so much. This makes it sound as though you like getting peoples' money, but don't like offering them a concomitant service to go with it.

    However it's more complicated than O2 getting a bit whiney. What we're hearing here at the Guardian though is that Apple itself helped to kill off the "unlimited" tag, because it doesn't like it being used with services that call it "unlimited*" and then explain further down the page in tiny print that that actually * means "subject to 'fair usage'". (We understand that Apple vetoed Vodafone's initial pricing for the iPad data plans for just that reason.) It seems that just as broadband ISPs became addicted, when the race to sign up customers was on a few years ago, to the phrase "up to..." for their line speeds, so mobile data networks have gotten too comfy with the "unlimited*" word - where the asterisk is all-important. You could even call it Unlimited™ - which has quite a different meaning from unlimited.

    Apple's weight isn't the real reason for the change, though. Stay with us.

    There's other interesting stuff in that blogpost: O2 says there that the average user uses 200MB per month; that FaceTime, the video calling offering introduced by Apple with the iPhone 4, will only be available on Wi-Fi (at least from O2); and there will be regular texts to let you know how you're doing on your data allowance. And if you go over it without buying more, you'll see your data speed slow down.

    Given those numbers, let's make some assumptions. There are 2m iPhone users (and even more if you add in Android users). That's a large enough population that you can treat it as a random sample. I'm told by one of the networks that data use follows the normal distribution (aka the bell curve - that mathematical prediction of where the members of a random population will be: it applies for things like height, for example). It's probably not a perfect normal distribution - there will be a low-end cutoff, because any device connected to the network will use a least a little data. But for modelling, it's a start.

    So: 200MB average; 97% use less than 500MB. Plus those numbers into a normal distribution calculator and you discover that those 0.1% who are annoying O2 so much consume more than 690MB of data per month. That's about 23MB per day - roughly a megabyte every single hour. What, you think, are those folks doing? In fact, one network tells me that those people are downloading many gigabytes per month. That's quite hard to do on a smartphone.

    Is it because of music streaming services like Spotify or We7 or (in the US) Pandora? The networks say no: audio doesn't take up that much bandwidth (certainly compared to video), and they haven't seen much takeup. So those gigabyte users aren't listening to streams. (The iPlayer is only available via Wi-Fi on most networks.) Yet O2 says that while it has doubled the number of iPhone users, mobile data use is doubling every 4 months, equivalent to an eightfold growth every year.

    So: lots of growth, but some real extremes. What is causing it? Closer investigation suggests that this is a sort of collateral damage from the rumblings that preceded the Digital Economy Act - that it's caused by peer-to-peer users who were perhaps worried about the "three strikes" talk, and figured that their landlines (if they have them) might be monitored or throttled if they download a lot of P2P data; or they might be surcharged. For as we've pointed out before, "unlimited" doesn't mean unlimited on landline broadband.

    So those wary folk - put by one network as numbering "in the few hundreds" out of millions - have signed up on "unlimited" plans, taken the SIM out of the phone, and then use it in a 3G dongle to download stuff. Because it's unlimited, they can get what they want. And as they don't mind how quickly it arrives, the speed isn't a particular issue; they're just after volume. O2 says that 0.1% of its smartphone users - that's about 2,000 people - are consuming 36% of its data. Other networks indicate the same.

    It's also a bit foolish on the part of the downloaders, because the Digital Economy Act does actually allow for measures to be taken over illicit filesharing over mobile networks. But possibly the people doing it don't think they'll be noticed.

    Here's news: the mobile networks have noticed.

    So it's not really down to the iPhone or Android phones, which are more of an annoyance to the networks, because they make multiple, frequent requests to the network - but those are small amounts; those aren't the reason why O2 is ending the unlimited package. It's because some people took it at its word when it said data access was unlimited.

    At this point, your - and our - reaction is "so tell that 0.1% to stop being data hogs - shape their bandwidth, send them letters, that sort of thing. Because obviously you're not going to want to burden yourself with having to set up new billing for millions of customers just because you've got 0.1% who are a bit annoying. No, that would be silly."

    It's certainly puzzling that O2 isn't being clearer about the reasons. But the networks say they don't want to annoy those big downloaders. That's because they want to keep them as customers; but as paying customers. Yet the unlimited contracts aren't being withdrawn; they'll simply not be renewed. "At some stage, people will want a new handset or a new contract," an O2 spokesperson said yesterday.

    I wouldn't be so sure: someone who's using their iPhone SIM as a dongle really isn't worried about upgrading; they've probably got a PAYG SIM stuffed into their iPhone for their phone calls. They're not stupid. Unless O2 - and the other networks - start taking some aggressive action, such as throttling their connections, then the faux-iPhoners will carry on. It's a tragedy of the commons, mobile data-style. Just like spam and comment bots, the tiny number of P2P mobile downloaders are screwing it up for everyone else.

    It's odd that internet evolution is going in reverse here: I thought that ISPs had learnt that offering broadband was far better for retaining customers than the penny-per-minute dialup nightmare of 1990s internet connectivity (yes, children, we used to have dialup modems, and paid per minute we were connected. And you couldn't use make a phone call while you did).

    It's a retrograde move - and even though the networks insist that most people won't be affected, the fact is that we're data-hungry. Eventually, we'll all be over the limit. Will the P2P donglers still be on their unlimited contracts even then? One feels that it's time for the networks, if they're really serious about offering a good service to all their customers, to have a think about that "fair use" clause.

    Meanwhile, the 97% get a little inconvenienced, plus the constant worry that they'll go over their limit. That's actually the worst thing about what's happening here: that the confidence that you can use the mobile internet anywhere is suddenly gone, replaced by a nagging worry that this page or that service will land you with a big bill. The mobile internet shouldn't be like that: it should be like the landline version, where you don't worry about the megabytes. It's not a free lunch - but it's not a system where the person in front is treating the buffet as an all-you-can-eat either.


    Piers Morgan to quit Britain's Got Talent

    Piers Morgan will quit Britain's Got Talent for the chance to become the first Englishman to host a prime-time chat show in the United States.

    Piers Morgan is in talks to take over from veteran US chat show host Larry King
    Piers Morgan is in talks to take over from veteran US chat show host Larry King Photo: AP

    The 45-year-old is within days of striking a £5.5 million deal with network CNN to replace its veteran chat show host Larry King.

    King, 76, has hosted the nightly Larry King Live show for 25 years but, within the last year, ratings have slumped by nearly half.

    Mr Morgan, former editor of The Mirror, is a familiar face on the rival NBC network, where he is a judge on the hit show America's Got Talent.

    He has also been a guest host on the channel's breakfast show. NBC wants him to stay and has offered him a show which would be the equivalent of his ITV series, Piers Morgan's Life Stories, on which he recently interviewed former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

    However, it could prove too hard to resist a deal worth close on £1.4 million a year to replace Mr King, one of America's highest-paid TV stars on £4.8 million a year.

    A television source said: "CNN bosses have been desperately searching for somebody to revamp the show. Larry's ratings are massively down year on year – and Piers is just the chap.

    "Piers is utterly thrilled by the prospect of the deal and knows that taking over the Larry King show means that something will have to give.

    "America's Got Talent finishes in mid-September, so it seems Larry will be moved to a weekend show then and be ousted from his nightly prime-time slot.

    "Piers has discussed it all with Simon Cowell, who gave him his big break onAmerica's Got Talent and Britain's Got Talent, and has his blessing.

    It definitely looks like he will have to give up Britain's Got Talent as NBC want him to continue on America's Got Talent, which opened to record ratings earlier this month.'

    Landing a nightly prime-time show in the States would be a feat not even achieved by the legendary Sir David Frost, who famously interviewed President Richard Nixon after Watergate.


    Bleakley 'torn' over TV offers

    Chritine BleakleyChristine Bleakley is soon to be joined by Jason Manford

    The One Show's Christine Bleakley has said she is "torn" over offers from both the BBC and ITV.

    She issued a statement on her new management's website to quash speculation over her future, she said.

    "I'm flattered to have received great offers from both the BBC and ITV, which I now have to decide between."

    She has signed to Avalon, the same as ex-One Show host Adrian Chiles.

    Chiles left the show earlier in the year following the appointment of Chris Evans to the presenting team. Chiles said he was "disappointed" over changes to the show's format.

    Chiles went to ITV where he is due to start hosting the GMTV breakfast show and also to front the channel's football coverage.

    Bleakley said her current contract with the BBC was due to end "shortly".

    She said she would be happy to work again with Chiles but that she would be sad to leave her present job.

    "We [Bleakley and Chiles] have a brilliant relationship on and off screen, although I can't say I'd particularly relish the idea of dealing with him at 5am every morning.

    "On the other hand the BBC is incredibly good to me and I'm very close to everyone on The One Show, which I love presenting. The BBC's plans for The One Show are very exciting.

    "I expect to make a decision on my future very soon."

    Releasing such a statement is unusual; celebrities do not normally say anything about contract negotiations until a deal is signed.

    The BBC said in a statement: "Christine is under contract with the BBC until later this year and we will be talking to her regarding future projects in due course."

    The BBC said in May that comic Jason Manford would be joining Bleakley in July as co-host of the One Show from Monday to Thursday. Chris Evans will present on Friday.


    Hague: "Natural time" for armed forces departures

    Britain's most senior military officer will quit in the autumn, before the end of his term in April 2011, Defence Secretary Liam Fox has said.

    Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup has been chief of the defence staff since 2006 and was asked to extend his term by the previous government.

    Ministry of Defence civil servant Sir Bill Jeffrey will also go.

    Speaking to the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, Foreign Secretary William Hague denied the departures indicated the men were being blamed for excessive spending on MoD procurement and under-resourcing of the Afghan mission.


    Catherine Zeta Jones: the evergreen girl of the valleys

    Catherine Zeta-Jones - Oscar-winner, married into Hollywood royalty and now a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list - owes her success to endlessly reinventing herself, says Sheila Johnston

    From YTV REPEAT - THE DARLING BUDS OF MAY Monday 2 June 2003 at 9.00pm on ITV1 Network Series 1 Pop Larkin [David Jason], Ma Larkin [Pam Ferris], Charley [Philip Franks], Mariette Larkin [Catherine Zeta Jones]. Copyright Yorkshire Television.

    There are many excellent reasons why Catherine Zeta-Jones deserves the CBE she received yesterday in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. The official citation refers to "services to the film industry and to charity", and there's no arguing with that Academy Award, for the movie version of Chicago, or the long list of fine causes she supports, which includes Cinema for Peace, the NSPCC and the Children's Hospital in Cardiff. But there is much, much more to Zeta-Jones. She is a force to be reckoned with.

    She has her long career on television and stage – she is currently starring in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music – and a happy 10-year marriage to Hollywood royalty (her husband is the 65-year-old actor-producer Michael Douglas, with whom she has two children, Dylan Michael, 9, and Carys Zeta, 7).

    But most of all, Zeta-Jones is the ultimate self-made success: the working-class girl from the Welsh valleys who has paid her dues in showbusiness, worked like a trooper with single-minded dedication, constantly made bold decisions, and scrubbed up very nicely into a luscious star who radiates a classic, rather old-fashioned brand of big-screen glamour. Some critics have carped that she's not much cop as an actress, but she has made the very most of her talent. And she has other strings to her bow: Sir Trevor Nunn, the director of A Little Night Music, describes her as "a song-and-dance girl, a real theatre animal".

    Zeta Jones was born in Swansea in 1969 to a sweet-factory owner and a seamstress. The hyphen arrived later and was the first of many self-reinventions; the middle name Zeta comes from her paternal grandmother and has helped to lend her a very un-British exoticism, although her brunette looks and generous curves (gratifyingly, she claims not to diet) scarcely fit the contemporary Californian template.

    At five, she began dance classes, and became a British tap-dancing champion by the time she was 11, having already appeared in the title role in a Swansea production of Annie. She left school with no O-levels, studied drama in London and then, aged 17, had a classic star-is-born moment – so the legend has it – when, in the West End revival of 42nd Street, both the leading actress and her understudy fell ill and she was promoted from the chorus line.

    The role that turned Zeta-Jones into a household name was on television, as Mariette in the 1991 ITV adaptation of HE Bates's bucolic comedy The Darling Buds of May. After that, she suffered the merciless glare of tabloid attention, and her lively love life was subjected to keen scrutiny (she was linked to escorts ranging from David Essex and Mick Hucknall to the actors Angus MacFadyen and Paul McGann).

    It was all a little grubby, as tabloid celebrity in Britain is prone to be. But Zeta-Jones was already setting her sights elsewhere. She went to France in 1990 to launch a new movie career, as Scheherazade in Les Mille et Une Nuits, a silly oriental fantasy that involved nudity and bad reviews.

    Today, her rise seems smooth and effortless, and it's easy to forget the long bad patch she ploughed through in the 1990s. She cut a couple of forgettable records and appeared in a suite of flops, including the dismal Eric Idle comedySplitting Heirs, a British surfing movie, Blue Juice, and an Indiana Jones knock-off called The Phantom. A has-been before she was 30, she appeared, if at all, in magazines under headlines such as "People In Trouble" or "Where Are They Now?"

    But Zeta-Jones kept fighting. And, like so many before her, she found America the perfect place to reinvent herself. "When I went to the States, I didn't have that [tabloid] baggage," she said. "I could start afresh." And it was here that she had her third major break, once again stepping into the shoes of another actress.

    Cameron Diaz had turned down the female lead in The Mask of Zorro (1998), and the director, Martin Campbell, was casting around for a replacement. Steven Spielberg had seen Zeta-Jones in a television film about the Titanic and recommended her. Her role involved being disrobed by the Spanish heart-throb du jour, Antonio Banderas, with his fencing rapier. Critics reached for adjectives such as "ravishing", "sultry" and "electric".

    The following year, she donned a Lycra catsuit to bewitch Sean Connery in the heist drama Entrapment, another gleaming showcase for her feline elegance and agility. Zeta-Jones was, in all senses, hot again. And then she made possibly her most surprising move of all.

    In the late summer of 1998, she was introduced to Michael Douglas at the Deauville Film Festival in Normandy, and entered a new, high-stakes phase of her life. The risk was not just the age difference of 25 years (they share the same birthday: September 25), or the fact that Douglas, who was still married to his wife of 23 years, Diandra Luker, had been treated for alcohol abuse in the early 1990s. Or that Zeta-Jones was now half of a Hollywood power couple, a type of union that usually attracts a spectacular rate of attrition. When they met, he was the senior partner and she was the trophy girlfriend. How easily her star could have been eclipsed by his.

    Yet the opposite transpired. Dylan was born in August 2000, and three months later, shortly after Douglas was divorced by his first wife, the pair married. And Zeta-Jones's career achieved lift-off, with films for Steven Soderbergh (Trafficand Ocean's Twelve), Stephen Frears (High Fidelity), the Coen brothers (Intolerable Cruelty, co-starring George Clooney) and Steven Spielberg (The Terminal).

    You wouldn't want to take the comparison too far, but there was an overlap of sorts between Zeta-Jones's own story and that of her character in Chicago: the vampish, ruthlessly ambitious Velma Kelly, nightclub singer and tabloid darling. But the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress was an unarguable mark of peer-group recognition (Zeta-Jones gave birth to her daughter nine days after taking ownership of the statuette), and the robust box-office performance of Chicagogave the lie to the then-current wisdom that movie musicals always flop. Her range might not be vast, but it comfortably encompasses bodice-rippers, romantic comedies and action movies.

    Despite the doomsayers, the marriage has endured; in fact the age difference may even have worked in their favour. These days Douglas is content to motor along quietly (his new film, the sequel to Wall Street, opens in the summer) and take receipt of Lifetime Achievement awards, while his wife's high profile adds lustre to his fading sheen. "We're not vying for equal rights in our careers," she has said. (They have never worked together: while both had roles in Traffic, they shared no common scenes.) The family lives quietly on their estate in Bermuda, and Cameron, Douglas's son by his first marriage, describes Zeta-Jones as a warm, down-to-earth "normal mum".

    Zeta-Jones's next gambit will be fascinating to watch. The Broadway run of A Little Night Music – for which she was nominated for a Tony award despite mixed reviews – ends next week. A new rom-com, The Rebound, opens in July. In it, the age difference works in the opposite direction, with Zeta-Jones's cougar paired with the 25-year-old Justin Bartha. She may have turned 40, but today that's no barrier at all to maintaining one's sex appeal. There has been talk of a musical remake of Cleopatra and, if ever an actress were built for the Elizabeth Taylor role in 3D, it is Zeta-Jones.

    Whatever she does next, we must expect the unexpected.


    Will iPhone 4 Launch See Virgin Mobile Out in the Cold?

    Uk mobile company Virgin Media risks being left behind, after becoming the only UK mobile provider not to announce that it will be selling the Apple iPhone 4 after it launches on 24 June.

    Mobile News has cited internal sources claiming that the service provider is currently in negotiations with Apple to discuss the matter.

    A Virgin Media spokesperson told Mobile News: “We are in ongoing talks with Apple. There are no further developments at this point.”

    The release of the iPhone 4 is the first time that an Apple handset is being offered by so many UK service providers right from the off

    When the first iPhone was launched in 2007, Apple awarded an exclusive contract in the UK to O2.

    Virgin Media's competitors have already begun to introduce offers in anticipation of the coming launch. O2 is offering existing customers the chance to upgrade to the iPhone 4 for a one-off payment, equal to £20 for every month they have left on their existing contract.

    The new iPhone 4 is set to be offered by top UK telecom companies including 3Mobile, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2


    Abbott will give male rivals a good run, says Harman

    Harriet HarmanHarriet Harman promised more women in the shadow cabinet

    Labour MP Diane Abbott will give her four male party leadership rivals a "good run for their money", Harriet Harman has said.

    Ms Harman, the stand-in party leader, said it was important Labour did not have an "all-male team at the top".

    But she told the BBC there were five "excellent candidates" and promised to remain neutral during the contest.

    The result of the Labour contest will be announced at the party's annual conference in September.

    Ms Abbott faces Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and David and Ed Miliband.

    'Better decision-making'

    Ms Harman, who was one of the 33 MPs who nominated Ms Abbott, told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "This is a very crucial period and I we have got five fantastic candidates. All of them would make excellent leaders of the party."

    She added: "Political party elections are very, very difficult for people to predict and nobody knows who's going to win."

    Ms Harman said: "As Diane said herself, she's going to give the boys a run for their money."

    She added that she had nominated Ms Abbott to prevent the election race being all-male.

    Ms Harman said the rules governing the election of Labour's shadow cabinet would change to ensure half its members are female.

    This would ensure "better decision-making than a majority of men", she added.


    Egon Ronay: An appreciation by broadcaster and friend Nick Ross

    Going to a restaurant with Egon Ronay felt like visiting a church with the Pope.

    Egon Ronay tastes Champagne Photo: PA

    He was the high priest of eating out and for decades the great chefs would revere him and most of the epicures in Britain were his disciples.

    He could be blunt in his assessments but, like a gastronomic Simon Cowell, even his most acerbic judgements were simply honest, and usually right.

    His passion was not to criticise but to improve, and with his old world charm he delighted in nothing more than discovering a new eatery with a budding genius in the kitchen.

    I first got to know Egon on a rain-lashed water taxi one Friday night in Venice.

    I had heard that he and a few friends would nip abroad for a gourmet lunch, which seemed absurdly extravagant, but a weekend of fine dining in the city of canals was irresistible, and I quickly discovered why the trips were so unmissable.

    Egon was a serious star. As our boat approached the restaurant the maitre'd and chef came out to greet us with umbrellas, and the dinner turned out to be a feast.

    My squid ink risotto was memorable. Back at our hotel, the Cipriani, the manager invited us to taste his Armagnacs, from recent vintages back to the mid nineteenth century.

    Yet none of this was fawning on a food writer who had enormous influence. It was friendship and admiration for a man with prodigious talent and exquisite taste who shared their passion for food and wine.

    From his escape to Britain from communism in 1946 Egon had fought to raise what were often dire standards of cooking. His first restaurant was a gem, but his Egon Ronay Guide was the holy grail.

    More accessible, less stuffy, much more detailed and, in Britain, much more widely read, than the Michelin, it set high standards for itself as well as for the institutions it appraised.

    The inspectors were anonymous and wholly independent, and no establishment could be included without at least one annual visit and sometimes several. It was a costly business in food bills alone.

    Egon's whole life was an adventure, and at first I suspected his anecdotes were so extraordinary that they must have been embellished, but they weren't.

    When we were in Budapest together he relived wartime escapades – he showed us where he hid from the Nazis, salvaged grains of coffee and boiled water on a bonfire to reopen a smashed restaurant, served Soviet soldiers and was later saved from execution as a bourgeois restaurateur when a Russian identified him as a waiter.

    The Ronay name has faded in recent years but even so when a few weeks ago he came round to supper my young nephew was struck by his unusual name.

    "Egon," he said, "you mean like Egon Ronay."

    When he discovered the diminutive white-haired guest was Egon Ronay he was "dead impressed".

    One of Egon's many initiatives to improve restaurant standards was to found the British Academy of Gastronomes, a dining club dedicated to good food similar to one in France.

    The measure of his influence was that with his death the Academy may die too. But maybe that's not so bad. He has done his work. London now has at least as many fine restaurants as Paris.

    We British, whose food was once a joke, are now as knowledgeable and keen on gastronomy as anyone. It is a splendid legacy.


    copyright Oxkoon Inc.