INDEPENDENT 2024-03-24 10:04:10


Poland accuses Putin of violating airspace with attack on Lviv – live

Poland has accused Russia of violating its airspace this morning with a cruise missile launched at targets in western Ukraine.

Russia launched 57 missiles and drones on Ukraine in the early hours, including attacking Kyiv and the western region of Lviv that is near the Polish border.

“On March 24 at 4:23 a.m. (0323 GMT), there was a violation of Polish airspace by one of the cruise missiles launched overnight by long-range aviation of the Russian Federation,” the armed forces said on the social media platform X.

“The object entered Polish space near the town of Oserdow (Lublin Voivodeship) and stayed there for 39 seconds. During the entire flight, it was observed by military radar systems.”

The Polish Foreign Ministry said it would demand explanations from Russia over the airspace violation.

Poland calls on Russia “to stop terrorist air attacks on the inhabitants and territory of Ukraine, end the war and address the country’s internal problems,” the ministry’s spokesman said in a statement.

The story of how the Gestapo murdered the hero of the Great Escape

It is one of the most iconic scenes in cinema, and a pivotal moment in the film The Great Escape. Richard Attenborough and Gordon Jackson play Roger Bartlett and Sandy MacDonald, two RAF officers disguised as French workers on the run after having tunnelled out from their prisoner of war camp.

As they wait to board a coach, they are questioned by a Gestapo officer, who engages them in French.

All goes well until MacDonald goes up the steps, when the officer casually wishes them, in English, “Good luck”. The escaper turns round, smiles, and replies, “Thank you”. There is a dreadful pause, and then all hell breaks loose.

Endrick gives England and Gareth Southgate another issue to solve

After the controversy about the new England shirt, the concerns about the players wearing it. After the needless culture wars, the more pertinent footballing decisions that beckon for Gareth Southgate. A year that could end 58 of hurt for England began with a first defeat since the 2022 World Cup quarter-final and a performance to ward off suggestions they should be favourites for Euro 2024.

A glamour game did not live up to its billing, but the excitement was provided by a weakened Selecao team. On a night when many a young England player hoped to make an indelible mark, the rookie to etch his name into history was instead Endrick, the 17-year-old who became the youngest scorer in a senior international at Wembley. For their rather more experienced manager, Dorival Junior, a 26th and most prestigious job brought an ideal start.

But England’s display was less “jogo bonito” than “jogo mediocre”. The players who needed to play well didn’t, or not to the extent of resolving Southgate’s selection dilemmas for the summer. Paper aeroplanes were being flung in the crowd, but too few players booked their place on the flight to Germany.

Perhaps the biggest cheer greeted Kobbie Mainoo when he came on for his debut; the injured Jordan Henderson may reflect that he would be unlikely to be afforded such a reception if he came on. But if injuries afforded an opportunity to many another, too few grasped it. Ben Chilwell, Conor Gallagher, Anthony Gordon and Ollie Watkins started. Ezri Konsa played the majority of the game. None can say with any confidence he has booked his spot at the Euros. Chilwell, as the only specialist left-back other than the sidelined Luke Shaw, always occupied a unique position in Southgate’s plans, but he was no more than reasonable.

Watkins scarcely preyed on the inexperience of Brazil’s two debutant centre-backs; he came closest when he stabbed a shot over. Gordon had a curling effort parried by Bento and a half-volley blocked by the newcomer of a goalkeeper after a well-worked free-kick by Declan Rice. Yet he lacked the irrepressibility he often possesses in a Newcastle shirt. His England debut was respectable but by no means remarkable. Gallagher, meanwhile, scarcely suggested he could complete a triangle by complementing Jude Bellingham and Rice.

Konsa, whose international bow came at full-back when Kyle Walker limped off, struggled to keep up with Vinicius. He is not alone in that and the fixture may have rendered his a thankless task. But even with Ben White out of the reckoning, he may only be fifth-choice right-back.

Yet when the goal came, it reflected worst on the substitute Lewis Dunk, who gave the ball away. Vinicius scurried clear, Jordan Pickford parried his shot and Endrick, already Brazil’s youngest player for 57 years, scored the rebound.

England should not argue the scoreline was an injustice. They had three major let-offs before the break; Brazil, shorn of some of their stardust and normal starters, with five debutants starting and a trio of World Cup qualifying defeats in autumn, nevertheless showed more incision.

Vinicius sprang the offside trap to meet Lucas Paqueta’s pass and catch Pickford in no-man’s land. The paradox was that, for such a speedy player and one who had escaped from Walker, his shot lacked the pace required, allowing the stand-in England captain to retreat and clear off the line. He did so in semi-comical fashion, thrashing a clearance into the back of the unwitting Maguire’s head.

Some 23 minutes later, Paqueta fired a shot against the post. His was a curiosity of a performance, with enviable class in possession but, had it been a competitive game, he would probably have been dismissed before the break for fouls on John Stones and Bellingham.

If Brazil sometimes resorted to the illegal to stop Bellingham, they could have led after a moment of English incompetence. With a clumsy touch, Maguire gifted Raphinha an opportunity but he angled a shot just wide. It was not a night for Maguire to win over his doubters. Alongside him, Stones looked altogether slicker.

Ahead of them, however, England looked disjointed. If it was understandable they lacked cohesion and chemistry, with Walker’s exit exacerbating the longest injury list of Southgate’s tenure, an experimental side was granted chances, if only to secure places on the bench in Germany.

Instead, arguably England’s best players – without producing particularly memorable performances – were the certainties: Stones, Rice and Bellingham. Most of the replacements, too, had a point to prove and did not. Jarrod Bowen was at least bright in his cameo while the rather more experienced Marcus Rashford missed a couple of opportunities to equalise. Endrick perhaps ought to have doubled the lead with an injury-time break, but Pickford saved.

It mattered not for Brazil, who won anyway. But England’s ineffectiveness may count against some of these players when Southgate hands out the last remaining spots in his summer squad.

Gisele Bündchen denies cheating on Tom Brady with jiu-jitsu trainer

Gisele Bündchen has hit back at cheating rumours surrounding her split from Tom Brady.

In an interview with The New York Times, published on 23 March, the model addressed how her relationships and divorce continue to generate headlines.

Bündchen, 43, announced her split from Brady, after 13 years of marriage, in October 2022. Since then, she has been romantically linked to her jiu-jitsu trainer Joaquim Valente.

As she has been photographed with Valente, some fans were quick to assume that she cheated on Brady with Valente. However, Bündchen flat-out denied the allegations.

“That is a lie,” she told The New York Times. She continued: “I really don’t want to make my life a tabloid. I don’t want to open myself up to all of that.”

Bündchen slammed tabloids that have criticised women and their relationships, and explained how this scrutiny affects celebrities’ families. The model is mother of two children – Benjamin, 14, and Vivian, 11 – with Brady.

“This is something that happens to a lot of women who get blamed when they have the courage to leave an unhealthy relationship and are labelled as being unfaithful,” she said. “They have to deal with their communities. They have to deal with their family. Of course for me, it just happens to be a little bit amplified.”

She said that her relationships will stay out of the spotlight. “No one really knows what happens between two people, only the two people in the relationship,” she said.

Bündchen then revealed that she is dating someone, seemingly confirming her relationship with Valente, who she has been romantically linked to since November 2023.

“This is the first time I am seeing someone that was a friend of mine first,” she told The New York Times. “It’s very different. It is very honest, and it’s very transparent.”

In 2022, Bündchen and Brady announced the decision to end their marriage. In a statement posted on Instagram, she wrote: “With much gratitude for our time together, Tom and I have amicably finalised our divorce. My priority has always been and will continue to be our children whom I love with all my heart. We will continue co-parenting to give them the love, care and attention they greatly deserve.”

In recent months, the model has been spotted with Valente, a martial arts teacher. The two have been spotted together in Costa Rica, grabbing dinner and jogging. However a source told People in January that while the pair share a tight bond, they have not put a label on their relationship.

During an interview with Vanity Fair this month, Bündchen also addressed Valente. While she did not confirm if they were dating or not, she praised him and his brothers.

“I think, at this point, unfortunately, because I’m divorced, I’m sure that they’re going to try to attach me to anything,” she said. “I’m so grateful to know all of them, because not only have they helped me and helped my kids, but they have become great friends, and Joaquim especially.”

The model added: “He’s our teacher and, most importantly, he’s a person that I admire and that I trust. It’s so good to have that kind of energy, to have my kids around that type of energy.”

The Independent has contacted a representative for Bündchen for comment.

Rishi Sunak urged to close legal loophole on deepfake pornography

Rishi Sunak has been urged to close a legal loophole on deepfake porn to ensure those who create it face criminal action.

The Labour Party has warned the government is being “outpaced” by the internet on the issue of deepfakes – a growing phenomenon that involves explicit images or videos being manipulated to look like someone without their consent.

Sharing deepfakes without the person’s permission has been illegal in the UK since 31 January under the Online Safety Act.

But Labour has tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, which is going through parliament, to make the creation of deepfakes illegal.

Have you been affected by this? email maya.oppenheim@independent.co.uk

Speaking to The Independent, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Making deepfake intimate images and videos is an appalling violation of somebody’s autonomy and privacy and it should not be tolerated.

“Technology is increasingly being manipulated to manufacture misogynistic content and is emboldening perpetrators of violence against women and girls.”

The government must bolster the law in this area to deliver “a clear and unambiguous message that such activity is harmful and it is wrong”, Ms Cooper added.

Earlier this week, a Channel 4 investigation revealed the amount of deepfake porn has exploded in recent years.

While researchers found one deepfake porn video online in 2016, some 143,733 new deepfake porn videos were uploaded to the 40 most used deepfake porn sites in the first three quarters of last year – with this amounting to more than in all the previous years added up.

Analysis of the five most visited deepfake websites found more than 250 British celebrities are among the thousands of high-profile people who fall prey to deepfake porn – with this including women who are actors, YouTubers, television personalities and musicians.

A woman who discovered deepfake porn of herself on the internet previously told The Independent it was a “violating” ordeal as she accused her attacker of trying to “silence” and “scare” her.

“Someone was using my identity, my profile without my consent in a sexual manner. I appreciate some people don’t feel like it is that big of a deal,” she said.

“But we have hit blurry lines between perception and reality because perception is reality now. I find it abhorrent that they used my image to silence me, to scare me, or for sexual gratification without my consent.”

Many have sounded alarm bells about how deepfakes can mislead members of the public, and previous research conducted by cybersecurity firm Deeptrace indicated around 96 per cent of all deepfake videos are non-consensual porn, while women are targets in 96 per cent of cases.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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

There is still time for the West to change Israel’s mind on Gaza

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund – a body worthy of trust and respect, and well acquainted with conditions on the ground – “Rafah is Gaza’s last hope”.

In that case, the Israeli government’s continued apparent determination to launch an armoured ground assault on Rafah, coupled with the most recent failure by the UN Security Council to agree to call for a ceasefire, removes the last vestige of hope for the nearly 2 million displaced persons – many of them children – sheltering in flimsy tents around the city in southern Gaza.

If the record of the last five months or so since the atrocities of 7 October is a reliable guide to what will happen next, what remains of Rafah will be pulverised, many thousands more innocent civilians will be killed, maimed and orphaned, the incipient famine will intensify across the territory – and what is already a humanitarian disaster will grow still more hopeless.

Are politicians ever justified in using private jets?

The home secretary, James Cleverly, spent some £165,561 last year chartering a private jet for a one-day round trip to Rwanda to sign a fresh treaty that would, supposedly, negate the UK Supreme Court’s finding of fact that Rwanda is not a safe third country for the deportation of refugees. The sudden urgent demand for new assurances about human rights from the Rwandans was, it is fair to say, politically driven, as the prime minister sees the Rwanda plan as the key “deterrent” in his struggle to “stop the boats” full of asylum seekers crossing the English Channel.

The revelation is troublesome because it reinforces the charge that this is a government with a profligate attitude to taxpayers’ money; that its ministers enjoy indulging themselves; and that the Rwanda scheme is, as Cleverly once repeatedly remarked in probate, a “bats***” crazy waste of money. Chartering a private jet is also, if anyone still cares, one of the most environmentally destructive ways to travel by air. Politically, the turbulence generated by such trips can be extremely distressing…