The Telegraph 2024-03-19 16:00:34


Eton College schoolboy dies after collapsing on playing fields

An Eton College pupil has died after he collapsed during a Field Game match on the school’s playing fields.

Raphaël Pryor, who was in Year 13, was playing the sport – a variation of football played only at the school – on Saturday when he became unwell.

He was pronounced dead on the same day despite the efforts of medics, the school has confirmed.

Simon Henderson, Eton’s head master, said: “Raphaël was an outstanding young man who lived with joy in his heart, sharing it widely and powerfully. He had the brightest of futures ahead of him.

“In his life at Eton, Raphaël brought so much to his friends and to those who taught and cared for him, including to those who played with and against him on the games field, where he excelled as one of the house captains of games.”

Mr Henderson said that “the whole Eton community is deeply saddened and shocked by this news”, adding: “As we mourn his tragic death, our hearts go out to Raphaël’s parents, his family and his friends.”

Eton College said specialist support was being provided for pupils and staff by on-site counsellors.

Parents of other pupils at the school near Windsor, Berks, were informed about Raphaël’s death by email.

One, who asked not to be named, told The Telegraph that Raphaël was in the same school house as her son and said: “Every parent will know about it. He collapsed on the field while he was doing sport and died. It was very sad.

“From our perspective, I think the school has handled it really well. The housemaster was very close to him.”

The Field Game, which is typically played between January and March, has rules dating back to 1847. It involves two teams of 11 playing on a football pitch with a Gaelic football, which is harder and smaller than a regular football.

A signature play is called a bully, similar to a rugby scrum, in which players dribble the ball forward together in a tight mass. 

The game is one of two codes of football that are only played at Eton College, the other being the more famous Eton Wall Game. Princes William and Harry both played it in their time at the school.

Eton College, where fees are £50,000 a year, lowered its flag to half-mast on Sunday following Raphaël’s death.

The tribute has traditionally been reserved for the deaths of members of the Royal family.

Thames Valley Police refused to comment, while South Central Ambulance Service has been approached for more information.

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson ‘offered role’ of next James Bond

Aaron Taylor-Johnson has reportedly been offered the role of the next James Bond.

The 33-year-old British actor has been asked to take over from Daniel Craig, who played the role for 15 years.

Taylor-Johnson rose to fame in 2009 when he was cast as John Lennon in Nowhere Boy by his now wife Sam Taylor-Johnson, who is 24 years his senior.

The Sun reported that Eon Productions, which has made most of the films in the series adapted from Ian Fleming’s novels, has offered Taylor-Johnson the role of 007.

The newspaper said he was likely to sign the contract and start filming this year at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.

A source told The Sun: “Bond is Aaron’s job, should he wish to accept it. The formal offer is on the table and they are waiting to hear back.

“As far as Eon is concerned, Aaron is going to sign his contract in the coming days and they can start preparing for the big announcement.”

Taylor-Johnson had been tipped for the role alongside actors including Cillian Murphy, Idris Elba, Henry Cavill and James Norton.

Ladbrokes said on Monday that the actor was now favourite to replace Craig, who bowed out of the franchise after 2021’s No Time To Die.

Last week, Taylor-Johnson was asked about Bond by Numero Magazine and said: “I find it charming and wonderful that people see me in that role. I take it as a great compliment.”

Previously, Rory Kinnear, who plays Bill Tanner in the franchise, and Charlie Higson, the author of  Young Bond novels, have discredited the idea of a “front-runner” because they usually do not get the role

Kinnear said in an interview on BBC’s The One Show: “I always feel slightly bad for the people who are being highlighted, because that never tends to be them. They [casting directors] are very good at keeping the real person secret.”

Higson, who is also an actor, said in May 2023 that if an actor was talked about as “being considered” as the next 007, “you know that they’ve been rejected”.

He also said: “Eon [Productions], who make the films, play their cards very close to the chest and a lot of times they really surprise people… in particular, Daniel Craig. Nobody had any idea at all that he might be Bond and, if you’d been asked in advance, you’d have said ‘Daniel Craig, James Bond? Surely not’.”

The next Bond film has been delayed because of last year’s Hollywood strikes. The most recent film made more than £600 million at the global box office.

Craig starred in 2006’s Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace in 2008, 2012’s Skyfall and Spectre in 2015.

The 56-year-old grew to resent the role and claimed he would rather “slash my wrists” than play the fictional spy again.

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Russia evacuates children from border after ‘invasion’ by rogue troops

Around 9,000 children will be evacuated from the Russian region of Belgorod, the local governor said, as Russian volunteers fighting for Ukraine carry out cross-border raids in the region.

The first group of 1,200 children will be evacuated on March 22, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the Belgorod governor, said

The announcement comes after shelling in the region this morning injured three people and left the border district of Grayvoronsky without power, Tass, the Russian state-owned media agency, reported.

Pro-Kyiv Russian soldiers, who have captured prisoners and villages in the regions of Belgorod and Kursk over the past week, have repeatedly called for residents to evacuate to avoid being caught up in military strikes.

The groups have targeted several Russian ammunition depots in recent days, with one reportedly destroyed this morning in the border village of Tetkino, Kursk.

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UAE-backed Telegraph takeover potentially against public interest, Ofcom warns Culture Secretary

A UAE-backed takeover of the Telegraph would potentially be against the public interest, the media regulator Ofcom has warned the Culture Secretary.

Lucy Frazer told MPs that she was “minded to” refer the deal for an in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over its potential threat to press freedom.

She said in a written ministerial statement that the parties, including the UAE-backed bidder RedBird IMI, would have 10 working days to respond to her proposal.

The process is running in parallel to plans for new laws to ban foreign state ownership of British newspapers which would supersede the CMA’s investigation.

Ms Frazer’s latest intervention nevertheless represents a further sign of official opposition to RedBird IMI’s bid, which media analysts already believed was effectively dead.

The fund, 75 per cent bankrolled by the UAE vice-president Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, had hoped to assuage regulatory concerns with assurances that he would be a merely passive owner.

However, in her statement, Ms Frazer said: “Ofcom has found that it is or may be the case that the potential merger situation may be expected to operate against the public interest, having regard to the specified public interest considerations.

“In particular, they consider that International Media Investments (IMI), a majority partner in RB Investco’s parent company, may have the incentive to influence TMG in a way that could potentially act against the public interest in the UK by influencing the accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion in the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph newspapers.”

New laws to ban foreign state newspaper ownership

The media analysts Enders have said that RedBird IMI may choose to formally notify Ms Frazer it will not pursue the takeover further, after the Government last week announced new laws to ban foreign state ownership.

In a note to clients, Enders said: “The intention of the law is clearly to persuade RedBird IMI to formally notify Lucy Frazer of the end of its pursuit of the merger with The Telegraph, thus ending the regulatory clearance process on grounds of competition and public interest.”

RedBird IMI has indicated it will await the text of the legislation before making a decision on how to proceed. An onward sale of The Telegraph and The Spectator magazine has been speculated as the most likely next step.

‘Distinction’ between sporting entities and newspapers

Earlier, Ms Frazer denied operating a double standard by accepting ownership of Manchester City football club by Sheikh Mansour but opposing his Telegraph takeover.

The Culture Secretary said that it was important to “draw a distinction” between investment in a sporting entity, or in business spheres, and links to the acquisition of a national newspaper.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Ms Frazer was asked whether there it was right for the Government to give a “tick” to the Emirati ownership of Manchester City, but attempting to block the proposed Telegraph sale.

“I don’t think there is [a double standard],” she said. “We believe in this country in the free press. The media’s job is to hold power to account and it’s therefore inappropriate for the UK Government to own a newspaper, and it’s therefore also inappropriate for a foreign state to own a newspaper. But we are very much open for business in terms of foreign investment in other spheres, like football. They’re totally different.”

RedBird IMI had positioned itself to take control by repaying the debts of the Barclay family, the current owners.

The takeover has been under scrutiny from the Government using existing powers to protect press freedom, but MPs and peers across Parliament have demanded tighter laws against foreign state control.

Peers argued during a debate in the House of Lords on Wednesday that letting a foreign state own a British newspaper would be “outrageous” and “inconceivable”.

Phase two investigation could take six months

On the same day, ministers revealed plans “explicitly to rule out newspaper and periodical news magazine mergers involving ownership, influence or control by foreign states”.

The move, announced by Lord Parkinson, the culture minister, was made to see off a rebellion led by a Tory peer and sparked by The Telegraph’s predicament.

The new law will be made by an amendment to the Digital Markets Bill, but will change the wording of the existing Enterprise Act. It could become law within weeks.

A phase two investigation would be expected to take another half a year, by which time the foreign government ban is likely to have come into effect.

On Wednesday, RedBird IMI appeared to signal it could reconsider its pursuit of The Telegraph and The Spectator in response to the new law.

A spokesman said: “We are extremely disappointed by today’s development. To date, Redbird IMI has made six investments across the UK and US, and we believed the UK’s media environment was worthy of further investment.

“As with each of our deals, we have been clear that the acquisition of The Telegraph and The Spectator has been a fully commercial undertaking.

“We remain committed to developing powerful and commercially sustainable global media assets. We will now evaluate our next steps, with commercial interests continuing to be the sole priority.”

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Village clock silenced after 150 years following single complaint

A village clock that has chimed for 150 years was silenced on Sunday night after a single complaint it was too loud.

The clock tower of St John the Baptist in Witheridge, Devon, was banned from chiming last December following the complaint, leading residents to begin a petition to save the church centrepiece. 

The unnamed complainant said the quarter-hourly chimes, which rang out 24 hours a day, had been interrupting their sleep.

North Devon council issued the local parish council with a noise abatement notice on Dec 22 last year and warned it could be prosecuted for a breach. 

But villagers responded with the petition calling for the “beloved church clock” to be allowed to chime again, which was signed by more than 300 people. 

Becka Cook, one signatory, said: “I believe one person’s grievance should not change or affect the joy of many. 

“For hundreds of years the bells have chimed, and it’s criminal to silence them now!”

Matt Price, another resident, added: “It’s a church clock – it’s meant to chime!

“We should keep the clock chiming,” said Lynne Bull. “It’s a part of the church and a traditional part of village life.”

The parish council has now been forced to install a £2,000 silencer, meaning the clock will sound only once an hour between 7am and 11pm.

Rev Adrian Wells, the church’s vicar, told the BBC: “I think the work of the parish council to fit a silencer is a good compromise because the bell can ring during the daytime and be silent at night. 

“It is lovely to have the chimes and bells back during the day. The clock is a real focal point for the village.”

‘Disappointing to see tradition eroded’

David Gale, a Witheridge resident, said villagers would have to “settle” on the bells only ringing during the day.

“It is disappointing when we see all these little traditions that we have got used to over a long period of time to be eroded by some of these laws that were developed in the modern era,” he said.

North Devon council said its “environmental protection team” had assessed the noise level of the clock and deemed it too loud.

A spokesman said: “They considered the loudness, the frequency and duration of the noise – it was considered that the chime every 15 minutes was likely to wake or disturb the sleep of the complainant and other residents nearby. 

“The council has been contacted by other residents expressing disappointment at the silencing of the clock bells.

“However, most of these were not in close proximity to the bells and unlikely to be significantly impacted by the noise.”

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Oprah Winfrey fights back tears as she reveals weight-loss battle

Oprah Winfrey fought back tears as she described how taking weight-loss drugs helped stop her “blaming” herself for being unable to control her body shape with willpower.

The broadcaster, 70, said she now feels a “sense of hope” after internalising decades of vitriol when mocking her figure was a “national sport”.

“When I tell you how many times I have blamed myself, because you think ‘I’m smart enough to figure this out’, and then to hear all along it’s you fighting your brain”, Winfrey said as she held back tears.

She added: “This is what I got for the first time after I took the medication – all these years I thought all of the people who never had to diet were just using their willpower and they were for some reason stronger than me. And now I realise y’all weren’t even thinking about the food.

“It’s not that you had the willpower you weren’t thinking about, you weren’t obsessing about it. That is the big thing I learned.”

Winfrey came under fire last year after she revealed she used an undisclosed weight-loss drug as a “maintenance tool”.

Her admission came as medication such as Ozempic has become popular, presenting a challenge to traditional weight-loss plans and dieting methods.

On Monday she hosted a TV special looking into weight-loss medication during which she discussed her own battles with losing weight.

“In my lifetime, I never dreamed that we would be talking about medicines that are providing hope for people like me who have struggled for years with being overweight or with obesity”, she said.

“I come to this conversation in the hope that we can start releasing the stigma and the shame and the judgement to stop shaming other people for being overweight, or how they choose to lose or not lose weight, and more importantly to stop shaming ourselves”, she added.

‘I took on the shame the world gave to me’

During the hour-long programme An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution, Winfrey said: “I have to say that I took on the shame that the world gave to me – for 25 years, making fun of my weight was national sport”, she added, before going on to show cruel headlines describing her as “fatter than ever”.

“In an effort to combat all the shame, I starved myself for nearly five months and then wheeled out that wagon of fat that the internet will never let me forget”, she said.

Discussing her relationship with food, Winfrey said she would think about what she would eat for lunch while she was eating breakfast.

“The difference between, for me, being on the medication is now I can eat a half a bagel and be fine… I still want the bagel, I just want less of the bagel”.

Winfrey also likened the discussion around the “disease” of obesity to those towards alcoholism in the late eighties and early nineties when sufferers were told to “just put the bottle down”.

During the episode Winfrey spoke to patients, including a teenage girl who had bariatric surgery at 13 and had been taking a weight-loss drug, as well as those who had suffered adverse side effects.

Winfrey also discussed how she had stepped down from the board of Weight Watchers because she had wanted “no perceived conflict of interest” for the special 60-minute episode.

The TV star, who has been on the board since 2015 after buying a $43 million (£34 million) stake in the company, said she will not stand for re-election in May at its shareholder meeting.

When she first revealed she was taking the weight-loss drug, Winfrey told People magazine: “I now use it as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing.

“The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind.”

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BBC apologises for calling Reform ‘far-Right’

The BBC has apologised to Reform UK after calling it “far-Right” in a news report.

The corporation made the claim during a report about the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference, in which it referred to Reform surging ahead of Sir Ed Davey’s party in the opinion polls.

Although Reform is to the Right of the Conservative Party on issues including legal and illegal immigration and the tax burden, it has previously said its political aims are not motivated by political ideology.

In a statement on Monday, the BBC said: “In an article about the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference, we wrongly described the political party Reform UK as far-Right when referring to polling.

“This sentence was subsequently removed from the article as it fell short of our usual editorial standards. While the original wording was based on news agency copy, we take full responsibility and apologise for the error.”

Richard Tice, the leader of Reform, told The Telegraph that while he was pleased the BBC had apologised, the error “shouldn’t have happened in the first place”.

“This is a tactic that certain news organisations are going to try, which is to smear and label not only the party but by direct implication myself and other senior figures,” he said.

He argued that the BBC was “terrified of how successful we are becoming” and accused it of acting in its own “vested interests”.

“They should be under no illusion that whilst you can’t libel a political party, there is a direct link to the leader and you can libel me and I won’t tolerate it,” he said. “Anyone else who wants to try this, good luck – and I look forward to seeing you in court.”

In a separate statement, Mr Tice said his lawyers were also in touch “with other organisations who repeated the BBC line”. He said he viewed the claim that Reform was a “far-Right” political party as “defamatory and libellous”.

Reform has promised to ditch the BBC licence fee, which currently stands at £159 per year but will increase by £10.50, a rise of 6.6 per cent, in April.

The pre-election manifesto unveiled by Reform at its spring conference last month reads: “The out-of-touch, wasteful BBC is institutionally biased. The TV licence is taxation without representation. In a world of on-demand TV, people should be free to choose.”

Mr Tice, a presenter on GB News, has regularly railed against the BBC and claimed it is “biased” against figures on the Right, calling for Newsnight, its flagship political programme, to be scrapped.

Reform is currently polling as high as 14 per cent in Westminster voting intention surveys ahead of the general election and is often a single-figure margin behind the Conservatives. Around one in four 2019 Tory voters are planning to back it.

The party gained its first ever MP last week after the defection of Lee Anderson, a former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.

In December, the BBC was attacked by the Tories for describing a political festival hosted by Giorgia Meloni, the Italian prime minister, and attended by Rishi Sunak as a “far-Right rally”.

The event was attended by centrist and centre-Left figures as well as a wide range of Right-wing politicians. A Tory spokesman said the editorial decision raised “serious questions” about the BBC’s policies and accused it of a “careless categorisation”.

On Tuesday, the PA news agency ran an update to one of its stories from the Liberal Democrat conference, removing the reference to Reform as “far-Right”.

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