• Father-of-three police officer, 38, dies suddenly while on holiday with teenage son
    News
    The Independent

    Father-of-three police officer, 38, dies suddenly while on holiday with teenage son

    A Greater Manchester Police officer has died suddenly while on holiday in Scotland with his son.Father-of-three PC Shazad Saddique, 38, whose wife is pregnant with their fourth child, was in Scotland with his 13-year-old son when he passed away.They were visiting the Fairy Pools – a popular tourist attraction leading down from the Cuillin Mountain Range on the Isle of Skye.His family said he was on a “spiritual retreat” at the time.Police Scotland confirmed there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.Pc Saddique joined GMP 12 months ago and was a student officer based in the Tameside District.GMP said he enjoyed serving his local community and formed close relationships with many of his colleagues, who have described him as an outstanding individual and role model.Outside work, the officer enjoyed hiking and trekking and was heavily involved in outreach work with youths in the local community, which focused on enabling youngsters to experience outdoor activities in the countryside.Paying tribute to him, his family said: “Shaz was the most selfless person you could ever hope to meet; he always put other people first and wanted to make every new experience a fun one.“He had a real passion for the outdoors and helping others, particularly young people in the community.“Deep in his heart, he felt very strongly about youth outreach programs and getting young people out in the countryside to do fun activities.“He was sincere in his devotion and worship. He was passionate about Thikr gatherings and was devoted to the teachings and guidance of his Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoobi.“He loved nature for the very fact that it was a means for him to remember and praise his lord.“His final trip to the Isle of Skye was sincerely to gather a group and collectively praise Allah, as a spiritual retreat.“He achieved so much and we were always so proud of him. He completed marathons all over the world and did hiking challenges throughout the UK, all in the name of raising money for charity.“He loved his family more than anything; he was a supporting figure and a role model for his siblings. He was the best dad, and his wife and kids were his absolute world.“It has been clear for us to see today, how much he meant to so many people and how many hearts he touched. The outpouring of support for the family has been huge and for that we want to thank everyone.“We will miss you dearly bhai Shazad, but you will never be forgotten.”Chief Superintendent Neil Evans, GMP’s Territorial Commander for Tameside, said: “Today is a very sad day for Greater Manchester Police.“We received the update from Police Scotland last night and have since been working to provide support for Pc Saddique’s family and close colleagues at this incredibly difficult time.“I met with his family earlier today and they are understandably devastated by their loss. My thoughts and condolences are with them, and we will continue to do all that we can to support them.“Although Shazad was only with us for a short amount of time, it is clear to see the significant impact he had, not only on the public, but also on his colleagues.“I spent some time with his close colleagues this morning and listened to all the lovely words they had to say about him, and the stories they had to tell.“I think one of the main things which stood out to me, were just how much of an outstanding individual and role model he was.”Additional reporting by Press Association

  • Daniel Radcliffe breaks down in tears reading great-grandfather's suicide note in Who Do You Think You Are?
    News
    The Independent

    Daniel Radcliffe breaks down in tears reading great-grandfather's suicide note in Who Do You Think You Are?

    Daniel Radcliffe breaks down in tears on Who Do You Think You Are? after reading a suicide note written by his great-grandfather.The Harry Potter actor discovered the family tragedy while participating in the BBC series, The Times reports.In 1936, his great-grandfather Louis Gershon, who ran the family jewellery business in London’s Hatton Garden, was deeply affected by a robbery of goods amounting to approximately £3,000The news made headlines with one story featuring a photograph showing Gershon collapsing upon hearing about the theft.Fearing that the insurance company wouldn’t pay out, Gershon died by suicide after writing the note that finds its way into Radcliffe’s hands in tonight’s episode.“You want to just reach into the past and go, ‘Whatever you’re going through, you have so much to offer the people who are around you and they still would all have loved you’”, an emotional Radcliffe says.Who Do You Think You Are? returns to BBC One on Tuesday. This year’s participants include Kate Winslet, Paul Merton and Bond star Naomie Harris.

  • News
    Sky News

    'Horrific scene': Woman 'decapitates mother' as four-year-old boy looks on

    Police did not confirm the nature of the mother's injuries but Australian media reported she had been beheaded during the incident in the Australian city of Sydney on Saturday night. Detective Superintendent Brett McFadden described the attack as "up there with one of the most significant, most horrific scenes police have to deal with", adding that the injuries to the victim "were extensive". The daughter was arrested outside the home of a neighbour and the four-year-old boy was taken to hospital with what police said was a minor head injury.

  • Home and Away's Jasmine and Robbo face new setback in 26 pics
    Digital Spy

    Home and Away's Jasmine and Robbo face new setback in 26 pics

    Meeting the parents doesn't go well. From Digital Spy

  • Iran tanker crisis: Impending Brexit leaves UK with no choice but to do US bidding – and suffer the consequences
    News
    The Independent

    Iran tanker crisis: Impending Brexit leaves UK with no choice but to do US bidding – and suffer the consequences

    What on Earth were the British politicians and officials thinking who gave the go-ahead for the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar on 4 July? Did they truly believe that the Iranians would not retaliate for what they see as a serious escalation in America’s economic war against them?The British cover story that the sending of 30 Royal Marines by helicopter to take over the tanker was all to do with enforcing EU sanctions on Syria, and nothing to do with US sanctions on Iran, was always pretty thin.The Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell has said categorically that Britain took over the tanker “following a request from the United States to the United Kingdom.”One fact about Iranian foreign policy should have been hardwired into the brain of every politicians and diplomat in Britain, as it already is in the Middle East, which is that what you do to the Iranians they will do to you at a time and place of their own choosing.The US and UK backed Saddam Hussein in his invasion of Iran in 1980, but this was not unconnected - though it was impossible to prove – with the suicide bombing that killed 241 US service personnel in the marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.Commentators seeking an explanation for the UK’s seizure of the Grace 1 suggest that it was suckered into the action by super hawks in the US administration, such as the National Security Adviser John Bolton.But, given the inevitability of the Iranian reaction against British naval forces too weak to defend British-flagged tankers, the British move looks more like a strategic choice dictated by a lack of other options.Confrontation with the EU over Brexit means that Britain has no alternative but to ally itself ever more closely to the US.Of course, this will scarcely be a new departure since Britain has glued itself to the US on almost all possible occasions since the Suez Crisis of 1956.The lesson drawn from that debacle by Whitehall was that the UK needed to be always close to the US. The French drew the opposite conclusion that it must bond more closely with the continental European states in the shape of the EEC.The one-sided relationship between the US and UK was in operation in the military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Britain walked into these quagmires to demonstrate its position as America’s most loyal ally while lacking a coherent policy and without adequate forces.The Chilcot Report said the only consistent theme that it could detect in British policy in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 was how to get its troops out of the country. Wanted to do without offending the Americans, the British – in a major miscalculation – decided that this could be best done by relocating their forces to Afghanistan - where 405 of them were killed in action.In its confrontation with Iran, Britain is in trouble because it is trying to ride several horses at the same time. It is supposedly seeking to adhere to the Iran nuclear deal and oppose US sanctions on Iran, but in practice it has done nothing of the sort and boarding the Grace 1 was a clear demonstration of this. One feature of the present crisis is that the seizure of the Stena Impero is clearly tit-for-tat by Iran. It is, unlike past Iranian retaliatory actions, making no effort to conceal this, presumably calculating that there is not much Britain can do about it and it is a good time to demonstrate Iranian strength and British weakness. Iran expresses no doubt that Britain is acting a US proxy, though this has been true for a long time. But life as a proxy may be particularly dangerous in the Gulf at the moment because of the peculiar nature of the confrontation between the US and Iran in which neither side wants to engage in an all-out war.This makes it necessary to act through proxies like the UK, an approach that minimising the chances of Americans being killed and Trump having no option but to retaliate in kind.Iran is being visibly hurt by sanctions but Iranians are more likely to blame the US for their sufferings than their own government. The US is not going to launch a ground invasion, as it did in Iraq in 2003, and, so long as this is off the table, Iran can sustain the military pressures.In fact, a permanent crisis in the Gulf just below the level of a full-scale military conflict is in the interests of Iran and better than enduring a prolonged economic siege.

  • Corrie's Sam Aston opens up about his relationship with new wife Briony
    News
    Digital Spy

    Corrie's Sam Aston opens up about his relationship with new wife Briony

    He also admitted that he actually dumped her as a teenager.

  • Refugee who survived Mediterranean crossing and Calais Jungle left disabled by vicious street attack in London
    News
    The Independent

    Refugee who survived Mediterranean crossing and Calais Jungle left disabled by vicious street attack in London

    Atif Al-Sharif holds out his phone to show a photograph of himself. He is standing in front of a tent holding a bundle of firewood to the blue sky above, alive with expression. The picture was taken in the Calais Jungle just four years ago, but it bears such little resemblance to the man holding it out it might as well be a different person.The Sudanese national now sits in a small hotel in Ilford. His face is weathered and worn, deep worry lines creased into his forehead. Reliant on crutches, his skinny limbs cast sharp outlines in his clothes. Most strikingly, he has a gaping dent on the right side of his head where part of his skull is missing.Atif fled from his home country in 2010 after receiving death threats from government forces for his support of the political opposition. After a perilous journey, he reached the UK in 2016 and was granted refugee status. But far from feeling protected, he has since narrowly avoided murder, leaving him severely disabled, and been placed in housing the authorities themselves admit falls woefully short of what he needs.“When I came to the UK I was looking for just one thing: protection,” Atif says, a dismal tone in his naturally soft voice. “I was very happy when I got leave to remain in this county, but I do not feel safe here any more.”A construction worker by trade, Atif had been living a happy life in Sudan. He had a wife and two children, with a third on the way. But things turned sour when, due to his support for guerrilla movement Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPL), he was arrested. He knew immediately that if he wanted to stay alive, he had to flee.“They tried to kill me,” he says. ”They beat me, too much. They said ‘We need information about this opposition, give it to us’. They were trying to use me as a spy. A man helped me to escape in a lorry from Khartoum to Kassala, and then in a car from Kassala to Egypt.”Atif spent five years in Egypt, where he found work doing night shifts as a supervisor in a factory. But fearful that the Egyptian authorities would send him back to Sudan, he decided to take up an opportunity to travel by boat to Europe – despite knowing it carried with it a risk of death.“I knew people had died crossing, but I said ‘I don’t have any choice’,” he says. ”Most people paid money but I didn’t, because I didn’t have any. We started our journey to Italy. Three people in our boat died in the water.”Atif made it to Italy, but decided to continue northwards to Britain, where he would be able to speak the language. After two weeks he reached Calais, where he spent 11 months living in the so-called Jungle.“Some things were good, other things were bad,” Atif says when describing life in the camp, explaining how migrants were helped by volunteers who brought food and clothes, but always under the shadow of the feared police.On 26 May 2016, after almost a year living in the shanty town, Atif came across a lorry with its doors open on the side of a road. Several migrants were already in the vehicle, and Atif joined them. Ten hours later, he found himself in the UK, where he was taken to a police station and later interviewed by the Home Office. After 18 months of being moved between numerous asylum houses, Atif was granted refugee status. “I was very, very happy,” Atif smiles at the memory. ”I wanted to start a good life. Because I spoke a bit of the English language it would be easy for me to get work, study, and do other things. I was really very happy.”But things were complicated from the start. Atif says he was given just two weeks to move out of his asylum accommodation and, unable to find housing, ended up homeless and having to rely on support from charities. Eventually he was placed in a council flat in Hackney and found a job doing construction work, but his living situation made him feel uneasy.“After a while it wasn’t okay,” he says. “Some of the neighbours were dangerous people – criminals, selling drugs and fighting. I didn’t feel safe, but it was impossible for me to get help to move from this area.”On the afternoon of 12 August 2018, Atif was attacked and savagely beaten just outside his home. He woke up two weeks later in hospital. “Someone told me to be careful of my head,” he remembers. “I didn’t know what had happened. I couldn’t remember anything. It was such a shock.”The brutal assault had caused a haemorrhage on Atif’s brain, which required doctors to remove of part of his skull in order to release the pressure. He suffered brain damage and spent two months in hospital. Two people, a man and a woman, are currently being investigated by police on suspicion of attempted murder.When the 43-year-old was discharged, it was decided by police that, for his own safety, he should not be housed in the borough of Hackney. He was referred to Tower Hamlets council, which temporarily placed him in a room in a hotel in Ilford, saying he would be given permanent accommodation within two months.Almost six months after this promise was made, Atif is still living in the hotel. With just a small ensuite bathroom, he says carers employed by the council to assist him had said they were unable to help him shower without a disabled bathroom. Unable to easily access the kitchen, located across a large courtyard, he is having to keep food supplies in his small bedroom. Located on the ground floor beside the courtyard, he struggles to sleep in his bedroom at night due to the noise of people outside.“In this hotel I do not feel safe, I do not feel okay. I cannot sleep in the night. I’ve complained but nobody cares. I am suffering,” he says, adding that, aside from the inadequate facilities, he is desperate to be closer to London’s Sudanese community, which is largely based in Edgeware Road.An internal report by Tower Hamlets council agreed that the property was inappropriate for Atif due to the walk from the room to the kitchen, because he had to “walk across a forecourt outdoors and as he used crutches, this is not suitable for him”. It also noted that he was being “troubled” by people congregating outside his bedroom window, given that he is suffering from PTSD after the attack.Emotionally drained from telling his story, Atif concludes: “Sometimes I feel like I am being punished because I am a refugee. I am nothing, I am not human like other people. After what happened to me in Sudan, I was looking just to get protection in the UK. But I feel there is no protection for me here. I am not welcome in this country.”Within hours of The Independent contacting Tower Hamlets Council, Atif received a call from them saying he would be moved to permanent accommodation in three days’ time. He was instead moved to another hotel – where he says conditions are “even worse” – and told he cannot move into permanent accommodation until 12 August.A council spokesperson told The Independent: “We are dealing with Mr Al-Sharif’s housing application as a very high priority. Mr Al-Sharif is on our priority list for permanent accommodation and we anticipate that he will be made an offer within a matter of months, subject to the availability of suitable accommodation.”

  • Net closes on leaker who cost ambassador Kim Darroch his job, as teenage Brexit Party employee comes forward to claim scoop
    News
    The Independent

    Net closes on leaker who cost ambassador Kim Darroch his job, as teenage Brexit Party employee comes forward to claim scoop

    The investigation into the leak of the confidential dispatches of Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to Washington, is progressing faster than expected with extensive evidence being collected about a number of suspects, according to security sources.Scotland Yard’s Anti-Terrorist Branch, GCHQ and another government security agency have been involved in the investigation which is believed to have rapidly narrowed down the identity of suspects, despite Sir Kim’s emails having been made potentially available to more than a hundred people.Officials close to the inquiry believe “there was a degree of orchestration” behind the theft of emails and their subsequent publication in a newspaper, and are considering “all motives, including political ones”, they say.A 19-year-old freelance journalist has claimed in the Mail on Sunday, the newspaper which published Sir Kim’s emails, that he was a conduit for the leak. He had obtained the material, he said, while talking to civil servants for a research project.Steven Edginton works as a “digital strategist” in Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, and is also “chief digital strategist” at the Leave Means Leave group.He has contributed to Brexit Central’s website and worked for pro-leave website Westmonster, and the right-wing TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group.Sir Kim’s dispatches were highly critical of the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of Donald Trump’s administration, and the US president’s relationship with truth.It led to a furious reaction from Mr Trump, who kept up a barrage of insults towards the ambassador for a number of days along with demands for him to be recalled from Washington.Sir Kim resigned after Boris Johnson, in a debate with Jeremy Hunt in the contest for the Conservative party leadership, repeatedly failed to offer an assurance that he would keep the ambassador in place if he became prime minister.Sir Kim had been scathingly criticised by leading Brexiters, including Mr Farage, who demanded he be replaced by someone is pro-Brexit and also sympathetic to Mr Trump.Asked about Mr Edginton and the leak, Mr Farage told The Independent: “I know him, he is a young man, a freelance and he has done what every other journalist would have done given such stuff.“I did not know his part in the leak until I read about it. He works for us, I knew he had also some other freelance activities. I can’t understand all this fuss, after all what was passed to him wasn’t a national secret, it wasn’t the nuclear codes, so I don’t see what all this is about.”Asked whether whoever stole the ambassador’s emails and passed them on should be prosecuted, Mr Farage responded: “I don’t know what the terms of his contract were, whether it was covered by the Official Secrets Act. But I think it does show how fed up many people are about the way the civil service has been politicised over Brexit, there is real anger about this. There have been plenty of leaks, I think the establishment is totally overreacting to this particular one.”Mr Johnson, after facing severe criticism, including from a huge number of Tory MPs, for failing to stand by the ambassador, declared his wish that whoever was guilty of the leak “should be run down, caught and eviscerated”.Mr Trump meanwhile, in a volte-face of the type for which he has become known, asserted later that the ambassador had said “very good things” about him and was “sort of referring to other people” when criticising the White House.Mr Edginton tweeted in April this year “after the establishment have betrayed Brexit, we are currently working on the fight back. All efforts are being made”. Another tweet said: “Ministers are simply fed documents by Remainer civil servants and without question follow their advice and order.”He insisted in his newspaper article, however, that there was no political motivation to him passing on the documents. It was, he wanted to stress, “simply an honest journalistic endeavour … As a 19-year-old freelance journalist with a passion for politics, I was looking for a big project through which to develop my career”, leading him to speak to “current and retired civil servants” and ultimately gain access to the emails.A senior security source refused to comment on Mr Edginton’s claims, saying it “did not materially change” the course of the investigation.One person, according to officials, was primarily responsible for stealing the emails and although this may have been an “opportunistic” theft, the inquiry is looking into the alleged plan involving a number of people in the way it was then disseminated.In his article, Mr Edginton said of Sir Kim’s emails: “I was shocked by the brutal language from a supposedly impartial diplomat ... Sir Kim’s comments about Trump were jaw-dropping and suggested a lack of impartiality.”But he went on to observe, rather confusingly: “Sir Kim was simply articulating what many in Washington and Whitehall have said about the president and his advisers since he took office.”Mr Edginton said he did not regret “my role in the story”, although he said the furore it has generated has caused him to lose weight and struggle to get to sleep. He was now “suspicious of everything”, recounting how “last week I was eating my lunch near the Houses of Parliament when I spotted a middle-aged man dressed as a tourist taking pictures of me. He then furtively ducked behind a tree before, I think, getting into a white van. Was it the security services? Am I being followed? I will probably never know...”According to pressure group Hope not Hate, Mr Edginton has been associated with right-wing group Turning Point UK (TPUK), a pro-Trump organisation in America which has been endorsed by a number of Brexiteers, including Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg.However, another major pro-Brexit figure, Aaron Banks, described a leading member of TPUK, John Mappin of jewellery family Mappin & Webb, as “a total fruit loop”.Mr Banks, who, it was recently alleged, was providing Mr Farage with a furnished Chelsea home, a car and driver, and money to promote him in America, claimed in his book Bad Boys of Brexit Mr Mappin had told him “he’s trying to launch a super-powered brain-control system that requires delivery facilities in 50 languages in every major city”.Mr Mappin, a scientologist, had made Facebook postings about “a new breakthrough in scientific and SPIRITUAL TECHNOLOGY” made by the movement’s founder, L Ron Hubbard.

  • Amanda Holden beaten to Bond girl role by Rosamund Pike
    News
    PA Entertainment

    Amanda Holden beaten to Bond girl role by Rosamund Pike

    The TV personality auditioned for a part in Die Another Day.

  • Gemma Atkinson ‘incredibly lucky’ after suffering haemorrhage following emergency caesarean
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    Gemma Atkinson ‘incredibly lucky’ after suffering haemorrhage following emergency caesarean

    Atkinson: “I don’t remember much other than having around 9 doctors in the room, some injecting me, hooking me to drips, physically pulling clots out of me."

  • Former colleagues of Boris Johnson as a journalist warn he is ‘not fit for national office’
    News
    The Independent

    Former colleagues of Boris Johnson as a journalist warn he is ‘not fit for national office’

    Boris Johnson, the far-ahead front-runner to become Britain's prime minister this week, waved a vacuum-packed fish over his head and railed at the European Union.A kipper smoker on the Isle of Man, Johnson said Wednesday, "has had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who have insisted that each herring fillet must be accompanied by" - he paused to reach for another prop - "a plastic ice pillow! Pointless, expensive, environmentally damaging, health and safety."The audience roared. Johnson, populist charmer, always gets a laugh.Did it matter that the ice pillow was actually the result of a British regulation and had nothing to do with the EU? Does it matter that the likely future British leader has a loose relationship with the truth?The key to understanding Johnson, say his biographers, lifelong observers, friends and enemies in a dozen interviews with The Washington Post, is to see him first as a hack - a hack being the self-deprecating but not pejorative Britishism for a working journalist shovelling reams of copy to his masters on deadline.Johnson was fired from his first job, at The Times of London, for making up a quote about Edward II's catamite lover and attributing it to his godfather, the Oxford historian Colin Lucas.But he would go on to find his voice, and develop his shtick, during his years as a Brussels-based foreign correspondent - racing around in his lipstick-red Alfa Romeo, speaking intentionally bad French and banging out outrageous and only semi-true dispatches.Before he was a lawmaker, London mayor or foreign secretary, Johnson made his name as one of Britain's top columnists. And he has continued as a hack through much of his political career. A possible last column ran just a week ago.It was as a hack, writing for the middlebrow "Tory Telegraph," that Johnson learned to combine his high and his low. He is an upper-class Oxford-educated classicist who sprinkles his rapid-fire remarks with Latin aphorisms.But he has also cultivated a persona as a populist everyman in frayed trousers who bikes to the office. He is a version of his favourite meal: links of proper British sausage quaffed with $100-a-bottle Tignanello.It was as a hack, too, that Johnson stoked the cheeky, slanted, self-pitying euroscepticism that would set the stage for Brexit - and ultimately send him in the direction of 10 Downing Street."Beware of newspaper columnists," Martin Fletcher, a former Times editor, said. "They are paid to be controversial, to be colourful, to be provocative. There are very few consequences to what they write. But those are not attributes you want in your prime minister."The ranks of the British political class are full of former journalists. But Johnson - if he bests Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt when the results of the leadership race are announced Tuesday - would be the first hack in the top job in recent times. In this, he is thought to aspire to be like Winston Churchill. Johnson, by all accounts, has never been lacking in ambition.Hardly anyone had heard of him when 24-year-old Johnson arrived in Brussels in the spring of 1989 to begin life as a foreign correspondent for The Telegraph. He and his new first wife moved into an inauspicious flat above a dentist's office in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, a bourgeois neighbourhood where fussy Flemish residents would scribble anonymous notes complaining about the misplacement of trash bins, according to his biographers.By the time he left Brussels five years later, Johnson was one of Margaret Thatcher's favourite commentators - the banner man for a new type of Tory, an irreverent, kind of hip Conservative who would shortly launch his rocket of a political career.In Brussels - the often dull, bureaucratic capital of the EU - the young Johnson found a way to run at the front of the field, ahead of older, more docile correspondents who tended to stick up for the EU and stick to the facts.Johnson hit on a theme: that the European Union was run by the devilish French and rules-obsessed Germans, who were out to pass all sorts of onerous rules designed to clip the wings of a once-great Britain.Skewering European officials at theatrical news conferences, then letting it rip on his Tandy 300, Johnson became the subject of envy and admiration in the British press corps in Brussels."His stories about the idiocies of the European Union were received with rapture by an ever-growing circle of fans, and he became the only Brussels correspondent of whom ordinary mortals have heard," wrote Andrew Gimson, a former colleague and author of a biography, "The Adventures of Boris Johnson."But these same stories were viewed, by colleagues and competitors, as deeply dubious.Peter Guilford, who worked alongside Johnson as a Brussels correspondent for The Times, credited Johnson with turning eurosceptic journalism into "an art form." But Guilford took issue with Johnson's willingness "to ham up the story, so there wasn't much difference between news and entertainment. . . . He would write outrageous stories with only slenderest connection of truth in them."Fletcher, the former Times editor, has compiled a list of Johnson's greatest hits from Brussels: Johnson wrote that the EU wanted to standardise coffins, the smell of manure and the size of condoms - and had rejected an Italian request to make undersized rubbers. He warned Brits that their prawn-cocktail-flavoured chips could be banned, that their sausages were under threat and that their fishermen would be required to wear hairnets.Further goosing fears of the supranational state, Johnson wrote about the coming of compulsory European identification cards. (They are not coming.) He speculated that French, German and Dutch citizens would be elected to the British House of Commons. (Also not happening.) And he sought to underscore EU wastefulness with his description of a "kilometre-high Tower of Babel" to be built in Brussels.James Landale, who worked with Johnson in Brussels and is the BBC's diplomatic correspondent, wrote a poem to mark Johnson's departure from the EU capital in 1995: "Boris told such dreadful lies / It made one gasp and stretch one's eyes."Johnson has acknowledged that there was a bit of a game in all this."Everything I wrote from Brussels I found was sort of chucking these rocks over the garden wall," he told BBC's "Desert Island Discs" in 2005. "And I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England. It really gave me this, I suppose, rather weird sense of power."Johnson and his spokesman did not respond to requests for a comment.Bill Newton Dunn, a long-serving British member of the European Parliament, said that, in person, Johnson was like a "puppy dog, anxious to please and get on with everybody."But less so in print."What was irritating is that he then started coming up with some extraordinary and, it turned out, completely inventive untrue stories about Brussels," Newton Dunn said, recalling the headline: "Brussels recruits sniffers to ensure that Euro-manure smells the same."His former editor at The Telegraph, Max Hastings, has declared Johnson "unfit for national office.""There is room for debate about whether he is a scoundrel or mere rogue, but not much about his moral bankruptcy, rooted in a contempt for truth," Hastings wrote in the Guardian.Conrad Black, who once owned the publication, fired back in the Spectator that Johnson is "more reliable and trustworthy" than Hastings.Black had his own run-ins with Johnson, but he called his former charge "such an effective correspondent for us in Brussels that he greatly influenced British opinion on this country's relations with Europe.""Boris's peccadilloes were more absurd, complicated and over-publicised than the shambles of the personal lives of other journalists," Black said. "But his editorial opinions were sensible and consistent. His shtick grew tiresome, like an over-familiar vaudeville act, but he was at all times a person of goodwill and his foibles were deployed to the benefit of the enterprise."Sometimes, when Johnson's words haven't been supported by facts, people have excused him with the notion that he's inattentive to detail. But Guilford emphasised that Johnson isn't lazy: "He's a workaholic. I've never seen someone so committed at the expense of everything."He recalled the two were at a mutual friend's wedding in Ireland, and Johnson "spent every waking minute talking to Irish people" about their views on an upcoming abortion referendum."On Monday, we all woke up with a hangover to see this big centre page piece about the referendum. He spent the whole time doing it - irrespective of being there with friends and family," Guilford said. "In my view, he never stops."Sonia Purnell, author of "Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition," was Johnson's deputy in the Brussels office.In her words, working alongside Johnson "wasn't fun and it wasn't productive. He's very secretive, he's really difficult to work with for that reason." She said that he has a "frightening temper" and there's "no team playing. He's very much the solo performer."In her biography, she recalls Johnson launching into closed-door rants just before deadline, screaming obscenities at a potted plant, to lather himself up to write another scathing column.She characterised Johnson as very competitive - suggesting that, going back to his childhood, he "competed at everything, including who was the blondest, who was the fastest, who was the cleverest." In the adult Johnson, she said, that has resulted in a desire for "approval and love of the crowd" and an "incredible drive to be top dog."Ms Purnell claims she once said something to Johnson - made a joke about an official - in the kitchen of The Telegraph's Brussels bureau. She saw her remarks in print a few days later. Johnson attributed them to "an EU source."Washington Post

  • Londoners 'skipping work because they cannot afford the commute'
    News
    Evening Standard

    Londoners 'skipping work because they cannot afford the commute'

    Nearly two-thirds of Londoners have skipped work because they were unable to pay for the commute, new research suggests.A new nationwide survey showed at least 60 per cent of people living in London had failed to go to work because of money problems.That compared to a national average of 39 per cent. According to the figures, employees in the capital are in general less financially healthy than those living outside of London. The study, commissioned by employee benefit provider Hastee Pay and conducted by research firm Vitreous World, asked how employees financially survive the month until payday.A total of 89 per cent of respondents in London said they had to source additional funds to make it until payday - including loans, credit cards and personal savings. This compared to 82 percent nationally.More than half in London were also found to have applied for high cost credits such as overdrafts and payday loans (51 percent). Hastee Pay's CEO and founder James Herbert called the figures "frightening"and said that monthly pay packets contributed to the problem. London statistics on financial wellbeing 60% of London's workers have had to skip work as they couldn't afford the commute89% have to source additional funds between pay days 51% have applied for high cost credit (credit card, overdraft, payday loan) knowing they would struggle with repayments but said it was their only option63% are more likely to reject a job because of the cost of commuting.54% of Londoners say buy-now-later-schemes influence them to spend money they don’t have30% said that frequency of pay impacts their lifestyle choices “What we are seeing is that there is a big difference between the way people earn money and the way they spend money," Mr Herbert said. "We now live in a pay on demand basis." Mr Herbert believes that absenteeism from financial stress is one of the biggest strains on the British workforce. "Employees might be physically and mentally healthy but do not have the cash flow to get to work at points in the month.“We found 87 percent would consider pay flexibility when searching for a job because the cash flow is really important," he added.Survey respondents who expressed difficulty with cash flows included "those earning hundreds of thousands of pounds" as well as low-income earners, Mr Herbert said. "So cash flow management is enormously important and in some ways more important than the money that you earn and it is not necessarily a matter of how much you earn but how frequently you have access to what you earn."Mr Herbert believes that the solution to cash flow issues is both financial education from a younger age and employers being realistic about how their workforce lives. "Managing your income is absolutely crucial so having the tools and the understanding and awareness of how to do that effectively is vital."

  • Britain to feel like 44C as mini-heatwave and high humidity bring sticky weather
    News
    The Telegraph

    Britain to feel like 44C as mini-heatwave and high humidity bring sticky weather

    A mini-heatwave in Britain this week could feel as hot as 111F (44 C) as soaring temperatures arrive accompanied by sticky humid air, forecasters have warned.

  • Thousands pack popular Vietnam shore
    AFP UK

    Thousands pack popular Vietnam shore

    Snapping selfies or cooling off in the sea, thousands sought fun in the sun on a popular beach in northern Vietnam over the weekend, but growing crowds left many bemoaning lack of space.

  • Jeremy Vine struggles to have 'direct' conversations with his teenage daughters
    News
    The Telegraph

    Jeremy Vine struggles to have 'direct' conversations with his teenage daughters

    Jeremy Vine has revealed he can only speak to his teenage daughters if he's driving, because addressing them directly is a "no-no".

  • Star Trek: Picard trailer sees old characters make surprise return alongside Patrick Stewart
    News
    The Independent

    Star Trek: Picard trailer sees old characters make surprise return alongside Patrick Stewart

    The first trailer for Patrick Stewart‘s Jean-Luc Picard TV show is full of surprises for Star Trek fans.Unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con, the glimpse at the new series catches us up with the former Enterprise captain who, when the show begins, is no longer at Starfleet.The series is based after the destruction of Romulus and follows a retired Picard who is forced to assemble a team for a new brand new mission.This team includes familiar faces in the form of Voyager and The Next Generation characters Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), Data (Brent Spiner) and Hugh the Borg (Jonathan Del Arco).That’s not all – showrunner Michael Chabon also announced that Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis will reprise their roles as Will Riker and Deanna Troi, respectively.New stars joining the show include Alison Pill, Harry Treadaway and Santiago Cabrera.Also at Comic-Con, a new trailer for The Walking Dead season 10 was released as well as the entire Phase Four slate of Marvel films that came with several surprising revelations.Star Trek: Picard will premiere early 2020.

  • Steam trains could be forced off the tracks by new tougher safety rules, heritage railway boss warns
    News
    The Telegraph

    Steam trains could be forced off the tracks by new tougher safety rules, heritage railway boss warns

    Historic steam trains - like the "Harry Potter" Jacobite Express in Scotland - could be forced off the tracks unless they fork out millions to comply with tough new health and safety laws, a railway boss has warned.

  • Manny Pacquiao wins WBA welterweight title after stunning victory over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas
    News
    Evening Standard

    Manny Pacquiao wins WBA welterweight title after stunning victory over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas

    Manny Pacquiao has been crowned the new WBA (Super) welterweight champion after securing a split decision victory over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas.Pacquiao, 10 years older than his opponent, rolled back the years with a masterful performance to become a world champion for the 13th time in a glistening career.He hands Thurman the first defeat of his professional career with the Florida fighter having previously won all 29 bouts before stepping into the ring with 40-year-old ‘Pac-Man’.The victory propels the 40-year-old into a possible unification bout with WBO champion Terence Crawford – with the division’s other two belt holders Errrol Spence Jnr (IBF) and Shawn Porter (WBC) set to meet in September.Pacquiao secured a dramatic first round knockdown to take control of the fight, landing a stabbing body shot before following up with a swift right hook that sent his opponent to the mat for just the second time in his career. The evergreen Filipino was too quick for Thurman, landing furious flurries at will as Thurman struggled to match his outstanding footwork in the ring.Thurman did manage to pull back a couple of rounds in the second-half of the fight, but another tremendous body shot from Pacquiao halted that progress.The fight would eventually go to the judges' scorecards, which fell 115-112, 115-112 and 113-114 in Pacquiao's favour.

  • Thousands of human bones found in crypt by investigators trying to unravel mystery of missing girl Emanuela Orlandi
    News
    Evening Standard

    Thousands of human bones found in crypt by investigators trying to unravel mystery of missing girl Emanuela Orlandi

    Thousands of human bones have been unearthed in a cavernous underground space near a Vatican cemetery by investigators trying to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of a teenage girl who vanished in the Vatican City in 1983.A genetics expert hired by the family of Emanuela Orlandi, who vanished aged 15 on her way to a flute lesson, said the mass grave contained bones from dozens of individuals, both "adult and non-adult." Expert Giorgio Portera said the "enormous" size of the collection under the Teutonic College was revealed when Vatican-appointed experts began cataloguing the remains, which were discovered last week.They are hoping to unearth clues that may provide closure to the family of the girl, whose disappearance remains a mystery."We didn't expect such an enormous number" of bones and other remains which "had been thrown into a cavity," Mr Portera said. "We want to know why and how" the bones ended up there, he added.What became of Emanuela is one of Italy's most long-standing mysteries. Some have theorized the girl was kidnapped in an unsuccessful ransom bid to win freedom for the Turkish gunman who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square in 1981. A Vatican statement Saturday made no mention of the number of remains in the newly discovered space near the Teutonic Cemetery but said the forensic work would resume on July 27. Ms Orlandi's family previously received an anonymous tip to search near the 19th century tombs of two German princesses in the tiny graveyard. But when the Vatican opened the tombs recently at the family's request, they were empty. The Vatican said it didn't know why but indicated restoration work in the cemetery area in the 1960s and 1970s might be a reason. Orlandi's family has also pressed the Vatican to open its archives so it can see any and all possible paper trails about the case. Federica Orlandi, Emanuela's sister, said learning about the underground cache of bones was "obviously an emotional experience because I think my sister's bones could be there, but I won't think about it until we have the result." With so many remains to study and analyze, it was unclear when results from the analyses would be available. "Thousands of bones have been found," Mr Portera said. "That's the point we are at. Thousands of bones. I can't say if it's 1,000 or 2,000, but there are really very many, and so we assume (there is) the presence of the remains of a few dozen people." Asked about Portera's comments on the large number of bones, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said in an email it was "absolutely normal that in an ossuary there is an elevated number of remains, above all in an ancient cemetery like the Teutonic (is). No surprise."

  • Camden stabbing: Man in his 30s stabbed in daylight attack on busy north London road
    News
    Evening Standard

    Camden stabbing: Man in his 30s stabbed in daylight attack on busy north London road

    A man in his 30s has been stabbed in a daylight attack on a busy north London road, police said.Police and the London Ambulance Service rushed to Camden High Street at about 1.30pm on Sunday afternoon.The man had been stabbed in his shoulder during the violent attack, a spokeswoman for the force said.He is not in a life-threatening condition. The spokeswoman said: “The victim, a man in his 30s, was treated by LAS at the scene and has been taken to hospital with a stab wound to the shoulder."A search of the area was carried out by officers and a knife has been recovered by police. There have been no arrests at this early stage."There is a road closure in place between Camden High Road and Greenland Road, in the direction of Kentish Town."Enquiries will be ongoing and a cordon will remain in place for a number of hours."Anyone with information is asked to speak to officers at scene, or call us on 101, quoting CAD reference 4311 of 21 July.

  • Scarlett Johansson promises ‘lots of surprises’ from Black Widow
    News
    PA Entertainment

    Scarlett Johansson promises ‘lots of surprises’ from Black Widow

    The film was unveiled to fans at Comic-Con.

  • Machete-wielding burglars slash dog's face and steal her seven puppies
    News
    Yahoo News UK

    Machete-wielding burglars slash dog's face and steal her seven puppies

    The callous thieves snatched seven of Zena's puppies

  • Love Island latest: Michael claims he made 'no mistakes in the villa'
    News
    Evening Standard

    Love Island latest: Michael claims he made 'no mistakes in the villa'

    Dumped Love Island contestant Michael Griffiths has said he made no personal mistakes during his time in the villa.However, the firefighter from Liverpool admitted he didn't go about things the right way "all the time".Amber Gill was faced with a choice between Greg O'Shea and Michael, who had left her for Joanna Chimonides before again declaring his affection for her when faced with a recoupling ceremony.In the end Amber chose the Irishman after being reduced to tears multiple times by Michael.After being booted from the villa, he said: "Everybody makes mistakes. Personal mistakes no. Everything I did was for me, but did I go about things in the right way? Not all the time."But I have reconciled things with Amber and at the end of the day I'm only human. People make mistakes. I always said to Amber I never wanted to hurt her."Earlier this week the charity Women's Aid raised concerns that the programme was showing Amber "appearing to have her emotions manipulated".Despite deciding not to leave the villa with Joanna and then declaring he still had feelings for Amber, Michael said he planned to pursue the social media influencer in the outside world.He said: "I'm going to try and talk to Joanna but I know that she'll have seen what's gone on and I hope she understands I needed to make up to Amber."There was always going to be a natural draw between me and Amber because of how friendly we were."I did think about Joanna every day that she wasn't there. She was always on my mind and I will try to speak to her."Michael also said he had come to terms with Amber's affections for Greg, describing the rugby player as "really sweet" and "respectful"."Having seen them together more I see it working," he said."He makes her smile and makes her laugh and she hasn't instantly put her walls up with him. When I see him make her smile, it makes me smile."Sunday night's Love Island also saw Francesca Allen - who was given no choice but to choose Michael in the latest recoupling - dumped from the villa.She said her and Michael's departure would give the rest of the islanders "an opportunity to grow" into their own relationships."I wasn't surprised at all," she said."I didn't find love and that's the purpose of the show. I'm glad I went as Michael was ready to go and it gives everyone else an opportunity to grow as a couple, so I'm not disappointed."Love Island, hosted by Caroline Flack, continues on ITV2.Additional reporting by Press Association

  • Spectre of child trafficking looms behind abduction of nine-year-old in murder-suicide that gripped China
    News
    The Independent

    Spectre of child trafficking looms behind abduction of nine-year-old in murder-suicide that gripped China

    It is a case that has gripped and horrified China in equal measure.A child abduction by a Bonnie and Clyde-style couple has ended with both the girl and her kidnappers dead, a social media editor facing questions about why he impersonated the youngster’s father, and claims that a bizarre religious cult may have been involved.More pertinently, perhaps, it has also raised questions about one of the country’s most sinister, if largely unacknowledged, problems: mass child trafficking.Now, China’s netizens – its millions of highly monitored web users – are, if not exactly demanding answers, at least daring to wonder how such a tragic case could have been allowed to unfold.It all follows the body of nine-year-old Zhang Zixin being pulled from the East China sea near Ningbo city on Saturday, a week after she was snatched from her home 180 miles away in Chun’an county.The couple known to have taken her – named by authorities only by their surnames as Liang and Xie – had been found drowned the previous Sunday in what now appears to be a grisly murder-suicide plot.But the deaths have only heightened the mystery surrounding the case that had received near wall-to-wall coverage on Chinese news channels.Significantly, some people have wondered if little Zixin’s ordeal was an unusual, high-profile and ultimately tragic example of one of the country’s most pervasive – and oft overlooked – issues: the trafficking of children from impoverished rural communities to the wealthier urban regions of the south and the east.Conservative estimates suggest some 70,000 youngsters – from babies up to teenagers – are separated from their families in this way in the country every year. Some are bought, some are simply stolen. They end up as labourers, in forced marriages or as the adoptees of wealthy families, either in China itself or overseas – 3,000 Chinese children are adopted by American families every year alone.“Child trafficking is embedded into many aspects of life in China,” says Georgios Antonopoulos, a professor at the Centre for Crime, Harm Prevention and Security at Teesside University and the co-author of China’s Stolen Children: Internal Child Trafficking In The People’s Republic of China, one of the first western studies to look at the issue in depth. “It is a crime but it has a long historical and cultural tradition, and, in many regions, it helps underpin the economy. Officials know this happens. If the will was there, it could be stopped. Chinese authorities have this power. But a blind eye is often turned.”Traffickers, he adds, are not necessarily the large organised gangs that tend to dominate such crime in the west. “It’s not uncommon for a one-off intermediary to move a child around and make a profit,” he says. “This is a very common way this happens.”Officially, there is no suggestion that this is what happened to Zixin.Rather, police say the kidnappers, both in their mid-40s, were loners who had spent months travelling the country swindling money from friends and family – and were already intent on a course of suicide when they met the child.The youngster’s father Zhang Jun said the couple had rented a room from his elderly farmer parents where Zixin was staying while he himself was working away in an unnamed northern city.He told the state-run Dushi Kuaibao newspaper that, after they had been there three weeks, he had received a WeChat social media message from the couple saying Zixin was “pretty” and asking to take her to a wedding in Shanghai. When he refused, they simply took her anyway.For three days, Mr Zhang said he stayed stay in touch with Liang via the social media app, receiving a series messages and photos showing the trio at different sites on route.But when, on 7 July, he expressed concern they appeared not to be heading to Shanghai, Liang’s phone was switched off and never came on again.Zixin’s family reported her missing the next day, leading to a massive police hunt and the attention of national media across China.More than 500 officers from different forces were drafted in to look for the three, with local fishermen in Zhejiang province also roped in to help.But hopes of finding the youngster alive faded when a taxi driver came forward to say he had driven Liang and Xie for an hour – reports did not say where – without Zixin. He is said to have told police the pair did not speak during the whole journey.Their bodies were discovered in Ningbo’s Dongqian Lake soon after. Zixin was found six days later on Saturday.Police have now indicated that the child was killed in a murder-suicide plot; and have suggested the two killers may have been planning such a crime for months. An official statement is reported to have highlighted how, as they travelled the country – visiting 21 different cities in just a few months – they slowly left all belongings behind.Yet, without officials offering any apparent motive – the schoolgirl is said to have been physically unharmed when she was killed – questions remain.Conspiracy theories have gained traction online that the couple were part of a religious cult, an idea seemingly based on unusual and archaic content Liang posted to his social media sites.Others have suggested child trafficking may have originally been at play with the couple seeking to make money by selling the child.“Would officials pursue this if it had been a case of trafficking?” ponders professor Antonopoulos. “This we cannot answer but, in terms of child trafficking as a whole, we must to look at it through a cultural prism.“There are 34 regions in China and each is largely run independently, but they have great pressure placed upon them to produce economically. So, when there are activities, even criminal, that contribute to the region’s economic success, local authorities are reluctant to crack down on this. A decision on whether to crack down on trafficking may often depend on these financial considerations. So, when individual cases of children going missing do make headlines, which is not often, this is often presented as an isolated case, rather than acknowledging that, generally speaking, the system allows, even encourages, a prevalence of this.”To add to the confusion, in Zixin’s case, it has emerged her long-absent mother returned to her home county shortly around the time her daughter went missing – although both parents have since said this was a pre-planned visit to finalise divorce proceedings.An editor at the search engine and social media giant Baidu, meanwhile, has been sacked in the fallout after creating an account in Mr Zhang’s name and posting a message on it – claiming to be from the man himself – shortly after his daughter was discovered.“I just heard that my Zixin has left this world and has gone to heaven,” he wrote. “While we are not fated to be father and daughter in this life, I hope she will still be my daughter in the next life.”It was viewed millions of times and received thousands of replies before it was discovered to be fake, and the editor himself sacked.“We have deleted this post, immediately fired the editor responsible and will carry out a complete review of Baidu news management process,” the company said in a statement.For now, police have said they would continue to investigate Zixin’s abduction but warned Chinese web users not to spread rumours.In a statement released on Sunday and reported by CNN, officials in Zhejiang said that, despite the fact Liang and Xie had swindled much money from friends and family, neither had criminal records. They were not, it said, members of any cult, and dismissed child trafficking as a motive.The overriding message appears to be that authorities had no reason or opportunity to suspect the pair could commit such a heinous crime, and that this was a one-off.But in a country where transparency about children going missing remains so vague that there are not even official figures, it is possible not all parents will be entirely reassured.

  • Road rage driver rammed cyclist off road, leaving him with punctured lung, before driving away ‘smiling’
    News
    The Independent

    Road rage driver rammed cyclist off road, leaving him with punctured lung, before driving away ‘smiling’

    A driver has been jailed for deliberately ramming into a cyclist, leaving him with a punctured lung and several broken ribs, before driving away “smiling”.Motorist William Heslop, 33, from Thorpe Willoughby, North Yorkshire, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed for two years at York Crown Court on Friday.He was also banned from driving for three years and will be unable to get back behind the wheel until he passes an extended test.Video from a camera attached to the victim’s bike shows how Heslop cut him up at a crossroads, steered into his path and slammed on the brakes.The cyclist, a 55-year-old electrical engineer commuting to work in Selby, North Yorkshire, swerved out of the way and narrowly avoided the car. But Heslop caught up with him seconds later and rammed him off the road.Heslop fled the scene. According to a passer-by who saw the incident, he had a smile on his face.The court heard the incident happened in Selby on the morning of 26 June 2018.Investigating officer PC Richard Stagg said: “It’s not quite clear what Heslop hoped to achieve by his intimidating and ultimately dangerous behaviour towards the cyclist.“But I hope this case sends a clear message to motorists who think they can get away with such aggressive behaviour towards other road users.“We urge everyone to share the road and be courteous to each other, otherwise you could end up in prison with a criminal record that will have a long-term knock-on effect on other aspects of your life.” Additional reporting by SWNS