INDEPENDENT 2024-06-11 09:13:07


Hunter Biden defence undermines testimony of ‘poor Hallie’: live updates

The jury in Hunter Biden’s federal gun charges trial will continue deliberations on Tuesday to determine if the president’s son is guilty or not of lying on a federal gun form and unlawfully posessing a firearm.

Monday’s proceedings saw the defense rest their case and both sides deliver closing arguments to the jury of 12 Delaware residents.

Prosecutors allege Biden lied on a federal gun form about his unlawful use of illegal drugs when purchasing a handgun in October 2018. They claim Biden was actively using crack cocaine at the time.

During closing, they pointed to testimony Biden’s exes gave about his drug use and text messages he sent to his sister-in-law and former girlfriend Hallie Biden about using drugs days before he purchased the gun.

Defense attorneys sought to undermine Hallie, insinuating she was unreliable. They argued that the government did not have evidence Biden was using drugs when he purchased the gun – only that he was using drugs in 2018.

Elon Musk says he could ban Apple devices at his companies over OpenAI deal

Elon Musk has said he could ban Apple devices from his companies over the tech giant’s deal to integrate ChatGPT into the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

The Tesla boss said the decision was an “unacceptable security violation” and accused Apple of handing over user data to OpenAI, the firm behind the chatbot.

As part of its generative AI announcements on Monday, Apple said that alongside its new Apple Intelligence system that will allow users to access generative AI-powered tools almost anywhere within their devices, it would give users the option to send a query to ChatGPT to take advantage of its own spectrum of knowledge.

Writing on X, Mr Musk said: “If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies. That is an unacceptable security violation.

“And visitors will have to check their Apple devices at the door, where they will be stored in a Faraday cage.”

In a further post, he added: “It’s patently absurd that Apple isn’t smart enough to make their own AI, yet is somehow capable of ensuring that OpenAI will protect your security & privacy!

“Apple has no clue what’s actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI. They’re selling you down the river.”

Apple has been approached for comment in response to Mr Musk’s claims, but in its announcement of the partnership, it said users needed to give their permission before any request was shared with OpenAI and that requests were not stored during the process.

Mr Musk has a fractious relationship with OpenAI – he was a founder of the company, but has since turned against it and accused it of failing to follow its founding principles.

He has even sued the company, claiming it has abandoned its original mission to instead focus on profit, something OpenAI has denied.

The SpaceX boss is also now a direct rival to OpenAI, with Mr Musk having created his own AI firm – xAI – which has created Grok, a chatbot designed to take on ChatGPT.

Two 12-year-old boys who murdered stranger with machete are ‘UK’s youngest knife killers’

Two 12-year-old boys who used a machete to mercilessly stab an “utterly defenceless” teenager have been found guilty of murder.

On Monday, jurors unanimously convicted the youths, who are believed to be the youngest defendants convicted of murder in Britain since Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both aged 11, were found guilty in 1993 of killing two-year-old James Bulger.

They had attacked Shawn Seesahai, 19, who was unarmed when he and his friend were set upon while walking through Stowlawn playing fields in Wolverhampton on 13 November last year.

Jurors heard one of the defendants regularly carried a machete, and the two had been seen “passing it between themselves” before carrying out the lethal attack.

Despite doing nothing to offend his killers, Mr Seeshai was shoulder-barged and then hit so hard on the skull that a piece of bone came away. He also suffered a fatal 23cm-deep stab wound which almost went the whole way through his body.

In an interview released after the verdicts, Mr Seesahai’s parents Suresh and Maneshwary said they will never be able to get over the loss of their 19-year-old son who always told them he would “shine” and take care of them.

Speaking for the first time since their son was murdered, Suresh Seesahai said he feels sorry for the parents of the killers and only hopes that “justice” is served for his son.

Both the defendants, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had screenshots of knives on their phones and had researched articles about the killing. One of them had also searched online for “how many criminal records can you have to leave the country” on 14 November, the day after the attack.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Mr Seesahai, who lived in Handsworth in Birmingham but was originally from Anguilla in the Caribbean, had travelled to the UK to receive treatment for cataracts.

On 13 November, he had travelled with friends to Wolverhampton, while the two 12-year-olds were together from 4.10pm that afternoon, meeting two girls of around the same age who are witnesses in the case.

After spending time sitting with a friend on a bench and walking near basketball courts, the court heard Mr Seesahai and his friend “came together” with the defendants as the boys passed the machete between them, with one commenting: “Keep stepping.”

The weapon had been taken out of one of the boys’ trousers and was made available to be used, despite the fact Mr Seesahai had offered no violence.

His friend who was with him at the time of the attack told police that one of the boys had deliberately shoulder-brushed his victim, before producing the weapon and launching their attack.

Michelle Heeley KC told the court: “The prosecution says the two boys were engaged in a joint attack upon a man who had done nothing wrong, a man with no weapon, who was utterly defenceless on the ground.

“We say that these two boys were acting together and meant to kill Mr Seesahai. At the very least they intended to cause really serious harm.

“As a result of their actions, Shawn Seesahai died at the scene. He had been hit so hard to the skull with the machete that a piece of bone had actually come away.

“He had slash wounds on his leg and most significantly, he had an injury from the machete that went through his body all the way from his back, through his ribs and into his heart.”

After the killing, Mr Seesahai’s friend called the police, who attended and began to carry out CPR but it was apparent from the severity of the injuries suffered that he was already dead.

The two boys had denied the charge and blamed each other for his death, while one had admitted possession of the machete used in the attack.

As well as failing to summon help for Mr Seesahai, the youths showed no remorse for what they had done in the 24 hours before their arrest – with one cleaning the machete with bleach and hiding it under his bed.

They told the court they both played video games in the hours after the killing, claiming they did not know Mr Seesahai had died until the following day.

Jurors heard one of the defendants posed, wearing a mask, with the murder weapon for a picture hours before the killing and was found to have 11 areas of bloodstaining on his clothing.

In an interview, Mr Seesahai’s parents have questioned how a child so young could have a weapon like a machete with them as they walked the streets.

Suresh said: “This world is a different world, kids are dangerous now. If we don’t pay attention to them, this will keep happening.”

Maneshwary added: “Twelve-year-old kids should be at home doing school work and then going to bed. I have two children and at 7.30pm, they had to go to bed because they have to follow the rules of the house.

Detective Inspector Damian Forrest, who led the investigation, said: “The weapon was a large machete that really no person who doesn’t need it as a tool of their trade should have any reason to own.

“Obviously, originally, it would be a gardening tool.

“Although the facts of this case mean we can’t say for certain how that weapon came into the possession of the suspects, there is some evidence that suggests that one of them had tried to purchase knives on the internet.”

Jonathan Roe, senior crown prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, said: “Shawn Seesahai was an incredibly brave young man who had a world of opportunities at his feet.

“Shawn suffered traumatic injuries after being ruthlessly targeted by defendants who had a fixation with violence and were roaming the streets looking for a potential victim.

“This was a horrifying and random act of brutality, perpetrated by two 12-year-olds who should not have been spending their time arming themselves with a machete and preparing to take a life.”

Kyiv ‘strikes Russian air defences’ in Crimea after downing a Su-57 stealth jet

Ukraine has claimed it damaged three Russian surface-to-air defence systems overnight in missile attacks on occupied Crimea.

One S-400 anti-aircraft missile unit was hit near Dzhankoi, and two more S-300 anti-aircraft missile units were attacked near occupied Chornomorske and Yevpatoria, Ukraine’s military said.

It comes as Kyiv said it also destroyed a Russian Su-57 plane, a twin-engine stealth fighter worth up to £28million around 370 miles from the frontline.

The strike, believed to have been conducted using drones, comes after Ukraine’s Western allies permitted Kyiv to use their weapons for limited strikes inside Russia.

Earlier, US president Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin was not going to stop with the war in Ukraine, pledging to support Europe against Russia.

Mr Biden said the whole of Europe was threatened by the Russian president. The US president met his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris, and the two pledged solidarity on the wars raging in Europe and the Middle East.

Man, 64, charged with voyeurism at Taylor Swift concert

A 64-year-old man has been charged with alleged voyeurism at one of Taylor Swift’s Edinburgh concerts.

Police Scotland said the man was arrested and charged in connection with a voyeurism offence during the concert at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday.

Superintendent David Happs said: “A 64-year-old man was arrested and charged in connection with a voyeurism offence committed within Murrayfield during the event on Saturday June 8.

“He was released on an undertaking to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date.”

The American star kicked off the UK leg of her international Eras tour on Friday with the first of three consecutive dates at Murrayfield.

She played to a capacity crowd of almost 73,000 each time, and she told fans that made the gigs the highest attended stadium concerts in Scottish history.

Jet2 Costa Dorada! Win a seven-night stay at Ohtels Villa Dorada

With a buffet restaurant, two pools and a jam-packed entertainment schedule – and plenty of Mediterranean sunshine – Ohtels Villa Dorada a family fave. After a busy day getting stuck into all the activities, the well-equipped rooms are waiting to welcome you. This hotel’s hit the location jackpot too, just a short stroll to the beach and Salou resort centre. You’ll also have Spain’s largest theme park nearby! Prepare to be in prime position for exploring this sunny slice of Spain. Why not check out the illuminated fountain or take a seaside stroll?

Enter now for your chance to win a seven night stay at Ohtels Villa Dorada for a family of four.

If you are unable to view the entry form, click here

Terms and Conditions

Promotion closes at 23.59 on 17th June 2024. The winner will be the first entry drawn at random after the closing date.

1. Entrants to this prize draw must be residents of the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and must be aged 18 years or over. Employees and officers of Jet2holidays Limited, Jet2.com Limited, Jet2 plc or any companies within the same group or any organisation professionally involved with the prize draw (or in each case, their close relatives) are not eligible to enter. An entrant may only be entered into the prize draw once. The Prize

2. The winner will win: (a) A 7-night Jet2holiday on a Bed and Breakfast board basis, in a standard double room, at the 3-star Ohtels Villa Dorada, Costa Dorada for 2 adults and 2 children (up to the age of 12). (b) The prize includes return flights from any of the UK bases from which Jet2holidays fly directly to Reus Airport (REU) and allows the duration of the prize advertised.

The prize also includes private transfers to and from the overseas airport and the hotel, a 22kg hold-baggage allowance per person on each flight. (c) If the winner opts to book, this holiday must be booked by 08/07/2024 and travel to and from the destination must be completed between one of the following bands subject to availability (including all return travel):

i. 11/06/2024 – 18/07/2024

ii. 29/07/2024 – 12/08/2024

iii. 04/09/2024 – 18/10/2024

iv. 03/05/2025 – 22/05/2025

v. 03/06/2025 – 17/07/2025

vi. 28/07/2025 – 11/08/2025

vii. 03/09/2025 – 16/10/2025

3. The following is not included with the prize: Transfers to and from the airport in the UK; Spending money; optional flight/board/transfer/accommodation supplements; or travel insurance. Winners are advised to take out their own insurance.

4. If a prize is not booked by the applicable date, it will be deemed forfeited and Jet2holidays reserves the right to award a prize to another randomly selected entry.

5. The prize is subject to these terms and conditions (“Prize Terms”) and the Jet2holidays’ and Jet2.com’s terms and conditions (together the “Terms and Conditions”) which can be found at http://www.jet2holidays.com/terms-and-conditions and http://www.jet2.com/terms respectively. The holiday shall not constitute a ‘package’ under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (the “Regulations”) and the Regulations shall not apply, nor shall the applicable provisions of the Terms and Conditions which relate to the Regulations. In the event of any conflict between the Terms and Conditions, and these Prize Terms, these Prize Terms will take precedence.

6. Prize flights are limited on the flights operated by Jet2.com and may be unavailable even if there is general availability on a particular flight.

7. Jet2holidays reserves the right to amend or cancel the flights or holiday for any reason without prior notice (which may include substituting the prize or any element of the prize with alternative dates/property/transfers/destinations at any time, to the equivalent prize value).

8. Please note that flight schedules are not guaranteed.

9. The prize and each element of the prize is non-transferable and may not be exchanged for cash. The prize may only be taken by the prize draw winner along with any accompanying passenger(s) notified to Jet2holidays in the relevant booking, subject to the maximum number of passengers specified within the prize details. Flights must be taken by all passengers at the same time from the same airport. Once you have made your booking this cannot be amended.

10. The prize duration may not be extended and no element of the prize may be changed by the winner. Additional passengers outside the maximum amount permitted in the prize details may not be booked onto the prize booking.

11. All passengers must have a valid passport to travel, and must meet all relevant visa and/or other entry requirements including any medical/health screening requirements or similar. General:

12. Entrants’ details will be used to administer the prize draw and award the prize. Details will be used in accordance with the Jet2holidays privacy policy (see https://www.jet2holidays.com/privacy-policyhttp://www.jet2.com/privacy).

13. [When entering the prize draw entrants will be invited to opt in to receiving marketing from Jet2holidays. If entrants choose to opt in, their details will be retained by Jet2holidays for the purposes of marketing (which may include activities such as passing on information about deals, offers and promotion codes from Jet2holidays).]

14. Where Jet2holidays makes any changes to the prize (including dates of travel), no compensation or cash equivalent will be available. Jet2holidays will not be liable for any cancellations or changes to the prize draw or any prize, or for any loss or damage entrants or accompanying passengers suffer as a result of entering the prize draw provided that nothing in these terms shall exclude or limit the liability of Jet2holidays in relation to personal injury or death caused by Jet2holidays negligence or for fraud.

For full terms and conditions visit www.jet2holidays.com/promotions

For further information, please write to Customer Care, The Independent, Alphabeta, 14-18 Finsbury Square, London, England, EC2A 1AH. Promoter: Jet2holidays.

Labour and the Tories must stop avoiding the difficult issues

When the political parties unveil their manifestos this week, they have an opportunity to engage voters who have not yet tuned into the election and might not do so. Worryingly, a survey by Techne UK for The Independent found that 20 per cent of people have already decided not to vote, and some experts think we might see the lowest turnout in modern history.

That would not be a surprise given that many voters have written off Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives but have not yet been won over by Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. Labour’s 20-point opinion poll lead has encouraged Sir Keir to run a safety-first campaign. So far, the Tories appear to be appealing to their core vote to limit the scale of the defeat they expect on 4 July, rather than talking to the whole country.

Naturally, all parties want to play to their strengths and attack their opponents’ weaknesses. But this has resulted in a very narrow election agenda, contributing to a lack of excitement about the election and the absence of much hope for a better future. The manifestos offer the parties a chance to have a more honest conversation with the public about the huge challenges facing the next government. If they take it, more people would probably turn out on 4 July, which would be a good thing.

Rishi Sunak’s welfare reforms: what is the prime minister promising?

Rishi Sunak has promised to halt the spiralling benefits bill by reforming the welfare system if he wins the election.

The prime minister believes he can save £12bn a year by the end of the next parliament by getting more benefit claimants back to work.

He is proposing a mix of expanded support for those with poor mental health and tighter sanctions for those not seeking work.