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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 91

Date:- 21 March 2003

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Report By Dominic Bonner
Early in the hours of Friday morning saw American troops make an amphibious assault on the port of Umm Qasir in which dozens of white flags of surrender were evident as their opposition folded in the wake of the immense fire power they faced. Many Iraqi troops giving themselves up after minutes of the exchange of cross fire between the two sides. A BBC war correspondent said, “This is what is like to be on the wrong end of a super power, it is the demonstration of sheer firepower in the face of a depleted crippled country unable to counter such immense forces.”

But the Iraqi army is not giving up on this battle easily, as many pockets resistance remain in the old part of the city into residential buildings as the regime considers the port of utter strategic importance due to the supply of food aid from the United Nations coming into the port as part of the food for oil deal under previous resolutions from the Gulf war. Indeed as the coalition offensive landed to secure a beachhead, fierce exchanges of small arms fire met them as the beginning of this key objective took place in the early hours.

Casualties of this war have not gone unnoted as two American marines died in battle near Umm Qasir and 8 British soldiers died in an unfortunate accident on their return to Kuwait as a mechanical failure of a Chinook helicopter claimed the lives of all its crew.  Also 2 British helicopters have gone down at sea with loss of crew.

It seemed as the heavy bombardment of Baghdad over the past few days continues, has done nothing but instill determination and propaganda as Iraqi officials struggled to maintain a coherent front. In which their denial of coalition troops were in their territory or that Umm Qasir had fallen. Furthermore to the propaganda war the chilling claim by Saddam Hussein from the war cabinet in Baghdad added that ‘the last battle will be at the gates of Baghdad where the invaders will be defeated.’ The response may seem misguided in the wake of accurate reports by the world’s media. But the expulsion of American television news company CNN sent a clear message to the US that they would not tolerate propaganda that spread ‘rumour and lies’ about events going on within Iraqi territory.

US defence secretary Jack Rumsfeld later went on to refute the claims of the regime as he commented that the Saddam and his officials have become extremely distanced from its commanders on the battlefield, impressing upon the fact that regime has become deluded and no longer in command of their country.

Indeed the strongest signal of intent by the coalition was sent late on Friday evening as fourteen B52 bombers departed RAF and took part in a massive assault on Baghdad at night, which saw the decimation of government buildings and presidential palaces. But it would seem that with every attempt to assassinate the war cabinet, so far the campaign appears to be failing to remove the regime sooner rather than later. 

The campaign so far has been relatively bloodless compared to what had been expected as coalition forces rampage through their frontiers and liberating territory. The journey towards the Iraqi capital seems likely in a matter of days rather the weeks. And the true test may yet lie in the chilling prediction of the beleaguered Iraqi leader at the face of the gates of Baghdad.
HEARING Dogs for Deaf People, is to run a charity even at the Great North Run in Newcastle for aid deaf people in their plight to gain a greater freedom within their households and to tackle daily problems associated with their lives.

The UK based charity the UK that trains dogs selected from rescue centres to help deaf people to everyday household sounds, is inviting dedicated and fun-loving runners to join its team in the Great North Run in the latter part of this year.

The Charity has a limited number of guaranteed places to offer anybody who is willing to put their two legs to the test and raise £200, to help train more hearing dogs. Each runner will receive a free Ronhill running vest, fundraising pack and support from the Hearing Dogs’ events team. 

Hearing Dogs’ community appeals co-ordinator for the northwest Nicola Litchfield, says:- “The Charity relies solely on donations from the public, and so desperately needs people to join its team in the Great North Run to help raise vital funds. Could you be one of these people? Think of the feeling you would get crossing that finishing line knowing that not only have you achieved something for yourself, but you are also helping deaf people to benefit from a hearing dog.”

It is believed that over half a million people in the UK suffer from severe or profound hearing loss and could potentially benefit from a hearing dog. 
LIVERPOOL’s bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008 saw the unexpected honour for the proposal of freedom of the city bestowed to writers and word smiths alike for their contribution to cultural life in the city. 

At an extraordinary meeting to be held on March 19, writers Alan Bleasdale, Jimmy McGovern, Carla Lane, Dame Beryl Bainbridge and Willy Russell were proposed for the city's highest civic honour. 

They join organisations such as Liverpool and Everton Football clubs, the Royal British Legion, and the Royal Liver Assurance Company on the list that includes other famous celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney. 

Lord Mayor, Jack Spriggs, said:- "All five of the writers we are proposing to honour have used their talents to entertain millions of people - making them laugh and cry!"

"They have been a creative force for decades and it is only right that the city should recognise their contribution to cultural life in this country. The National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside have done so much to promote Liverpool and its history, and we should recognise the work of the Merchant Navy Association as we approach the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic."

Councillor Joe Anderson, Leader of the Opposition said:- "It is great to see people who have put Liverpool on the world map for their writing being honoured at a time when we are bidding to become European Capital of Culture.“

Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.