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Hi honey, can you speak up before I run out of oxygen?

I wonder what the roaming charges were for British mountaineer Bob Baber when he called his wife from the top of Mount Everest and set a new world record. I agree with Neville that it was a very impressive piece of marketing by sponsors Motorola. Bob had little time to phone home as 15 minutes is the maximum time usually spent at the summit. Making the call was was very risky...
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The vicar, the loos and an unholy row

Tom Ambrose, a vicar from Trumpington, a parish on the edge of Cambridge,   could be ejected over his attempts to put modern loos in the 14th century church, a plan which has upset some parishioners who obviously have very strong and well controlled bowels. The poor man faces an ecclesiastical tribunal, one of a few to have been held in the last century. His legal fees could cost the...
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The missing – Lee Boxell

  The parents of Lee Boxell haven’t changed anything in his bedroom since the day he vanished from their lives in September 1988 when he was 15. He would be 34 now – and his broken hearted mother wonders if she has walked past him in the street and not recognised him. In their campaign, Lee’s family managed to break new ground for other missing children...
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When tea for two can cost more than you bargained for

Funny the things we get het up about.  American television reporter and presenter Michael Manning could not see why he had to pay for a tea refill. While free coffee refills are part of the unspoken American constitution, the issue of whether the same applies to a second tea bag seems to be very much a grey area. Now Michael could probably afford to buy the entire restaurant where he...
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The missing – Rahma el-Dennaoui

The abduction of Madeleine McCann has striking similarities to the mysterious disappearance of toddler Rahma el-Dennaoui who was also snatched from her bed, sleeping between her two sisters at their home in Sydney, 18 months ago. Her father checked on her at 2am – and by 8am she had vanished. Police suggested she may have been taken by a childless couple or a woman desperate for...
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Seeing the wood for the trees

I hope when EU ministers responsible for urban and spatial development  meet in Leipzig this week, that they will  have given serious consideration to boosting the number of urban trees in our neighbourhoods. I live in Cambridgeshire, the least wooded county in the country, and not the best of place to be as I adore trees and avenues. I feel an adrenalin rush whenever...
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Will stem cell therapy help Michael walk again?

A woman crippled in a road accident is on her feet again thanks to revolutionary embryonic stem cell treatment in New Delhi. Sonya Smith was run over by her own car in Brisbane 17 months ago as she tried to stop it rolling down a hill with her three young daughters inside. After two months of injections and physiotherapy, she has regained control of her bladder and bowel, sensation in her...
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When charity begins at home

Gordon Brown has no choice but to grant tax relief on the Madeleine McCann search fund on humanitarian grounds. How could any government feel comfortable in boosting its coffers this way, profiteering from the tragedy of these horrific and exceptional circumstances? Every penny is desperately needed to finance an international search and pay for private...
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The missing – Nicole Morin

Nicole Morin totally vanished 22 years ago aged eight while walking to an elevator in her Toronto apartment block to meet a friend who was waiting for her in the downstairs lobby.  She never arrived. Her unsolved disappearance marked a turning point for similar police investigations as it took a week before homicide were alerted. How much crucial forensic and witness evidence was lost in that...
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The missing – Daniel Morcombe (2)

How do the parents of Madeleine McCann really feel? Only other parents who have unfortunately found themselves in the same position can truly empathise. This is how Danel’s father Bruce (pictured with his family) described the nightmare they have endured since their son Daniel was abducted in Australia three-and-a-half years ago, aged 13, in an email to me, after I...
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510 MPs did not vote over Freedom of Information

Only 136 out of a possible 646 MPs voted at today’s heated debate to exempt themselves from the Freedom of Information Act. It now passes to the Lords for consideration. Private Members’ Bills are debated on Fridays when most MPs spend the day in their constituencies.  Surely this demonstrates that urgent matters like this should be heard mid-week. Five years...
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A day in York

I’m spending the day with Julian Sturdy in York, discussing our campaign for his parliamentary seat in York Outer which he will contest as a Conservative candidate. We hope to build on our success from the recent council elections when Conservatives won eight seats.
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The missing – Lawrence Harvey

  Children are precious whatever their age. Image your son goes off on a gap year or an overseas adventure and is never heard of or seen again. That’s what happened 32  years ago when a happy-go-lucky, 19-year-old Lawrence Harvey headed for the stunning Greek island of Mykonos. He arrived in April 1975 and the following month he phoned his mother saying he wanted to...
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Glossy mag glamorises binge drinking

Do you know the saying: “Everyone likes a drink, but nobody likes a drunk?” Veronica knows it only too well because as a reformed alcoholic, she is passionate about helping others kick the habit if it is destroying their lives. She was furious with an article in the latest Red magazine which glamorises binge drinking and hangovers. Writer Bibi Lynch describes how she has...
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