INDEPENDENT 2024-02-24 04:34:06


King overwhelmed by support as 7,000 messages sent after diagnosis

The King has been overwhelmed by messages of support from around 7,000 well-wishers worldwide since his cancer diagnosis, Buckingham Palace says.

Many people have written to tell him of their own experiences of the disease or offering advice. One person told him: “Chin up, chest out, remain positive and don’t let it get you down. Trust me, it works, but the main thing is family.”

A child wrote: “Never give up. Be brave. Don’t push your limits. Get well soon.”

Charles was particularly taken by a card showing a dog feeling sorry for itself after medical treatment, with the message: “At least you don’t have to wear a cone!”.

The collar, which stops animals aggravating a wound or stitches after an operation, is sometimes called the “cone of shame” by pet owners, or an “Elizabethan” or “E-collar”.

The King laughed when he came across the card, Buckingham Palace’s correspondence team said.

Well-wishers who have included an address will receive a thank you, the team said.

On Wednesday, the King carried out his first face-to-face official duties – an audience with prime minister Rishi Sunak and a privy council meeting – since his condition was made public.

Footage showed Mr Sunak saying, “Wonderful to see you looking so well,” and the King replied: “It’s all done with mirrors.”

The 75-year-old said he had been reduced to tears by the messages and cards of support he had received. The prime minister told him the “country is behind you”.

Since the diagnosis, Charles has postponed all public duties, but is continuing to work on his red boxes of state papers.

Prince Harry made a whirlwind visit to see his father in London, after the King gave him the news of his diagnosis.

The Duke of Sussex spent almost as much time in the air as he did in England, on his first visit to his homeland since September.

The journey from the US took Harry more than 10 hours, but his meeting with King Charles at Clarence House in London reportedly lasted less than an hour.

Harry later said his father’s condition could “reunify” the royal family, fuelling speculation the prince could be allowed back into the fold. He said he was grateful to be able to spend time with his father, and reportedly suggested he would be willing to temporarily return to duties while the King is ill.

The King has been seen smiling and waving while attending church services at his Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

The type of cancer he has has not been revealed; nor is it known how many rounds of treatment are planned, but so far he has had at least two.

Before his appointment with the prime minister, he held a meeting at Buckingham Palace of the privy council, whose attendees included the lord president of the council Penny Mordaunt.

At monthly council gatherings, the King gives his formal approval to orders that ministers have already approved.

Shamima Begum loses battle for British citizenship and must stay in Syria

Shamima Begum has lost her bid to overturn the government’s decision to strip her of British citizenship, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

But her legal team have promised they will not give up now, despite another blow for the 24-year-old on Friday.

Ms Begum’s solicitor, Daniel Furner, said: “I think the only thing we can really say for certain is that we are going to keep fighting.

“I want to say that I’m sorry, to Shamima and to her family, that after five years of fighting she still hasn’t received justice in a British court – and to promise her and promise the government that we are not going to stop fighting until she does get justice, and until she is safely back home.”

Ms Begum travelled to Syria in 2015 aged 15, and her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Last year, she lost a challenge filed with the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) against the decision to revoke her citizenship.

Ms Begum’s lawyers brought a bid to overturn that decision at the Court of Appeal, with the Home Office opposing the challenge.

In a ruling on Friday, three judges dismissed Ms Begum’s bid.

Giving the ruling, Lady Chief Justice Carr said: “It could be argued the decision in Ms Begum’s case was harsh. It could also be argued that Ms Begum is the author of her own misfortune.

“But it is not for this court to agree or disagree with either point of view. Our only task is to assess whether the deprivation decision was unlawful.

“We have concluded it was not and the appeal is dismissed.”

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice, lawyer Gareth Peirce said: “Shamima Begum is held unlawfully in indefinite arbitrary detention, which is banned by every international treaty.

“She and others, other women and children, are in what is not a refugee camp but a prison camp, and that is conceded by the United Kingdom, which has stated to the UN that it agrees that Geneva Convention articles apply.

“Unlawful as that is, there is no exit. There is no way that she can escape from unlawful imprisonment.”

Ms Begum travelled to Istanbul in Turkey from Gatwick airport to join Isis with two of her close friends at Bethnal Green Academy – Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15.

Just 10 days after arriving in the city of Raqqa, Ms Begum, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was married to a Dutchman named Yago Riedijk, who had converted to Islam.

They had three children together, all of whom later died from malnourishment or disease. They were a one-year-old girl, a three-month-old boy, and a newborn son.

Ms Begum was eventually found, nine months pregnant, in a refugee camp in al-Roj in February 2019 by a Times journalist.

In the same month, she was stripped of her British citizenship after announcing her desire to return to the UK with her then-unborn third child.

Lady Chief Justice Carr, sitting with Lord Justice Bean and Lady Justice Whipple, said any arguments over the consequences of the unanimous judgment, which could include a bid to appeal at the Supreme Court, would be adjourned for seven days.

She said: “In our judgment, SIAC was entitled to find, as the specialist tribunal established by parliament, that the issue of whether and to what extent Ms Begum’s travel to Syria had been voluntary was within the expertise of the intelligence agencies advising the secretary of state.

“Ms Begum may well have been influenced and manipulated by others but still have made a calculated decision to travel to Syria and align with Isil [now more commonly known as Isis].”

At a hearing in October, Samantha Knights KC told the court that the government had failed to consider the legal duties owed to Ms Begum as a potential victim of trafficking or as a result of “state failures” in her case.

She said in written submissions: “The appellant’s trafficking was a mandatory, relevant consideration in determining whether it was conducive to the public good and proportionate to deprive her of citizenship, but it was not considered by the Home Office.

“As a consequence, the deprivation decision was unlawful.”

However, Sir James Eadie KC, for the department, said decisions on whether someone is a victim of trafficking or whether they should be deprived of their citizenship “have fundamentally different bases and roles”.

He continued: “The focus in the trafficking regime is on the protection of the individual, and there’s really no countervailing public interest at that point.

“But here the regime is different; the regime in operation is the deprivation regime, and the rationale is entirely different: it is the protection of the public at large.”

The barrister later said the “key feature” of Ms Begum’s case was national security.

He added: “The fact that someone is radicalised, and may have been manipulated, is not inconsistent with the assessment that they pose a national security risk.”

In its ruling last year, the SIAC concluded that there had been “arguable breaches of duty” by state bodies – including the Metropolitan Police, Tower Hamlets Council and Ms Begum’s school – in their failure to prevent her from travelling to Syria.

Ms Knights told the Court of Appeal at the start of the three-day hearing that these “failures” could also have been unlawful and contributed to Ms Begum’s trafficking.

However, Sir James said the SIAC had been right to find there was “no direct connection between any potential failures, by other public authorities, in 2015” and the decision by ministers to deprive Ms Begum of her citizenship.

Thousands evacuated as army to move bomb through Plymouth and detonate it at sea

A military convoy transported a Second World War bomb through the streets of Plymouth on Friday after hundreds of homes were evacuated for the risky operation.

Soldiers moved the unexploded device through the city to take where it was detonated at sea last night.

A major incident was declared on Wednesday after the bomb was found buried in a back garden in St Michael Avenue by a man helping to build an extension at his daughter’s home.

Plymouth Council told an estimated 3,250 residents to leave their properties in what was officially described as one of the largest evacuations in the country since the war.

The 500kg bomb was taken to the sea near Torpoint Ferry slipway.

A “severe” government alert was sent to residents’ phones, warning them to stay away from the route of the disposal convoy between 2pm and 5pm on Friday.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the ordanance was an SC500 transverse-fused airdrop weapon.

Ian Regan, who received a government alert on his phone urging him to leave his home which was 10m away from the convoy route, told Sky News: “It was scary. We put the cats in the boxes and got to my father’s spare bedroom. It is very stressful. The greatest fear is that it could go off any time.”

He added that residents were let back into homes to move furniture and valuables out before the bomb was moved.

The Luftwaffe Resource Centre describes the SC 500 as a “general demolition bomb” 203 centimetres (80 inches) in length in total, weighing in at 500kg with 220kg filling. The filling is described as “40/60 or 50/50 Amatol TNT, trialene”.

A local mechanic told Sky News “It’s been a very scary moment for myself, my wife and three children.

“[The reaction’s] unbelievable and very scary as we live yards from the scene.”

By late afternoon on Friday, after the removal operation was over, evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes.

The council said: “We have been notified by the military that operation has been a success and the bomb has been removed.

“We can now start removing the cordon so people who have been evacuated can return to their homes.”

Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View, thanked emergency responders.

He wrote on social media: “A huge thank you and massive respect to all the Police, coastguard, military, mountain rescue, Plymouth City Council staff and multiple volunteers who have worked around the clock to deal with this bomb in Keyham.

“I expect all 10,000 evacuated residents to return this evening.”

The man who discovered the bomb told Plymouth Live he was helping prepare the groundwork in the back garden of his daughter’s property for an extension when he found it.

Plymouth City Council’s leader Tudor Evans said everyone involved in the response to the bomb’s discovery in Keyham has been extraordinary, saying the incident had brought out the best in Plymouth.

Giles Perritt, assistant chief executive Plymouth City Council, said more than 1,000 staff and officers had been involved in the operation.

He said: “Today is the result of an enormous amount of planning.

“You won’t be surprised to hear that officers and partners have been working around the clock since this incident started to come up with the best and safest solution to deal with this device.”

Asylum seeker sentenced after four migrants die in Channel

An asylum seeker has been detained for nine years and six months for the manslaughter of fellow migrants who drowned trying to cross the English Channel.

Ibrahima Bah was found guilty of killing four migrants when he piloted an “unseaworthy” boat between France and the UK on 14 December 2022.

During a retrial at Canterbury Crown Court, Bah said smugglers threatened to kill him if he did not drive the boat but the prosecution said he was not telling the truth and he owed his fellow passengers a “duty of care” as their pilot.

Jurors reached a majority verdict of 10 to two in what is believed to be the first conviction of its kind on Monday.

They also found the Senegalese national unanimously guilty of facilitating illegal entry to the UK.

Sentencing Bah on Friday, Mr Justice Johnson KC, said: “The boat was wholly inadequate, and not remotely seaworthy for a Channel crossing.

“It was a death trap, just as every boat of its type which sets of across the Channel in similar circumstances is a death trap – the fact that in many cases fatalities do not occur is not remotely reassuring.

“What happened is an utter tragedy for those who died and for their families.”

During the trial, jurors were told that the home-built, low-quality inflatable should have had no more than 20 people on board but carried at least 43 people in the English Channel that night.

While the majority of travellers paid thousands of euros to smugglers for a spot in the overcrowded vessel, prosecutor Duncan Atkinson KC said it appears Bah did not pay for his journey because he piloted the dingy, therefore owing his fellow passengers a “duty of care”.

Mr Atkinson said Bah was not trained or licensed to lead the voyage and there was insufficient safety equipment such as life jackets and no flares or radio on board.

The court heard that when the boat got into trouble a number of migrants described water reaching their knees within 30 minutes of leaving the French coast.

One asylum seeker, Amrullah Ahmadzai, described to jurors how everyone on the boat was screaming and trying to call for help on their mobile phones during the journey, before being rescued by a fishing boat.

He described how the skipper tried to steer the dinghy towards the fishing vessel to help the passengers, and without him “we would have all died”.

A crew on a UK fishing boat called the Arcturus came across the sinking dinghy and tried to rescue the passengers, with help from the RNLI, air ambulance and UK Border Force.

A total of 39 survivors were brought to shore in the port of Dover.

The exact number of migrants who drowned is unknown as it appears at least one migrant’s body was not recovered, Mr Atkinson said.

Three of the people who died were known only as unknown male persons while the other man was named as Hajratullah Ahmadi.

Supporters of Bah attended the sentencing and are expected to hold a protest outside the Home Office in London on Friday evening.

Following the verdict on Monday, Captain Support UK, a solidarity platform for those accused of driving boats to Europe, said Bah’s conviction was a “violent escalation in the persecution of migrants to ‘Stop the Boats’”.

However, Illegal Immigration Minister Michael Tomlinson said on X: “Ibrahima Bah put dozens of lives in extreme danger by taking charge of a perilous and illegal small boat crossing. It is right that he has been brought to justice today.

“Once you get into a small boat, criminal gangs don’t care whether you live or die.”

Paul Marshall’s hateful ‘likes’ prove he’s unfit to be a media mogul

It is, we are told, a matter of some national importance that His Majesty’s Daily Telegraph should not fall into the wrong hands. It has been widely debated whether Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour, while a successful owner of Manchester City, should be allowed near the hallowed newsroom.

But what about Sir Paul Marshall?

Until recently, few outside the magic circle of hedge fund managers had heard of Sir Paul, who was quietly amassing a fortune said to be north of £600m. But then he started showing signs of wanting to be a mini-Rupert Murdoch, and people began to pay attention.

A culinary tour of the Algarve: from wine and seafood to desserts

The Algarve, on Portugal’s southern coast, is the country’s most popular holiday destination for good reason: it boasts over 100 miles of beautiful beaches, charming villages, and endless culture and activities. But one of the best reasons to visit is the region’s incredible food. As befits its proximity to the sea, fish and seafood are an absolute highlight, but the region’s diverse cuisine boasts dishes to suit every taste and palate.

To help you find your perfect foodventure, travel experts Jet2holidays offer breaks in more than 50 amazing destinations, including the Algarve. All holidays include accommodation, return flights, transfers and 22kg baggage, all wrapped up in an ABTA and ATOL-protected package for a low £60pp deposit*. There are thousands of Free Child Places** available, and infants under two go free✝. Meaning it couldn’t be easier to book your next break with the Which? Travel Brand of the Year 2023 and Tripadvisor’s Best UK Airline.

Here we explore some of the region’s must-try dishes, foodie locales and immersive experiences, so you can start planning your own culinary-infused getaway.

Whether you’re in a bigger, buzzier town such as Lagos, Albufeira or Faro, or enjoying the serenity of a smaller seaside resort like Olhão or Praia da Luz, you’ll find many of the same delicious local specialities on restaurant menus.

Must-eats include conquilhas à algarvia, a mix of plump clams fresh from the Atlantic, cooked with garlic coriander, olive oil, lemon juice and slices of succulent Portuguese sausage. There’s nothing better than tucking into a plateful, using bread to mop up the juices, and savouring a crisp glass of white wine at an al fresco eatery overlooking the ocean. You can’t miss the Algarve’s mouth-watering shrimp bisque either: a rich, creamy soup made with just-caught prawns and thickened with day-old bread. Served with a squeeze of lemon, it’s a beach holiday in a bowl.

Sardines are another Algarve must-sample, often simply grilled and served with potatoes, but in the beach town of Portimão, they’re cooked in a blend of herbs and spices, placed on a thick slice of bread, and served with a fresh tomato, cucumber, red pepper, onion and oregano salad. Locals tuck into the fish first, then enjoy the oil and herb-soaked crust afterwards. You might also spot diners eating their supper straight from a metal pot; this is a cataplana, in which a hearty stew of onions, peppers and tomatoes mixed with fish and shellfish is simmered and served.

Portuguese piri-piri chicken is one of the Algarve’s most popular dishes. Known as frango assado, the chicken is grilled or barbecued with a spicy, piri-piri chilli sauce marinade for a favourite the whole family will love. Wild boar, known as javali, is another crowd pleaser: just like pork, it can be served grilled, oven-baked or in rich stews.

If you’re not in the mood for a full meal, you’ll enjoy the tradition of petiscos, essentially light bites or snacks. Order a few of these small plates to share – perfect washed down with a chilled beer – options include the likes of cod fritters, fried prawns, sliced chorizo, or a selection of cheese and charcuterie.

And as a sweet treat to finish any meal, try the dom rodrigo, a delicious, sticky, pyramid-shaped dessert dating from the 18th century, which combines sugar, egg yolks, ground almonds, cinnamon and fios de ovos (a traditional Portuguese sweet, made by boiling eggs in sugar syrup).

Fancy recreating some of these dishes yourself? Book into a local cookery class, where you can learn how to make the food you’ve enjoyed here when you’re back home. Further immersive experiences can involve meeting and chatting to local producers, or getting a tour of a local market with a chef before cooking with ingredients you’ve bought.

There are also several excellent food markets throughout the towns and villages of the Algarve, and it’s worth spending some time wandering around them and marveling at the glossy, farm-fresh produce on offer.

The most popular market in Algarve is Olhão market. Set in twin bright red-brick buildings facing the Ria Formosa lagoon, Olhão Mercado Municipal comprises two market halls. One sells fresh fish directly from the boats. The other fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, flowers, dried fruits and Portuguese sweets. On Saturday mornings, visitors can experience a much larger farmers’ market, where local farmers and producers exhibit and sell their products directly on the streets around the market building.

Another must-visit is the monthly market in the small town of Moncarapacho, just beyond Olhão, which sells fruit, vegetables and fish, and boasts a range of food stalls so you can eat as you wander. In Lagos you’ll find a typical farmers’ market, where you can pick up fresh eggs, olives, homemade jams, sweets and home-baked bread, while the lively Loulé Municipal Market is located in a historic building that dates back more than 100 years and offers plenty of tasty produce, including fresh fish and organic food.

Finally, for those seeking a tipple, as well as the tales and terroir behind it, the Algarve boasts a wealth of vineyards where you can sample different varieties and learn about their production. The wine region here consists of four DOCs (a ‘designation of controlled origin’, signifying high quality and authenticity): Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira, which benefit from a warm, sunny climate, perfect for growing vines. You’ll find crisp whites such as Arinto, Malvasia Fina and Crato Branco, ideal for summer sipping, but also robust, velvety reds, such as Negra Mole, Castelão and Trincadeira. Saúde! (Portuguese for ‘Cheers!’)

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Applicable for all infants under the age of two years on the date of return. Infants are not entitled to a flight seat (they must be seated with a parent or guardian) or a 22kg baggage allowance.

With the right tools, Ukraine can still finish this job

After two years of merciless destruction that has left cities flattened, millions dead, wounded or displaced, plus an unknown number of children kidnapped and war crimes committed, it takes an effort to recall just how almost casually it started.

A column of unprotected Russian tanks trundled south from the border on the comparatively short, 236-mile journey to the Ukrainian capital, as if they were driving to the shops. Long before they reached Kyiv, they had been stopped and, shortly after, they retreated.

Whatever gains Russia made in the east were purely temporary, and most have been won back by the Ukrainians, particularly in the earlier phases of the war. The Russian invaders were not, as perhaps some in the Kremlin dreamt they might, welcomed with flowers and the traditional gifts of bread and salt as they “liberated” Ukraine from its supposed Nazi masters.

Will Shamima Begum ever be allowed to return to the UK?

Shamima Begum, the “Isis bride”, now 24 years of age, has lost her attempt at the Court of Appeal to overturn the government’s decision to strip her of British citizenship. Begum travelled with friends to Syria at the age of 15 without the knowledge of her parents, school or police, married an Isis fighter (a Dutch national), and became involved herself in supporting Isis as a law enforcer. She claims to have been trafficked and that she is the victim of abuse.

In February 2019, soon after Isis retreated from its “capital” in Syria, she was found in a refugee camp, and her UK citizenship was revoked shortly after. Since then she has conducted a legal and media campaign to have it restored and to return to Britain, where she was born. She has had three children, all now deceased. Thus far she’s enjoyed little success, or indeed sympathy.

Her solicitor Gareth Peirce states: “Shamima Begum is held unlawfully in indefinite arbitrary detention, which is banned by every international treaty. She and others, other women and children, are in what is not a refugee camp but a prison camp, and that is conceded by the United Kingdom, which has stated to the UN that it agrees that Geneva Convention articles apply. Unlawful as that is, there is no exit. There is no way that she can escape from unlawful imprisonment.”