INDEPENDENT 2024-04-04 10:04:13

US tourist, 80, killed in elephant attack while on safari in Zambia

An 80-year-old American woman was killed during a wildlife safari in Zambia after an “aggressive” bull elephant “unexpectedly” charged at the vehicle, the tour operators said.

The incident happened at around 9.30am local time on 30 March at the Kafue National Park in Zambia and the shocking video of the moment was captured and posted on social media.

The video showed the adult male elephant chasing the car which came to a halt as the animal closed in. The elephant then knocked the vehicle over as the guide screamed, “Hey, hey, hey!”

The woman has been identified as Gail Mattson by her family, according to ABC News. Safari operators, Wilderness Destinations, said the elephant “unexpectedly charged” at the vehicle that was on an excursion with six guests and a guide.

“An aggressive bull elephant charged the vehicle carrying six guests and a guide who were on a game drive from Lufupa Camp,” the company said in a statement to ABC News.

“Our guides are all extremely well trained and experienced, but sadly in this instance the terrain and vegetation was such that the guide’s route became blocked and he could not move the vehicle out of harm’s way quickly enough,” Wilderness CEO Keith Vincent said.

The group, which was staying at the Lufupa Camp inside the largest game reserve in Africa, had gone out for a photography tour at the time of the attack, the Telegraph reported.

The park dispatched a helicopter to the scene. The woman was airlifted and transferred to a hospital in South Africa after suffering unspecified injuries. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Four other people received treatment for minor injuries.

An investigation has been launched into the incident by local police and Zambia’s Department of National Parks.

The local authorities and the US embassy in Lusaka are collaborating to repatriate the woman’s body to her family. African elephants are among the largest land mammals on Earth.

M25 forced to close for several hours after crash shuts all four lanes

A stretch of the M25 will remain closed by police for hours due to a collision which left a driver in hospital early this morning.

All four lanes of the motorway have been closed between Junction 6 and Junction 5 near Limpsfield, Surrey, after the crash which happened around 6.55am on Thursday.

Police are now appealing for witnesses after a black Vauxhall Astra crashed before leaving the carriageway and stopping at Water Lane.

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A Surrey Police spokesperson said: “There is currently a full closure of all four lanes of the M25 anticlockwise between Junction 6 and Junction 5. Water Lane is also closed northbound after the junction with Park Road.

“These closures are likely to remain in place for several hours while we gather the evidence required for our investigation into the collision.

“We appreciate that this will unavoidably cause disruption for motorists and apologise for the inconvenience. Officers are working hard to get the lanes reopened as soon as possible.”

A driver was rushed to hospital and is receiving medical treatment. No other injuries were reported, according to Surrey Police.

The force has urged any witnesses with CCTV, dashcam or helmet cam footage of the incident to get in touch by quoting PR/45240037450 via their website or 101.

Prince Harry ‘regretful’ after relationship with Kate ‘collapsed’

Prince Harry is ‘regretful’ after his relationship with Kate broke down ‘spectacularly’, claims a royal expert.

The Duke of Sussex and the Princess of Wales enjoyed a close bond before Harry’s relationship with his family became fractured after he made multiple public bombshell allegations about his relatives.

Kate revealed her cancer diagnosis to the world on 22 March, however it is understood neither Harry nor Meghan were told of the announcement ahead of time, laying bare the extent of the fallout.

Royal biographer Duncan Larcombe told the Mirror: “Bombshell news like Kate’s puts things into perspective and Harry isn’t immune from being filled with regrets and what-ifs. Kate was like the sister Harry never had and he is probably full of regret at how his relationship with her and William has collapsed so spectacularly.”

Harry is set to return to the UK this May to host an event for the Invictus Games, sparking the possibility he will meet with his estranged in-laws as Kate undergoes treatment.

Yesterday, Meghan made her first public appearance since the revelation of Kate’s health condition and read to children at Los Angeles Children Hospital for a ‘literary healing’ session.

Four killed in ‘double tap’ Kharkiv drone attack targeting rescue workers

At least four people have been killed after Russia launched a deadly “double tap” drone strike on the northeast Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, officials have said.

Russia fired 15 drones across the entire region, according to governor Oleh Synehubov, with the majority of the damage sustained by the region’s namesake city.

Footage showed a woman ducking for cover as an Iranian-made “Shahed” drone hit one area in the city, while other images showed a multistorey building with a hole torn in its side.

“Kharkiv experienced a difficult night,” wrote mayor Ihor Terekhov. “The city was attacked by ‘shaheds’ who hit residential buildings.

“One hit a 14-story high-rise building, which led to the destruction of apartments on several floors, as well as damage to the outer wall. As a result of the strikes, there are wounded and dead.”

He added that at least three of those killed were employees of the State Emergency Service who had rushed to the site of the initial attack only to be the victim themselves of a second strike.

Savvy spending guide: 5 ways to shop more mindfully and save money

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. This information is from an independent third party, these are their own views and do not necessarily constitute the views of American Express.

Whether you’re trying to be more sustainable, save money or a bit of both, there’s no doubt that adopting a more mindful approach to shopping has real benefits for us and the planet we live in. So, whether you’re splashing out on a new wardrobe item or the latest piece of tech, how can you ensure you shop savvily, and don’t end up disappointed or having to throw good money after bad?

According to finance coach Ellie-Austin Williams, the founder of financial wellbeing community ‘This Girl Talks Money’ and author of Money Talks: A Lifestyle Guide for Financial Wellbeing, it’s all about having a strategy when it comes to spending.

“A lot of it is just about taking your time to make the decision and being confident that you have explored all the options,” she explains. “Work out what you actually need or want as well as why, do your research, and then buy smartly.” Here Ellie shares her advice for savvy spending, so you’ll never regret a splurge again…

Whether it’s a new tech item for work or one of your hobbies, a vital piece of homeware or a new pair of shoes – investment buying is about adopting a more thoughtful, mindful approach to spending, which will pay off in the long run.

“For me, investment purchases are where you have to spend a little bit more money up front but in the long term, you’ll save money because you’re buying something that will stand the test of time, that’s going to be better quality and is going to meet your needs for a longer period,” says Ellie.

When it comes to things that you use or wear everyday – whether a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or a new sofa – it’s worth making sure you’re buying something that will last. “Sometimes paying a bit more for higher quality materials will mean that something lasts several times longer as something that’s half the price so overall you end up spending less,” says Ellie.

It’s not about spending more money for the sake of it – the best buy won’t always be the priciest one. But when you are looking to drop some cash on something more significant than your small, everyday purchases, it can pay off to spend more upfront.

There’s nothing better than the feeling of buying the right thing, at the right time, for the right price. But too often we can end up feeling like we’ve made a mistake with our purchases. So how should you approach an investment buy?

“I think the key question to ask yourself is, why am I buying this?” says Ellie. “Is this something that I need or want? If it’s something that you want, that’s fine, but know why you want it. Is it something that actually is going to elevate or enhance your life in a valuable way or is it just part of a trend or fad?”

Be realistic with what you can afford, too. When it comes to any non-essential buys, Ellie always recommends prioritising essentials and long-term finances first. “So, figure out how much you want to put into your savings and then look at what’s leftover as disposable income.”

Work out your budget before you start browsing. “There will nearly always be higher end options, as well as cheaper ones, but be focused in your research and look for the best option within that budget,” says Ellie. “If you’re buying a washing machine and your budget is £600, don’t spend time looking at the £1000 machines that have great reviews but you can’t afford.”

Don’t rush it, either. One good strategy for buying bigger or more expensive items is to go home and think about it, or put it in your virtual basket and leave it there for a few days. “It’s good to sit on investment purchases for a little bit,” says Ellie. “A day or two – maybe longer if it’s a bigger purchase. Just to see if you feel the same about it once the initial buzz of the idea has worn off.”

An easy mistake to make with investment buying is assuming you should always go for the more expensive item where possible. The latest phone release might be getting all the headlines – but do you really need everything it offers, or would a lower range or slightly older model suit you just as well?

It’s all about working out what product best suits your needs, says Ellie. “For example, I don’t do a lot of heavy video editing or gaming so I don’t need a super high processing speed laptop and have saved money on that,” she says. “But I do a lot of filming on my phone for my social channels and the lowest level model doesn’t have the best quality camera. So it’s all going to be individual to your specific needs and usage.”

Especially when you’re buying out of your comfort zone, speaking to an online sales advisor or – even better – going into a store can be helpful in pinning down which specific product is going to be right for you. “If you’ve got the time to actually talk to someone with some expertise, that can be really helpful in finding an item that really suits your needs rather than just buying something that’s new and shiny and might require spending more money than you need to. You’ll get the chance to try it out, talk through the product and functions, and look at alternatives.”

Even if you intend to buy online eventually – if you have a specific online or app deal or discount code for example – it’s worth looking at things in person first.

While getting the advice of salespeople is useful, do your own research, too. When it’s a big purchase, make sure you look at independent consumer review websites like Which?, even if you have to pay a small fee to access them.

“Sometimes paying for a subscription to a site like this is worth it if you’re going to spend a lot of money on an item, to get a well-rounded assessment, see the pros and cons in one place and to see it compared to similar products,” says Ellie.

Search online for write-ups in national news titles or specialist magazines, and check out customer reviews on the big retailers’ sites. “I look at the negative reviews just to see if there are any specific complaints that consistently pop up,” says Ellie.

Seek advice closer to home, too. “Getting recommendations from friends and family is a great way to cut through the noise and overwhelm.” Social media can be a great place to ask for opinions and recommendations, including in any relevant social media groups you’re a member of, such as on Facebook or Reddit.

Once you’ve figured out what it is that you need (or want!), make sure that you’re shopping around and buying in the most cost-effective way.

“Google Shopping is a good starting point to compare prices, as it searches a wide range of retailers, including Amazon, Currys, John Lewis and Tesco, as well as less traditional sites such as eBay, Etsy and daily deals site Groupon,” says Ellie. “But use the filters to select retailers that you know and trust. If a price looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Look into price-tracking sites – these have browser extensions that scour the internet for coupons and promo deals and automatically apply them at online checkouts. There are also specific sites that track Amazon prices and show the pricing history so you can see if you’re buying at a good time.

Money Saving Expert have created a special tool to help you find bargain buys in Amazon Warehouse (where you can buy customer returned or slightly damaged products for low prices). Also explore fashion and sale aggregate sites – many of these have discount alert functions, allow you to create watchlists of items from different online retailers, and set target sales prices, so you can maximise your discounts.

“A lot of retailers offer discounts of 10 per cent on your first purchase if you sign up to mailing lists, so that can be worth doing, and you can always unsubscribe later,” says Ellie. If you’re already signed up with a retailer, it’s worth leaving something in your online basket without buying it – sometimes they’ll email you with an offer to tempt you to complete the purchase.

Be clever about when you buy, and hold out for seasonal discounts. “If you don’t need something urgently then it can be worth waiting for one of those calendar moments to see if you can get a discount. The obvious ones are Black Friday and after Christmas, but there can be deals throughout the year.”

And don’t rule out buying pre-loved options via sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. “It’s a great way to get things that are high quality but that are usually out of your price range,” says Ellie, “and many items are sold unworn with tags.”

By making purchases on your credit card, you can take advantage of cashback offers and exclusive retail discounts, making your buy even savvier. “Also make sure that you’re checking the big cashback websites like TopCashback and Quidco before you make any purchases,” says Ellie. “Some retailers are on certain sites but not others so check them all. These are all little things that you can do to help you to save a bit extra.”

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The exercise and lifestyle hacks to crack your peak performance code

Remember the Great Resignation of 2021 when many of us had had enough – and left. Microsoft’s work trend index reported that after a year of the pandemic, four in 10 workers wanted to change jobs in the following year. Now, that’s making way for The Great Exhaustion, when those of us who stayed got tired – really, really tired.

The energy drain we’re feeling isn’t just at work, it’s everywhere. We’re knackered. Frazzled. And it’s stopping us from doing the things that make us healthy, like exercise. Whatever type of tiredness you’re feeling, you’re not alone.

A YouGov report has found that 61 per cent of women feel tired when they wake up, even when they get a lot of sleep, while 49 per cent of men say the same.

Why are Tory MPs rebelling against the Criminal Justice Bill?

The government is facing yet another political embarrassment in the coming weeks, this time a sizeable rebellion on its latest “law and order” bill. And the current Criminal Justice Bill is a very silly bill indeed, according to its critics, at least as it pertains to the difficult issue of rough sleeping.

As has been picked up by the press, it will criminalise “nuisance” rough sleeping, and allow the police to arrest someone if an “excessive” smell is coming from them or their makeshift bedding, or even if they look like they are preparing to sleep rough. A fine of up to £2,500 may be imposed if they refuse to move on. “Insulting words” are also actionable, even though the world of the rough sleeper isn’t well suited to polite discourse about their predicament.

Such odd, if not grotesquely cruel, clauses in the bill have understandably attracted cross-party opposition. The bill has made good progress through the House of Commons so far, but amendments will be tabled when the House returns from recess after 15 April, at the “report” stage. The Lords, a revising chamber designed to improve badly drafted legislation, may also take a view.