Friday, 30 May 2008

Average supermarket shop is up 5.8 per cent

The cost of the average supermarket food shop was 5.8 per cent higher in May than at the beginning of the year, and will continue to rise, according to a study.
The cost of fruit and vegetables has risen the most, up 16 per cent since January, according to retail analysts Verdict.
The price of branded goods increased more than supermarkets' own brand ranges, while the cheapest ranges saw little change, the report said.
Verdict said retailers were absorbing some of the price rises.
Neil Saunders, consulting director of Verdict, said: "Although the price of goods is rising, the UK's grocers are helping to mitigate price rises."
Consumers spent 13p in every £1 on food, meaning a 5.8 per cent increase in prices since the start of the year was "particularly painful".
"Such rises, combined with hikes across other areas of household expenditure, are squeezing the amount consumers have to spend on things like leisure activities and on other retail goods, " the report said.
"For many people it also means that inflation feels far higher than the Government's official rate."
It forecasted strong food price inflation throughout this year and in 2009.
The research was based on a "typical basket" of 100 grocery items.

Flower Duet / BA

BA passengers face higher fuel surcharges

British Airways is to increase its fuel surcharge on all tickets from next week.

The airline said that from Tuesday June 3 the surcharge for short-haul flights will increase by £3 per flight to £16 per flight.

The surcharge for long-haul flights of less than nine hours will increase by £15 per flight to £78 per flight.

The surcharge for long-haul flights of more than nine hours will increase by £30 per flight from to £109 per flight.

BA said it would also increase its fuel surcharges by similar levels in markets outside the UK.

On Wednesday, Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic announced fuel surcharge rises, although the carrier said that those sitting at the front of the aircraft would face higher charges than those in economy-class seats at the back.

In recent weeks airlines have announced cutbacks in services because of the sky-high oil prices while some carriers, including some operating between the UK and the US, have gone out of business.

BA's latest fuel levy hike comes just a month after the carrier last raised its surcharge.

The airline added on £3 to each short haul flight, £10 to a long haul flight of less than nine hours and £15 for a flight longer than nine hours from May 2.

Earlier this month BA warned it would have to spend an extra £1 billion on fuel this year if prices remained at the US$120 a barrel mark.

Full year fuel and oil costs - which comprise about a quarter of the airline's expenses - topped £2 billion during the past financial year to March 31.

Oil prices are still hovering around the $130 and showing no sign of settling back.

Source: MSN Biz News UK

Business class airline Silverjet - the inside story

This is last year

then 30.05.2008

Thousands hit by grounded airline

Business-class only airline Silverjet called in administrators as thousands of air passengers had their travel plans wrecked when the airline stopped flights.
Around 7,000 UK and 2,500 non-UK customers were affected as funding problems led to the suspension of services by Silverjet.
Silverjet later said "with deep regret" it had appointed Begbies Traynor as administrators after failing to secure funding.
Silverjet's collapse follows that of Stansted to USA all-business class carriers Eos and MAXjet. All three were to a large extent victims of the sky-high rise in aviation fuel prices as well as the downturn of economies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Former Silverjet chief executive Lawrence Hunt said: "It is with deep sadness that I make this announcement today.
"The Silverjet team has worked exceptionally hard to try and turn this situation around, however with the time available, we were unable to secure the funding required to continue our operations."
The carrier, which began services in January 2007, flew from Luton airport in Bedfordshire to New York and Dubai.
Its last plane left Dubai for Luton at 7.30am on Friday but five further flights were cancelled.
Angry passengers arrived at Luton only to find their plans in tatters, while Silverjet's 300 employees were left with an uncertain future. Some passengers were not covered by Civil Aviation Authority-run bonding although both British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Dubai-based carrier Emirates offered special deals for stranded or future-flight Silverjet passengers.
Silverjet failed to secure a vital new multi-million pound funding package. Its shares had been suspended since last week. Mr Hunt apologised to customers and told them Silverjet would not be able to offer any refunds.

source: msn news uk

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

English Footbal culture says a lot about the English culture itself; a country of 12 year old kids

This is an excellent post of John Nicholson on UK MSN SPORT , it says it all...

So: What Terry`s Tears Said About Us ( or about Britain)

"There can be few blokes who really are 'a man's man' who would not have felt a degree of nausea, if not outright contempt at the waterfall of John Terry's tears last Wednesday. But his display served a very good purpose. It illustrated exactly what is wrong at the core of English football.
As England's national side comes into focus again this week, there is much Fabio Capello can learn from Terry's emotional breakdown. Let's get this right, if you are weeping so uncontrollably for so long just because you have lost a football match, you are emotionally immature; you are a boy in a man's body. I cried like that when England drew with Poland in 1973 and thus failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup. I was 12. .
Few of us go through life without an occasional watery eye - more usually born of joy rather than disappointment - but we reserve the proper out-and-out crying for life and death matters, not for football. If you are crying that much about football, what on earth are you going to do if, God forbid, a real tragedy strikes you? Where is left to go emotionally? It's bitterly ironic that the press are still so intent on painting Terry as a specifically English icon and hard man when the traditional English way is the exact opposite of his behaviour.
The traditional English way is the stiff upper lip; emotion is expressed only in private and if shared then only with loved ones. Publicly expressed emotion is for the weak and the self indulgent. It is certainly not the sort of thing leaders of men indulge in. It is undignified and shows lack of character. And yet we are told he is still 'England's lion'.
The same things were said about Tony Adams even when his life was in a mess and he was a raging alcoholic. Why are these type of people so many English fans heroes? Is dysfunction attractive? Is it now the norm? Let's not kid ourselves, we have a real problem here. Other sports just don't do sobbing losers.
There seems to be something about English football culture that suspends the participants adulthood, trapping some in Peter Pan teenage world. Too many players today behave like petulant children. When you see Rooney, his face looking all pink and bee-stung with rage at some perceived injustice hunting down the ball angrily, you see a teenage boy who has lost control. Ashley Cole's 'I-turn-my-back-on-you' behaviour looked like a parody of a twelve year-old that won't go to his bedroom.
This type of behaviour is emotionally dysfunctional and certainly not the sort of thing a man in his mid twenties should be doing on a football pitch. Where is their self control? While footballers have always lost their temper, and occasionally have had a whack at each other, the sort of over-wrought emotion expressed by some of today's prima-donnas is not the kind of Francis Lee punching Norman Hunter anger.
It's mere childish, self-centred emotionalism. Having everything done for you and earning inconceivably huge amounts of money must all contribute to this fantasy cartoon world at the centre of which is their own glorious self and their own fabulous ego. When something happens to shatter this illusion, is it any wonder they go off the edge? England players are widely regarded as having a psychological problem playing for the national side now, and it isn't too fanciful to tie the character of these mannish-boys into their on-pitch failures. Too many of England's players are not sufficiently emotionally developed to cope with high pressure situations such as the Croatia game, and especially penalty shoot-outs.
Add to that the selfish need to try and maintain their over-inflated personal legend status and you end up with players charging around trying to be the super hero or simply going missing altogether. Team work goes out of the window and individualism takes over. It is significant that during the Portugal game at the last World Cup, Owen Hargreaves was many people's man of the match and of the tournament. He kept his head when everyone else was losing it, kept disciplined in his role and was the only one to score a penalty. He was far more disciplined and in control than those around him.
Hargreaves is not a product of English football culture. He is a product of German football. That can't be a total co-incidence. (Interestingly, after a season in the Premier League, he is starting to show signs of indiscipline and petulance - perhaps learning it as the 'right' way to react from the likes of Rooney) In Germany which is the most successful European nation there has always been more maturity to most players. They have always seemed less hysterical, more firm minded and have had more good old fashioned bottle. If we had 11 Hargreaves that day, we would almost certainly have prevailed. But we didn't and once again we saw Terry in full self-pitying, weeping mode again. Hargreaves didn't cry but he had given more than anyone. This is instructive. The German team ethic has dominated over the personal desire for glory and that's how it should be. It works, as three Euros and three World Cup wins show. It is only through teamwork that the individuals can shine. That's how Greece won in 2004. It doesn't guarantee victory - Germany lost to an equally tough-minded, resolute Italian side in the 2006 semi-final - but it gives you a much better chance.
England's failure in the now distant past has been caused by lack of tactical awareness, by lack of fitness, by lack of basic good skill and by poor management. England's failure in this century has included all of these elements but with this new crippling emotional self-centredness thrown in as well. On top of that there's a whole strand of English popular culture which absolutely worships them for their fame and money. I imagine them to be the sort of people who watch 'Katie & Peter' and who go on reality shows because they 'really, really want this' whatever the 'this' is. They copy David and Victoria's hair cuts and buy Heat and Hello. And on top of that there's the press and TV media which takes good English players and over indulges their talent and exaggerates their capabilities because it sells well to a section of the public that is far too eager for heroes to worship.
If Capello wants England to succeed this all needs to be tackled head-on. He has already talked about player's mentality not being right; that they lack self belief despite being at the peak of the domestic game. And yet continental players are also subjected to the same culture when playing in England but often deal with it better. This is just a subjective opinion and it's a bit of a generalisation that I can't back up with hard fact but it's always seemed to me that the overseas players who play in the Premier League are by and large far more intelligent people, far more rounded than many of their English counterparts.
Put crudely, we produce Steve McClarens while Italy produces Fabio Capellos. When you hear men like ex Chelsea defender, Marcel Desailly, or current stars like Fabregas, Torres and Toure they come over as people who are to some degree sophisticated; for a start they're often bi-lingual. Clearly there are examples to contradict this but it does seem to be a generalization which has substance. Perhaps this is why these men don't end up in the Priory and don't generally behave like Motley Crue let loose at the Playboy Mansion, as desirable as that might be. The game is producing largely uncultured boys without the intelligence, education or incentive to grow up. There's far too much emphasis on that favourite of the phone-in passion, and not enough on perspective. Capello has to select a team on the basis of strength of character and attitude as well as on ability. We need players who are calmer, more rational and less prone to believing their own hype; players who are not so wrapped up in themselves; players who don't cry when things go wrong. In an era of shallow emotion, celebrity culture and rampant self indulgence, this seems unlikely but we should all fervently hope that it does because if it doesn't I shall scream and scream until I'm sick. "

Sunday, 25 May 2008

The Rise of the Politics of Fear, or the lies about the so called'War on Terror'

BBC made.

The Power of Nightmares:
The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004)
Part 1 (Part 2) (Part 3)

"This documentary offers a remarkable insight into the reality of our current fear induced climate. Adam Curtis chronicles the rise of neo-conservatism and the resulting change in the world's political agenda orchestrated by those who place their trust in the philosophical ideal of the necessity of evil to unite a country. The filmmaker manages to successfully pluck apart the myth of the reality of there being a logistically organized terror network, let alone one that is managing to orchestrate terror attacks from a cave in the remote mountains of Afghanistan. His arguments are backed up by some eye opening interviews with authorities on the field of Islamic fundamentalism, members of the US government and members of the US judicial system. These insights are parred with concrete, startling facts and the result is a program that manages to shake us awake making us aware of a far more realistic terror threat namely that of psychological warfare carried out by the powers that be, accompanied by a sensationalist media frenzy

Watch the film here:

Saturday, 24 May 2008

"What is it that Mr Balls has that you do not....?"

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith stood stony-faced today as she was berated by the leader of rank-and-file police officers over her handling of police pay.

Police Federation chairman Jan Berry accused the Home Secretary of "betraying" the police service.

She also ridiculed Ms Smith - as the two women shared a stage at the federation's annual conference - for her admission that she took cannabis in her youth.

Mrs Berry said: "Your recent crimes have been more for the serious fraud office than the drug squad."

The Home Secretary looked uncomfortable as she faced 1,000 delegates. Mrs Berry praised the politician for facing the conference, but added: "I am sure ... you felt like reaching for a stab proof vest and perhaps slipping into old habits and lighting up to calm your nerves."

Ms Smith at first smiled at the comments but later turned stony-faced at the criticism levelled by the police leader.

"Your decision not to honour the pay award was a breach of faith," said Mrs Berry.

"It was a monumental mistake, and I don't say this lightly when I say you betrayed the police service."

Mrs Berry received a standing ovation from delegates, with the Home Secretary joining the gesture.

The federation chairman had pledged that delegates would be "professional and courteous" to the politician, who was given a brief round of applause as she stood to deliver her speech.

The long-running row over pay peaked in January as an estimated 22,000 officers marched on Westminster, after the decision to introduce a 2.5% pay rise in stages, effectively reducing the overall award to 1.9%.

Yesterday's vote was a step towards the first police strike for nearly 90 years.

Ms Smith responded with a series of improvements to police remuneration and announcements on funding and policy.

Speaking about the row over pay, she said she stood by her decision despite the anger it caused.
Read more on the article

Some recent british history

This film tells the extraordinary story of the high society court case that scandalised society, electrified the nation and changed the course of British history.

In 1954, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and Peter Wildeblood were convicted of homosexual offences. But the trial lead to the Wolfenden Committee and its landmark recommendations for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain. Mixing drama with documentary testimony, this moving film brings to life the extraordinary events of the trial.

Haunted History London

David Copperfield

Oliver Twist wants some more

Hard Times Charles Dickens


Unsolved Mysteries-- (Agatha Christie I)


Saturday, 17 May 2008

Victorian England:Jack the Ripper and the East End: myth versus reality

London's most infamous unsolved murders have been the centre of much speculation over the past hundred years, but a new exhibition is boldly attempting to separate fact from fiction. MSN investigates.

The letter is scripted, artfully, in blood-red ink - penned, perhaps, by the hand of a murderous misogynist so notorious he has entered the realm of mythology: “Dear Boss... I am down on whores and I shunt [sic] quit ripping them until I do get buckled... Yours truly, Jack the Ripper.”
Whether or not the author was responsible for the Whitechapel murders, the “Dear Boss” letter - sent to a press agency in September 1888 after three women were fatally mutilated in a month in London’s East End - secured the serial killer’s place in history and, for the first time, gave him a public name.
One of the most celebrated Ripper artefacts, the letter has now been brought together with more than 200 other surviving original documents, including yellowing police files, fading photographs and bizarre letters from the public (many claiming to be the killer), for the first time in a bid to separate myth from reality in a case that has had our collective imagination in a stranglehold for more than a century.
Jack the Ripper and the East End, at the Museum in Docklands, is not for people with a nervous disposition. Eschewing frivolous sensationalism, it rigorously dissects the harsh realities of the time - bringing the true horror of the crimes into disturbingly sharp focus. The countless fictional works inspired by the crimes pale by comparison...... Read more here: Msn News uk
Some theories:

Friday, 2 May 2008

Back from the front line

They're back from the front line -
so why are these ex-soldiers still fighting their own wars?They fought and nearly died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once discharged from the army, these men face huge personal problems - homelessness, unemployment and depression - without adequate support. But after doing their bit for their country, shouldn't their country do its bit for them?

" It was, he admits, quite a shock. The sniper's bullet ripped through his left cheek, gouging through both eye sockets before exiting below his right ear. Corporal Simon Brown remembers lying in a Basra backstreet trying to rearrange his face.
'It had collapsed, the skin from my face was flopping down, blocking my airways. I could barely breathe,' he says. Under relentless fire from insurgents, Brown wrapped a bandage around his broken features.

Three weeks later, the 29-year-old woke up in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. Today he lives alone in his grandmother's old house in the West Yorkshire town of Morley. His health may never recover, his military career is over. Brown has yet to receive compensation for his injuries. But now it is time to move on. After 11 years in the military, he is about to begin the daunting journey back to civvy street.

'The army made me who I am. It is difficult to leave because of so many friends, some of whom have been lost.' Yet his injuries - sustained trying to rescue colleagues from a crippled armoured vehicle during intense fighting in December 2006 - leave him little choice. He plans to start a teaching course and considers himself fortunate; he has ambition.

But what of the rest who glimpsed the horrors of Iraq and Afghanistan and then left? Some, unable to adjust from the rigid hierarchy of the military to the vagaries of civilian life, have killed themselves. Others are unable to rationalise being abandoned by the authorities and turn to alcohol and drugs. Some are on the streets, quite literally.

Last year, the Royal British Legion took 1,485 calls from homeless ex-service personnel desperate for help. By law, former forces personnel should be offered accommodation as a priority, yet councils fail to honour their obligations, largely because of long waiting lists. Others are denied a chance to own a home because the heightened risk of suicide among those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan means they can't get life insurance to guarantee a mortgage.

The stories of Brown, Hayley Murdoch, Dave Hart and Andy Julien, told here for the first time, lend weight to the consensus that the military covenant - the guarantee of a duty of care between the government and the armed forces - has faltered. Collectively, they present a tale of broken marriages, thwarted careers, psychological breakdown and isolation. Next month marks the fifth anniversary of the opening salvos of an Iraqi conflict steeped in controversy and confusion. Now it is the war in Afghanistan that is muddied in a quagmire of uncertainty. The intractability of fighting in Helmand province promises British casualties for years to come.

The price paid by the British men and women who entered these baking battlefields can only in part be measured in statistics. At the time of writing, 261 British service personnel have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 4,000 have been injured and 52 have lost limbs, half of them in the past 18 months.
Tellingly, in a society submerged in statistics the incidence of broken marriages, suicides, alcoholism, deep depression and homelessness among service veterans remains largely unquantified.

A year has passed since a veteran accosted Tony Blair and told the then Prime Minister how he found himself homeless and forced to pay for medical care after two years in Iraq. Little appears to have changed. What the British nation owes those prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice remains a matter of fierce debate. Perhaps the most pressing question of all might well be: do we really care?

Only they know what it took to turn their lives around. Cavalryman Andy Julien had hit rock bottom. Severely wounded in a friendly fire incident during the invasion of Iraq, Julien was 'downgraded' and discharged from the army in 2004. He was never offered another military position, another chance to salvage his career. Four days after the world watched Baghdad shudder in March 2003 under George Bush's promise to unleash a military might never before seen on the face of the planet, the 27-year-old was ordered to bring his Challenger II tank back from the front line when he was struck. The fact that he may never fully recover from his leg injuries and the lack of government support pushed him to the edge. 'I had so much anger, it was very different being back on civvy street. No one understood.' Two of his friends were killed in the incident but an inquest found nobody to blame. The public's apathy for a largely unpopular war exacerbated his despair.

Hayley Murdoch can sympathise. Her back and hip were severely damaged after an accident in Iraq in 2005. Discharged from the RAF with no support, the 27-year-old recalls collapsing in the street after her legs gave way. 'People were stepping over me because they thought I was drunk,' she said.

Psychologists refer to a cycle of despair that characterises the struggle of many who leave the military. Employment proves elusive. Pressures build. Eventually they try to escape through drink and drugs. Often they leave home, some heading to London for a fresh start where they find themselves in limbo with nothing to their name. There are no flags, no bands, no glorious memories.

'The army's a bit like heroin - weaning yourself off can take time,' said Michael, a paratrooper who has left the forces after a 22-year stint. 'All of a sudden it's "see you later". That's it. You get your £40,000 final resettlement package, but that soon goes on a new kitchen, patio, what have you. The army is an employer, then you're on your own. If you don't prepare, you're in trouble.'

No help is given with finding a job, according to Michael. He found a different culture on civvy street, a more competitive environment with conflicting attitudes. The 41-year-old, who trained as a plumber in Manchester, said: 'You are putting up radiators in a house and one's not straight. The civvy attitude is it doesn't matter, but it's somebody's home, for God's sake.'

Murdoch believes the military is willing to abandon its own. 'After the Second World War people with serious injuries were re-employed. Now they just discard them. If you cannot recover, it's a case of "off you go, then".'

Those who survived the Second World War benefited from a shared solidarity; an entire generation could empathise with their sacrifice. Now, away from the camaraderie of the barracks, the sense of alienation can be acute. Some face hostility upon their return to civilian life. Brown is flabbergasted that people blame soldiers for the politics that led to the two conflicts. 'If it was up to us, we would invade the Caribbean,' he says.

Both Murdoch and Julien were discharged when the extent of their injuries meant they could no longer do the jobs for which they were trained. 'Everything is hunky-dory and then you feel like a liability,' said Murdoch. Some fight to stay in. Lance-Corporal Craig Lundberg, 22, was blinded in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq during 2006 and, although he appreciates there is slim demand for a blind sniper, appreciates the role of the army's support network.

Still, no one knows how many of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and subsequently left the armed forces have committed suicide. Details of their service career are not entered on death certificates. Neither does anyone know how many of the 10,000 reservists - proven to be more susceptible to mental-health problems than regulars - who have served in the conflicts have killed themselves. Researchers at Manchester University are currently trawling through death registers for the past five years. Their findings, to be published this spring, are expected to be shocking.

Frances Hoy, a spokeswoman for the Royal British Legion, said: 'We get calls from anxious parents explaining that their children are on the edge. They go to see their GP who only prescribes anti-depressants.'

This week the Ministry of Defence will trumpet increases to its compensation scheme for the most seriously injured victims of Iraq and Afghanistan. Those who have inspected the small-print are underwhelmed. Just 20 cases involving the thousands injured in Iraq and Afghanistan will receive higher payouts. Even then, the benefits can be meagre. One of the 20 requires lifelong care but can expect no more than an extra £12,000. 'The changes go nowhere near far enough,' said Hoy.

Julien has never received a penny in compensation. Murdoch is considering taking the MoD to court to secure a settlement. Brown still waits. Dave Hart, 31, who was one of the army's first suicide car bomb victims in Afghanistan, had his application for compensation refused. The multiple injuries he sustained explain his exasperation at the government's refusal to help.

'There was massive blood loss, a fractured skull, blood on the brain, a perforated eardrum, shrapnel cuts all over. Battery acid was sprayed all over my body and caught fire. My left lung collapsed and my right lung filled with blood. My left arm was almost amputated and my hands were shattered. I could go on ...'

Another two years of operations are scheduled and he will need lifelong care. Soldiers are encouraged to take out personal accident insurance. Such cover has cost Michael more than £2,500 over the past decade. 'If you are a private soldier with two kids, earning £1,200 a month, then that's a lot,' he says. Julien's cover fell short of the amount required for his treatment. 'There's all these clauses and they always try to get out of paying. I would give it all back to be how I was before the war,' he said.

Evidence given to the yet unpublished parliamentary report into provision of medical welfare for soldiers portrays a climate of cost-cutting. Britain is the only major European country without a dedicated military hospital. By contrast, French troops have the best medical institutions at their disposal. They include the Hôpital d'instruction des Armées Val-de-Grâce in Paris, offering a service so outstanding it has become the premier port of call for every ailing French leader since Charles de Gaulle. Hart appreciates the value of such investment. His survival was dependent on the treatment he received from French and German surgeons after being flown from Afghanistan to Germany for treatment. 'The NHS has been OK, but the German welfare is why I am still here. They even wanted to carry on treating me.' He found himself dumped on a geriatrics ward in a British hospital. He arrived on a Friday and was not seen by a doctor until the following Monday. He felt forgotten. He then caught the hospital superbug MRSA.

Rifleman Jamie Cooper, wounded in Iraq at the age of 18, twice contracted MRSA in hospital. Cooper, who has lost the use of his right hand and one leg, is eligible for £57,000 compensation. Friends last week described the teenager's angst at hearing that actress Leslie Ash, 47, was to get £5m for contracting a hospital-acquired infection after injuring herself during a love-making session with her husband. Brown, though, remains typically indefatigable. Another 24 months of surgery will be required to rebuild his face. His left eye is blinded. He has just 15 per cent vision in his right. 'I could sit around moping, but I am looking forward,' he says. He is looking for a girl - 'as long as she's not a gold-digger - and enjoys a drink. But never too many.' Nearly a quarter of those deployed in conflict for longer than 13 months have 'severe' drink issues. Eighteen British service personnel a week are testing positive for drug use involving cannabis, ecstasy or cocaine. Typically, the deepest scars affecting those returning to civvy street are in the mind. Combat Stress, which helps veterans with mental-health problems, has seen a 27 per cent rise in referrals. Yet more than half of those with psychological problems do not receive a war pension and cannot qualify for funding to help with their treatment. The average time-lag for post-traumatic stress to surface is 13 years; only in 2020 will we know the true fallout of the current operations. As a raw recruit Brown, then aged 20, was traumatised by Kosovo. 'You didn't ask for help, people think you're soft. Instead you go for a bath or a quick drink.'

Brown, Murdoch, Hart and Julien will continue to forge new lives. None, though, will forget their time in the military; their bodies and minds will always carry the scars. For the armed forces themselves, the future is equally fraught. Pressures on a dwindling army fighting two conflicts exerts predictable effects. A parliamentary committee revealed last week that soldiers are leaving because of exhaustion. Every year, the army suffers a 'voluntary outflow' of 5,800 trained men. Officials say the funding crisis is the worst since the end of the Cold War. The MoD, meanwhile, is bringing in new resettlement packages to ease the transition into civilian life. For many, such changes have come too late.