Archive for the ‘Brits’ Category

Can You Name World’s Most Spoken Language Or Nations That Make Great Britain?

November 20, 2008

Most people do not know how many countries make up Britain or which is the world’s most spoken language, a national survey has found.

Telegraph (UK)
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More than half wrongly believe that English is the most common language, while just over a third (37%) correctly identified it as Mandarin Chinese.

And less than a quarter correctly identified England, Wales and Scotland as being the countries that make up Great Britain.

The poll of 2,000 adults was commissioned by geographic technology company ESRI UK to mark Geography Awareness Week.

It found that a quarter of people would like to be an explorer – although many have trouble identifying where cities such as Leeds and Sheffield are in England.

When asked to rank a list of UK cities, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and Luton, in the order they are located, from north to south, eight in 10 correctly placed Newcastle and Luton.

But only half could only identify Leeds as the second most northerly, while a similar number put Sheffield correctly in third place.

The poll found that just under a quarter of people have visited a local attraction or museum in the last month.

Dr Rita Gardner, director of the Royal Geographical Society, said: “The poll raises some questions about how engaged people are with the many geographical issues in the wider world and about geographical factual knowledge.”

She added: “Good geographical knowledge and skills are vital for all of us, as responsible citizens, if we are to fully understand the nature of change in the world’s people, places and environments.”

Angela Baker, community programmes manager for ESRI (UK), said: “Geography helps us make sense of both our local surroundings but also the world’s bigger challenges like climate change, war, energy and poverty. It’s remarkable that so many people don’t know some simple facts like how many countries make up Great Britain.

“What is encouraging is that explorer came top in people’s preferred careers and that map-reading and compass skills beat being able to use a sat-nav.”

REFILE - CORRECTING FULL NAME OF APEC Chinese President Hu Jintao ...
There are 1.3 billion people in China and Chinese people live world-wide.  Here Chinese President Hu Jintao greets members of the Chinese community in Peru upon his arrival at Lima’s airport November 19, 2008. REUTERS/Handout/Andina Agency

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat
/3486403/Three-quarters-of-Brits-unable-to-name-Great
-Britains-three-countries.html

Brit SAS chief quits over ‘negligence that killed his troops’

November 1, 2008

The commander of Britain’s SAS troops in Afghanistan has resigned in disgust, accusing the Government of “gross negligence” over the deaths of four of his soldiers.

By Thomas Harding
The Telegraph
London, UK
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Major Sebastian Morley claims that Whitehall officials and military commanders repeatedly ignored his warnings that people would be killed if they continued to allow troops to be transported in the vulnerable Snatch Land Rovers.

As a result, he says Cpl Sarah Bryant – the first female soldier to die in Afghanistan – and three male colleagues, the SAS soldiers, Cpl Sean Reeve, L/Cpl Richard Larkin and Paul Stout were killed needlessly.

All four died when their lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover split apart after hitting a landmine in Helmand province in June.

In his resignation letter, Major Morley, the commander of D Squadron, 23 SAS, said “chronic underinvestment” in equipment by the Ministry of Defence was to blame for their deaths.

The Old Etonian officer, a cousin to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, is understood to have described the MoD’s failure to buy better equipment as “cavalier at best, criminal at worst”. The resignation of Major Morley, the grandson of the newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook, follows those of Col Stuart Tootal, Brig Ed Butler and a commanding officer of 22 SAS.

“We highlighted this issue saying people are going to die and now they have died,” said a soldier who served with Major Morley. “Our commanding officer and RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) tried everything in their power to stop us using Snatch. The point of failure here lies squarely with the MoD.

“The boys nicknamed Snatch the mobile coffin.”

The resignation of Major Morley will reignite the debate on the standard of equipment for troops, with many front line soldiers believing that their lives are being put at risk.

In recent weeks the MoD has been criticised by coroners who said the right equipment could have saved lives.

The frailties of Snatch Land Rovers have been responsible for 34 British fatalities – or one in eight of the total killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are only now being replaced.

The reservists of 23 SAS were first asked to send a squadron of about 100 men to Helmand in Afghanistan because the regular soldiers of 22 SAS were severely stretched in Iraq. Their mission was to supervise elite elements of the Afghan police.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/33
32417/Exclusive-SAS-chief-quits-over-negligence-that-killed-his-troops.html

Snatch2.jpg
Above: Snatch vehicles