The Telegraph 2024-04-18 16:00:39


Live Iran threatens to build nuclear bomb if attacked by Israel

Iran said it could review its “nuclear doctrine” in an apparent threat to build an atomic bomb if attacked by Israel.

“A review of our nuclear doctrine and politics as well as considerations previously communicated is entirely possible,” Ahmad Haghtalab, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander in charge of nuclear security, said on Thursday.

It is the first time Iran has explicitly mentioned its suspected nuclear weapons program since it attacked Israel on the weekend.

Experts have warned that Iran is on the “threshold” of becoming a nuclear power and that it is capable of building a bomb in six months to a year.

Iran has always claimed that its nuclear enrichment sites are for civilian purposes. 

The move comes amid fears of an Israeli attack in retaliation for Iran launching more than 300 drones, rockets and missiles on its territory last weekend. 

Mr Haghtalab warned that Iran would “definitely” reciprocate any Israeli attack on its nuclear sites.

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Criminal case review body apologises to man jailed for 17 years over rape he did not commit

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has offered an “unreserved apology” to Andrew Malkinson for its handling of his case after he spent 17 years in prison for a rape he did not commit.

The apology comes after an independent review of the case by Chris Henley KC.

Helen Pitcher, chairman of the CCRC, said: “Mr Henley’s report makes sobering reading, and it is clear from his findings that the commission failed Andrew Malkinson. For this, I am deeply sorry. I have written to Mr Malkinson to offer him my sincere regret and an unreserved apology on behalf of the commission.

“There may have been a belief that I have been unwilling ever to apologise to Mr Malkinson, and I want to clarify that this is not the case. For me, offering a genuine apology required a clear understanding of the circumstances in which the commission failed Mr Malkinson. We now have that.

“Nobody can ever begin to imagine the devastating impact that Mr Malkinson’s wrongful conviction has had on his life, and I can only apologise for the additional harm caused to him by our handling of his case.”

Mr Malkinson applied to the CCRC asking for his case to be referred to the Court of Appeal, but was rejected twice.

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Police must investigate ex-Tory MP over £5,000 ‘ransom’ phone call, say Labour

Sir Keir Starmer has called for the police to investigate Mark Menzies after he lost the Conservative whip while the Tories look into claims he misused campaign funds.

Sir Keir, the Labour leader, told reporters during a visit to Teesside: “There are obviously a lot of unanswered questions in relation to these allegations. 

“Not least why it seems the Conservative Party took so long to act and whether they’ve reported this to the police, who it seems to me should be involved in this.”

Mr Menzies, the MP for Fylde, is alleged to have used thousands of pounds given by donors to fund medical expenses and to have made a late-night call to a 78-year-old aide asking for help because he had been locked up by “bad people” demanding money for his release.

Mr Menzies disputes the allegations reported by The Times. 

A spokeswoman for Simon Hart, the Tory Chief Whip, said Mr Menzies had “agreed to relinquish the Conservative whip, pending the outcome of an investigation”. He has also been suspended from his unpaid role as a Government trade envoy. 

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The Conservative Party is investigating allegations made regarding a Member of Parliament. This process is rightfully confidential.”

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Live Post Office Horizon response ‘could be seen as cover-up’, legal chief admits – watch live

The Post Office’s response to the presence of bugs in Horizon could be seen as a “cover-up”, a legal executive has admitted.

The inquiry was shown evidence of an apparent lack of effort to find out what the Post Office already knew about three bugs after they were highlighted in a 2013 report by forensic accountants Second Sight.

Rodric Williams, who remains the Post Office’s head of legal for dispute resolution and brand, was asked if it was true that the Post Office had “entered a cover-up mode” in response to the report.

Mr Williams replied: “I think what you’re asking is, could somebody see that? I think somebody probably could see that.”

He added: “To do that [cover-up] requires a positive decision and I’m not aware of that decision having been made, or communicated to me, or I became aware of that in any way.”

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Confessions of a Shopaholic author Sophie Kinsella reveals brain cancer diagnosis

Sophie Kinsella, the Confessions of a Shopaholic author, has revealed she is suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The 54-year-old novelist, whose real name is Madeleine Wickham, announced her diagnosis of glioblastoma in a post on social media on Wednesday.

Kinsella said she is receiving ongoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy at University College Hospital in London.

In a written statement on Instagram, she said: “I’ve wanted for a long time to share with you a health update and I’ve been waiting for the strength to do so. At the end of 2022, I was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of aggressive brain cancer.

“I did not share this before because I wanted to make sure that my children were able to hear and process the news in privacy and adapt to our ‘new normal’.

“At the moment all is stable and I am feeling generally very well, though I get very tired and my memory is even worse than it was before.

“I am so grateful to my family and close friends who have been an incredible support to me, and to the wonderful doctors and nurses who have treated me.”

Kinsella thanked her readers for their “constant support”, adding that their response to her latest book, The Burnout, published in October 2023, has “buoyed” her.

She first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series called The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic.

The first two novels in the eight-book series were adapted for the Confessions of a Shopaholic film starring Isla Fisher in 2009.

Fisher responded to Kinsella’s post and said: “Sending you so much love and healing energy.”

Kinsella has five children and is married to Henry Wickham. He works as her business manager, according to LinkedIn.

She has sold over 45 million copies of her books in more than 60 countries, which have been translated into over 40 languages, according to her website.

Kinsella concluded her written statement with a message to other cancer patients.

She said: “To everyone who is suffering from cancer in any form, I send love and best wishes, as well as to those who support them.

“It can feel very lonely and scary to have a tough diagnosis, and the support and care of those around you means more than words can say. I’ll be in touch soon, and in the meantime, greetings from sunny London.”

Kinsella wrote her first novel under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, aged 24 while working as a financial journalist. The Tennis Party became a top ten bestseller.

She was born in London and studied music at New College, Oxford, but switched to Politics, Philosophy and Economics after a year.

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Downing Street appears to drop Rwanda flights pledge

Downing Street appears to have dropped its target of getting the first Rwanda migrant deportation flights off this spring.

Rishi Sunak’s spokesman refused four times to say whether the target would be met after the passage of the Government’s Rwanda Bill through Parliament was blocked by peers for a fourth time on Wednesday. Its final stages have been delayed until Monday.

Asked whether spring remained the target date for flights, the spokesman said: “The timetable that we previously set out was factoring in plenty of time for parliamentary debate. But obviously the Bill has continued to be delayed.

“We’re working at pace to ensure these flights leave as soon as possible, but it’s now incumbent on the Lords to pass this Bill so that we can get flights off as soon as possible.”

Mr Sunak has consistently said he wants the deportation flights to start this spring, but migrants earmarked for the first flights cannot be notified until the Bill gains Royal Assent. There is then a legal appeal process required by law for the migrants, scheduled to take four to eight weeks.

The latest delay came after the Lords voted for two amendments to the legislation, sending it back to the Commons for a fourth time.

The standoff over demands to exempt Afghans who worked with the UK military and to tighten checks on whether Rwanda remains safe for asylum seekers – has put back the passing of the Bill until Monday.

Following backbench criticism that the Government had not forced votes “around the clock” to get the Bill through, ministers indicated that they would aim to complete the process on Monday even if the Lords seeks to reinstate its amendments.

The Government indicated on Thursday, however, that it would not be making any concessions on changes to the Bill requested by the Lords.

The proposal to exempt Afghan staff who worked with the British has been backed by three former chiefs of the defence staff as well as a former chief of the general staff and a former chief of the naval staff.

Mr Sunak’s spokesman said: “The amendment is unnecessary. We already have safe and legal routes for people in this category. It’s one of the most generous safe and legal routes that we have, in fact. We are proud that we have relocated over 16,000 people to safety through the scheme so far.”

He said the amendment would “create an unnecessary and dangerous incentive for these people to travel here illegally, which is precisely what this Bill is trying to avoid”.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, has said the Government’s Rwanda scheme would not work regardless of how asylum seekers travelled to the east Africa country amid reports that the RAF could be used.

Asked whether he thought RAF aircraft should be used to deport asylum seekers, he told broadcasters: “I think the Government should be concentrating on how they are going to stop small boats from arriving in the first place rather than wasting time and money, taxpayers’ money, on a gimmick, however they travel to Rwanda.

“There are tens of thousands of people waiting to have their claims processed and the Government is talking about removing a few hundred. More people came in one day last week than this entire scheme will remove under its current provisions.”

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Prince William promises to look after Princess of Wales on return to royal duties

Prince William promised to look after the Princess of Wales as he made his first public appearance since her cancer announcement a month ago.

The Prince gave a helping hand loading food and cooking in the kitchen at Surplus to Supper, a food distribution charity in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey.

Rachel Candappa, a 71-year-old volunteer, handed two get well soon cards to the Prince, addressed to the King and the Princess. The Prince said: “Thank you, you are very kind”.

When Ms Candappa told the Prince to look after his wife, the 41-year-old placed his left hand on her shoulder and said: “I will.”

Speaking afterwards, she said: “I was at home at 8.30 last night and I thought I had to do something – this is a chance to give a card directly to the palace officials. I didn’t think I’d be able to give the cards to William.

“I said: ‘Can I shake your hand?’. I loved it, he was very down to earth. I’m never washing my hand again.

“He pointed at the food and said: ‘That’s spaghetti hoops.’ I asked ‘how do you know about spaghetti hoops’ and he said: ‘I’ve got children.’”

Ms Candappa added she had only finished writing her get well soon cards at 1am.

She revealed that the text written inside the car read: “Nation’s hearts were broken when you very courageously went on the global stage on your own to talk about your personal health issues.

“With no trimmings or flowering around issues, you gave the few chosen words to assure anyone who cares to listen that you will fight this dreadful ‘C’ disease. You must have had a lot of steel in you to hold it together.”

Surplus to Supper is based at Sunbury Cricket club, and the Prince told his hosts that his son Louis loves the sport.

Inside, he saw volunteers sorting out items including soap, handwash and make-up, telling Claire Hopkin, the operations director of Surplus to Supper, that he was surprised “how much we throw away”.

The prince also helped out in the kitchen with Mario Colfait, a chef who was making bolognese, sausage casserole and chilli con carne.

He pulled on an apron called out: “It smells good in here, Mario” before being handed a large knife and asked to slice celery for the pot.

The Prince joked that he was worried about slicing off his fingers. He said: “It’s the biggest knife, hope for the best,” adding: “I don’t want to mess up everyone’s lunch. I hope I haven’t ruined your lunch, but you can blame me.”

The kitchen cooks “culturally appropriate” food, which delivered to families in a five-mile radius and includes frozen meals for care homes.

The Prince had privately given the charity a box of unused food taken from the kitchen cupboards at Adelaide Cottage.

The visit marked his first official appearance since the Princess of Wales, 42, announced on March 22 that she was undergoing a course of preventative chemotherapy treatment.

She revealed in a video message that, following successful abdominal surgery in January, post-operative tests found that “cancer had been present”.

The statement was released to coincide with the end of the school term, allowing the Prince and Princess to shield Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five, from the ensuing publicity.

The family decamped to their Norfolk home for the school holidays, but returned to Windsor in time for the children to go back to school on Wednesday.

The Prince’s last public engagement was almost a month ago, on March 19, when he visited Sheffield to promote his Homewards homelessness initiative, though he was spotted last week at an Aston Villa football match with Prince George.

He is expected to maintain a reduced timetable, as he has since the beginning of the year, as he juggles work with supporting his wife and children while the Princess’s cancer treatment continues.

The Prince’s focus on food waste is reflective of one of the key priorities of his Earthshot Prize. The reduction of food waste helps protect the environment by reducing emissions from landfill.

Founded in 2017, Surplus to Supper redistributes more than three tonnes of surplus food every day to hundreds of local projects such as foodbanks, charities, schools, and community organisations.

It relies on 200 volunteers to collect food that would otherwise go to landfill from local retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and caterers before redistributing it to those most in need.

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