INDEPENDENT 2024-03-20 01:04:30


XL bully attack witnesses describe horror as dog savaged four people

Eye-witnesses to a bloody XL bully attack that injured multiple people have described the terrifying scene before the animal was shot dead.

Four victims were hurt in the incident in Battersea, south London just after 10pm on Monday. Two people have been arrested on suspicion of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control.

One woman told The Independent she saw the dog chasing a man who had suffered gruesome injuries down the street.

“It was so fast,” she told the Independent. “It was unbelievable how fast he was. It’s impossible to get away. I was so scared I was just looking through the window.

“The man had massive lacerations on his left arm. You could see his flesh had been stripped off.

“A taxi driver, he was an old guy, got out to see if he could help but the dog attacked him too. He was injured.”

Have you been affected by this? If so email barney.davis.ind@independent.co.uk

Locals tried to throw a sheep-skin rug over the dog and hit him with a delivery driver’s helmet and sticks but they said the dog would not let go.

Footage shared on social media showed one person throwing a blanket over the dog while another repeatedly hit it with the helmet by the side of a car.

One first victim hopped on top of a parked car desperately trying to get away but the dog jumped and followed him. Huge claw marks have been left on the car.

“A woman was trying to help pull him off but the dog wasn’t listening,” another witness said, “It could easily kill a child. These things need muzzles. This guy’s hand was left raw his blood is everywhere.”

Neighbours said the dog eventually released one of the victims and sprinted 300m down the high street before being surrounded and shot dead by armed police outside a cafe.

“Everyone was in a frenzy seeing that dog run up the road,” a witness told The Independent. “I heard bang bang bang it was ringing out. I got there and they were trying to revive the thing. They put it under a silver blanket.”

The four men attacked by the animal were taken to hospital for treatment for injuries that were not life-threatening. The Metropolitan Police said a 22-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman had been arrested on suspicion of being the owner/person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control.

From February 1, it became a criminal offence to own the XL bully breed in England and Wales without an exemption certificate.

Anyone who owns one of the dogs must have had the animal neutered, have it microchipped and keep it muzzled and on a lead in public, among other restrictions.

Investigators are examining the dog to confirm its breed.

Local MP Marsha de Cordova said she was “deeply concerned” to hear the news of the attack.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims injured in the attack, and for their full recovery,” she tweeted. “I am in contact with the police and their enquiries are ongoing.

“New laws have come into force that make it illegal to own an American XL Bully dog without an exemption certificate.

“It is vital that there is strong enforcement to make sure owners comply with the legislation.”

Anyone with information can call police on 101 or contact the force via X @MetCC quoting the reference CAD7620/19Mar.

Mother left toddler alone for 10 days when she went on holiday

An Ohio mother whose 16-month-old daughter died after being left home alone in a playpen for 10 days last summer while she went on vacation was sentenced on Monday to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Kristel Candelario, 32, had pleaded guilty last month to aggravated murder and child endangerment as part of a plea deal with Cuyahoga County prosecutors, who dismissed two murder counts and a felonious assault charge.

Authorities have said Candelario left her daughter, Jailyn, in their Cleveland home when she went on vacation to Detroit and Puerto Rico in June 2023. When she returned 10 days later, she found the girl was not breathing in the playpen and called 911. Emergency responders found the child was “extremely dehydrated” and pronounced her dead shortly after they arrived.

An autopsy by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office determined that the toddler died of starvation and severe dehydration.

While on holiday Candelario posted pictures online, one image shared three days after leaving her daughter pictures her on a beach in sunglasses and a white shirt. The caption reads: ‘The time that is enjoyed is the true time lived.’

Another picture shows here at a Star Wars theme park.

County Common Pleas Court Judge Brendan Sheehan told Candelario she committed “the ultimate betrayal” by leaving her daughter alone without food.

“Just as you didn’t let Jailyn out of her confinement, so too you should spend the rest of your life in a cell without freedom,” Sheehan said. “The only difference will be, the prison will at least feed you and give you liquid that you denied her.”

Candelario, who has struggled with depression and related mental health issues, said she has prayed daily for forgiveness.

“There’s so much pain that I have in regards to the loss of my baby, Jailyn,” she said. “I’m extremely hurt about everything that happened. I am not trying to justify my actions, but nobody knew how much I was suffering and what I was going through … God and my daughter have forgiven me.”

Children to be evacuated from border as Kremlin limits Black Sea fleet movements

About 9,000 children are to be evacuated from a Russian border region which is being shelled by Ukraine, an official has claimed.

Kyiv’s forces have increasingly been striking at targets behind the extensive front line that has changed little after more than two years of war.

The children are to be moved further east, away from the Ukraine border, the governor of Russia‘s Belgorod region, Vyacheslev Gladkov, said. It has not been possible to independently verify the claims.

The announcement came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin wants to create a buffer zone to help protect border regions from long-range Ukrainian strikes and cross-border raids.

Elsewhere, Russia’s navy has highly likely limited its operations in the eastern Black Sea amid mounting losses, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update.

Ukraine’s continued success in conducting its sea strike campaigns resulted in Russia’s defence minister visiting the Black Sea Fleet command post in the Crimea region on 17 March for progress updates, it said.

Grace Jabbari sues ex Jonathan Majors for defamation and assault

The woman who previously accused Jonathan Majors of assault is now suing him in federal court for defamation, assault and battery, according to court documents filed in New York on Tuesday.

Grace Jabbari, the actor’s ex-girlfriend, is bringing the suit against the actor after he repeatedly claimed that he did not assault her before and after his domestic assault trial last year. A jury found him guilty on one count of reckless assault in the third degree, a misdemeanour, and harassment in the second degree.

The 31-year-old British dancer accused Majors of slapping her, fracturing her finger, twisting her right arm and striking her right ear, causing her to bleed in an incident that allegedly happened on 25 March 2023.

Majors was arrested that evening after he found Ms Jabbari in his Chelsea apartment following the incident and called 911. He told authorities he suspected that his then-girlfriend had attempted suicide or overdosed.

The actor later filed a domestic violence report against Ms Jabbari in June. The Manhattan DA’s office ultimately decided not to pursue the case. The sentencing hearing has been delayed until 8 April. He’s facing a year in prison on the misdemeanour charges.

In a statement, an attorney for Ms Jabbari, Brittany N Henderson, said, “It takes bravery to hold someone with this level of power and acclaim accountable. Bravery that Grace Jabbari has demonstrated at every stage of the legal process.

“We strongly believe that through this action, truth and transparency will bring Grace the justice that she deserves.”

Much of the criminal trial focused on Ms Jabbari’s testimony. The suit accuses the star’s defence attorneys of using Ms Jabbari’s time on the stand to defame her at the end of the proceedings.

“[T]his entire case is built on Grace’s lies—and, boy, does Grace lie,” an attorney for Mr Majors said at the trial. “These prosecutors bought Grace’s white lies, her big lies, and all her pretty little lies”.

After his conviction, he participated in an ABC News interview in which he told the outlet that Ms Jabbari lied about her claims and had “never laid [his] hands on a woman”.

In addition to the assault and battery charges, Ms Jabbari is suing for infliction of emotional distress and malicious prosecution. The suit does not reference a specific monetary amount. Only that the damages are expected to be higher than $75,000.

The couple met on the set of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in 2021 August. Ms Jabbari was a movement director and Majors starred as the movie’s villan. The actor had slipped the woman his phone number through a hair stylist, she said on the stand.

By December of that year, she said, their dynamic had shifted. In one instance, she brought up her ex-boyfriend in a conversation about the actor’s dogs, which prompted him to yell at her. The dancer said it was the first time she was scared of her boyfriend.

Prosecutors at the trial attempted to display a “manipulative pattern” of abuse, including text messages Mr Majors sent to Ms Jabbari asking her not to go to the hospital following an alleged altercation. He even threatened to commit suicide if she went, text messages showed.

The most damaging piece of evidence perhaps was a video of the couple on the night of the March incident in which Mr Majors can be seen pushing Ms Jabarri into a car, yanking her onto a road and then running away from her.

Priya Chaudhry, an attorney representing Jonathan Majors, said the actor is preparing counterclaims against Ms Jabbai.

“This is no surprise,” she said in a statement.

Sorry, ladies, but I’m relieved the new James Bond is a man

Since the fictional character first appeared in 1953, James Bond has rarely been mistaken for a weapon in the fight for female equality.

From the swirling silhouettes of naked ladies in the films’ opening sequences to the parade of scantily clad beauties who fawn over him, the arrogant British Secret Service agent has mostly pursued a singular, hedonistic path – and one that has either demeaned women, or left them for dead. People, the women he beds are called Bond girls…

News that Aaron Taylor-Johnson, the 33-year-old Kick-Ass actor, will this week sign a contract to replace Daniel Craig as the world’s most stylish, high-living secret service agent has left some feminist fans of the films feeling a little deflated.

After Lashana Lynch briefly took on the 007 mantle in 2021’s No Time To Die– the one where Bond is blown to bits at the end – it had been hoped this might require a reboot of the entire franchise, perhaps one that presages a full-time female lead. Actors from Emilia Clarke, Priyanka Chopra and Gillian Anderson have all openly said they would jump at the chance to portray Bond. And even Idris Elba, the bookies’ long-term favourite to replace Craig, had previously stated in a Vanity Fair interview that it was time the role went to a woman.

So, one has to wonder, have the producers missed a great opportunity in not selecting a female Bond?

As a young female Bond fan, I thought it was an exciting and radical step when Judi Dench was cast as M, the head of the British secret service, in 1995’s GoldenEye. Back then, there was no online media frenzy around the appointment; it was just an acceptance of a shift away from the traditional character. I loved seeing her quietly step into this male-dominated world and calling the shots: she was powerful, whip-smart and brilliant.

But there was always enough ambiguity in Ian Fleming’s character that meant M could be played by any gender. The truth is that James Bond is a male character, and can only be played by a man. It doesn’t matter what colour he is – he’s British by nationality – but, quite simply, he needs to be a chap.

It feels at odds for me to write that. I’m a feminist, and still believe the film industry remains in the grip of privileged straight white men. However, casting a woman would be a simplistic avoidance of the real necessity, which is to continue to create better characters for women to play.

Barbara Broccoli, the co-owner of the Bond franchise alongside her half-brother, admitted as much in an interview with Variety: “He can be of any colour, but he is male… I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”

And I absolutely agree with her.

Why do we have to be given the roles that men play? Aren’t we suitably complex, interesting and unique that we deserve our own characters? Why would a woman want to play the equivalent of a troubled, misogynistic and – dare I say it – fairly one-dimensional action character? Haven’t we learnt that women don’t need to imitate and be like men to succeed?

There is enough scope and opportunity to create some truly outstanding roles for women in the next installment. When Broccoli enlisted the staggering talents of Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge to rescue the script for No Time To Die, I knew that better times were ahead for the franchise. In that film, I adored young spy Paloma, brilliantly played by Ana de Armas: she ignored 007’s flirtatious advances and made absolutely no attempt to seduce him, which marked a welcome change for Bond’s relationship with women.

James Bond is about being daring. Perhaps, then, the next instalment in the franchise – the 26th film – is a great opportunity for producers to echo that by creating an outstanding ensemble cast around the eighth actor to take on the role. My younger teenage self would have loved to have seen a Bond film brimming with more than one brilliant female character, all of whom are greater than Bond himself.

And that will be a far greater challenge for the producers than simply creating Jamie Bond.

History, heritage, cuisine and culture in Split, Croatia

Historical buildings, pine forest hills and breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea are just a few things to expect on a fun-filled trip to the old-world coastal city of Split. This ancient sliver of the country is steeped in eclectic history and blessed with abundant natural beauty, a dynamic food scene, and more cultural attractions you can shake a stick at. It’s an all-rounder, ideal to visit no matter the season and even for a quick city break since there are plenty of direct flights from UK cities, including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester. Here’s our must-see, must-do guide to this stunning city…

Split is Croatia’s sportiest city, often referred to as The City of Sport, thanks to the number of professional athletes that hail from the city. In fact, Split is the city with the highest number of Olympic medal winners per capita. You can see their names proudly presented on Sports Walk of Fame on the city’s west coast, including Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanišević, double world high jump champion Blanka Vlašić, and ex–NBA star Toni Kukoč.

Catch a basketball game featuring the legendary KK Split, one of the most successful clubs in Europe, at the Gripe Sports Hall, or watch a football match with HNK Hajduk Split at the Poljud Stadium to feel the electrifying passion of local fans. If you’d rather participate, take advantage of Split’s drop-dead coastal location by trying windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding or sailing; many places offer equipment rental or lessons. Or, to keep it traditional, try your hand at ‘picigin’ – a local ball game from Split that is played at the beach.

For a more cerebral experience, immerse yourself in the city’s rich history, from Roman walls to UNESCO heritage sites and historical Old Towns. Wander through preserved Roman streets lined with Gothic and Renaissance buildings and visit the oldest cathedral building in the world, Diocletian’s Palace, built between 295 and 305 A.D. The beautiful basement halls here (more commonly known as the substructures) are one of the world’s best-preserved complexes from the era of classical antiquity and central to the historical centre of Split being added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.

Dip your toe into the world of Croatian art at the Ivan Meštrović Gallery, wholly dedicated to the sculptor himself, renowned for his powerful and expressive works. There’s also the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, which delves deep into the city’s history across more than 20,000 artefacts. Plus, the museum itself is an architectural masterpiece.

If you want to learn all about the city’s history and citizens, the City Museum of Split is a must-visit. It was founded in 1947 at the stunning palace of the Papalić family and is a stunning example of late-Gothic style architecture.

There’s also the Ethnographic Museum of Split, situated inside a former residential complex in the southeastern quarter of Diocletian’s Palace. The museum holds a vast collection of artefacts that showcase the traditional way of life, customs, and cultural practices of the people of the Dalmatia region and beyond. You’ll find everything from household items and religious objects to traditional tools and clothing.

Leave some time in your itinerary to explore the city’s natural wonders and incredible beaches. Ideally situated on the Adriatic coast, Split houses some of Croatia’s finest and most picturesque beaches. Bačvice Beach is one of the most popular in the area, perfect for shallow bathing and basking in the sun; plus, there are many bars and restaurants along the front, and concerts take place throughout the summer months.

There’s also Bene Beach, located on the northeastern part of the leafy Marjan Forest Park, often referred to as the green oasis of Split. It’s usually a little quieter, so it’s perfect for finding a secluded spot, sheltered beautifully by the trees that border the shoreline. Hiking or biking in the forest park Marjan is also a great way to experience the natural landscape of the Dalmatian Coast. You can follow many routes through fragrant pine forests and scenic viewpoints – the Marjan Hill Viewpoint overlooks the entire Old Town. Finish off with a dip in the sea to cool off.

Kašjuni Beach is known for being particularly beautiful, surrounded by lush greenery and rocky cliffs. It tends to be a little quieter and less crowded with calm, crystal-clear water, ideal for snorkelling and swimming. While on the southern side of Marjan, you’ll find Kaštelet Beach, a small but peaceful fine-pebbled beach with shallow banks, perfect for dipping in and out of between basking in the sun.

Follow the scenic coastal promenade from the city centre, and you’ll eventually reach Trstenik, home to a well-equipped, picturesque beach popular amongst water sports enthusiasts. Here, you can enjoy windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and more. The surrounding neighbourhood is chock full of restaurants, shops and places to stay should you want to spend a few nights here.

Split also serves as an ideal hub for day excursions, offering easy access to the stunning Dalmatian islands and hinterland, each brimming with natural and cultural treasures. From the city, you can visit several of Dalmatia’s spectacular islands, including Brac, Hvar, Vis, Solta and many more. Bisevo Island is one of the most popular to visit, where the remains of a 1050 AD Benedictine monastery lay, and the Blue Cave, one of the must-see natural attractions in the country, renowned for its incredible glowy sun rays that shine through cracks in the cave, creating a magical blue glimmer.

Just a half-hour drive from the city centre, you’ll find idyllic hiking trails on mountains such as Mosor, Kozjak, and Biokovo. There’s also the Cetina River, where you can participate in heart-pumping rafting and canyoning adventures.

As a cultural hub, Split boasts a diverse timetable of not-to-be-missed events throughout the year, including Sudamja, Stories of Diocletian, Advent – Winter Joys, Split Summer Festival, the Split Carnival, Month of Gastronomy and the Split Marathon.  In recent years, the city has also emerged as a sought-after filming destination, hosting productions such as Game of Thrones and the Dark Tower movie. So it’s pretty fitting that the city is home to the Mediterranean Film Festival and the International Festival of New Film.

Food-wise, Croatia’s diverse and delicious cuisine varies significantly from region to region, with coastal areas focusing more on seafood dishes like grilled fish, octopus salad, and black risotto. Learn all about Croatian fare at a local cookery class, where you’ll get to sample and make delicious dishes and take recipes back home.

Split’s culinary scene is constantly evolving, with many restaurants opening in the city, especially in the historic centre and its surroundings. Several restaurants have been recognised by the world-famous Michelin Guide, but there are many more worth visiting, with menus brimming with local Mediterranean cuisine, often with a creative twist added by some of Croatia’s best chefs. Most of the local restaurants’ menus are made with regional, fresh produce, including just-caught seafood.

For an authentic Croatian experience and the most local atmosphere, travellers should dine at a traditional tavern-style konoba restaurant, the Dalmatian version of a tavern, where you can enjoy fresh fish and seafood and popular local meat dishes.

The local diet is also rich in seasonal vegetables, which vegetarians can enjoy in many of the city’s restaurants, with plenty of spots specialising in vegetarian and vegan fare.

Wine and olive oil are essential components of Split’s gastronomic makeup, meaning that restaurants are always stocked with exceptional Croatian wines, particularly those produced within Dalmatia. You can enjoy them with dinner or at a local wine tasting.

If you’re looking for local produce, Ribarnica is stocked with fresh seafood plucked out of the neighbouring Adriatic Sea. While Pazar Green Market is the place to go for fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, cheese, cured meat, honey, and sweet treats, for delicious eats you can sample on the spot, or take home for a slice of Split you can reminisce with.

For more Split travel ideas and inspiration, head to Visit Split or check out Instagram or Facebook

Rwanda bill is fatally flawed – it cannot survive in its current form

After suffering some fairly rough treatment in the House of Lords, the government’s Rwanda bill returned for some emergency treatment in the Commons, where all of the Lords amendments – major and minor, destructive and constructive – were rejected.

Thanks to the Conservatives’ still substantial majority there, with most of the dissent coming from those who judge the bill to be not harsh enough, the Rwanda plan is once more in the hands of their lordships. The government hopes that the bill will be passed shortly, receive royal assent, and become law by Easter. That is an optimistic assessment of its chances; in any case, this fundamentally unconstitutional bill does not deserve to survive in anything like its present form.

It remains fatally flawed because it takes the extraordinary step of attempting to dismiss a finding of fact made by the Supreme Court. As Kenneth Clarke has argued with cruel clarity, this sets an extremely dangerous precedent in allowing parliament to override a lawful ruling by the highest court in the land, and thus undermines the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. Parliament may be sovereign, but it cannot act outside the constitution because the UK is not (yet) a totalitarian elective dictatorship.

What can we learn from Rachel Reeves about Labour’s economic policy?

According to the shadow chancellor, Britain faces a 1979 moment, a decisive shift in economic policy reminiscent of the way in which Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government broke with the post-war consensus on full employment and a mixed economy – but in a rather different direction, seeing as Rachel Reeves wants to put economic growth at the centre of “a decade of national renewal”.

Delivering the prestigious Mais lecture, more often given by a serving chancellor or governor of the Bank of England, Reeves has been granted a considerable honour – and has given us some insights into her ambitions, should Labour come to power