INDEPENDENT 2024-04-29 01:05:05


New human remains discovered after torso found wrapped in plastic at nature reserve

Police have discovered more human remains in two locations after widening a murder investigation in a nature reserve in Salford following the discovery of a torso.

In a news conference early on Sunday, police revealed they had extended their search area to include four different spots after “uncovering more intelligence” relating to the investigation.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) launched the case after a civilian found a torso wrapped in clear plastic at Kersal Wetlands in Salford on 4 April. The victim was believed to be a white male older the age of 40, who had been dead for a matter of days.

Two men, aged 42 and 68, were arrested on suspicion of murder earlier this week, while a 20-year-old man previously arrested was released on bail pending inquiries. Officers have also searched a property in Worsley Road, Winton, where they believe the victim and the two suspects lived.

In their latest update, the GMP said they believe the torso belonged to a man in his 60s and they have informed his family about his death.

The subsequent remains were found by officers at Blackleach Reservoir and a dog walker at Linnyshaw Colliery Wood, both in Salford, on Sunday and Saturday evening respectively

Earlier, Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, of GMP’s Serious Crime Division, said they had “uncovered more intelligence” and were expanding their search to include four scenes.

They included Worsley Road, Blackleach Reservoir, Linnyshaw Colliery Wood and Mitchell Street in Bury.

“As we close the net further on this investigation and uncover more intelligence, I want to reassure our communities we are doing everything in our power to ensure we obtain every bit of available evidence,” he said.

“Our investigation so far has been a far-reaching and painstaking process, trawling through hundreds of hours of CCTV alongside recording several accounts from the public around the circumstances.

“The four scenes in place are to make sure we investigate thoroughly and continue with our good progress and remain committed to keeping you updated as and when we make further developments.”

Hundreds of officers, as well as divers and search dogs, have been combing the area by the nearby River Irwell since the torso was discovered.

The victim’s identity was unclear for quite some time, despite a scan of DNA databases. Police previously said the remains, which include the bottom of the back, buttocks and thigh, had no distinguishing marks. They have informed his next of kin after discovering his identity this weekend.

DS Hughes said: “I also recognise the details of this case will have been particularly distressing for the people of Salford and beyond, including our officers who have worked diligently to progress this investigation, and most importantly, to the man’s heartbroken family.

“Local officers will continue to patrol the affected areas and we will provide updates when we have information.”

The two suspects are currently in extended custody. The 42-year-old was arrested as officers boarded a bus in Eccles Old Road on Friday. The older suspect was arrested at a property nearby.

Additional reporting by PA

Pizzas? Croissants? National dishes that aren’t from where you think

The news that the world has America, not Italy, to thank for the tomato base on pizza has gone down about as well as putting cream in carbonara among Italian gastro-nationalists.

In a new book called La Cucina Italiana Non Esiste (literally “Italian Cuisine Does Not Exist”), food historian Alberto Grandi claims, among other things, that Italians only discovered tomato sauce when they emigrated to the Americas, where tomatoes are native, in the 19th century.

“Pizza became red in America,” Grandi told La Repubblica newspaper. “Before that it was plain focaccia, sometimes adorned with pieces of tomato.”

It’s not the first time that Grandi, who teaches business history and the history of European integration at Parma University, has taken to the press to debunk myths about his own country’s (famously defended) cuisine. He’s made a career out of it.

In an interview with the FT last year, he said that everything from parmesan and panettone to carbonara and tiramisu weren’t fundamentally Italian. Perhaps most controversially, he claimed that parmesan produced in Wisconsin was more authentic than Italy’s because it was closer to the original cheese produced in Parma-Reggio a millennium ago. A brave man, indeed.

While the journalist, herself Italian, said hearing a food expert say that her national cuisine is “based on lies” was like being let in on an unspeakable family secret, others, naturally, were furious. Coldiretti, a powerful and somewhat frightening agricultural body in Italy, described the article as “a surreal attack on the symbolic dishes of Italian cuisine”. On his equally divisive podcast, Grandi joked that he should only leave the house “with personal security guards, like Salman Rushdie”.

You’d think, then, he might have been wary of publishing a book literally alleging that there’s no such thing as Italian food. He was quick to point out, though, that he’s never questioned the quality of Italian food or products. “The point is that we confuse identity with the roots, which we are crossbreeding,” he told La Repubblica. “We wrongly talk about identity: cuisine changes continuously.” For example, the Italians and French are the biggest consumers of sushi in Europe. And while “to taste Parmigiano-Reggiano as our grandparents ate it, we would have to go to Wisconsin”, he’s not saying that Italian Parmesan isn’t still the best.

He’s not wrong: on that or tomato sauce on pizza. Tomatoes today might seem like a central element of all European cuisines, but it’s true that they’re actually a newer ingredient, and certainly not one that’s native to Italy. The Spanish discovered them in central America in the 16th century, and brought them back to Europe as part of what’s known as the Columbian Exchange: the transfer of plants and animals between the old and new worlds. Without it, all cuisines would look, and taste, quite different today. There’d be no oranges in Florida, for example. No chillies in Asia. No coffee in Columbia. No chocolate in Switzerland. No cigarettes in France. Quelle horreur!

Tomatoes didn’t initially take off on the continent, partly because they resembled their deadly cousin the nightshade, and partly due to an early example of fake news, which circulated after some upper-class Europeans died after eating them (it was actually a result of lead poisoning from their pewter dinnerware).

The earliest traces of pizza can be found with the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, as flatbreads, which first emerged in Italy in Naples in the 18th century. To cater to a surging population, street vendors in the city started selling flatbreads with simple toppings like lard, garlic, salt, basil and, only occasionally, cheese and fresh tomatoes. Margherita pizza was born when Queen Margherita invited a man called Raffaele Esposito to cook the dish that had become so popular among her people. Her favourite was the one with slices of tomato, basil and mozzarella: the colours of the Italian flag.

While fresh tomatoes were commonly used on pizza, Grandi suggests that “pizza rossa”, or pizza with a tomato base, came about when Italians emigrated to the States en masse in the 19th century, and took advantage of the ingredients they found there. It would make sense, as the canning industry was only just taking off as a means to preserve fresh ingredients and streamline cooking. Pizza became enormously popular in the US – it was cheap, easy to make and, obviously, tasted good. So much so, Grandi suggests, that by the Second World War, there were more pizzerias in America than Italy. “When American soldiers landed in Sicily, they discovered to their surprise that pizzerias barely existed,” he wrote. According to Grandi, this is also when spaghetti alla carbonara was invented, using the bacon, cheese and powdered eggs that the American troops brought with them.

While America’s influence on the cuisine cannot be overstated, Italians aren’t too happy with their food identity being called into question yet again.

Michele Pascarella, owner of Chiswick restaurant Napoli on the Road – who has won countless awards for his pizza (eighth best in Europe) including being declared best pizzaiolo in the world last year – says it’s not about who does it first, but who does it best. “Italy is a country with an enormous food culture, passed down through generations, that doesn’t need to win any contest for who did it first in the world,” he tells me. “Our cuisine is envied all over the world and we even continue to make a difference today. Alberto Grandi is the flat-earther of gastronomy.”

This kind of culinary classicism exists in other cuisines, though rarely is it expressed so vehemently. It’s always struck me as odd, as so many of the foods we consider to be symbolic of a particular country are not actually from there.

Take croissants, for example. They’re not French; they were invented in Vienna, Austria, where moon-shaped breads date back centuries. Their history is about as indeterminate as pizza. Some say they were presented to Duke Leopold in 1227 as a Christmas treat; others that crescent-shaped pastries mimicking the moon on the Turkish flag were prepared to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the 1600s. Elsewhere, Parisians adapted the recipe after the first Viennese bakery closed in 1838. The most famous story is that Vienna-born Queen Marie Antoinette missed the Austrian pastry so much that she had her French bakers make them for her.

Whatever the truth, you don’t hear much whining from the French about the debated provenance of their most iconic food item.

Nor do you hear protestations from the Japanese about tempura or the Indians about vindaloo. Both have Portuguese origins. Catholic missionaries brought the Western-style cooking method of deep frying to Japan in the 16th century, while vindaloo is derived from the Portuguese “vinha de alhos”, referring to the dish’s two main ingredients, wine and garlic. The latter was originally a means for Portuguese sailors to preserve fresh ingredients, but they adapted it with spices and chillies when they got to Goa, transforming it into one of the most popular – and hottest – curries in the world.

Portugal can’t even claim its own famous piri piri seasoning, a la Nando’s, as its own. Much like tomatoes to Italy, the bird’s eye chilli used in the flavouring isn’t native to Portugal. It was discovered in the Americas in the 15th century during Portugal’s mercantile – cough, empirical – era and brought back to the colonies in Africa to cultivate before selling it on to Asia and Europe. And so the global spice trade was born. It didn’t make its way into Portugal until the late Sixties.

Marco Mendes, co-founder of MJMK Restaurants, which runs the Portuguese piri piri chicken franchise Casa do Frango, has no problem acknowledging that his country’s cuisine would be nothing without the controversial history that brought so many ingredients to Portugal. “It’s definitely to do with Portuguese mercantile history in some form or another,” he tells me. “But I believe in turn we received a ton back from the countries and the people that formed part of that mercantile exploration.”

With all that in mind, I have to wonder: does it really matter who invented tomato sauce on pizza? Or where your croissant is from? To acknowledge that one country might have had an impact on the food of another isn’t to be complicit in cultural appropriation. Point to any dish on a menu and you’ll have a hard time finding one that hasn’t got war, politics, economics, emigration or poverty to thank for its place there.

You can understand why Italians so ardently defend their identity. They only became a unified country in the 19th century, compared to their much older and more established neighbours. Italian cuisine was only nominated as a Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage element as recently as last year.

Pascarella says it’s not about who was first, but who does it best. I’d argue that even if he misses the point; shouldn’t we be asking how we can make it better together? After all, food tastes best when it’s shared.

Harry to return to UK for first time since Kate revealed cancer diagnosis

The Duke of Sussex will soon return to the UK for a ceremony to mark 10 years of the Invictus Games.

The Invictus Games first took place in London in 2014 and was founded by Prince Harry as a sporting event for injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

Harry will be at the service of thanksgiving at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday 8 May, where he is expected to provide a reading.

Since 2020, he has lived in the US with his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and their two children Archie and Lilibet.

Harry’s arrival to the UK will mark his first time in the country since he visited his father in February when King Charles’ cancer diagnosis was announced. Buckingham Palace announced earlier this week that King Charles is to return to public royal duties next week after responding well to his cancer treatment.

It is also the first time he will visit the UK since his sister-in-law Kate went public with her own cancer diagnosis. The Duchess of Cambridge had been out of the spotlight for weeks before the diagnosis was revealed in March.

The prince’s return for the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games is also the first major event he has attended in Britain for some time.

It is not currently known whether any other members of the Royal Family will be in attendance at the service, nor if the Duchess of Sussex and their children will be travelling over with him.

The service is set to include readings from Harry and the British actor Damian Lewis. Wounded veterans and members of the Invictus community will also attend.

According to organisers, the event will mark “a decade of changing lives and saving lives through sport”.

Following on from the event, Harry and Meghan will then head to Nigeria together after being invited by the west African country’s chief of defence staff, who met Harry in Germany last September at Invictus Games Dusseldorf.

The couple will meet service members and their families, and participate in traditional cultural activities, Nigerian media reported. Other details about the visit are not yet known.

Local newspapers reported that Defence Headquarters was “honoured” and “delighted” after Harry and Meghan, who is of Nigerian descent, had accepted the invitation.

It will be their first visit to Nigeria as a couple.

Earlier this month, Harry formally confirmed his status as a US resident. Travalyst, a travel company he controls, filed paperwork informing British authorities that he has moved and is now “usually resident” in the United States.

This formal acknowledgement comes four years after he and Meghan walked away from royal duties for a life in North America – first in Canada, and now in Montecito in Southern California.

For some, this move underscores the prince’s increasing estrangement from Britain. The release of his 2023 memoir, Spare, featured Harry detailing his complicated relationship with his elder brother, the Prince of Wales, among other familial gripes.

Harry has only returned to Britain on rare occasions since his departure, mostly for major events such as the 2022 funeral of Queen Elizabeth and his father’s coronation in May 2023.

De Bruyne’s double act makes Man City the unconvincing unstoppables

On such days, Manchester City may be the unconvincing unstoppables. This was scarcely the most glorious demonstration of Pep Guardiola’s philosophy but churn or grind out four more wins and they will have a fourth consecutive Premier League title, regardless of what Arsenal do.

Weakened by injury and illness, put under pressure by Nottingham Forest, below par with their passing, City still prevailed. It may have been the result of champions. It is harder to claim it was the performance of them. But City had Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland, one the best player on the pitch, the other a scoring substitute, and a little fortune.

And if Forest have a latest set of grievances, it should be with themselves. Condemned to defeat by their failings in both boxes, by their latest piece of disastrous defending at a set-piece and by an inability to take presentable chances, they could reflect on what might have been.

This was a reminder that their fate rests in their own hands, regardless of their agenda with officials and the Premier League. Theirs was the obdurate display of a team capable of securing safety, but undermined by their mistakes.

One figure from Forest’s past could enjoy it. The watching Alf Inge Haaland saw his son score 10 minutes after his introduction. Since his barren night against Real Madrid, the younger Haaland had been sidelined for two games, a spectator for an hour. But when De Bruyne supplied an inviting through pass, Haaland found the far corner of the net. Sadly for his father’s former club, Chris Wood showed no such precision.

Haaland’s 32nd goal of the season extended De Bruyne’s terrific April; after his uncharacteristic but brilliant header at Brighton and the brace at Crystal Palace brought up a century of City goals, he did a different double on the road. Two assists mean he is now only one behind Cesc Fabregas, the man in second in the division’s all-time list.

He could have drawn level with the Spaniard on the day – Julian Alvarez skied a shot when released by De Bruyne – and twice drew fine saves from Matz Sels himself but at a point when City looked to be missing the incision of the ill Phil Foden, he found a breakthrough.

It was the 23rd goal Forest have conceded from set-pieces this season. A familiar flaw was exploited, with City ruthless and Forest very culpable. They were temporarily down to 10 men, with Neco Williams off the pitch, but that was not explanation enough. When De Bruyne delivered a near-post corner, Murillo barely left the ground. Josko Gvardiol did, towering over him, glancing a header in. When City made the Croatian the second most expensive centre-back ever, it was more for his defensive qualities. But, after being reinvented as a left-back, Gvardiol has had a prolific April: after going a year without a goal, he has three in five games. The first two were long-range specials with his less-favoured foot. This, at least, was more conventional.

His goal came for a changing, and depleted, cast list. Minus the sick Foden and Ruben Dias, with Haaland beginning on the bench and John Stones staying there, City then lost Ederson at half time, after the goalkeeper had been hurt in a collision with Willy Boly, while Jack Grealish departed when Haaland came on, the winger then strapping his knee with ice.

And City had creaked. They looked fallible. But if the first law of football is that teams containing Rodri do not lose – and this became his 70th consecutive City appearance without defeat – Guardiola’s side stretched their sequence to 31 unbeaten games, penalty shootouts aside. In the Premier League, they have 15 wins from 19.

Yet it could have been very different. By the time Haaland was introduced, Forest might have been ahead. Wood twice miscued within the six-yard box, from Gonzalo Montiel’s cutback and Anthony Elanga’s low cross. After Ederson spilt a corner, Murillo improvised a backheeled flick that clipped the bar.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s ploy of switching to a back five had added solidity and provided attacking menace in the shape of the wing-backs, particularly the dynamic Ola Aina. Guardiola was forced to tinker with his team to try and restore control. With Alvarez ineffective in attack, however, the game-changing substitute was Haaland.

His goal reduced the rancour on a hostile occasion, even if the fury was rarely directed at City.

The home supporters failed to heed the watching Noel Gallagher’s mantra to not look back in anger. Forest have three games left to rescue themselves. It won’t be done with choruses about the Premier League or Gary Neville.

E2E Female 100 List for 2024 Revealed

For more information and to see the full E2E Female 100 2024 list click here.

E2E, in association with The Independent, proudly unveils the E2E Female 100 list, a definitive index recognising the exceptional achievements of the 100 fastest-growing female-led or founded businesses in the United Kingdom, based on their remarkable growth rates over the past three years.

The data underpinning this prestigious recognition is gathered by Experian and Go Live Data, ensuring a meticulous selection process that acknowledges businesses solely for their tangible contributions to the commercial landscape.

Spanning a myriad of sectors, these league tables serve as a testament to the remarkable endeavours spearheaded by women across the UK.

A celebratory gala dinner is scheduled for the autumn of 2024, hosted by Shalini Khemka CBE.

Featured in the list and demonstrating extraordinary growth are Darina Garland, co-founder and co-CEO at Ooni, who has seen an 88% increase, Alison Doherty, CEO at Sarah Raven’s Kitchen & Garden Limited who has seen an 83% increase and Fateha Begum, co-founder and executive director at Dare International Ltd who has seen an 81% increase in growth.

The E2E Female 100 constitutes a pivotal component of The E2E 100, a visionary initiative encompassing six league tables, complemented by expansive receptions and a plethora of associated content.

This initiative stands as a resounding testament to the exceptional calibre of UK enterprises, showcasing their unwavering commitment to excellence, consistent growth, and groundbreaking business strategies that reverberate not only within their respective sectors but resonate nationwide, and in some instances, globally.

Highlighting talent from every corner of the UK, this list underscores the rich diversity of businesses founded by women and the monumental successes they have achieved despite navigating through the challenges of an uncertain economic landscape.

Speaking about the list, Shalini Khemka CBE, founder of E2E says: “The E2E Female 100 list is a testament to the remarkable achievements of women in business. It showcases their talent, dedication, and resilience in navigating the business world. We’re still in a period of transition where women have to be recognised as much as possible to create parity in our economy, both in terms of general recognition, pay recognition, and equal opportunities, and I believe this list serves as a pivotal step towards achieving that goal. By shining a spotlight on the outstanding contributions of women entrepreneurs, the E2E Female 100 list not only celebrates successes, but also advocates for the recognition and equal treatment of women in business.”

Andy Morley, Chief Revenue Officer from The Independent, said: “It brings us great pleasure to highlight this extraordinary assembly of women, each having demonstrated remarkable strides over the past three years in their respective fields. The collaboration between E2E and The Independent for the E2E Female 100 provides a platform to spotlight the exceptional female talent across the UK whilst inspiring future generations of female entrepreneurs, and shows E2E’s commitment to championing female leadership in business.

Lord Bilimoria CBE, DL said: “As a founding Board Member of E2E, I’ve witnessed its transformation under the stewardship of Shalini Khemka CBE, evolving into a pivotal ecosystem supporting founders, business leaders, and investors. The Female 100 is a testament to E2E’s commitment to spotlighting the fastest growing female-led enterprises across the UK— a remarkable initiative that not only celebrates the achievements of these dynamic women but also serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. E2E’s dedication to fostering diversity and empowering female leaders underscores its invaluable contribution to the entrepreneurial landscape, shaping a future where opportunity knows no bounds.”

The tracks are independently compiled by Go Live Data and Experian according to specific criteria and official data. Each track is supported by our partners Champions (UK) plc, Go Live Data, Virtuoso Legal and Experian.

To find out more about E2E, visit https://www.e2exchange.com

Will the Tories cave to pressure and cap net migration?

With a general election approaching and Rishi Sunak’s position looking increasingly perilous, pressure is growing on the prime minister to announce an overhaul of Britain’s immigration laws.

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick this weekend called for net migration to be capped at less than 100,000 each year.

The Tory right-winger used a Sunday Telegraph op-ed to argue the figure should be limited to the tens of thousands, months after official figures showed it had reached a record 745,000 in 2022.

Rishi Sunak’s general election dilemma is not getting any easier

Speculation about a snap general election has been swirling around Westminster for days. In an interview with Sky News, aired on Sunday, the prime minister refused to rule out a summer election but refused to rule one in either. The betting remains on the autumn, but the variables are many.

Once speculation about the timing of a general election has taken off, there is a sense in which any prime minister is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Gordon Brown paid the price for being judged to have “bottled it” in the autumn of 2007 after what was seen as a generally successful first few months in power. It was a fateful decision that weighed on his time in Downing Street and probably contributed to his defeat three years later.

Theresa May arguably drew the lesson from that, calling a snap election as she approached her first year in office, only to lose the small, but serviceable, majority that she had inherited. The protracted parliamentary tussle over implementing Brexit was a consequence, and ultimately cost her her job.