INDEPENDENT 2024-03-03 16:37:18


‘Exhausted’ Queen to rest as Prince William and Princess Anne step up

The Queen is set to take a week off after completing 13 official engagements alone since King Charles was diagnosed with cancer, with royal observers suggesting the monarch will have insisted his “exhausted” wife Camilla should have a break.

The Queen has no royal engagements planned until the Commonwealth Day service on 11 March and will spend a few days of private downtime with her family before jetting off on a private flight tomorrow, the Daily Mail reports, with Prince William and Princess Anne reportedly set to undertake engagements as normal.

Nevertheless, a royal source told the Sunday Times that Camilla “has been buoyed by the public’s reaction” to her taking the reins in recent weeks, adding: “Although she was not expecting to find herself in the position of leading the family, the Queen is absolutely prepared to do whatever needs to be done for the institution.”

Camilla led the royal family at last week’s memorial service for King Constantine of Greece, after William was forced to suddenly pull out of the service for his godfather due to an unspecified “personal reason”.

Earlier, Kensington Palace responded to concerns regarding the Princess of Waleshealth.

Spanish woman raped during motorbike tour of India with husband

Four men have been arrested in India after a Spanish woman was allegedly raped during a motorbike tour of the country with her husband.

The woman and her husband were attacked on Friday night in the Dumka district of India’s eastern state of Jharkhand, where they had pitched their tent for the night.

The couple, who run an Instagram page documenting their journey by motorbike across south Asia, shared a video detailing their horrifying experience in India.

The couple, bearing visible bruises and injuries on their faces, recounted being physically assaulted and said the woman was raped by seven men.

“They beat us. They put a knife to my neck, and told me they were going to kill me,” the man, whose lower lip was swollen, says in Spanish in the video.

“Something has happened to us that we would not wish on anyone. Seven men have raped me. They have beaten us and robbed us, although not many things because what they wanted was to rape me. We are at the hospital with police. It happened tonight here in India,” the text on the video said.

Dumka police officer Pitamber Singh Kherwar said all the accused have been identified and the four arrested have confessed to raping the woman, according to the Times of India newspaper.

Police said a medical examination of the woman confirmed she was sexually assaulted, and the couple are being treated at a local hospital in Dumka.

The couple were partway through the biking tour across south Asia and had already travelled to Pakistan and Bangladesh. They were heading for Nepal after entering India through West Bengal, officers said.

They pitched their tents in a semi-forested area, some 2km away from the main road. After some time, around seven men entered their tent and attacked them. They also robbed them of their belongings.

The couple stopped a police patrol vehicle at around 11pm the same night and were taken to a hospital after being found with injuries.

The Spanish embassy in India is in contact with the local authorities and has sent a personal representative to the region, reported EuroNews.

The video of the distressed couple has gone viral on social media with many people expressing outrage. One user called it a “shameful and shocking incident” and a “nightmare”.

Bollywood actor Richa Chadha said: “Shameful! Indians are treating foreigners like they treat their own women. Shame on our rotten society.”

In 2022, close to 90 rapes were reported daily in India, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau. However, the actual number is likely higher, as a significant portion of cases remains unreported due to a prevailing stigma surrounding victims and a lack of trust in police investigations.

The Independent has reached out to Spain’s embassy in India for comment.

Jake Paul stops Bourland with TKO before Serrano fight cancelled in bizarre scene

Jake Paul scored a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland on Saturday, stopping the professional boxer before Amanda Serrano’s title defence was cancelled at the last moment.

Paul, 27, quickly split his fellow American’s guard with repeated jabs, before adding right hands to the body and head to wobble Bourland, 35, against the ropes. Bourland, who entered Puerto Rico with a 17-2 pro record, scrambled around in a bid to recover, but he was eventually overwhelmed in the corner.

As Paul poured on punches, Bourland fell to his knees, and the referee stepped in to wave off the cruiserweight bout. With that, YouTube star Paul moved to 9-1 as a pro. The result in San Juan marked his second straight win against a pro boxer, with the “Problem Child” having knocked out Andre August in round one in December. Before Saturday (2 March), Bourland had not fought since September 2022.

Paul vs Bourland was set to be followed by a main event between Serrano and Nina Meinke, but the unified featherweight title fight was cancelled in a bizarre scene.

After Paul stopped Bourland, Meinke entered the ring in her fight gear, while Serrano arrived in sunglasses and a hoodie. A ring announcer revealed that the main event had been cancelled, and that the crowd would receive 100 per cent refunds. Champion Serrano, 35, said she had not been cleared to compete by doctors, owing to an eye injury.

“I came ready to fight, 100 per cent, I came to show my best and put on a great fight, but the doctor didn’t clear me – due to something to do with my eye,” said the tearful Puerto Rican.

“I wanted to fight in front of my people. I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart […] I can barely see out of my eye.”

Paul, who promotes Serrano, added: “Amanda came to fight, put in a hard camp [but] she was failing some eye tests. Her cornea is exposed, you can’t risk losing your eyesight forever. I know she’s a warrior. This happened very last minute.”

Paul suggested that the issue arose 36 hours before the fight, which his promotional company – Most Valuable Promotions – will look to reorganise.

Serrano vs Meinke was scheduled for 12 three-minute rounds, in a rare move for women’s boxing, with the Puerto Rican’s unified belts on the line.

Serrano relinquished the WBC belt in December, when the council refused to sanction 12 three-minute rounds for her next bout. As a result, she lost her status as undisputed champion.

Horner latest: Jos Verstappen takes aim at Red Bull team principal

Embattled Red Bull team principal Christian Horner returned to the Bahrain paddock without wife Geri on Saturday ahead of the first race of the 2024 F1 season and after hundreds of WhatsApp messages allegedly written by him to a female colleague were leaked.

He was cleared on Wednesday to continue in the role following an internal probe into “inappropriate behaviour” by the F1 team’s parent company Red Bull GmbH. He has always denied the claims

But just 24 hours later, messages and a number of images apparently exchanged between Horner and the complainant were sent from an anonymous email account to 149 members of the F1 paddock– on the eve of this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Horner’s wife, Geri, has arrived in Bahrain ahead of the race on Saturday and it is reported that she will be present on the pre-race grid.

Horner said: “I will not comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate I have always denied the allegations. I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully cooperated with it every step of the way.”

Follow the latest news from F1 below.

Man City vs Man Utd LIVE: Latest Premier League score and updates

Manchester City host Manchester United in the headline Premier League fixture on Sunday with derby bragging rights at stake.

Pep Guardiola will be desperate to keep pace with Liverpool and Arsenal in what has been a furious title race so far, while Erik ten Hag is under pressure to prove his worth after Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s takeover with an ongoing power struggle at the heart of the Old Trafford club.

The Cityzens ran out 3-0 winners at Old Trafford earlier this season, with an Erling Haaland double and Phil Foden securing a comfortable victory. Ten Hag has been caught up in a bizarre row with Fulham over a social media post appearing to mock captain Bruno Fernandes, while City have found form this week with Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne’s devastating performances at Luton in the FA Cup.

Check out the latest tips and odds for the Manchester derby and find betting sites offers here:

The Algarve… but make it luxury. The ultimate indulgent break guide

What does a luxury break look like to you? Chances are, it involves a picture-perfect beach, with miles of golden sands and crystal-clear waters. Perhaps some secret coves, lush lagoons and picturesque villages too. Add in mouth-watering food, incredible local wine, state-of-the-art spas and a spot of designer shopping, and you’ve got all the ingredients for the ultimate, five-star luxury holiday – and you’ll find it all in the Algarve.

Located on Portugal’s southern coastline, the Algarve is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations – famously loved by families, sun-seekers (it enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year) and golfers. It’s also the ideal location for a luxury break. Between five-star resort settings and Michelin-starred restaurants, world-class leisure facilities and one-of-a-kind natural wonders, you’ll find everything you need for a truly exquisite experience.

To help you settle on your perfect holiday, travel experts Jet2holidays offer retreats in more than 50 amazing destinations in their Indulgent Escapes portfolio, including the Algarve. From beachfront boltholes to rural retreats, each hotel in this outstanding collection boasts a five-star rating and is hand-picked for its superb location and service.

With breaks including return flights, generous 25kg baggage, and return private hotel transfers*, all with a low £60pp deposit**, these stays are tailor-made. Plus, you can enjoy thoughtful extras such as complimentary priority lanes passes at your UK airport, two in-flight drinks✝ and a £10pp onboard voucher✝✝, for the ultimate luxury package holiday. Each one is ABTA and ATOL-protected, while Jet2.com has been voted Best Airline – UK by Tripadvisor and Jet2holidays is Which? Travel Brand of the Year 2023.

Here, we explore the best luxury experiences in the Algarve, from five-star stays and Michelin-starred cuisine to soothing spas and blissful boutiques.

The very best holiday starts with accommodation to match, and the Algarve has a huge array of luxury stays to choose from, including intimate hotels, private villas and wellness retreats.

For complete indulgence, set your sights on the region’s selection of luxury resorts, all designed with total relaxation in mind – whether that involves a round of golf, a spot of fine dining, cocktails by the pool or some nourishment in the spa. Couples and honeymooners can enjoy clifftop hideaways featuring wellness centres, poolside cabanas and buzzy bars. While families might prefer to stay in a lavish apartment complex, complete with on-site children’s entertainment and babysitting facilities. All set against a backdrop of stunning sea views, of course.

The Algarve might be famous for its vast beaches and warm climate – but it also holds a reputation as a must-experience foodie destination. From seafood hotspots with incredible ocean views to award-winning restaurants and hidden-gem tabernas, there are gourmet experiences to suit every taste. Sample freshly netted fish in the picturesque port of Olhão, enjoy a meal with a view in Vilamoura’s glitzy marina, or tempt your taste buds in the many upscale options in Quinta do Lago.

Fans of grand gastronomy will be spoilt for choice, as the region has an impressive eight Michelin-starred restaurants – two of which have a coveted two stars. It’s perhaps not surprising that the chefs here are so inspired – such is the incredible array of fresh and local produce available. Grilled sardines are a speciality (there’s even the annual Sardine Festival in Portimão), while signature local dish Cataplana combines succulent clams with onion, tomatoes, seafood, white wine and sausage.

For a real treat, look out for fresh oysters from the Ria Formosa lagoon and octopus from the village of Santa Luzia – dubbed the ‘octopus capital’ of Portugal. And while it may not be fine-dining per se, you can’t visit the Algarve without trying one of its most famous dishes: peri-peri chicken.

There’s plenty to wash it all down with too, as the Algarve has four distinctive wine areas: Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira. Best known for its red wines, you should also be sure to try the famous fruity digestif, Medronho, produced in the Monchique mountains.

Luxury is all about enjoying fabulous things, and you won’t be short on beautiful sights around here – starting with the miles and miles of blissful beaches. From the famous aquamarine waters of Praia da Marinha in the central Algarve to the dramatic golden cliffs of Albufeira’s Praia da Falésia, as well as the soft sands of Vilamoura, it’s easy to secure your slice of paradise.

To get a little more off the beaten track, hire a car (we recommend a sporty little number for the full luxury experience) and drive the spectacular coastal roads. Alternatively, head inland to the jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and whitewashed villages.

You could even charter a boat and explore the hidden treasures of the region’s coastline, coves and sea caves. Meanwhile, Ria Formosa natural park – a maze of canals, islands, marshland and beaches – is one of Portugal’s natural wonders and a protected haven for wildlife. It’s great for hiking, bird-watching and snorkelling. The coastal town of Olhão is the perfect starting point to explore the lagoon.

For total tranquility, take a ferry to Ihla Deserta — which translates as ‘deserted island’ — where there are no homes or cars, just one wooden building that houses a renowned sustainable restaurant.

Feeling energetic? Take a swing at some of the best golf courses in Europe, sign up for a surf school, or work on your serve at one of the many tennis courts.

Looking to pick up some unique souvenirs? Or perhaps to treat yourself to a few designer threads? The Algarve has plenty of opportunities for retail therapy, be that in upscale boutiques and large shopping malls, or historic markets and artisan workshops.

Trendsetters should venture to the designer stores of Quinta do Lago, or browse the fashion and jewellery stores at Vilamoura Marina. Faro, Loulé, Portimão and Albufeira all have shopping centres, and there’s even a large designer outlet, where you can browse well-known brands at discounted prices.

Perusing the Algarve’s vibrant markets is another must. With so many to choose from, you can buy everything from fresh fish, olives and cheese to hand-crafted jewellery, ceramics and antiques.

For another way to unwind, you’re never too far from a spa in the Algarve. The medley of luxury hotels boasts incredible wellness facilities, where you can relax with a massage, get a rejuvenating facial, glam up with a manicure, or soothe your muscles in a hydrotherapy pool, hot tub or sauna. Afterwards, order a sundowner cocktail by the pool, sit back and revel in the sweetness of doing nothing.

To make it even easier for you to enjoy the ultimate break in the Algarve, Indulgent Escapes by Jet2holidays provides the perfect luxury package holiday looking look after you at every stage of your journey through their VIP customer service.

Fly to the Algarve from 11 UK airports: Belfast International, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle. To find out more and start planning your trip, visit Jet2holidays

*Unless otherwise stated.

**On bookings made ten weeks or more before departure. Full payment required by balance due date.

Excludes champagne which is payable. One drink per person, per flight. T&Cs apply.

✝✝£10 voucher only available on Jet2shop products, excluding cigarettes and tobacco, non-transferable for cash. One per person above the age of two, per booking. Cannot be used on the in-flight menu.

Rishi Sunak is right to defend free speech and democracy

Rishi Sunak was right to try to set out the boundaries of freedom of expression in his unexpected statement in Downing Street on Friday night. He was right to warn that there are undemocratic elements that are trying to hijack the debate in Britain about the conflict in Gaza.

He was right to argue, as The Independent did yesterday, that it was alarming that the by-election in Rochdale returned a member of parliament who downplays the horror of what happened on 7 October. He was right to warn that “Islamist extremists and the far right”, feeding off each other, are trying to exploit events in Israel-Palestine to try to undermine Britain, “the world’s most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy”.

He was right to take a stand against intimidation, and he was even-handed in condemning chants and slogans that make Jews feel unsafe on our streets, but also the abuse of visible Muslims for actions of terrorists for whom they are not responsible.

Rwanda plan costs soar to £500m – but will it ever work?

Immigration remains a major concern for voters, particularly those precious members of the electorate who opted to vote Conservative at the 2019 general election. Yet despite successive pledges, a procession of “tough” home secretaries, strong rhetoric, a constant flow of new laws, and the personal intervention of the prime minister, the news flow on the issue has rarely been favourable. The latest developments seem to be no different…

The latest figure squeezed out of the government by the National Audit Office, an independent watchdog doing crucial work, suggests that more than £500m will be spent on the scheme even before a single refugee is deported. The bulk of the money is irrecoverable; some £370m has been pledged to Rwanda under the terms of the Economic Transformation and Integration Fund, with no conditions on individuals being sent over.