The Telegraph 2024-03-25 10:00:33

China and Russia ‘spreading slurs against Princess of Wales’

China, Russia and Iran are fuelling disinformation about the Princess of Wales to destabilise the nation, Whitehall sources believe…

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King ‘frustrated’ cancer recovery taking longer than thought, Peter Phillips reveals

The King is “hugely frustrated” that his recovery from cancer is taking a “little longer” than expected, his nephew Peter Phillips has revealed.

Charles, 75, is “pushing” his staff to allow him to take on more royal duties and is determined to return to his normal work pattern as soon as possible.

Mr Phillips, the Princess Royal’s son, gave a rare insight into the King’s state of mind during an interview on Australian television.

“I think ultimately he’s hugely frustrated,” he said.

“He’s frustrated that he can’t get on and do everything that he wants to be able to do.

“But he is very pragmatic, he understands that there’s a period of time that he really needs to focus on himself.

“But at the same time he is always pushing his staff and everybody – his doctors and nurses – to be able to say ‘actually can I do this, can I do that?’”

Mr Phillips, 46, added: “I think the overriding message would be that he’s obviously very keen to get back to a form of normality and is probably frustrated that recovery is taking a little longer than probably he would want it to.”

The revelation chimes with observations made by several people who have worked alongside the King in recent weeks, who admit that in the absence of public duties, he is “keeping them on their toes” with floods of ideas and suggestions in even greater volume than normal.

Charles has been receiving treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer since early February.

The diagnosis was made following treatment for an enlarged prostate.

Just weeks later, it emerged that the Princess of Wales was also undergoing “preventative chemotherapy” after cancer was discovered following her abdominal surgery in January.

Mr Phillips told Sky News Australia that the Princess was “remarkable” and that she and Prince William had “got it right” in balancing their public life and family life.

He also spoke about how Princess Anne, 73, was not remotely bothered about media coverage, preferring to get on with the job.

He said: “I think in the past she has not always been the media’s favourite so to speak. But she’s never really let that bother her.

“She just keeps her head down the whole time and keeps working away and leaves others to worry about column inches.”

Paying tribute to his mother, who has long been dubbed the hardest-working royal, he said it was “pretty remarkable” that she was still carrying out overseas trips in her 70s.

Mr Phillips said the “work ethic” of both the Princess and his father, her first husband Capt Mark Phillips, had been hugely influential for him and his sister Zara Tindall.

“Both of them are incredibly hard-working and both in their 70s they’re still working a lot harder than either of them probably expected,” he said.

“But then as my mother always says – from that perspective, they had pretty good role models from my grandparents who were still working in their 90s.

“So everyone has a huge amount to live up to and ultimately they all live by example.”

He added that Anne “really valued” her home time to be able “to relax and just get to some form of normality”.

Mr Phillips is in Australia to represent the International Foundation for Arts and Culture.

He said the Royal family had a “huge affinity” with the country, adding: “All of us have friends over here.”

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Church archdeacon calls for ‘anti-whiteness’

A Church of England archdeacon has called for “anti-whiteness”, in comments which have been criticised as divisive.

The Ven Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, Archdeacon of Liverpool, also called for people to “smash the patriarchy” but insisted her comments were “not anti-white, or anti-men”.

Her statement prompted an angry reaction, with one person asking if it would be “safe to attend church” if Dr Threlfall-Holmes “holds racial prejudice against white people”.

Just weeks ago, the church announced it would be hiring a “deconstructing whiteness” officer as part of a new 11-person “racial justice unit” being set up by the Diocese of Birmingham.

Senior clergy have also faced criticism for calling for the church’s £100 million slavery reparations fund to be increased to £1 billion.

Dr Threlfall-Holmes wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “I went to a conference on whiteness last autumn. It was very good, very interesting and made me realise: whiteness is to race as patriarchy is to gender.

“So yes, let’s have anti-whiteness, and let’s smash the patriarchy. That’s not anti-white, or anti-men, it’s anti-oppression.”

In response, users of X suggested that if the Cambridge-educated priest wanted “anti-whiteness” then she should “lead by example and resign”.

Some described her comments as “racist” and one asked: “Why do you seek to divide when your job description is literally to bring people together?”

Her words were criticised as “divisive” and “nonsensical” and one user said it would appear she had “given up Christianity to join a new and sinister cult”.

Dr Threlfall-Holmes, who was appointed archdeacon last year, also holds a role advising church leaders on implanting safeguarding reforms.

Last October she revealed she was attending a conference on “waking up to and addressing whiteness in the Anglican church”.

The day-long “Racial Justice Conference” in Birmingham was organised by Reconciliation Initiatives, a charity working in partnership with Coventry Cathedral to help churches “contribute to reconciliation in wider society”.

The aims of the conference included: “To encourage white participants to take next steps in facing their own whiteness, and in addressing institutional racism within Anglican churches and provinces.”

The charity also runs a four-week “Being White” course aimed at clergy and lay members who “identify racially as white” to help them address “the ways we are caught up in a system of white superiority and white advantage in UK society”.

‘A way of viewing the world’

When asked about the apparent contradictions in her comments, Dr Threlfall-Holmes told The Telegraph: “I was contributing to a debate about world views, in which ‘whiteness’ does not refer to skin colour per se, but to a way of viewing the world where being white is seen as ‘normal’ and everything else is considered different or lesser.”

Dr Threlfall-Holmes, a historian, added: “I do however understand that this is not a definition that is widely shared as yet outside of academic circles, and regret that Twitter [X] was perhaps not the best place for a nuanced argument.”

She praised the comments of the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Volland, who last week defended the decision of his diocese to oppose a “deconstructing whiteness” officer on the basis that the phrase can be “misleading” and “has nothing to do with knocking or demeaning people who have white skin”.

The use of such terminology has previously been criticised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said it was similar to language used in the television sitcom W1A, which satirised BBC managerial jargon.

The Rev Dr Ian Paul, who is a member of the General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council, has warned that “importing” such language from the culture wars in the US risks “alienating ordinary members of the Church of England”.

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Russian concert hall attack suspects face court in Moscow

Suspects in the Russian concert hall attack that left more than 130 people dead have been charged at a court in Moscow.

Moscow’s Basmanny District Court formally charged Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, 32, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, 30, Mukhammadsobir Faizov, 19, and Shamsidin Fariduni, 25, with committing a group terrorist attack resulting in the death of others.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The court ordered that the men, all of whom are citizens of Tajikistan, be held in pre-trial custody until May 22.

Mirzoyev, Rachabalizoda and Fariduni all admitted guilt after being charged.

The fourth, Faizov, was brought to court directly from a hospital in a wheelchair and sat with his eyes closed throughout the proceedings. He was attended by medics while in court, where he wore a hospital gown and trousers and was seen with multiple cuts.

Earlier, pictures aired by Russian state media showed the suspects, who appeared to be blinded and handcuffed, being pushed and escorted inside by men in camouflage uniforms for interrogation.  

The release of those images came after footage shared by Russian-aligned Telegram channels appeared to show the violent arrest of one of the suspects in a wooded area of Bryansk after apparently fleeing from an escape vehicle on the roadside.

The other three suspects appeared in court heavily bruised with swollen faces amid reports in Russian media that they were tortured during the interrogation by security services.

One suspect, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, had a heavily bandaged ear. Russian media reported on Saturday that one of the suspects had his ear cut off during the interrogation.

Russian authorities on Sunday increased the death toll from Friday’s massacre at the Crocus City Hall concert venue to 137. Three children were said to be among the dead.  

Russia on Sunday observed a day of national mourning for victims of the attack, with flags lowered to half-mast and TV schedules updated to remove advertising and entertainment broadcasting.

The US, meanwhile, has stated that Ukraine had “no involvement whatsoever” with the terror attack and emphasised that “ISIS bears sole responsibility”.

Russia has vowed to stand against “international terrorism”, but has yet to blame the Islamic State and has claimed that the gunmen had links to Ukraine, where it alleges the assailants were attempting to flee to and where “a window had been prepared for them to cross the border”.

The French government is raising its terror alert warning to its highest level following the shootings on Moscow, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said on Sunday after a meeting with senior security and defence officials with President Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Attal said in a post on X that the decision, which comes months before Paris hosts the Olympic Games, was taken “in light of the Islamic State’s claiming responsibility for the (Moscow) attack and the threats weighing on our country”.

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The term ‘blacklisted’ is racist, US warns its spies

US spies, including members of the CIA, have been told the term “blacklisted” is racist in an internal diversity newsletter which also offered advice from a crossdresser.

The guidance has been included in The Dive, a newsletter circulated by the intelligence community’s diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility office.

According to Fox News Digital, which has analysed the document, it is packed with diversity guidance aimed at improving the accuracy of language used by the intelligence community.

One of the articles, discussing linguistic diversity, has urged officials to refrain from using the term “blacklisted”.

This is because it implies “black is bad and white is good”. The term “sanity check” is discouraged because it is disparaging towards people with mental illness.

“Cakewalk” and “grandfathered” are also no longer regarded as acceptable because of their association with slavery.

In another article, an anonymous intelligence officer writes that his crossdressing habit has made him more effective in his role.

“I am an intelligence officer, and I am a man who likes to wear women’s clothes sometimes,” the author wrote. “I think my experiences as someone who crossdresses have sharpened the skills I use as an intelligence officer, particularly critical thinking and perspective-taking.

“It is challenging for some people to understand crossdressing, and non-binary or genderfluid people because gender is a part of overall identity,” he added. “Many of us think of our identities as fixed, and some find this approach to gender threatening to their own identity.”

Crossdressing also enabled him to better understand his female and LGBT colleagues, he said.

In another section of the newsletter, an intelligence officer warned that previous training had conflated Islam with terrorism and cautioned that the language alienated spies’ Muslim-American colleagues.

Hostile reception

The guidance received a hostile reception from Republicans and on social media, with one user dismissing the Biden administration as a “clown show” and another questioning how this helped intelligence gathering.

Jeremy Hunt, a former Army intel officer and the chairman of the national security-focused group Veterans On Duty, was scathing.

“Rather than our primary focus being on protecting the homeland, these absurd attempts to police the language of intelligence assessments to make them politically correct will undoubtedly result in lower quality, imprecise and confusing intelligence reports that leave lawmakers and decision makers less informed and unable to make reasoned judgments,” he told Fox News.

Arkansas Republican senator Tom Cotton, and a member of the Armed Services Committee, described the guidance as concerning.

“Intelligence officers should spend their time finding terrorists, not worrying about whether they will offend them,” he said in a statement.

However, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was unrepentant about the guidance, which was aimed at bolstering its efforts to  “build a diverse and inclusive workforce”.

Diversity and inclusion have been at the forefront of the culture wars sweeping the US.

A raft of Republican-led states have brought in laws to curb the initiatives including withholding grants from universities and colleges until they drop the initiatives from their curriculum and admissions policies.

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Royal health crisis is ‘temporary blip’ for monarchy not ‘seismic change’, say sources

A double health scare which has left the King and Princess of Wales unable to carry out public duties as they undergo cancer treatment is a “temporary blip” and not a “seismic change” for the monarchy, palace sources have said…

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Tackle repeat offenders with ‘five strikes and out’ rule, says leading Tory group

Offenders should face automatic jail sentences after five convictions, under a ten-point plan drawn up by a leading group of Tory MPs to crack down on crime…

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