How WWII veteran Tom Moore, 99, captured the UK's heart, raising £16m for health workers

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World War Two (WWII) veteran, 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore, with a Guard of Honour formed by members of the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, as he completes his 100th lap of his garden in Marston Moretaine, north of London, to raise money for Britain's National Health Service. (Reuters)
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World War Two (WWII) veteran, 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore, with a Guard of Honour formed by members of the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, as he completes his 100th lap of his garden in Marston Moretaine, north of London, to raise money for Britain's National Health Service. (Reuters)
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Updated 17 April 2020

How WWII veteran Tom Moore, 99, captured the UK's heart, raising £16m for health workers

LONDON: A 99-year-old British World War II veteran on Thursday completed 100 laps of his garden in a fundraising challenge for health care staff that has “captured the heart of the nation,” raising more than £16million.
“Incredible and now words fail me,” said Tom Moore, a captain who served in India, after finishing the laps of his 25-meter garden with the help of his walking frame.
Moore initially set himself the goal of raising £1,000 for a National Health Service charity in time for his 100th birthday at the end of the month, after receiving treatment for cancer and a broken hip.
But his efforts — a rare bit of good news during the global coronavirus pandemic that has killed almost 13,000 people in Britain alone — have made him a star in his own country and abroad, with the government suggesting honors may be in order.
“Thank you all for your amazing support. It has been a memorable experience. Thank you so much,” he wrote on Twitter.
The final lap of his garden in Bedfordshire, south England, was met with a guard of honor from the Yorkshire Regiment and broadcast live on British TV.
“I’m surrounded by the right kind of people,” Moore told the BBC. “I’m feeling fine, I hope you are all feeling fine too.”
Previously he has spoken of his admiration for medical staff.
“In the last war it was soldiers in uniform on the front line. This time our army are the doctors and nurses (in) uniforms,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain earlier this week.
“We will survive this.”
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “Tom has captured the heart of the nation with his heroic effort.
“From his military contributions to his support for NHS staff, Tom has demonstrated a lifetime of bravery and compassion,” he said.
“The prime minister will certainly be looking at ways to recognize Tom for his heroic efforts.”
Johnson is currently off work recovering from coronavirus after being released on Sunday from a week-long stay in hospital.
More than 690,000 people have contributed funds, and the rush of donations caused the JustGiving page to temporarily crash.
His efforts have been lauded around the world.
“Captain Moore, we are truly impressed on this side of the pond. I think you’re remarkable, what you’ve done is an inspiration,” said US TV star Judge Judy in a video message.
“Congratulations on your fantastic success,” added Dutch violinist and conductor Andre Rieu. “I invite you and your whole family to one of my concerts.”
England cricket icon Ben Stokes said the funds raised “for the real heroes today is simply sensational.”
“I hope I’m moving just as well as you at 50, never mind 100,” he joked.
The veteran has also received online support from former Manchester United and Arsenal football captains Rio Ferdinand and Tony Adams and Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes.


Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh goes on despite US mediation

Updated 24 October 2020

Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh goes on despite US mediation

  • Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994
  • After failed attempts by Russia to broker a truce, Pompeo hosted the Armenian and Azerbaijan foreign ministers for separate talks

STEPANAKERT, Nagorno-Karabakh: Rocket and artillery barrage hit residential areas in Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday hours after the United States hosted top diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks on settling their decades-long conflict over the region.
The heavy shelling forced residents of Stepanakert, the regional capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, into shelters, as emergency teams rushed to extinguish fires. Local officials said the city was struck with Azerbaijan’s Smerch long-range multiple rocket systems, a devastating Soviet-designed weapon intended to ravage wide areas with explosives and cluster munitions.
Nagorno-Karabakh authorities said other towns in the region were also targeted by Azerbaijani artillery fire. There was no immediate information about casualties.
Officials in Azerbaijan claimed that the town of Terter and areas in the Gubadli region came under Armenian shelling early Saturday, killing a teenager. They also said 13-year-old boy died Saturday of wounds from an earlier shelling of Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second-largest city.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The current fighting that started Sept. 27 marks the worst escalation in the conflict since the war’s end and has killed hundreds, perhaps even thousands, according to official reports.
After two failed attempts by Russia to broker a truce, the US waded onto the scene on Friday, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosting the Armenian and Azerbaijan foreign ministers for separate talks.
“Both must implement a cease-fire and return to substantive negotiations,” Pompeo said in a tweet after the negotiations.
Those words were ignored on the ground.
“Just now a bomb exploded in my garden,” Georgiy, a resident of Stepanakert who only gave his first name amid the war jitters, said after the overnight attack. “If this is the so-called cease-fire, let the whole world see this cease-fire.”
Georgiy, who was born in Stepanakert, said he would stay home despite the fighting.
“This is my motherland, I’m not going to leave it,” he said. “All the people will stand until the last.”
According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 963 of their troops have been killed, and 37 civilians also have died. Azerbaijan hasn’t disclosed its military losses, but said that over 60 civilians were killed and about 300 were wounded in the four weeks of fighting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that according to Moscow’s information, the death toll from the fighting was significantly higher than officially reported by the warring parties, nearing 5,000.
Russia, the United States and France have co-chaired the so-called Minsk Group set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to mediate in the conflict, but they haven’t scored any progress after nearly three decades.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that to end hostilities Armenian forces must withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh. He has insisted that Azerbaijan has the right to reclaim its territory by force since international mediators have failed.
Turkey has thrown its weight behind Azerbaijan, vowing to support its ally “on the battlefield or the negotiating table.” It has trained Azerbaijani military and provided it with strike drones and long-range rocket systems that gave Azerbaijan a strong military edge on the battlefield.
Armenian officials say Turkey is directly involved in the conflict and is sending Syrian mercenaries in to fight on Azerbaijan’s side.
Turkey has denied deploying combatants to the region, but a Syrian war monitor and Syria-based opposition activists have confirmed that Turkey has sent hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh.