Adebayor's started so well for Man City
Archives for December 2009
At the start of 2009 I interviewed Damien and Charlotte Hall from Leeds who were told by Leeds Council that Damien was too fat to adopt a child. After their appearance on the rpogramme, their story was picked up by newsrooms around the world. Damien told us he was determined to get his weight down so they could begin the process of adopting. So 12 months on, they're on the programme again to tell us if they are any closer to doing that.
Also, 24 hours until VAT returns to 17 and a half per cent - did the cut work? And if you are on the road at some point today - this very new year's eve - travelling to a party, a do, driving to see friends or relatives - let us know - wherever you are off to for tonight - we want you on the radio telling us about your new year's eve celebrations 0500 909693 text 85058...
This morning we'll bring you reaction to that fantastic win for the England team in Durban - what a superb team perfomance; plus as it's almost the end of the year we want you tell us why 2009 has been a good year for you. Broadly speaking I know it's been a bit poor for a lot of people for all sorts of reasons - but if by any chance it HAS been a good year for you - I'd be really keen to hear from you this morning.....0500 909693, or text 85058.
Plus we'll hear from Newcastle United's Joey Barton who's talking about giving up alcohol, about his violent behaviour and what he thinks about professional footballers in general...
Today we'll hear from landlords all over the country about plans to vote in the New Year on whether to take industrial action in protest at the amount they must pay in overheads. Over half of Britain's pubs are owned by big pub firms and the GMB union says they require landlords to buy beer at a premium rate - and it's crippling them. Plus we'll talk to the three extraordinary young women who in tragic circumstances had to become "mum" to their younger siblings when their own parents died. And in our music review we look back on 2009 with Speech Debelle - who won the Mercury Prize for her debut album Speech Therapy.
Amir Khan is on the programme today - back in Bolton for Xmas, over from Los Angeles where he does his training - there's a lot to talk to him about not least his latest fight 3 wks ago in which he knocked out his opponent in 76 seconds and the comments he made before it: "If I were a white English fighter maybe I'd have been a superstar in Britain. " You can talk to him too...0500 909693.
In her first British interview since her daughter was convicted of the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher, we'll talk to the mother of Amanda Knox. She's still in Italy preparing her daughter's appeal.
Also today, the Church of England vicar who told Breakfast this morning it is morally permissable to shoplift - or to take as little as you need, for as long as you need it - if you are desparate. Do you agree?
Every year MPs are sent a copy of the Green Book - it's a 36 page guide to what they can and can't claim for on expenses.
At the next election they're going to be sent another book - one written by 5 live listeners. It's a guidebook of what you want and expect from your elected representatives.
Earlier in the year this programme came from the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem party conferences with 600 listeners taking up our offer to come and look their politicians in the eye and ask for some straight answers. We asked each person in the audiences to fill in a card completing the sentence, "what I want from my MP is..."
Now the next phase of the project; whittling down those 600 cards to come up with a shortlist for inclusion in the guidebook. We asked three 5 live listeners to do the job for us. They are: Vanessa Cox, who's a teacher from Cirencester; Ashir Shah, who is a student from London, and Charlotte Allen from Worthing.
In this short film they talk about what came out of their discussions.
A 10-year-old girl was so upset after her home was burgled she wrote a letter to the man responsible asking him why he carried out the crime. West Yorkshire Police say the thief was "visibly" moved when Amy Winteridge's mother read the letter to him as part of a probation rehabilitation programme. We're speaking to Amy and her mother on the programme today. You can watch a video of Amy reading the letter here:
On the programme today: a fascinating insight into becoming an adoptive parent in Britain in 2009. 5 live listener Jack and his wife have recently been approved as adoptive parents. Jack contacted us because he wanted to speak out about the 18 month process which he describes as an "horrendous" bureaucratic and box ticking nightmare. He also questioned the objectivity of some of the social workers he met along the way. Jack and his wife are both public sector workers in North London and describe themselves as "normal middle class people". Jack isn't really called Jack. We've changed his name and some of his personal details because he's concerned that his hopes of adopting a child would be damaged if his local authority knew he had gone public. So because of that, his words are spoken for him. Listen to the two-part interview here.
Plus, details of more expenses claimed by MPs for their second homes have been released this morning. Have a look at the link here and tell us what your MP has claimed for. When you click on the link - scroll down towards the bottom of the page and look up your own MP. The figures added to the website today cover the costs your MP has claimed for when staying away from their main home in 2008/09 (under the Commons Additional Costs Allowance) and the first quarter of 2009/10 (under the Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure which replaced the ACA in April this year).
Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid was killed on 31 October 2009 as he tried to defuse a bomb in Afghanistan. He was due home on leave the following day.
Instead, his remains arrived at RAF Lyneham then passed through the town of Wootton Bassett, where hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects.
I've been talking to his widow - Christina Schmid - who described the brutal conditions her husband was working under - and how exhausted he was before he was killed. She told me there simply aren't enough high-threat bomb disposal officers operating in Afghanistan to deal with the amount of improvised explosive devices in the country - and said she'd never know whether his exhaustion contributed to his death.
She also called on her late husband to be honoured with the Victoria Cross - the highest military decoration - which recognises " conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy".
Christina Schmid buried her husband two weeks ago - she told me how she'd been coping since his death in the interview which you can watch below
Gavin Solly weighs 32 stone and has not left his home in Dorset for eight years. With limited mobility and unable to support his family, he says he is desperate for a gastric bypass operation to improve his life.
The NHS have agreed to pay for the procedure, but he has been told that his health is not up to it. Below you can watch a video about Gavin's life and his battle to get gastric bypass surgery.
Who do you want England to avoid in the World Cup draw? Or maybe you want your team to avoid playing England in the group games.
The draw is live at 5.30pm on 5 live this afternoon. For the city of Cape Town where we're broadcasting from today, it's the last big test before next year's World Cup.
We're setting up our radio equipment on the second floor of a cafe on Long Street, one of the main tourist streets in the city. Soon this area will be packed full of South Africans for a day-long football festival.
Yesterday we went to Khayelitsha, a huge township between Cape Town airport and the centre of the city. It's one of the poorest parts of this region. Have a look at this short film we made when we were there.
5am Harare airport: check-in at the small basic terminal isn't open. While we're waiting, I decide to take a photo on my phone of a portrait of Robert Mugabe which is hanging above the entrance to passport control. One of the airport employees comes towards me and this polite, firm conversation follows:
"You're not allowed to take photos ma'am."
"Oh... why is that?"
"Because photos aren't allowed."
"Seriously? Why is that?"
"Could you delete your photo please?"
"So a photo of a portrait of President Mugabe isn't allowed?"
"But why is that?"
"For security reasons."
"Yes, no photos are allowed, so could you delete it please?"
"I'm very happy to delete it, but I'd like you to explain how my photo could affect security."
"Please delete it."
So I had to, didn't I? Bizarre. Then I showed him a photo of my two boys to smooth things over and he smiled.
After a two day stay in Harare where no one bothered us, where we spoke to whoever we wanted to and, for that matter, photographed whatever we wanted to, it was a jarring end to our visit.
Harare is not what I was expecting. I'd been advised, for example, "not to have loud conversations in public places" in case Central Intelligence officers were listening. I'd been warned my hotel room could be bugged. It might well be, but all they would hear is me talking to my children each morning and evening.
Wherever we've visited, whoever we've approached for an interview - no-one, so far, has tried to restrict us. Some people don't want to be interviewed - that could be because they are slightly fearful, or it could be because they are busy. But those who have agreed to talk seem to have spoken openly.
I've asked all the questions I've wanted to. In answer to the simple question "What do you think of President Mugabe?" people have said the following things:
"He has his shortfalls."
"He liberated our country."
"I'm not a politician, I just concentrate on my job."
Although, when I followed that up with "Would you feel able to criticise Mr Mugabe?" one woman said:
"No, not really, because I've heard rumours about people who've been beaten up."
Victoria visits Harare's largest hospital
Victoria Meets some Zimbabwean school children
Pictures from Harare