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A second Afghan war.

It is illogical perhaps but understandable that the deaths of 14 British servicemen in a crashed Nimrod reconnaissance plane in Afghanistan should raise lots of questions about the British presence there.

This particular incident appears to have been an accident, possibly a technical fault rather than down to enemy action, although that of course does not stop the Taliban claiming otherwise.

What it is undoubtedly is the biggest British loss of life in Afghanistan since the start of operations there five long years ago.

Having said all that, there are worrying reports of British servicemen and their equipment being stretched to breaking point.

It is an Afghan lesson that has been with us since the time of the British Raj. We would have hoped we wouldn't have had to learn it again, the hard way.

Croc hunter

THOUSANDS of British TV viewers will have been saddened to hear of the death of Steve Irwin, the Australian known as the Crocodile Hunter.

It is in some ways ironic that Steve, a man who seemed to risk life on a daily basis fearlessly tackling the native salt-water crocs, and handling the world's most venomous snakes, should be killed by a stingray barb while diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

We shall remember him for his upbeat personality and his ability to make many more people aware of the strength and beauty of some of the world's most unloved creatures.

And, frankly, we cannot imagine him wanting to die in any other way than he did - still probing the natural world to bring an appreciation of it to a worldwide audience.

Cooking class

FINALLY, it is splendid that Government ministers and chefs alike are backing a plan for 11 to 16-year-olds to have lessons in cooking.

In a country threatened with an explosion of obesity it makes sense to ensure that all children get the chance to earn a "licence to cook" which will encourage healthy eating.

For ourselves, we welcome this break-out from the blinkered thinking of the national curriculum. Education should fit us for life, not just work, and there is plenty more that could be done in this direction.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 4, 2006
Words:359
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