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Adrenalin pumping, his face alert
with excitement and momentary
reaches out to touch the flanks of
a fully grown male lion. It is an extraordinary
and heart-stopping moment, as the fearsome
beast — which has been lightly sedated
— lies semi-conscious at his feet on a pitch-
black night in the African bush.
The prince is monitoring the animal’s
breathing during the vital few minutes
needed for vets to carry out tests. Maintaining
a commendable calm, he then helps wildlife
vets draw blood from the lion for DNA
identification, replace a broken GPS collar
under its shaggy mane and brand it.
But this is Harry — the “Playboy Prince” —
and he soon lifts the tension. With his head
torch hanging around his neck he jokingly
pulls down his shorts crying: “Okay, me
next!” before pretending to reach for the red-
hot branding iron.
As these exclusive pictures show, Harry,
30, has been living his African dream on a
wildlife reser ve and, unencumbered by the
pressures of public life and paparazzi, has
opened up to his companions as he never
does in public.
He jokes about what a “bad uncle” he is to
his brother Prince William’s children, speaks
very frankly about the perils of living his life
in the shadow of bodyguards — and confirms
he remains committed to Africa, its people
and its wildlife.
One of his team is Simson Uri-Khob, boss
of charity Save The Rhino, who revealed that
Harry asked his companions about their lives
and families, so they asked him about his.
Harry told them: “I have even more
bodyguards at home, it’s worse than here.
There are more of them, they ’re everywhere.”
Simson said: “ We asked him what about
if you’re with a girlfriend. Are they around
then? ‘Harry said, “Unfortunately yes, more
than ever. But I know how to handle that.’”
Despite the hovering presence of two
protection officers, Harry had little to remind
him of the trappings of his normal life except
a telephone call to William on the day of his
niece Charlotte’s christening at Sandringham
on July 5, which left him beaming.
He told one of his companions: “ What a
bad uncle I am! I should really be there. But
today my heart is here. This is where I want
His colleagues had helped him reach an
area with a good mobile phone signal so he
could call to congratulate the family.
While every other senior Royal was dressed
in finery and posing for the all-important
photographs with baby Charlotte, Harry was
standing barefoot in the bush, tucking into
chicken stew cooked over the camp fire.
Talking more seriously about his longing to
spend more time in the wild in Africa, Harry
told his friend: “I have to go along with the
way my life is, and in many ways I’m very
privileged. It’s how things are and I know
what I have to do. But I want to spend time
out here regularly, it’s become really precious
to me and I’m learning a lot.”
Harry, who has also spent time with armed
soldiers fighting off rhino poachers from
helicopters in Kruger national park in South
Africa, added: “ This is a recce really. I’m
taking a lot of new information back home
with me for my brother and me to analyse.
We’re going to work out a strategy for
doing more in Africa and to encourage new
conser vation initiatives.”
Harry has been playing a full role in the
work of a team tracking lions in the remote,
10,000sq mile Palmwag Reser ve in Namibia’s
north-west Kunene region, where lions,
elephants, rhino and leopards roam across
vast vistas of desert and scrub.
Having swapped life as an army Apache
helicopter pilot for the sharp end of animal
conser vation, he has been living his African
dream as part of a three-month assignment
in southern Africa, where he has joined the
campaign against rhino poachers — and he
is relishing the freedom.
He is so much in his element that he often
goes barefoot and, to the alarm of colleagues
who warned him about the dangers of
wild animals marauding in the night, he
stubbornly insists on sleeping in the open
rather than in a tent.
Harry told one: “I ’ve come all the way to
Africa to be free. I’m taking my bedroll and
I’m sleeping by the fire.”
The Prince’s encounter with the king of the
jungle came after he told his companions
two royal protection officers, two vets, a
Namibian police officer, a senior tracker-
guide, and Simson — that he desperately
wanted to see lions up close and personal in
Renowned wildlife vet Dr Peter Morkel,
a rhino expert, had already spent time
elsewhere in Namibia showing Harry the
process of painlessly removing horns to save
the species from destructive poaching. Now
he had brought the Prince to these wildlife-
rich lands where local communities have
been given responsibility for conser vation
efforts, including keeping an eye on the lions.
Simson said: “ We tracked down a pair,
one male, one female, for him earlier in the
day by following the animals’ droppings
and footprints. Harry wanted a taste of
conser vation in the raw and it became a huge
Specialist vet Dr Philip Stander used sound
equipment to blare out a recording of an oryx
screaming, followed by a hyena’s call.
Soon the lions, sensing the imaginary kill,
padded into view. Simson said Harry had
been continually whispering: “Are you sure
they ’ll come? How can you be sure?”
He knew he would have an important role
to play if the animals appeared, said Simson,
adding: “He was ner vous and thrilled at the
Dr Stander used tranquilliser darts to
sedate the animals, and beckoned the others
for ward. “It was rocky and sandy underfoot
and we all crept up quietly,” Simson said.
“Harry had already been told what to do.”
His companions have warned the Prince
that tranquillising large exotic animals is a
“tricky science”, and to work very quickly
before the drug wears off.
Dr Stander said: “ The male lion’s radio
collar had been damaged and it needed
replacing. The work had to be done in
a matter of minutes — you only lightly
sedate the animals so as not to interfere
with their metabolism, and you must work
He said Harry did not hesitate to crouch
down next to the lion and, as instructed,
monitor his breathing to check it remained
regular while Dr Stander prepared a syringe
to take blood.
“Harry knew what he was doing. He stayed
calm and helped to fix the new collar with its
studs and buckles.”
In a fleece top with a Walking With The
Wounded logo from his time on the Forces
charity’s South Pole expedition, Harry later
poses proudly beside the lion, his hand
resting gently on its head.
Dr Stander lit a small fire to heat up a
branding iron and stamped a code number
on to the lion’s fur, which prompted the
prince to offer his backside.
As a member of a team of eight, Harry
has been enjoying the camaraderie of the
tight-knit group and has asked for no special
favours, camping with his companions at
night and doing his share of the chores,
chopping vegetables, preparing meat for the
barbecue and washing-up.
Simson said: “He was with us for five
nights, all spent out in the bush in quite
Rising at 5.30am with the rest of the team
in the camp, he helped to make tea over an
open fire or fry eggs, before heading off into
Simson said: “ There were no toilet or
shower facilities. We got water from a nearby
spring and splashed it, cold, on our faces.
“ Harry joined in uncomplaining, and took
a bucket of water like the rest of us for an
all-over wash. I could see straightaway when
I was introduced to him that he was going
to be a great companion and a team player.
He looks pale and slim compared to some of
us, but he is strong and you can tell he’s been
military trained. He’s impressive. ”
They shared beers around the camp fire in
the evenings and, despite serious warnings
from Simson, Harry insisted on sleeping
under the stars. “ I told him it would be safer
to sleep in his tent. He had pitched it expertly
himself and we were all sleeping inside
ours. We know that anything can happen
unexpectedly — from snakes approaching to
insect bites, or an elephant or hyena coming
Simson briefed Harry on how to get out
of sight and stay down-wind if animals
approached, saying: “ That was the least I
could do if he insisted on sleeping in the
He added: “Of course every time Harry
slept out, his bodyguards had to be there too.
There was a lot of teasing and joking about
him spending his life with them. It was very
On one occasion, the prince came face
to face with a big rhino bull called Harry.
“That amused him very much,” Simson said.
“ Finally Harry met Harry.”
— New Zealand Herald
Prince Harry the Lionheart
Harry monitors the sedated lion’s breathing while vets carry out tests.
raided over links
to crime boss
Prison officials in Pretoria
confiscated a computer hard drive
from paralympian sprinter Oscar
Pistorius during a raid on his prison
cell earlier this year, as part of an
investigation into a Czech mob
boss, according to reports.
The Johannesburg based Sunday
Times newspaper said the raid on
Pistorius’s cell in the hospital wing
of Kgosi Mampuru II prison in
Pretoria happened before dawn on
Pistorius, 28, was targeted because
of the close ties he forged with
mobster Radovan Krejcir.
Krejcir was found guilty last
week of kidnapping, attempted
murder and attempted drug
dealing by the high court in
“ We know Oscar and Krejcir were
spending a lot of time together in
prison, so we wanted to get to all of
those who seemed close to Krejcir,”
a senior police official told the
Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend
Reeva Steenkamp, 29, at his home
in Pretoria in the early hours of
Valentine’s Day 2013.
He claimed he thought she was
a burglar and was found guilty of
He was due to be released after
ser ving 10 months of his five
year sentence on August 21, but
his parole was blocked at the last
minute by Justice Minister Michael
Mr Masutha said that Pistorius’
release was premature and
that proper procedure was not
A review board will meet on
September 18 to decide whether
Pistorius, a double amputee, should
be granted parole.
In March a video filmed in secret
by an inmate at Kgosi Mampuru
II that showed the athlete playing
soccer with Krejcir in a prison
courtyard, was published on-line.
Police spokesman Solomon
Makgale confirmed the raid on
Pistorius’ cell, but said that no
evidence of any criminality had yet
“There is no evidence at this stage
to link Pistorius to any criminality,
but we are still awaiting analysts
reports about the contents of the
items confiscated,” he said.
Pistorius’ lawyer Bryan Webber
told The Telegraph that he knew
nothing about the incident and
refused to comment on whether
it would affect the athlete’s parole
A spokeswoman for the family,
Annelise Burgess, said there is
“absolutely no way ” Pistorius would
do anything that is against prison
The State’s appeal
Pistorius’ murder acquittal will be
heard in November. — AP
More than a century after first-
class passengers aboard the ill-fated
Titanic ate grilled mutton chops and
custard pudding in an elaborate dining
room, the ship’s last luncheon menu
is expected to fetch up to $70,000
in an on-line auction, a curator said
The luxury liner sank in the Atlantic
Ocean on April 15, 1912, after
striking an iceberg during its maiden
voyage from Southampton, England,
to New York.
Today marks 30 years since the
wreckage of the ship, which had been
dubbed unsinkable, was discovered
on the ocean floor by a team of
The luncheon menu will be
auctioned on September 30 by
Invaluable, a live on-line auction
house, along with a letter written
by one of the ship’s sur vivors and a
ticket from the Titanic’s Turkish baths
weighing chair, used to measure a
David Lowenherz, owner of
Lion Heart Autographs, the rare
manuscripts dealer behind the auction,
said only two or three other menus
from the ship’s last lunch are known
He estimated the menu at auction
would sell for $50,000 to $70,000.
The artefacts are all associated with
passengers who sur vived the sinking
of the Titanic on Lifeboat No 1.
Nicknamed the “money boat,” it
became controversial amid accusations
that wealthy passengers bribed crew
members to row away from the
sinking ship before the lifeboat was
About 1500 people died during
the Titanic’s sinking, and third-class
passengers suffered the greatest loss.
“This is not an anonymous artefact
from an anonymous sur vivor,”
“There’s such a story behind the
history of the boat and the people
who were in it and how their lives
were affected by the event,” he said.
The menu was saved by first-class
passenger Abraham Lincoln Salomon
and is signed on the back by Isaac
Gerald Frauenthal, a passenger
from New York who probably had
eaten lunch with Salomon that day,
Stamped with a date of April 14,
1912 and the White Star Line logo,
the menu also included corned beef;
mashed, fried and baked jacket
potatoes; a buffet of fish, ham and
beef; an apple meringue pastry; and a
selection of eight cheeses. — Reuters
Titanic’s last luncheon menu for sale
The April 14, 1912, menu from the ill-fated liner RMS Titanic.
IS burns four Shi’ite
The Islamic State group strung up four
Iraqi Shi’ite fighters with chains and
burned them alive, according to footage
posted on-line, the latest gruesome
execution video from the jihadists.
The victims — identified as fighters
in the pro-government Popular
Mobilisation forces from southern Iraq
were suspended from a swing set by
chains attached to their hands and feet,
then set on fire.
IS, which overran large parts of Iraq
last year and still controls much of the
country’s west, said the murders were
in revenge for the alleged burning to
death of four men by pro-government
“ Now retribution has come, for today,
we will attack them as they attacked us,
and punish them as they punished us,” a
masked militant says in the video, which
was not dated and did not say where the
burnings took place.
The video included a clip said to show
a Sunni man suspended over a fire while
still alive as pro-government forces
look on, and another of famous Shi’ite
fighter Abu Azrael (“Father of the Angel
of Death”) slicing a piece of flesh off a
burned corpse with a sword.
IS has carried out a slew of atrocities
in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria,
such as mass executions and a campaign
of killings, kidnapping and rape targeting
It has recorded many killings —
drownings and burnings — in videos
posted on-line. — AFP
Fears for treasured
ruins at Palmyra
A powerful blast in the ruins of
Syria’s ancient Palmyra has raised fears
the Islamic State group has damaged
another of the Middle East ’s most
treasured heritage sites.
Both Syria’s antiquities chief and a
monitor reported Sunday ’s explosion in
the UNESCO World Heritage site, but
there was conflicting information on the
fate of its famed Temple of Bel.
IS destroyed the smaller Baal Shamin
temple at Palmyra last week, confirming
the worst fears about their intentions for
the site, which they seized from Syrian
regime forces in May.
The jihadists have carried out a
sustained campaign of destruction
against heritage sites in areas under
their control in Syria and Iraq, and in
mid-August beheaded the 82-year-old
former antiquities chief in Palmyra.
interpretation of Islam considers statues
and grave markers to be idolatrous, but
it has also been accused of destroying
heritage sites to loot items for the black
market and to gain publicity.
The Syrian Obser vatory for Human
Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said
late on Sunday that IS fighters had set
off explosives inside the 2000-year-
old Temple of Bel, at least partially
destroying the centrepiece of Palmyra’s
Mohammad Hassan al-Homsi, an
activist from Palmyra, said the inner part
of the temple was destroyed in the blast.
They detonated “boxes and barrels”
that were filled with explosives and put
in place on Sunday, he said.
“This was the most important temple
for tourists and for the people of Palmyra.
They used to hold festivals there.”
But Syria’s antiquities chief Maamoun
Abdulkarim said the explosion did not
appear to have damaged the temple
“The frontal columns and the cella
(interior) of the temple do not appear to
have been damaged,” Abdulkarim said
“According to the information we
received from the town, the temple is
still standing, but antiquities staff are
not able to enter the site to see close up,”
There were no immediate images
released by IS of the reported destruction.
IS captured Palmyra on May 21,
sparking international concern about
the fate of the heritage site described by
UNESCO as of “outstanding universal
Abdulkarim said the Temple of Bel
was Palmyra’s most important site.
“ It is the best example of the
combination of Oriental and Greco-
Roman art styles,” he said.
Before the Syrian conflict erupted
2011, more than 150,000 tourists visited
Palmyra every year. — AFP
Facebook boosts Bono’s wealth
Bono has become the world’s
richest pop star after amassing nearly
$US1.5 billion ($2.35 billion) from his
shares in Facebook, Britain’s Sunday
The U2 frontman bought a 2.3% share
in the social media site for $89.6 million
in 2009, with his investment group
As a result, Bono overtakes Beatles
legend Paul McCartney ($1.16b) as the
world’s richest pop star.
Facebook went public and was floated
on the stock market in 2012, and is now
worth about $200b. — WENN
Scientists develop slow-melting ice-cream
The summer scourge of sticky
hands could become a thing of
the past as British researchers
announced the discovery of an
ingredient to make slow-melting
The protein BslA, which occurs
naturally in some food, helps to
blend the components of ice-cream
to make it smoother and more
resistant to melting.
“The protein binds together the air,
fat and water in ice-cream, creating
a super-smooth consistency,” the
University of Edinburgh announced
in a statement overnight.
Developed by researchers at the
Scottish universities of Edinburgh
and D undee, the ingredient could
be available within three to five
“ We’re excited by the potential this
new ingredient has for improving
ice cream, both for consumers and
for manufacturers,” Professor Cait
MacPhee, of the University of
Edinburgh’s school of physics and
It can also help to keep ice-cream
frozen, so it remains creamy and
smooth without gritty ice crystals
Manufacturers could also be
enabled to make ice-cream with
fewer calories and saturated fat,
according to the research.
The scientists developed a way to
produce the protein using friendly
“Childhood memories of sticky
hands from melting ice-cream
cones could soon become obsolete,”
the university statement read.
Cuba makes English a priority in schools
Now that Cuba has restored
diplomatic ties with the United
States, teaching English in schools
will be a priority, the communist
party newspaper Granma reports.
In the 1970s, the study of English
in Cuban schools was supplanted
by Russian, after the Soviet Union
emerged as the communist island’s
main benefactor following Fidel
Castro’s ascent to power in 1959.
When the Soviet Union collapsed
in 1991, English returned to Cuba’s
academic curriculum. And since
Havana and Washington restored
ties in July, interest in English has
“The language is essential because
every day we are going to have more
contact ” with the United States and
other countries, the communist
party’s No 2 official, Jose Ramon
Machado Ventura, told university
students over the weekend.
In 2008, two years after yielding
power to his brother Raul,
Fidel Castro acknowledged the
importance of speaking English.
“The Russians studied English.
Everyone studied English, except
for us. We studied Russian,” Castro
said. — AFP
Computer hard drive confiscated
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