INDEPENDENT 2024-04-03 01:11:48


Photo agency explains editor’s note on Kate cancer diagnosis video

Visual media agency Getty Images has been forced to explain why it added an editor’s note to the video in which the Princess of Wales revealed her cancer diagnosis.

The note was spotted on Monday and immediately sparked a reaction online, coming after recent controversies regarding the release of edited photos by the royal family. A Mother’s Day photo of Kate with her children was withdrawn by international agencies as the palace admitted it had been digitally altered.

The new note, placed on Getty’s version of the video in which Kate told the nation about her cancer diagnosis, read: “This handout clip was provided by a third-party organisation and may not adhere to Getty Images’ editorial policy.

Getty did not immediately provide any further details, but has now offered an explanation after some users leapt on the note as an opportunity to further outlandish conspiracy theories around the princess’s condition. “Of course the Kate Middleton video was fake: Getty adds addendum that suggests video was not legitimate… Kensington Palace stumbling around in the dark,” wrote one.

“Getty Images have placed an editor’s note on the video of Kate Middleton where she reveals she has cancer. The note states the footage ‘might not adhere to its editorial policy’. Why on earth have they done this?” a user asked on X, formerly Twitter.

Getty said the way the video was flagged was standard practice for content handed to it by third-party organisations – in this case Kensington Palace.

Some X posts about the Getty video have now been amended with readers’ notes of their own. Under one of the posts is a message that says: “This is a standard disclaimer that Getty Images uses when distributing video provided by a third party.”

It has been disclosed by the palace that BBC Studios recorded the video of Kate announcing her cancer diagnosis to the public on 20 March, just two days prior to its release. BBC Studios issued a short statement confirming that they filmed the video.

“BBC Studios filmed a message from the Princess of Wales at Windsor this week. We would like to wish Her Royal Highness a speedy recovery,” the statement read.

Last month, the Princess of Wales announced in a video statement that she had begun preventative chemotherapy. She told other cancer patients: “You are not alone.”

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous,” Kate explained in the video. “The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventive chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.”

In the video, the 42-year-old said the cancer diagnosis was a “huge shock” for her family.

After her announcement, there has been a global outpouring of support, including from US president Joe Biden, and King Charles III who is also undergoing treatment for cancer.

Earlier a photograph of Kate and her children, taken by the Prince of Wales, was the first to be issued since the princess’s abdominal surgery and was released by the palace to mark Mother’s Day.

The princess publicly took the blame for editing the family photograph and issued a personal apology for the “confusion”.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” Kate said. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C.”

Veteran refuses to pay fine over Hamas sign at South Yorkshire protest

A 77-year-old US military veteran has told a judge he will not pay more than £2,300 in fines and costs after he was found guilty of carrying a sign supporting Hamas at a protest in South Yorkshire.

Michael Rabb, of Boulder, Colorado, was among up to 500 people who had gathered outside Sheffield City Hall for the protest on October 21 2023 over the ongoing Hamas/Israel conflict.

The former fighter pilot was spotted carrying a homemade sign which read “Stand With Hamas, End Israel, Free Palestine,” City of London Magistrates’ Court heard.

District Judge Annabel Pilling was sentencing Rabb after finding him guilty at trial of a charge of displaying an article, namely a sign, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he was a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation.

The judge ordered Rabb to pay a £1,000 fine, which she said was “designed to hurt”, £930 costs and a £400 surcharge.

Rabb, who stood throughout sentencing, responded: “No judge, I’m not going to pay. I refuse to pay.”

He was then warned by the judge, who said he had “extremely strongly held views”, that he may find himself in contempt of court and was given seven days to make the payout in full.

Hamas is a proscribed organisation under the Terrorism Act and the prosecution had said it was not necessary for Rabb to show support for the group in order to take part in the peaceful public protest.

The protest was staged two weeks after Hamas’s deadly October 7 attack on Israel.

In sentencing, the judge told Rabb that he was of previous good character and that in having “served for your country you have had exemplary character”.

She added “it is clear that you did not appreciate that Hamas was a proscribed organisation” and that Rabb had been “peaceful and co-operative” during the investigation, which did not find him in possession of any terrorist-related material.

Rabb told the court: “I am a 77-year-old USA citizen, a veteran who has served as a fighter pilot for the US Navy in Vietnam.

“I know what it is to do military actions. I have been engaged in the struggle to free Palestine for several years and participated in several missions to Palestine. I have been to Gaza and know how the people are being genocided by the state of Israel.

“I have been in prison in Israel and deported for my activism. I’m here with you to say ‘Yes, I stand with Hamas’.

“I’m here as a tourist. I’m retired, have a small military pension and social security and that is the way I live.”

Earlier the court had been told that Rabb left the protest after having been spoken to about the sign but later returned.

The sign caused “distress” among organisers, potentially inflamed tensions and the police were asked to step in to talk to him, prosecutor Sebastian Walker said.

He said Rabb had shown no remorse or regret for what he had done.

When Rabb was approached by a uniformed police officer, he said: “What’s the problem. We are standing with Palestine.”

When he was told that he may be committing a terror offence, Rabb asked “It’s against the law to say this?” and added “No way, it cannot be.”

He was later arrested.

Under cross-examination, Mr Walker asked: “Do you accept that to protest against Israel’s actions in the conflict, it was not necessary to specifically talk of your support for Hamas?”

Rabb responded: “I suppose you could say anything you wanted but it was critical to my stance and to the people of Palestine to support and stand with Hamas.

“Hamas took armed resistance to the overwhelming attacks that Israel has been committing for years.”

Rabb told the court that while mass murder was taking place, he was simply holding a sign and carrying out a peaceful non-violent public protest.

He described his actions as a “legitimate act of civil disobedience” which was not disproportionate and claimed his arrest was an attempt to shut down dissent.

Rabb described the use of the Terrorism Act to bring him to court in this way as “arbitrary” and that by any standards of “decency” he should be found not guilty.

Who would want to lead the Tories after electoral wipeout?

Mark Littlewood, who fronts “PopCon” – the right-wing Popular Conservatives which launched themselves, with some fanfare, in February – reportedly thinks that the former home secretary Priti Patel should be the “Truss-style libertarian” candidate in the race to be the next Tory leader.

They just cannot help themselves, can they?

Patel would like to be leader, so she doesn’t want to discourage think-tankers and Conservative MPs from talking up her chances. Several MPs who would like to be leader have adopted the same posture – of cultivating fellow MPs and spending a lot of time talking to local Tory associations without ever explicitly mentioning that there might be a leadership election soon.

Rishi Sunak blames soaring small boat crossings on the weather

Rishi Sunak has blamed calm weather for a record number of small boat crossings this year, despite last year claiming poor weather had nothing to do with a dramatic decrease.

The prime minister’s official spokesman blamed “a range of different reasons” for the fact Channel crossings in the first three months of 2024 were the highest on record, including the weather.

But last year, when Mr Sunak called a press conference to hail a fall in small boat crossings, he simply said “our plan is starting to work”.

Quizzed at the time about “exceptional winds” in the Channel, Mr Sunak said: “Crossings elsewhere in Europe are up by almost a third over a similar time period.” And he insisted that the lower UK figure is down to “the actions we’ve put in place”.

But, questioned on Tuesday about why numbers have now hit a record high, his official spokesman said: “There is a range of different reasons you will see fluctuations in the numbers.

“We have seen increases and we know that criminal gangs will seek to exploit opportunities and weather, and we know that French police are facing increasing violence and disruption on the ground on French beaches.”

It came after the number of migrants arriving in Britain via the Channel in the first three months of 2024 hit 5,435, a 43 per cent increase from the same time last year.

The figure is also around a fifth higher than the total by this point in 2022, the year which saw the highest number of small boat crossings on record.

The soaring numbers raised questions about Mr Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats”, but Downing Street said the PM is still confident he can deliver on the promise.

“We need to keep stepping up our efforts and adapting to the gangs who continually adapt their own tactics, but that’s why, alongside continuing that work, we have to fundamentally break the business model, and that’s what the Rwanda partnership will do,” Mr Sunak’s spokesman said.

Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said the Conservatives had “overseen an unprecedented level of dangerous Channel crossings this Easter bank holiday”.

Mr Kinnock said: “This is complete chaos. It’s time the Tories got a grip.”

The Labour MP called for the government to adopt his party’s plan to chase people smuggling gangs and set up a new returns and enforcement unit.

Last January Mr Sunak set out his five pledges to voters, with one of them being to “stop the boats”.

A key plank of the strategy is the scheme to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, but the legislation to implement that plan was not passed before Easter because peers inflicted a series of defeats on the government and ministers did not seek to rush it through before parliament’s recess.

It will now be considered by MPs when parliament resumes on 15 April, with the Commons likely to undo the latest changes made by the Lords and send it back to the upper chamber.

Russia ‘loses 20 armoured vehicles’ as Kyiv fends off tank assault

Ukrainian drones attacked industrial facilities in the province of Tatarstan, Russian authorities said on Tuesday, claiming 12 people were injured.

The facilities are situated near the cities of Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk, located some 745 miles east of Ukraine, Russian regional authorities said – meaning an attack would be Kyiv’s deepest strike inside Russian territory since the war began more than two years ago.

Ukrainian security and intelligence officials said they targeted a “drone-production site” in Yelabuga, Tatarstan, using Ukrainian-produced long-range drones.

The strike came as US secretary of state Antony Blinken warned that Ukraine is at a “critical moment” in its war with Russia and urgently needs more Western support.

“It is absolutely essential to get Ukrainians what they continue to need to defend themselves, particularly when it comes to munitions and air defences,” Mr Blinken told reporters during a visit to France.

“It’s another reason why the supplementary budget request that President Biden has made to Congress must be fulfilled as quickly as possible.”

JK Rowling’s intervention on trans rights is unnecessarily provocative

It is not that often that an author invites the police to come and arrest them, and certainly not one as famous as JK Rowling. Yet Ms Rowling has felt so moved by the new Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act that she is inviting a form of media martyrdom.

In common with many others, albeit not with her profile and social media reach, Ms Rowling feels strongly that, in the words of her latest viral posting on X (formerly Twitter): “Scotland’s Hate Crime Act comes into effect today. Women gain no additional protections, of course, but well-known trans activist Beth Douglas, darling of prominent Scottish politicians, falls within a protected category. Phew!”

Ms Rowling then goes on to identify various high-profile cases of trans people who’ve committed crimes, mingling them with others who are simply prominent. Ms Rowling states that those she identifies are “men, every last one of them”, and that: “Scottish lawmakers seem to have placed higher value on the feelings of men performing their idea of femaleness, however misogynistically or opportunistically, than on the rights and freedoms of actual women and girls.”

Can the extended childcare scheme boost Tory fortunes?

This week marks the start of the rollout of the government’s much-vaunted expansion of childcare, costing some £4bn a year. According to the education secretary, Gillian Keegan, “by the end of our rollout, this will save working parents on average £6,900 a year, helping 60,000 more people back into work”.

The prime minister has been busily touring classrooms and telling news crews that it’s a “positive and exciting moment”. At the moment, for working parents of three- and four-year-olds, 30 hours of childcare funded by the government is already available, and the expansion of the cover is being rolled out in these phases: