INDEPENDENT 2024-04-11 01:06:32


Knifeman shot dead by police after fatal stabbing in Bordeaux

A man armed with a knife has been shot dead by police in Bordeaux after he fatally stabbed one person and wounded another.

The attack happened around 7.50pm on Wednesday at the reflecting pool near the banks of the Garonne river in the southwestern port city.

The stabbing was likely “a brawl with an unknown motive,” with “no terrorist connotation for the moment,” a police source told AFP.

The stabbing victims were both men of Algerian descent, and the injured man is not yet in stable condition, France’s BFMTV reports.

“The quays of Bordeaux, the beating heart of our city, are this evening struck by death,” France’s public accounts minister Thomas Cazenave, who also serves as a municipal and metropolitan counsellor in Bordeaux, wrote on X in French. “I think of the victims, the police officers who intervened and of all of us, Bordelais moved by this tragedy.”

Officials have not described any religious motivation for the attack nor described the knifeman’s religious background.

However, French outlet Sud Ouest reports that the knifeman allegedly accused his two victims of drinking alcohol during the incident, which took place the same day as Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A man named Mohamed, also Algerian, told the outlet he was partying that morning under the arch of the city’s nearby Bir-Hakeim gate with one of the victims and later heard the victim get in a fight with the alleged attacker.

“It was our friend Daoud who was killed,” he said in French in an interview with the publication.  

“There are sometimes knife fights,” he added, “but this time it went too far. We never imagined this could happen.

Another eyewitness told the outlet about seeing police shoot a man holding a knife.

The Bordeaux prosecutor’s office has not yet commented.

Bordeaux’s interdepartmental judicial police service is investigating the case.

The shooting comes at a time of elevated security alertness across France, which is four months away from hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics.

On Wednesday night, a football match in Paris between Paris St-Germain and Barcelona took place under heightened security measures, following a threat from the Islamic State.

Sunak apologises to Samba fans after ‘ruining shoe for everyone’

Rishi Sunak has issued a “fulsome apology” to fans of Adidas Samba trainers after being accused of ruining their credibility when he was pictured in a pair.

The Prime Minister said he has been wearing the German sportswear giant’s classic trainers “for many years”.

In a video posted on social media, Mr Sunak – who claimed he is a “longtime devotee” of the brand – was shown wearing the white trainers during an interview in Downing Street.

British GQ magazine said that “in a bid to present himself as young and hip, Rishi Sunak took an eternally cool sneaker and ruined it for everyone”, while footwear historian Elizabeth Semmelhack told The Times it could prove to be “the death knell” for the retro trainer.

Mr Sunak told LBC Radio “I issue a fulsome apology to the Samba community. But, in my defence, I would say I have been wearing Adidas trainers including Sambas – and others, in fact – for many, many years.

“The first pair my brother got for me many, many years ago – my first pair of fun Adidas trainers as a Christmas present. I haven’t looked back since. So I’ve been a longtime devotee.”

He added: “That pair (in the video) I did buy, but I’ve had Adidas trainers for a very long time.”

But Mr Sunak, who has also faced questions about the short length of his trousers, said he is “intrigued and amused by the amount of focus on what I’m wearing”.

The PM has previously been questioned about his fashion sense – mainly his short trousers.

A clip of the prime minister interviewing Gordan Ramsay went viral in 2021 as millions were drawn to the shortness of his trousers as he sat down.

Mr Sunak’s bespoke tailor, Henry Herbert, defended his fashion style, telling The Independent it “was more professional”.

This time the length of the prime minister’s trousers was brought up by The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole during an interview on Wednesday (3 April).

Mr Sunak said: “Well I don’t think they are that short.”

Pushed on whether he thought his style was trendy, he added: “I tend not to like lots of baggy, baggy stuff at the bottom of my ankle.”

Vennells ‘failed to tell MPs’ over 16 cases where Horizon software made errors

Former Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells failed to tell MPs about 16 investigated cases where the Horizon computer software had made errors more than a decade ago, the inquiry into the scandal has heard.

Questioned by members of parliament in 2012, Ms Vennells said there had not been a case investigated by authorities where the software was found to be at fault.

But, according to Jason Beer KC, lead counsel to the inquiry, there have been 16 reports of bugs in the software or court cases where workers were found not guilty. He asked Tory peer and long-standing advocate for victims of the Post Office scandal James Arbuthnot, who was present at the meeting, if Ms Vennells or other managers mentioned these cases, which appeared to show the software was capable of making mistakes.

The former Conservative MP said she and her colleagues had not mentioned any of them.

One such case dated back to 2006, where a subpostmistress from Northern Ireland was acquitted after successfully claiming the software caused a shortfall.

Post Office bosses had long claimed that the Horizon accounting software was not responsible for shortfalls in accounts and that subpostmasters had been stealing from the company.

Lord Arbuthnot also said he raised the subpostmasters’ plight with the Labour government 15 years ago but was left frustrated by their response, which he summed up as, “No, not me, guv”.

In an explosive testimony, Lord Arbuthnot criticised the actions of former government ministers and Post Office officials and said he was left frustrated at the reply to his 2009 letter to then business secretary Peter Mandelson, which asked for subpostmasters’ complaints over the faulty Horizon IT system to be investigated.

The Tory peer also accused the Post Office of operating a “behind the scenes deception process” and its former chief executive Paula Vennells of keeping key information about the scandal from MPs.

Lord Arbuthnot told the inquiry that the former Labour government avoided responsibility over the scandal, after receiving a letter from junior minister Pat McFadden which suggested the concerns were instead a matter for the Post Office.

He said: “It was clear that the government was saying it was nothing to do with them.”

In the 2009 letter shown to the inquiry, Lord Arbuthnot wrote: “There does appear to be a significant number of postmasters and postmistresses accused of fraud who claim that the Horizon system is responsible, including at least two in my constituency.

“Given the level of impact this has on the personal lives of these postmasters and postmistresses and their families, often involving bankruptcy and significant financial hardship, I should be most grateful if you would let me have your comments on what can be done to investigate the matter.”

Lord Arbuthnot told the inquiry: “Since the government owned the Post Office I assumed that the government would be in the position to sort it out. But they were saying, ‘No, not me, guv’.

“I was frustrated and annoyed. It was clear that the government was saying it was nothing to do with them and I didn’t see at that stage where I could take it.”

Lord Arbuthnot compared the situation to the owner of a dangerous dog refusing to take responsibility for their pet.

He said: “What this ‘arm’s length’ arrangement essentially means is that the government is refusing to take the responsibilities that go with ownership and I don’t think it’s right to do that for various reasons.

“You cannot say that the dangerous dog has an arms-length relationship with you if the dangerous dog behaves badly. The whole process of arms-length control is a dangerous one, it seems to me.”

The Tory peer also criticised the behaviour of the Post Office, claiming that it had intimidated subpostmasters by telling them they were the only people being affected by shortfalls in the Horizon IT system.

“There was something at the back of my mind which continued to trouble me which was the number of these people who were being told ‘you are the only person this is happening to’,” the Tory peer said.

“That struck me as profoundly wrong because at first, it was obviously disprovable, they were not the only people it was happening to. Second, it was isolating those subpostmasters and subpostmistresses so they could not get support from others in the same position.

“And third it had an element of intimidation about it. All of which set the Post Office and its way of operating with its subpostmasters in a bad light.”

Lord Arbuthnot said the Post Office misrepresented a key report from forensic accountancy firm Second Sight in 2014 – which revealed a large number of bugs in the Horizon system – because it was preoccupied with protecting its “existence”.

“They knew there were a large number of bugs in the system that they hadn’t told MPs about,” Lord Arbuthnot told the inquiry.

“They were operating some sort of behind-the-scenes deception process which suggests to me now that they were stringing MPs along in order to preserve the robustness of Horizon, the existence of Horizon, and possibly the existence of the Post Office.”

In his witness statement about the 2014 report, the Tory peer wrote: “[It] contains many points that were damning.”

The Tory peer accused Ms Vennells of trying to “keep information about Post Office scandal from MPs”.

In his witness statement, he said that following the publication of the report, Post Office personnel became “defensive, legalistic and determined to keep from MPs information about which they had previously promised to be open.”

When asked which personnel he was referring to, Lord Arbuthnot told the inquiry: “Well, particularly Paula Vennells.”

Lord Arbuthnot added that it was after the rejection of the report by the Post Office that he and other MPs “essentially broke off relations” because they “couldn’t trust the Post Office anymore”.

The Tory peer had previously said he was “not satisfied” with the “brush-off” he received from Ms Vennells back in 2012, after he wrote her a letter raising concerns about complaints from subpostmasters about the Horizon system.

In his witness statement to the inquiry, the former MP said that Ms Vennells had written an “unsigned letter” which said there was no evidence to support those allegations and she was confident that the system was robust and fit for purpose.

He wrote: “The subpostmasters I had met seemed to me to be transparently honest. I do not remember anyone suggesting to me that the introduction of a new computerised accounting system had uncovered previously hidden fraudsters… I was therefore not satisfied with the brush-off I was getting by way of reply to my letters.”

Lord Arbuthnot’s testimony follows explosive allegations made by Alan Bates, former subpostmaster and head of the Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance, who said the Post Office is an “atrocious organisation” which was run by “thugs in suits” and was willing to do “anything and everything” to hide Horizon IT failures.

Between 1999 and 2015 hundreds of post office managers were prosecuted and handed criminal convictions.

A Post Office spokesperson said: “Our first priority is always to assist the Inquiry in its role to establish the truth. It’s for the inquiry to reach its own independent conclusions after consideration of all the evidence on the issues it is examining.”

Woman told to remove artificial breast by security staff at airport

A woman who had undergone a mastectomy was asked to remove her breast prosthesis in public while going through security scanners at Dublin airport.

Realtán Ní Leannáin was travelling to Donegal when she was left “like a rabbit caught in the headlights” when her artificial breast set off the new scanner technology.

She told BBC NI’s Evening Extra programme: “The security officer didn’t even offer to pat me down. She stood and waited for me to remove the prosthesis.

“I couldn’t actually think. Every time I attempted to rationalise it, I couldn’t.”

When travelling through other airports such as Amsterdam and Glasgow, she had been briefly searched and had been able to explain her situation when a triangle and a warning light appears once the scanner detects the prosthesis.

However, in Dublin she was informed the security officer needed to see her prosthesis, with Ms Ní Leannáin unaware she was able to request a private screening.

“When it was half out she went, ‘Okay, go ahead’. I picked up my bits, sat down for a coffee and that’s when it started to hit me,” she said.

After emailing the DAA, the operator of Dublin airport, she was informed that they “couldn’t give that answer” when she asked for assurances that the incident would not occur again.

She is now asking for airport protocols to be clearly outlined for those in a similar position, with information available on airline websites. She added that it should not be necessary for travellers to ask for private screenings, and should be immediately available.

In response, a DAA spokesperson said that an investigation into the incident found that the “situation should have been handled better”.

“We are very sorry that our passenger had a negative experience when travelling through Dublin Airport recently,” they said.

“All passengers in such situations can request a private screening, which is then facilitated by a trained member of staff.

“Regrettably, this did not happen on the day in question. We offer a full apology to the passenger and can assure her that steps have been taken to ensure a similar situation is avoided in the future.”

Mbappe anonymous as Barcelona edge PSG in Champions League thriller

Barcelona came from behind to claim a dramatic 3-2 first-leg win at Paris Saint-Germain in another thrilling night of Champions League quarter-final action.

After a bright PSG start, Barcelona took control of the tie and Raphinha scored his first Champions League goal when Gianluigi Donnarumma spilled Lamine Yamal’s cross.

PSG were booed off the pitch as the half-time whistle blew at the Parc des Princes but Luis Enrique switched his team’s shape and it led to a stunning turnaround immediately after the restart.

Ousmane Dembele struck a thunderous finish to equalise against his former club and with the momentum now with the hosts, Vitinha cut through Barcelona just two minutes later to give PSG the lead.

But there would be another dramatic comeback, as Raphinha connected with an exquisite volley to drag Barcelona level. Andreas Christensen then came off the bench to head the winner from a corner, giving Barcelona a narrow advantage ahead of the return leg next week.

Here’s what we learned from another thrilling night of Champions League action

Kylian Mbappe disappears as other stars shine in thriller

Another thrilling night in the Champions League, but where was Kylian Mbappe? After the drama at the Emirates and Bernabeu last night, the Parc des Princes staged another stunning quarter-final first leg as Barcelona came from behind to beat PSG and take a lead back to Spain.

There were brilliant attacking performances all over the pitch, particularly from Barcelona forward Raphinha – as the former Leeds attacker scored his first Champions League goals, including an exquisite volley from Pedri’s chipped through ball. At the other end, Ousmane Dembele took charge to lead the fightback after half-time, scoring a rocket of an equaliser against his former club.

Mbappe, though, was largely anonymous, barely having a touch let alone an electric dribble or chance apart from a late, late shot that deflected wide. A burst of pace rescued the ball from the byline, just before Dembele lashed into the roof of the net, but that was it and Jules Kounde, Mbappe’s international teammate, did an outstanding job in marking him.

Mbappe is expected to leave PSG at the end of the season, and if this was his last Champions League appearance in Paris, it was a flat way to go out.

Barcelona expose PSG’s soft centre as Donnarumma struggles

Another hugely disappointing night for Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, with defensive frailty at the heart of the problem once again in a big knockout tie.

At the centre of it was goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who never looked comfortable dealing with crosses as Barcelona targeted the Italy international with a series of inswinging deliveries early on. Donnarumma did not cover himself in glory when he spilled Yamal’s cross, leading to Raphinha’s opener, and he then failed to command his box late on as Christensen headed Barcelona into the lead. It had been coming.

There were problems in front of Donnarumma, too, caused by a terrific all-round centre-forward display from Robert Lewandowski. The 35-year-old was excellent with his back to goal, winning his duels with Marquinhos and Lucas Beraldo, turning brilliantly to take three PSG players out of the game in the move that led to Raphinha’s opener.

As for PSG, where was the defensive resilience and solidity? It has cost the Parisians in the Champions League once again.

Xavi and Luis Enrique face off in thrilling tactical battle

This was a night for the impact substitute. Both Xavi and Luis Enrique were able to change the rhythm and momentum of the game with their substitutions, leading to an absorbing contest between the managers on the touchline, as well as the players on the pitch.

Barcelona manager Xavi more than held his own against his former Barca boss Enrique, and his choice of starting line-up allowed the visitors to take control of their quarter-final. Xavi also switched up his tactics, going direct to Robert Lewandowski, who PSG could not deal with in the opening stages.

But Enrique took action at half-time, seizing control back from Barcelona as he took off the ineffective false nine Marco Asensio and brought on Bradley Barcola. The move freed up Dembele to lash in his stunning equaliser, before Vitinha gave PSG the lead just two minutes later.

Xavi then replied with his own adjustment, taking off Lamine Yamal and bringing on Pedri to help steady Barcelona in midfield. The change produced an instant impact – as the former Kopa Trophy winner set up Raphinha’s equaliser with a wonderful chip over the PSG defence.

Then came yet another twist. Barcelona had been causing PSG problems all night with their inswinging corners, so the introduction of a tall centre-back in Andreas Christensen was Xavi’s next move, and the defender soon headed Barcelona back into the lead.

Barcelona’s teenage stars shine on the big stage

What a night this was for Barcelona’s legendary academy, La Masia, as history was made at the Parc des Princes. Lamine Yamal, at 16, became the youngest player to start a Champions League quarter-final. Pau Cubarsi, at 17, became the second youngest, as he lined up at the heart of the defence.

Yamal has been a breakout star this season, already playing a starring role for the Spanish national team, so it was Cubarsi who arguably made the biggest impression with a remarkably assured and confident display at centre-back. Cubarsi was composed on the ball and rarely put a foot wrong. Barcelona have another gem on their hands.

Pedri also deserves a mention. The 21-year-old has had a terrible time with injuries since he broke through to the first team as a teenager two years ago, so his assist for Raphinha’s equaliser was a wonderful reminder of his own talent.

Haller’s goal gives Dortmund hope against Atletico

Borussia Dortmund created their own problems at Atletico Madrid as defensive mistakes gave the German side a mountain to climb, but Sebastian Haller’s late goal offered a lifeline at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Dortmund gifted Rodrigo de Paul an opener after four just minutes in Madrid, before another mix-up at the back allowed Antoine Griezmann to set up Samuel Lino to add a second shortly after the half-hour mark.

Haller’s instinctive turn and finish sets up an intriguing return leg in Dortmund next week – changing the momentum of the tie as Julian Brand went close to grabbing an equaliser in stoppage time with a header that crashed off the crossbar.

M&S tried to advertise furniture – they ended up bolstering rival Aldi

Marks and Spencer’s has been left red-faced after using a bottle of wine from long-term rival Aldi in a new garden furniture advert.

The supermarkets have been locked in bitter court disputes in the past over Aldi’s copycat products, including their ‘Cutherpert’ version of the M&S Colin the Caterpillar cake.

Their feud has now reignited after the German budget retailer poked fun at M&S for accidentally using its wine in an online furniture campaign.

The M&S gaffe saw a bottle of Specially Selected Côtes De Provence Blanc – sold by Aldi – placed in the centre of the £699 furniture set alongside glasses and some nibbles.

Aldi highlighted the embarrassing marketing blunder by posting a screenshot of the garden table advert on Twitter/X, saying: “Drink Aldi wine pass it on.”

The wine, which sells for £7.49 at Aldi, is currently out of stock as shoppers flew to their website to have taste.

The savvy social media post has garnered over 14,000 likes and 1.2 million views on X since it was posted on Tuesday morning.

Bemused shoppers praised Aldi’s social media team with one commenting: “This has won the internet debate today”. Another asked: “Is this enemies to lovers?”

The two supermarkets have been at odds before over other products such as the iconic M&S Colin the Caterpillar cake. M&S took legal action against Aldi in 2021 over its looking version named Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake.

The retailers reached an out-of-court agreement in November 2022 which saw the budget supermarket forced to alter the cake’s appearance.

However, in February 2023, Aldi lost a separate court battle over their festive gin bottles, in which the High Couty ruled they had infringed M&S’s copyright with similar bottles finished with gold flakes and an LED light.

An M&S spokesman said: “Sometimes you regret asking guests to BYOB – this one is fine for a prop but if you’d prefer to enjoy a top-quality bottle of award-winning rosé with your new garden furniture, we’d recommend our gorgeously fruity and aromatic Collection Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire rosé – an absolute must for lovers of pink drinks in the sunshine!”

Donald Trump’s plan for peace in Ukraine means no peace at all

It cannot have been a great surprise to the foreign secretary, David Cameron, that Donald Trump showed such little interest in supporting Ukraine’s war of resistance. Had Mr Trump wanted to see Ukraine receive the military assistance that Kyiv has been begging for, and which remains stalled in the House of Representatives, he’d have given it the nod months ago, and the Republican caucus would have responded with alacrity.

The fact that Trump’s puppet, speaker of the House Mike Johnson, couldn’t find time in his diary to speak to His Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office speaks volumes for the indifference America feels for its allies and the weakness of the now almost satirically-styled “special relationship”.

We’re learning, if we had not already, the full gruesome nature of what lies behind the slogan “America First”. Mr Trump, as he’s already practically admitted, is not interested in helping President Biden get his plan through Congress; nor is he much bothered about the territorial integrity of Ukraine. He plainly regards the war as a waste of money and a lost cause – indeed, a cause for which he feels little sympathy.

How deep does the ‘honeytrap’ plot go?

It is not quite a week since the (now ex-Conservative) MP William Wragg confessed to the press that he’d been the victim of a “honeytrap” blackmail plot. Someone he’d met on the Grindr dating website had pressured him into giving the contact numbers for (about 20) politicians and journalists. Some have come out and described the strange, unsolicited messages and/or rude photographs sent to them.

After initially treating Wragg as a victim and taking no action against him, there are reports that some in the cabinet believe there should have been more serious consequences for his foolishness. Other colleagues and former colleagues have been even less generous. It appears that Wragg is in an emotionally vulnerable position and his allies feel that a duty of care and some compassion would be appropriate.

In the last few days, Wragg has voluntarily stepped down from his positions as vice-chair of the backbench 1922 Committee and chair of the House of Commons select committee on public administration and constitutional affairs, in which role Wragg was seen asking the prime minister if he was “part of the deep state”. He has now also renounced the Conservative whip, reportedly of his own accord. He announced in November 2022 that he would not contest the next election; his seat will, in any case, almost certainly fall to the Liberal Democrats. It’s not clear if Wragg remains a now ironic member of the Conservative Common Sense Group: probably not.