How a British teenager’s summer holiday in Cyprus turned into rape case nightmare

It was intended to be a sun-soaked working holiday, a rite of passage between finishing school and starting university. Instead, it turned into a nightmare.

When a British teenager arrived in the hedonistic party town of Ayia Napa in Cyprus in early July, her plan was to get a job, have fun and – in her own words – do some “growing up”.

Hoping to find work in a bar or handing out flyers for the resort’s raucous nightclubs, the 18-year-old found accommodation at the two-star Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel in the heart of Ayia Napa.

It was arranged through a company called Summer Takeover, which promises “heavy nights” and “madness” for youngsters who sign up.

The low-rise hotel, which packs in hundreds…

Britain is ‘soft target’ for Iranian revenge attacks

Britain is a ‘softer target’ than the US for an Iranian retaliatory attack in the wake of the assassination of Qassim Soleimani,  the UK’s former head of the navy and ex-national security adviser has warned.

Lord West of Spithead raised fears that British citizens and interests would be potentially easier for Iran to attack as the Tehran regime warned of “severe revenge”.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners poured onto the streets of Soleimani’s home town to receive his corpse after the drone strike which killed the general on Thursday night.

Lord West told the Telegraph: “Iran will assume that Britain would be party to any all out attack by the US and if they do then we would be a softer target…

Harvey Weinstein seen without zimmer frame amid accusations of ‘playing for sympathy’

Harvey Weinstein has been photographed walking unassisted around a supermarket near his New York home, days after arriving at a court hearing dishevelled and using a zimmer frame.

Weinstein, 67, shocked onlookers on Wednesday as he arrived for a bail hearing looking a shadow of his former self. Hunched over, scruffy and shuffling along with a zimmer frame, he was almost unrecognisable.

Donna Rotunno, his lawyer, said Weinstein was using the medical equipment at the insistence of his legal team.

“We wanted him to use a walker last week, and Mr Weinstein didn’t want the press to think he was seeking sympathy,” she said.

She said that, on Thursday, he would undergo a three-hour operation on for a back injury sustained during a car crash in August.

Harvey Weinstein inside the Manhattan court on Wednesday

“He had a bilateral laminectomy and is now recovering, and will be remaining one night in the hospital,” a representative said.

On Thursday night The New York Post  published an undated photograph of Weinstein, which the paper claimed was taken recently, standing tall inside a Target store near Mount Kisco, in upstate New York. 

 Weinstein’s adversaries suggested that the disgraced film producer was using the zimmer frame to curry sympathy, a suggestion refuted by his lawyers.  

It has been widely reported that Weinstein has been intent on “producing” his legal fight to specifically win over the court of public opinion.

Weinstein has seen a swift turnover of lawyers as it is rumoured that his legal team have repeatedly disagreed with his “stage managing” tactics.

The New York-born producer, who is due to go on trial for rape and sexual assault on January 6, is currently on his third set of lawyers.  

Benjamin Brafman, who headed up Weinstein’s first legal team until he was dismissed in January, has said that Weinstein sends his lawyer dozens of emails a day, and he leaves voice mails if he doesn’t hear back.

“He’s a hands-on client,” he said. “He’s relentless.”

At Wednesday’s hearing his bail was increased from $1 million in cash to a $2 million bond, after Weinstein was accused by prosecutors of having 57 violations involving his ankle monitor.

His lawyers told the judge that any issues with the ankle monitor were due to technical glitches.

Later that evening it was reported that a $25 million settlement had been reached between Weinstein and more than 30 women who accused him of sexual assault in a civil case.

Under the terms of the deal Weinstein does not admit any wrongdoing, and will not personally pay for the damages, as the finance comes from insurance firms.

Weinstein’s accusers reacted with dismay to the settlement, but many said they had been advised it was the best they could hope for.

US government workers to get 12 weeks paid parental leave

The US government is set to give 12 weeks paid parental leave to federal workers for the first time.

It will be available to around two million government personnel when they become mothers and fathers.

The move came as part of a defence bill passed by the House of Representatives, and is set to be approved by the Senate, and signed by Donald Trump within days.

A compromise between Democrats and Republicans in Congress combined the landmark parental leave provision alongside a $738 billion budget for the Pentagon.

The parental leave measure, which had been pushed by Democrats, will cost the US government an estimated $3.3 billion over the next five to 10 years.

Some on the liberal wing of the Democrat party continued to object to thedeal because of the size of the defence budget.

It will include a 3.1 per cent pay raise for military personnel, the largest in a decade

The compromise bill also included Mr Trump’s demand for the new US Space Force as a sixth armed service.

That was reportedly key to getting paid parental leave included in the bill.

Democrats dropped a demand to block Mr Trump from transferring Pentagon money to fund border wall construction.

However, Republicans also dropped Mr Trump’s demand for $7.2 billion in funding for the wall.

A series of Democrat proposals also did not make it into the deal, including a call for a ban on US military assistance to Saudi-led forces in Yemen, and protections for transgender troops.

Campaigners for paid parental leave welcomed the development, but said it did not go far enough.

They said federal government employees make up only a small percentage of the US workforce, and less than one in five workers across the country gets paid parental leave.

Adam Smith, the Democrat chairman of the House armed services committee, called the parental leave provision an "enormous accomplishment."

He added: "Ït’s basically hard to negotiate when your side wants 100 things and the other side wants nothing."

Mr Trump wrote on Twitter: "Wow! All of our priorities have made it: Pay Raise for our Troops, Rebuilding our Military, Paid Parental Leave, Border Security, and Space Force!

"Congress – don’t delay this anymore! I will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!"

Saudi gunman called US ‘nation of evil’ before Florida shooting

A Saudi trainee military pilot reportedly condemned the United States as a "nation of evil" before carrying out a mass shooting at a top US Navy base in Florida.

Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani killed three people and injured eight before being shot dead himself by police at the Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The Saudi Air Force officer, who was on a US-sponsored training programme, reportedly posted a manifesto on Twitter in which he wrote: "I’m against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil."

It went on: "I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because your freedoms, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity."

According to the the SITE intelligence group, which monitors jihadist activity, the messages were posted hours before the shooting, and quoted Osama bin Laden.

The FBI was investigating whether the postings were made by Alshamrani, and whether he was part of a wider group.

Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella briefs members of the media following a shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. The US Navy is confirming that a shooter is dead and several injured after gunfire at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Credit: Pensacola News Journal

Agents detained six other Saudis for questioning, three of whom reportedly started filing after the attack. It was not clear whether they had any connection to the gunman or were just at the scene.

The sprawling Naval Air Station Pensacola is the site of the US National Naval Aviation Museum, and the base of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team.

It is referred to as the home of US naval aviation and hundreds of pilots from allied nations pass through for training at any one time.

Military personnel are not allowed to carry weapons on the base but Alshamrani was able to take a Glock handgun, purchased locally, into a classroom building where trainee pilots were studying.

His training at the base began in August 2017 and was due to finish in August 2020.

He was also armed with up to six extended magazines, meaning he could have caused far greater carnage had he not been shot by sheriff’s deputies who rushed to the scene.

Saudi Arabia sought to distance itself from the incident as it seeks to repair its image of being an exporter of Islamic extremism.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks were Saudis, including some who gained civilian flight training in the US.

Last year, the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

King Salman telephoned Donald Trump to denounce the Florida shooting as "heinous" and to pledge cooperation over investigating it.

Prince Khalid bin Salman, the king’s younger son and deputy defence minister, said: "Like many other Saudi military personnel, I was trained in a US military base, and we used that valuable training to fight side by side with our American allies against terrorism and other threats."

The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy arrives for exercises at Naval Air Station Pensacola Credit: US NAVY via Reuters

However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested Riyadh should offer compensation to the victims, saying they "owe a debt".

US officials said Saudi Air Force officers undergoing military training in the US were intensely vetted, "hand-picked," and often came from elite families.

But Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, said vetting procedures would be reviewed. He said: "Are we screening persons coming to make sure they have their life in order, their mental health is adequate?"

There are currently 5,000 foreign aviation students from 153 countries in the US, including hundreds of Saudis.

Captain Timothy Kinsella, the Pensacola base commander, said: "The cross-training with allies is something that we have done for a long time. In World War II, we had Royal Air Force folks training here."

Donald Trump ‘committed impeachable offences,’ constitutional scholars tell Congress

Donald Trump committed offences worse than Richard Nixon during Watergate and should be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors", constitutional scholars selected by Democrats told Congress yesterday.

However, another legal expert, selected by Republicans, said the impeachment case against Mr Trump was the "thinnest" ever, was "slipshod," and would create a "dangerous precedent" for future presidents.

The academics were called by the House judiciary committee, which is expected to draw up formal articles of impeachment against Mr Trump within days.

Their role was to explain what the US Constitution’s framers intended impeachment to be for, and whether Mr Trump’s actions warranted it.

It came a day after the publication of a 300-page report by the Democrat-led House intelligence committee, based on public hearings, which found "serious misconduct" by the president, and evidence that was "overwhelming."

Mr Trump, speaking at the Nato summit in London dismissed the report as a "joke," and attacked Democrats for holding the latest hearing while he was abroad. "Do they, in fact, love our country?" he said.

Mr Trump was in London while the hearing took place in Washington Credit: AP

The US president has been accused of pressuring Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian leader, to investigate Joe Biden, his potential Democrat rival in 2020, for corruption.

Mr Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of Burisma, a controversial Ukrainian energy company. The Bidens deny any wrongdoing.

Democrats claim that on July 25, in a call with Mr Zelenskiy, Mr Trump sought to leverage $391 million in US security aid to Ukraine to secure the Biden investigation. Mr Trump denies doing so.

Three scholars, called by Democrats on the judiciary committee, declared themselves "unanimous" that Mr Trump had abused his power and should be impeached.

In doing so they introduced references to historical figures including Louis XIV, Charles II, Sir Thomas More, and Alexander Hamilton.

Impeachment had been intended by the Constitution’s framers as a protection against monarchy, dictatorship, and corruption of elections, they said.

Michael Gerhardt, professor of constitutional law at the University of North Carolina, said Mr Trump’s actions were "worse than the misconduct of any prior president," including Richard Nixon during Watergate.

He said: "If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning. And, along with that, our Constitution’s carefully crafted safeguards against the establishment of a king on American soil.

"This president has attacked each of the Constitution’s safeguards against establishing a monarchy in this country. If this is not impeachable then nothing is impeachable."

Professor Michael Gerhardt said Mr Trump's actions were worse than Richard Nixon and he should be impeached Credit: REX

Prof Gerhardt added: "If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election."

He said Mr Trump had committed a litany of impeachable offences including bribery, abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, and obstruction of justice.

Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, added: "President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors."

Pamela Karlan, a law professor at Stanford, said Mr Trump’s behaviour "struck at the very heart of what makes this country a republic."

However, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, the only witness called by Republicans, warned against impeachment.

He said Mr Trump’s phone call was "anything but perfect," and the president was not "right," but the case against him was "woefully inadequate and dangerous".

It had the "thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds, ever used to impeach a president," and would "lower impeachment standards," he said.

Prof Jonathan Turley said Mr Trump should not be impeached Credit: REX

Prof Turley told the Democrat-led committee: "I’m not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him. I get it. You are mad. The president is mad. My Republican friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog is mad – and Luna is a golden doodle, and they are never mad.

"We are all mad, and where has it taken us? Will a slipshod impeachment make us less mad? Or, will it only give an invitation for the madness to follow in every future administration?"

He concluded: "It [impeachment of Mr Trump] is wrong. This is not how you impeach an American president."

Republicans in Congress have rallied around Mr Trump.

Doug Collins, the lead Republican on the judiciary committee, said: "This is not an impeachment. This is a simple railroad job. You [Democrats] just don’t like the guy. This partisan coup will go down in infamy in the history of the nation."  

UK’s last commissioner warns divided EU faces migration challenge as he breaks silence on Brexit

The new European Commission will inherit an EU bitterly divided over migration and between Eastern and Western governments, Britain’s last ever commissioner has warned. 

Sir Julian King told the Sunday Telegraph, as he cleared out the UK’s office for a final time, that the tussle over how to deal with the refugee crisis would continue to pose the greatest challenge to an increasingly fragmented European Parliament.

Sir Julian is the last of 15 commissioners sent to Brussels by Downing Street since 1975. He served under Jean-Claude Juncker for two and a half years after Jonathan Hill, his predecessor, resigned shortly after the vote for Brexit.

Ursula von der Leyen takes over the presidency of…

Malta’s prime minister expected to resign amid crisis over journalist’s murder

Malta’s prime minister was expected to resign last night amid an acute political crisis precipitated by the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Joseph Muscat was on the brink of quitting, according to The Times of Malta, in what would cap a tumultuous week for the EU’s smallest member.

He has been under immense pressure to leave for days, with nightly protests outside parliament in Valletta, the capital.

“Out, out, out,” Paul Caruana Galizia, one of the murdered journalist’s three sons, wrote on Twitter.

Simon Busuttil, a former opposition leader, said that the departure of the prime minister was “both inevitable and imperative for our country to start a desperately needed cleaning up and healing process after six and a half years of lies, corruption and an assassination that killed one of us.”

Roberta Metsola, an MEP with the opposition Nationalist Party, wrote: “If only Daphne was alive to see that even after they assassinated her, she brought the criminals down in disgrace.”

Mrs Caruana Galizia was blown up by a car bomb as she left her home outside Valletta, the capital, two years ago.

She had made many enemies through her widely-read blog, Running Commentary, which documented corruption and sleaze in the political and business worlds.

The protracted investigation into her assassination finally started to bear fruit this week, with several arrests and resignations.

Mr Muscat, from Malta’s Labour Party, presided over a period of strong economic growth and low unemployment.

A former TV anchor, he was elected in 2013, securing the biggest majority in 60 years, and promised a government that would be friendly to business and encouraging to foreign investment.

Blessed with an easy charm, he was described as “a mainstream, youthful, fresh social democrat, the Maltese version of a young Tony Blair” by a new book on the scandal of the journalist’s killing, Murder on the Malta Express. “He was the new kid on the block.”

Bu his standing was irreparably damaged by the murder of the journalist, which shocked the whole of Europe and raised questions about the rule of law in Malta.

The prime minister was one of the targets of Mrs Caruana Galizia’s blog.

She accused his wife of taking bribes from Azerbaijan’s ruling family and hiding them in illegal offshore structures – allegations that were vehemently denied.

In the past few days, three politicians within the prime minister’s inner circle stepped down in connection with the murder investigation, including his chief of staff, Keith Schembri.

Mr Schembri was arrested and questioned by police but released on Thursday night, sparking incredulity and accusations of a cover-up. He denies any wrongdoing and police said they no longer needed him held for their investigation. 

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Credit: REUTERS

"We share Malta’s shock and anger at the release of Keith Schembri, the prime minister’s close personal friend and former chief of staff," Mrs Caruana Galizia’s family said in a statement.

“This travesty of justice is shaming our country, ripping our society apart, and it is degrading us. It cannot continue any longer."

They accused the prime minister of playing "judge, jury, and executioner in an assassination investigation that so far implicates three of his closest colleagues."  

Mr Schembri, who denies any wrongdoing, was allegedly implicated in the murder plot by Yorgen Fenech, a wealthy business tycoon who was arrested on his yacht as he tried to leave the island earlier this month.

He has requested a presidential pardon in return for providing information to the authorities, but that was turned down by Muscat’s cabinet at an extraordinary meeting that ended at 3am on Friday.

In a letter to Malta’s president, Fenech’s lawyers said the evidence would implicate senior government figures including Mr Schembri and two cabinet members – Konrad Mizzi, the tourism minister, and Chris Cardona, the economy minister, both of whom stepped down this week. All three deny wrongdoing.

Forensic experts walk in a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija Credit: REUTERS

Mr Fenech, the businessman, was released on police bail on Friday morning, telling journalists: “I fear for my life.”

Mr Muscat’s expected resignation will set off a leadership race within the governing Labour Party.

The country is expected to have a new prime minister by January.

Three men have been charged with planting and detonating the bomb that killed the journalist, but so far the authorities have failed to track down the person who hired them.

After two years, no trial date has been set yet for the trio of alleged assassins.

In the months before she was murdered, Mrs Caruana Galizia had been writing about a secretive Dubai-based company called 17 Black, which was owned by Mr Fenech.

Leaked emails revealed that payments were due to be made by the offshore company to Mr Schembri and Mr Mizzi for unspecified services.

There is no evidence that those payments were made in the end. Mr Schembri and Mr Mizzi have denied any wrongdoing. 

Germany repatriates Islamic State bride and children from Syria

An “Isis bride” and her three children arrived back in Germany on Saturday, marking the first case of Berlin assisting in the repatriation of an adult Islamist from war-torn Syria.

The German government confirmed to news agency DPA that the mother and children arrived safely at Frankfurt Airport after boarding a flight from northern Iraq. They had originally been living in a refugee camp in the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Syria.

European governments have generally refused to take back any citizens who joined the Islamist terror group during their insurgency in northern Syria and Iraq in the years from 2012 onward, in some cases stripping them of their citizenship.

But in Germany, where courts have a high degree of power to overturn government policy, a ruling from early November forced Angela Merkel’s government into a rethink. A Berlin court ordered the government to take the 30-year-old mother back along with her three children, dismissing the government’s insistence that she posed a security threat. 

Germany’s foreign ministry had initially stated that it was only prepared to organise the return of the children, aged eight, seven and two. But the judges ruled that the traumatised children are dependant on the protection provided by their mother, arguing that the constitutionally enshrined protection of the family trumped security concerns.

Prosecutors have opened investigations against the woman on suspicion of joining a foreign terror unit and neglecting the duty of care to her children. According to local media reports, she comes from the central state of Hesse and left for Syria in 2014 along with her two oldest children. The third child was born while she lived in the Islamists’ self-proclaimed caliphate.

A spokesperson for the Frankfurt prosecution service told DPA that no arrest warrant had been issued for her.

Up until now Germany has arranged for a few children of Isis members to be brought home. In August three orphans and a sick child with German parentage were flown home. Adult Isis members have also recently returned, but only after being deported by Turkey.

In other European countries, including France and the Netherlands, courts have dismissed legal attempts to force repatriations, stating that such rulings would interfere in an area of government prerogative.

The news is nonetheless likely to increase pressure on the British government, which has resisted efforts to bring back around 60 children believed to be stranded in camps in northern Syria.

Home secretary Priti Patel has reportedly cited security concerns for her refusal to countenance rescue operations for children, a stance that has come in for hefty criticism from rights groups.

Grace Millane died when consensual sexual activity ‘went wrong’, says defence

Grace Millane, the British backpacker, died accidentally when consensual rough sex "went wrong", a court has heard.

The defence barrister for the alleged killer told jurors that Ms Millane had a history of engaging in choking during sex and had been a member of a BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission) websites.

Police said that Ms Millane, 21, had been active on BDSM dating site Whiplr an hour before meeting the defendant outside a casino in Aukland’s city centre.

The defendant, 27, who cannot be named for legal reasons, met Ms Millane on a Tinder date. He says she died after she asked him to put his hands on her neck during rough sex.

He initially denied being involved in her death but later told police she died in his flat, where he "panicked" before cramming her body into a suitcase which he buried in a shallow grave in the woods.

Police discovered the body of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane dumped in this muddy hole in the ground

Ron Mansfield, for the defence, told the jury: "If the couple engaged in consensual sexual activity and that went wrong, and no one intended for it to go wrong, then that is not murder.

Mr Mansfield said the trial’s focus is on “whether someone has committed a criminal wrong, not whether an individual or individuals think what they did was religiously, socially or morally wrong”.

The court heard evidence from an ex-boyfriend of the Ms Millane from Essex who said he had choked her during sex the pair used a system of safe words and signals.

"Grace would be sure to do this and I trusted that anytime it was too much for Grace she would do this. Grace and I were careful to discuss not only the physical but the psychological aspects to practicing BDSM," he said.

He added: “Grace and I discussed keeping hands wide and on the side of the neck, never on the front,” his statement said."

Dr Fintan Garavan, a forensic pathologist and toxicologist, told jurors Ms Millane’s injuries would "favour consensual" acts as there were no signs of a struggle. He noted that alcohol could “very well” have been a contributing factor in her death.

Mr Mansfield said that "if two people are inebriated, relatively inexperienced and don’t know each other too well".

Earlier in the trial forensic pathologist Dr Simon Stables told the court earlier that injuries like those found on Ms Millane’s body were "incredibly rare" and caused by “quite a bit of effort”.  

The defence told the court Ms Millane had been a member of two BDSM dating sites. The accused, who had denied any previous experience with BDSM or choking, choked two other women on dates in November 2018, according to their testimony.

Earlier in the trial one of them told the court: “He had grabbed my forearms and put all the pressure on my arms so I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t move my arms. I started kicking, trying to indicate I couldn’t breathe. I was kicking violently. He would have felt me fighting … I was terrified.”

Ms Millane, from Essex, arrived in New Zealand on 30 November after travelling in South America and matched with the accused on Tinder on the same day. They went out on a date the following evening, and CCTV footage showed them returning to his apartment.

Over the course of the trial the jury has heard that after her death in his apartment on December 1 last year, the accused watched pornography and Google searched Waitākere Ranges, where her body was found buried, and ‘hottest fire’.

It also heard the suspect took seven photographs of Ms Millane that the prosecution says were taken after she died.

In his first police interview the accused said he and Ms Millane parted company at 8pm on the night she died, before admitting in his second police interview that she died in his apartment but claiming it was accidental.