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It's an honour.

Byline: By Paul Rowland Western Mail

The Queen's Birthday honours list is revealed this morning. Paul Rowland reports

AN internationally- renowned karate pioneer and one of Britain's most senior diplomats were among those awarded honours in the Queen's Birthday honours list.

Mitsusuke Harada, the founder of the worldwide Karate Do Shotokai organisation, now lives in Cwmbran after a career in the martial art which has taken him all over the world.

He has been made an MBE for his services to karate.

The 79-year-old was born in Manchuria in 1928, and was soon recognised in Japan, where he moved with his family as a nine-year-old, as one of the most talented exponents of karate.

In 1955, he was credited with being responsible for introducing karate to South America, after moving to Brazil, where he stayed until he became the first Japanese karate instructor to move to the UK in 1963.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, who has been appointed a CBE to add to the knighthood he already holds, has had an equally globetrotting career.

He became the British Permanent Representative to the UN in 2003, having previously held the position of Permanent Secretary to Nato, to which he was assigned in September 2001.

The Carmarthen-born diplomat was educated at Gwendraeth Grammar School, before studying theoretical physics at University College Cardiff. He later gained a PhD from St Catharine's College, Cambridge.

He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1973, after which his work took him to locations including Ottawa, Brussels and Madrid, while he is currently based in New York.

Joining Sir Emyr in gaining a knighthood is Meuric Rees, who served as Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd between 1990 and 1999, and had previously been made a CBE in 1982.

Born in Pantydwr, Powys, in 1924, he is also a former chairman of the council of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. He has been given the knighthood in recognition of his services to agriculture and to public life in Wales.

The Welsh author Wynn Thomas is one of a series of authors on the list, and has been made an MBE. A professor in the University of Wales, Swansea's English department, he is a specialist in American poetry, and in the modern English and Welsh-language literature of Wales.

He has previously held a visiting chair at Harvard University in the US, and has written 20 books, in both English and Welsh.

He is currently chair of the Welsh Books Council, and was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1996.

Controversial author Salman Rushdie receives a knighthood for his services to literature.

"I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honour, and am very grateful that my work has been recognised in this way," he said.

Rushdie's life changed forever on February 14, 1989 when Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him over The Satanic Verses.

The novel had already caused a storm in the UK, with copies publicly burned on the streets of Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Ayatollah Khomeini called the book a blasphemy against Islam and sentenced Rushdie to death.

The writer was forced into hiding, guarded by Special Branch around the clock and moved 30 times in a bid to keep his whereabouts secret.

Finally, in 1998, the Iranian government withdrew its support for the death sentence and Rushdie gradually returned to public life, even appearing as himself in 2001 hit film Bridget Jones's Diary.

Mumbai-born Rushdie, who turns 60 on Tuesday, was educated at Rugby School in Warwickshire and King's College, Cambridge.

In the 1970s he worked as an advertising copywriter and came up with the famous cream cakes slogan "naughty but nice".

He published his first novel, Grimus, in 1975 to little acclaim.

The follow-up was Midnight's Children, which was a huge success and won the Booker Prize in 1981.

In 1993 it won the "Booker of Bookers", a special award honouring the best novel in the 25-year history of the prize.

His last novel, Shalimar the Clown, was long-listed for the Booker.

His other works include Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990), a children's book he wrote for his son while in hiding, and The Moor's Last Sigh (1995).

Rushdie is married to his fourth wife, Padma Lakshmi, who is 23 years his junior.

Oleg Gordievsky, who has been appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG), has an equally controversial past.

Gordievsky, the highest-ranking Soviet spy ever to defect to the West, has been given the same honour held fictionally by James Bond.

The gong comes as tensions between Russia and the UK return to their highest since the Soviet era, in the wake of the murder of former security agent Alexander Litvinenko in London and President Vladimir Putin's threat to target Europe with nuclear missiles.

The murky world of secret operations, assassinations and allegations of treachery brought to light by Litvinenko's poisoning seem like a throwback to the Cold War era when Mr Gordievsky himself was active as a double agent.

Gordievsky was MI5's greatest asset between 1982 and 1985, when he passed information to British security while serving as KGB resident and bureau chief in London, running Soviet intelligence-gathering and espionage in the UK.

His cover was blown - possibly by US double agent Aldrich Ames - and he was called back to Moscow and kept under close surveillance, but managed to escape to the West in an audacious MI6 plot.

Mr Gordievsky gave British security services an unprecedented amount of information about Soviet agents operating in the UK, 25 of whom were expelled soon after he fled Russia.

His defection was hailed by then Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe as "a very substantial coup for our security forces".

Gordievsky was first recruited as a double-agent by MI6 in the 1960s, when he became disillusioned with his work with the KGB, the political situation in his homeland and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Operating first in the Soviet Embassy in Danish capital Copenhagen, and then in London, he provided information which undermined spying operations in the West and led to the expulsion of a number of agents working under the guise of diplomats.

After being ordered back to the USSR in May 1985, Gordievsky was arrested and questioned for several weeks, but it appeared the KGB did not have the evidence to prove he was a double agent.

He was told he would never work abroad again and kept under close surveillance, but he managed to evade his KGB tail while out jogging and took a train to the Finnish border, where he was smuggled to the West in a British Embassy car.

His family, who had been holidaying in Azerbaijan, later joined him in the UK.

Since his defection, he has written a number of books about the operations of the KGB and has made frequent appearances on TV, including on the panel of the Channel 4 game show Wanted in 1996.

The CMG is used to honour individuals who have rendered important non-military services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations.

Fictional superspy James Bond was made a CMG in Ian Fleming's novel From Russia With Love.

A woman who has been one of the most persistent thorns in the Government's side has been awarded a CBE.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights group Liberty, said she regarded the gong as an invitation to continue fighting hard for civil liberties.

The barrister, who is 38 today, has been a constant critic of what she regards as the Government's erosion of human rights and personal freedoms.

Because she worked as a Home Office lawyer from 1996 to 2001, she is uniquely placed to know how to hit the Government where it hurts.

"I'm not exactly the most predictable choice," said Ms Chakrabarti. "No one was more surprised than me, particularly when it must have been recommended by this Government that I have fought so hard.

"I hope it will send a timely signal that democratic dissent is not disloyalty, it is a positive civic duty."

She added, "This is an official royal invitation to do more, and I will take that invitation on behalf of people punished without trial and barred from protest in Parliament Square.

"This recognition belongs to Liberty, the oldest rights and freedoms campaign in this country."

Ms Chakrabarti is currently sitting on an independent commission chaired by former Nato chief Lord Robertson and ex-Lib-Dem leader Lord Ashdown to devise a new security strategy for Britain.

Married with one son, she was educated at the London School of Economics and called to the Bar in 1994.

She became Liberty director four years ago.

One of the more populist awards is the knighthood given to Ian Botham in recognition of both his contribution to cricket and the charity work which has seen him clock up hundreds of miles in fundraising walks.

The 51-year-old former all-rounder is a cricket legend who finished his career as England's leading Test wicket-taker with 383 victims and over 5,000 Test runs.

Regarded as something of a maverick during his cricketing days, he has since committed much of his time to supporting leukaemia research.

His devotion to the cause began in bizarre fashion when he took the wrong turn in a Taunton hospital back in 1977, while he was recovering from an operation on his foot. He ended up in a ward full of terminally-ill children.

Six years later Botham embarked on the first of his nine walks for leukaemia from John O'Groats to Land's End, walking over the finishing line with several other weary walkers wearing morning suits before diving into the sea.

Also featuring on the list were Last Of The Summer Wine actor Peter Sallis, who was made an OBE along with actress Sylvia Syms, rock star Joe Cocker, and Nicky Clarke, hairdresser to the stars. TV historian David Starkey - once described as "the rudest man in Britain" - and Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis are both appointed a CBE.

Meanwhile, there was a CBE for Dame Edna Everage creator Barry Humphries.

He learned of his CBE after coming off stage in Brisbane, Australia, where he is performing his one-man show.

"I'm deeply honoured. At last I can address Sir Les Patterson and Dame Edna Everage on an improved footing," he said.

Dame Edna was the queen of Saturday night TV in the 1980s with her catchphrase, "Hello, possums!"

She poked fun at celebrity guests on An Audience With Dame Edna Everage and its follow-up The Dame Edna Experience, accompanied by mute sidekick Madge.

The "housewife superstar" returned to British screens in March with new ITV1 show The Dame Edna Treatment.

Dame Edna has already been to Buckingham Palace.

In 2002 she appeared at a pop concert to mark the Golden Jubilee celebrations and introduced the Queen with the words, "The jubilee girl is here, possums!"

Humphries, 63, was born in Melbourne and came to the UK in 1959.

He began his showbiz career in the West End, appearing in musicals Sweeney Todd and Lionel Bart's Oliver!

Humphries introduced Dame Edna in his 1976 show Housewife Superstar! at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.

In 1999, the entertainer finally cracked America when his Dame Edna show opened on Broadway, and the character was signed up to appear in hit TV show Ally McBeal. Award 'surprise': One of Wales' most successful Asian businessmen has spoken of his surprise at being awarded an OBE.

Raj Aggarwal, who owns a pharmacy in Cardiff, was given the award in recognition of his contribution to the pharmaceutical industry and the life of the Asian community in Wales.

Mr Aggarwal runs Central Pharmacy, on Wellfield Road, and also serves as vice-chairman of charity Kidney Wales, and sits on the board of the National Pharmaceutical Association.

He said, "It came as a great honour and I feel very humble. You do not expect such things in life.

"I pay tribute to my family, who have always supported my work, and my colleagues, friends and customers who continue to support and assist me in my endeavours.

"I feel very passionate and love and enjoy all the work I do on various pharmacy, charity and business boards.

"I try to put in my best but I also try to give back to the community the good fortune I have received in my life. I would like to thank all those who nominated me."

Roy Thomas, chairman of Kidney Wales, said Mr Aggarwal's award was richly deserved.

"He is a very modest man but the honour is more than deserved. He has promoted the need for diversity in business.

"The Welsh and Asian communities should be proud of him and what he has achieved."

"Not only is he prepared to work hard in his own pharmacy business and industry, but he has put a great deal of work into charitable causes and the needs of others."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 16, 2007
Words:2153
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