INDEPENDENT 2024-03-31 10:06:47


Chance Perdomo, star of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, dies at 27

Chance Perdomo, the actor who appeared in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Gen V, has died aged 27.

The news was announced by the star’s publicist, who said on Saturday (30 March): “On behalf of the family and his representatives, it is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Chance Perdomo’s untimely passing as a result of a motorcycle accident.”

Details of the crash are yet to be announced, but nobody else was involved.

The actor most recently appeared in Gen V, the spin-off to Prime Video series The Boys. Perdomo played Andre, a student at a university founded by the sinister organisation Vought International, where superheroes are permitted to train their powers.

After news of Perdomo’s death was announced, the makers of the show, as well as the cast of both Gen V and The Boys, shared a statement saying they were “devastated” by Perdomo’s “sudden passing”.

The statement read: “We can’t quite wrap our heads around this. For those of us who knew him and worked with him, Chance was always charming and smiling, an enthusiastic force of nature, an incredibly talented performer, and more than anything else, just a very kind, lovely person,” the producers of “Gen V” said in a statement. “Even writing about him in the past tense doesn’t make sense.”

Production has been halted on a second season.

Ahead of Gen V, Perdomo played Ambrose Spellman on Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. His character was a cousin to Sabrina Spellman, played by Kiernan Shipka.

Perdomo, who was Black and Latino, was born in Los Angeles and raised in England.

“I was always getting into fights until I put my energy into acting. Then my grades picked up, and I became president of the student union. Before that, I was similar to Ambrose being so pent up. He doesn’t know what to do with his energy because he’s trapped,” Perdomo said in 2018.

“At the same time, he’s very open and loving. I identify with that now more than ever, because being away from family for so long really puts things into perspective. No matter the occasion, if I get that FaceTime or phone call from mom or my brothers, I’m picking it up right away. It’s family first for Ambrose, and I’m the same way,” he continued.

Perdomo also acted in several of the “After” movies and is credited in the upcoming “Bad Man” alongside Seann William Scott and Rob Riggle.

“His passion for the arts and insatiable appetite for life was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth will carry on in those who he loved dearest,” the statement from Perdomo’s publicist said.

Additional reporting by Agencies

Government lawyers say Israel is breaking the law, claims top Tory MP

The UK government has received legal advice that Israel is breaking international humanitarian law, but has refused to confirm it publicly, a senior Tory MP claimed.

Commons Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Alicia Kearns said she was convinced the government had concluded that Israel was not demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law and  “transparency at this point is paramount”.

The Foreign Office said advice on Israel’s compliance with international law was kept under review, but it would remain confidential.

Israel has come under intense international scrutiny over its treatment of Palestinians during the war against Hamas following the October 7 atrocities.

A leaked recording of Ms Kearns disclosed that she believes the Government has received advice that Israel is flouting the law.

Answering questions at an “evening drinks reception” hosted by the West Hampstead and Fortune Green Conservatives in London on March 13, she said: “The Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law but the Government has not announced it.

“They have not said it, they haven’t stopped arms exports.

“They have done a few very small sanctions on Israeli settlers – and everyone internationally is agreed that settlers are illegal, that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, and the ways in which they have continued and the money that’s been put in.”

Arms export licences cannot be granted if there is a clear risk the weapons could be used in a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

On Saturday she stood by the comments, saying: “I remain convinced the Government has completed its updated assessment on whether Israel is demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law, and that it has concluded that Israel is not demonstrating this commitment, which is the legal determination it has to make.

“Transparency at this point is paramount, not least to uphold the international rules-based order.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We keep advice on Israel’s adherence to international humanitarian law under review and ministers act in accordance with that advice, for example when considering export licences.

“The content of the Government’s advice is confidential.”

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has repeatedly said that Israel, as the “occupying power” in Gaza, has responsibilities, including ensuring aid is supplied to civilians.

He has stressed that responsibility has “consequences”, including when the UK assesses whether Israel is compliant with international humanitarian law.

When he appeared in front of Ms Kearns’ committee in January, Lord Cameron was repeatedly questioned about the legal advice he has received.

“I  cannot recall every single bit of paper that has been put in front of me,” he told Ms Kearns.

“I look at everything. Of course, there are a lot of things that have happened where you think surely that was something that shouldn’t have happened.”

Meanwhile, a cross-party group of more than 50 MPs and peers called on the UK to end its pause in funding the UN’s humanitarian relief agency in Palestine.

The UK was among a group of countries which halted funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) amid allegations from Israel that some staff members were involved in the October 7 atrocities carried out by Hamas.

In a letter to Lord Cameron, the MPs and peers called for clarity about why the UK decided to suspend funding and why interim reports from investigations into UNRWA had not been enough to resume the supply of money.

The UK government has said no funding is due from Britain to UNRWA until the end of April and it is awaiting the findings of both a review of the agency by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna and a UN investigation into the October 7 claims.

The letter, from MP Brendan O’Hara, SNP foreign affairs spokesman, and signed by colleagues from all main parties, said funding should be restored “without delay”.

Oxford rower complains over ‘too much poo in water’ as Cambridge win Boat Race

Oxford rower Leonard Jenkins has bemoaned “too much poo in the water” of the Boat Race after members of his team fell ill before a crushing defeat to rivals Cambridge on the River Thames.

Oxford entered the men’s race as significant favourites with the bookmakers, but Cambridge produced a fine performance and clinched victory despite Matt Edge almost collapsing in a scary moment during the closing stages.

Build-up to the race was overshadowed earlier in the week after rowers were warned to not enter the water after E coli bacteria was discovered.

New safety guidance saw teams opt against the traditional celebration for the winning team, where team members jump into the river and the cox gets a ducking.

The River Action campaign group found an average of 2,869 E coli colony-forming units (CFU) per 100ml of water in 16 tests around Hammersmith Bridge, falling well short of the Environment Agency’s inland bathing water quality standards, which state that the level should be below 1,000 CFU per 100ml.

And Jenkins revealed after the defeat that he came down with illness, alongside some of his teammates, on the morning of the race.

“I don’t have any words,” Jenkins told BBC Sport. “We had a clear plan of what we wanted to do. We had a really good set up, the last couple of days have been amazing. It didn’t come together on the day, that’s disappointing. But I couldn’t be prouder of the guys. It’s been a great battle.

“It’s a shame the results doesn’t suit that, Cambridge showed their class and did to us what we wanted to do for them. Maybe experience [was the difference]? I’m not sure.

“I didn’t expect it to be such a big difference. I will also say, it’s in no way to take away from Cambridge. We’ve had a few guys go down pretty badly with the E Coli strain. This morning I was throwing up and I really wasn’t sure there was a chance for me to be in the boat. I kept that quiet, that’s on my shoulders.

“I’m not sure if that was the right choice because I didn’t feel like I had much to give. But it would have been taking one of the top guys out of Isis and ruining their chances.

“I felt like we needed to give them a fair fight. It would have been ideal to not have so much poo in the water. That’s not to take away from Cambridge, I don’t know if we would have had a chance to beat them even if we were all on form.”

Election candidate loses fingertip in dog attack through letter box

A Green Party council candidate had her fingertip bitten off by a dog as she posted a leaflet while on the campaign trail for the local elections.

Danica Priest was leafleting in Bristol ahead of the 2 May poll when the canine pounced as she put her party’s literature through the letter box.

The owners of the dog later returned to find Ms Priest’s fingertip inside their home next to a bloodstained leaflet.

Recalling the harrowing incident in a post on X, she wrote: “Leafleting took a dark turn today unfortunately.

“I have sadly lost half of my finger and am in the hospital waiting to see if they can attach it again.  Luckily I have the amazing @EllieFreemanBS3 with me who stopped everything and drove to be with me.”

Ms Priest, the Green candidate for Filwood, told The Independent she underwent successful reconstructive surgery on Saturday.

She said she was now on the “road to recovery”, adding: “It wasn’t a difficult letter box – I didn’t hear a dog behind the door”.

Ms Priest said she didn’t know what type of dog attacked her, but was later told by its owners that it was not a dangerous dog like an XL Bully and had no history of aggressive behaviour.

The dog owners were able to reach Ms Priest because she had left her contact details with their neighbours.

Colleagues sent their best wishes and urged dog owners to make their letterboxes safer.

“Send healing vibes to our Danica please, nastily injured in the line of campaigning duty,” Emma Edwards,  leader of the Green Group of councillors in Bristol, wrote on X.

“Also, all folk leafletting for local elections currently, the advice to use a spatula is not a joke, spatulas save fingers (I actually have a spatula missing a corner from a dog bite ).”

Patrick McAllister, a Green councillor in Bristol,  also wished Ms Priest a speedy recovery and warned activists to take care while out leafleting.

“Hoping for a swift recovery for Danica; this is an awful injury and incredibly unlucky,” he wrote on X.

“A good reminder to all campaigners to use an implement like a spatula or wooden spoon to post your leaflets. I had to retire my first spatula because a dog took a bite from it.”

Revealed: Seven household bills going up — and the only one going down

Families in England are about to be hit by a raft of price increases on household essential bills as firms roll out their annual April 1 price increases.

Council tax, road tax, broadband, mobile, water and even stamps are all about to sharply jump in price with people urged to check for savings by comparing companies and investigating if they are entitled to any discounts.

Here are all the changes expected on or around April 1:

The average annual council tax bill will rise by £106 this year as local authorities seek to maximise revenue to pay for struggling frontline services.

The bill for an average Band D property will increase by 5 per cent to £2,171, according to statistics released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Council taxes are rising by various amounts in Wales, from around 5 per cent in Torfaen to more than 11 per cent in Pembrokeshire, but the SNP has promised to freeze council tax across Scotland until 2025.

The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales will rise by 6 per cent to £473 a year from April 1.

Wessex Water and Anglian Water are at the top end of the scale, with average bills set to increase to £548 and £529 respectively, while Northumbrian customers will see the lowest average bills of £422.

Water UK said the funds raised by increased water bills were guaranteed only to fund improvements in water and sewerage systems, and bills would automatically be reduced by the regulator if they were not delivered.

Water UK chief executive David Henderson said: “Next year will see record levels of investment from water companies to secure the security of our water supply in the future and significantly reduce the amount of sewage in rivers and seas.”

He said anyone with worries should contact their water company and assured customers that firms would never cut anyone off or “make them use a prepayment meter”.

Most broadband deals and mobile phone contracts will rise by a “completely unacceptable” 7.9 per cent on April 1.

Many of the biggest broadband firms – such as BT, EE, Plusnet, Shell Energy, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone – raise prices every April in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Retail Price Index (RPI) – announced as February as 4 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively – plus an additional 3 per cent, 3.7 per cent or 3.9 per cent.

Uswitch calculated that the increase would cost the individual consumer around £27.19 more a year for broadband and £24.23 for mobile bills on average.

Richard Neudegg, director of regulation at Uswitch.com, said: “There is hope on the horizon, with Ofcom currently weighing up a new ban on inflation-linked and percentage-based price hikes.

“All mobile and broadband customers should check to see if they are in or out of contract, and consider switching to a cheaper deal as soon as they are able to prevent overpaying.

“This is especially true for anyone who hasn’t moved in the past 18 or 24 months as you’re very likely to be at or nearing the end of your contract and significantly cheaper options will be out there.

Similar to its broadband and mobile contracts, EE is increasing the cost of its subscription television service by 7.9%. EE TV, previously known as BT TV, allows customers to access free-to-air channels as well as premium channels such as TNT Sports, previously BT Sport.

Virgin Media’s 8.8 per cent increase is also extended to its subscription television service and Sky will increase prices by an average of 6.7 per cent for television customers from April 1.

Separately, the annual cost of a TV Licence will rise to £169.50 from April 1, up from £159, which viewers need to pay to watch or record live TV shows on any channel, regardless of the device used. This includes watching anything via BBC iPlayer.

The government confirmed in the Autumn Statement that vehicle excise duty, or road tax, will rise in line with the RPI from April 1.

For cars registered after April 1 2017, it means the tax is likely to rise from its current level of £180 per year to approximately £190 per year. However, older vehicles or vehicles which emit higher levels of carbon dioxide will pay more.

The price of stamps will increase in April 2, first-class stamps by 10p to £1.35 and second-class stamps by 10p to 85p.

English patients will be hit by an increase of 4 per cent, which means a standard check-up will cost £1 more, at £26.80.

NHS Dental services are free for all children under 19 and can be free for pregnant people or if you are on certain benefits.

On a more positive note, the average household energy bill is to fall to its lowest point in two years from April 1 after Ofgem lowered its price cap in response to wholesale prices.

The regulator is dropping its price cap by 12.3 per cent from the current £1,928 for a typical dual fuel household in England, Scotland and Wales to £1,690, a decrease of £238 over the course of a year or around £20 a month.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “From April 1, millions of people will face price hikes, including on broadband, mobile, water and council tax bills – and these come just a few weeks after train ticket prices increased for many.

“However, there are ways to cut costs in the face of these price rises and keep your household bills as low as possible.

“Our research shows that switching providers if you’re out of contract can slash broadband, pay TV and mobile bills by up to £187. It’s also worth checking if you’re eligible for any council tax reductions or exemptions and could save money by installing a water meter.”

A Treasury spokesperson said: “Our decisive action has meant that inflation has more than halved to 3.4% and is forecast to fall back to the two percent target within the next three months – a full year ahead of expectations. That is protecting households around the country from higher costs.

“Thanks to changes at autumn statement and a second national insurance tax cut in April, we’re putting £900 a year back into the average worker’s pocket. This is on top of one of the largest cost of living support packages anywhere in Europe over recent years, worth an average of £3,800 per UK household between 2022 and 2025”.

Political parties must say no to donations from rich benefactors

Openness is the first defence against corruption. In a liberal democracy, people should be free to give money to political causes that they support. That means there is a danger that rich people will seek to use donations to secure advantages from parties in government. Which is why laws requiring the disclosure of donations are so necessary.

It is surprising, looking back, that it was not until the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 that parties were required to publish the amounts of donations they received and the names of donors. Before then, the Conservative Party – the main recipient of large private donations – thought it was fine to accept donations in secret, including from abroad.

It is equally surprising that when the Labour government brought in this law, it left a loophole, in that loans did not have to be declared – and it took advantage of this loophole in raising money for its 2005 election campaign. Neither main party has a monopoly of virtue on this subject.

Will Tory failure to help renters cost them even more votes?

The Renters (Reform) Bill is becoming a landlords’ charter, according to campaigners for the rights of tenants in the private rented sector. Michael Gove, the housing secretary, has written to Conservative MPs announcing changes to the bill to “bolster landlord protections” in the hope that these will overcome the resistance to the planned law.

The revised bill started its parliamentary passage in the House of Lords this week and will come before the Commons after the Easter recess.

The bill had been delayed by the threat from a group of pro-landlord Tory MPs to vote against it. They argued that the abolition of “no-fault” evictions would tilt the balance too much in favour of tenants and make private renting uneconomic for landlords, forcing them to sell.