Booming Istanbul hair transplant scene dubbed an ‘epidemic’ by healthcare specialists

In the years leading up to his fortieth birthday, John Sullivan found himself glancing himself increasingly often in the mirror to monitor the retreat of his hairline. 

The British salesman still had a relatively full head of dark hair but was unsettled by the ever deeper Vs pushing back from his brow.   

So he made the same decision as hundreds of thousands of other men suffering from hair loss around the world: he booked a flight to Istanbul. 

Acting on the local advice of a Turkish client he paid 5,000 lira (£661) for a hair transplant at a clinic in the city’s Etiler neighbourhood. 

After several painful hours in the chair – hair is first plucked from the back of the head and then replanted…

David Miliband underlines his commitment to dialogue with Iran

David Miliband said he is convinced that dialogue with Iran is the best way to secure stability in the Middle East, as he speaks for the first time about claims he called off an SAS plan to assassinate Qassim Soleimani. 

In a tweet, the former Labour foreign secretary said: “I did and do strongly believe that diplomatic engagement with Iran is the only route to a stable Middle East.”

His comments came after the Telegraph told how the SAS had Soleimani, Iran’s military chief, in their “crosshairs” in 2007 after he was identified as the mastermind behind a campaign to target UK troops in the southern port of Basra.

The Telegraph revealed how Mr Miliband vetoed the operation, meaning Soleimani survived…

Carlos Ghosn flees Japan’s ‘rigged’ justice system in shock escape to Lebanon

Carlos Ghosn has fled "injustice and persecution" in Japan and escaped to his home country of Lebanon, despite being under strict bail conditions and close surveillance by Japanese authorities. 

The former Nissan-Renault boss confirmed in a statement that he was in Beirut and said that he "will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied". 

"I have not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution. I can now finally communicate freely with the media, and look forward to starting next week," he added. 

Mr Ghosn’s legal team appear to have been caught off-guard by their client’s…

20 years of Putin: Inside the brutal Chechen war that dealt a death blow to Russian democracy

About an hour before midnight on December 31, 1999, Akhmat looked up into the night sky and tried to pin-point the sound of a helicopter flying low and fast over the shattered city of Grozny.

But it was an overcast night, and he knew that engaging a helicopter with anything less than a rocket launcher was a waste of ammunition.

He shrugged, adjusted the heavy machine-gun on his shoulder, and trudged to the frontline trenches surrounding the Chechen capital.

Days later, he could have kicked himself. The helicopter, he realised, had been carrying Vladimir Putin, the newly installed acting president of Russia, en route to his first visit to troops at the front.

A lucky shot could have changed Chechen,…

Inside the hidden clinics making up Hong Kong’s underground resistance army

The howls of a young man who had dislocated his knee during one of the many street clashes of the six-month-long Hong Kong protest movement still haunt Alvin, a Chinese medicine practitioner who treated his discomfort. 

“I remember him because he screamed so painfully. He sounded like those chickens in a slaughterhouse, ready to be killed,” he said. 

Despite the excruciating agony, the patient had not dared to head to a hospital emergency room, for fear of being arrested and charged with rioting, a crime which carries a jail sentence of up to ten years. 

Instead he turned to one of several so-called “hidden clinics” that the city’s medical professionals have quietly formed to secretly treat the…

Resurfacing of past sexism claims rocks Mike Bloomberg’s White House bid

Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign has been rocked by the resurfacing of historic claims that he made sexist and derogatory comments to women, including allegedly urging one to get an abortion.

The billionaire was accused in a past lawsuit of telling a female employee who said she was pregnant to “kill it”. He has denied saying the words and the case was settled out of court.

Other quotes attributed to Mr Bloomberg in court filings include “I’d like to do that piece of meat” and “I would DO you in a second”.

At least 17 women have taken legal action against Mr Bloomberg’s company in the last 30 years, according court documents reviewed by ABC News, including three cases where he is named for his role in the firm’s culture.

The broadcaster said none of the cases made it trial, with some withdrawn, others settled out of court and three still active.

Mike Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the world, once served as New York mayor Credit:  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman said he had “supported and empowered women” during his career but no acknowledges "some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong”.

Mr Bloomberg became one of the richest men in the world by creating Bloomberg LP, a global financial services company which includes Bloomberg News, its media arm. 

He served as New York’s mayor between 2002 and 2013 and has become a late entrant in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for the November 2020 election.

The winner will take on Donald Trump, who is set to be impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday but is expected to survive a trial over his removal in the Senate.

Mr Trump would become only the third sitting president impeached in the country’s history, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon resigned before that point.

The vote is expected to largely split down party lines, with all Republicans rejecting the two articles of impeachment. A handful of Democrats could also rebel and vote against the articles, though they are expected to pass comfortably. 

Donald Trump would join Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as the US presidents ever impeached is the House vote goes as expected on Wednesday Credit: MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP

Looking ahead to the trial in the Senate that would follow, the most senior Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, has demanded that senior current and former Trump officials be made to testify.

He went public with a demand for Mick Mulvaney, Mr Trump’s acting chief of staff, John Bolton, his former national security adviser, and two of their senior advisers to give evidence.

The men refused to testify in the original impeachment inquiry into Mr Trump’s attempt to secure politically helpful investigations from Ukraine.

However the call is unlikely to be taken up by the Republicans, who hold the majority in the Senate and so decide the rules for the trial.

Mr Bloomberg, 77, unexpectedly entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination last month, framing himself as a centrist candidate who is best placed to defeat Mr Trump.

Mike Bloomberg joined a competitive field, with more than a dozen Democrats still vying for their party's nomination Credit: SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/REX

The abortion claim dates back to a 1997 lawsuit filed by a sales manager named Sekiko Sakai, who recounted Mr Bloomberg’s alleged reaction when she said told him she was pregnant.

“He told me to ‘kill it’ in a serious monotone voice,”, Ms Sakai alleged, according to ABC News. "I asked ‘What? What did you just say?’ He looked at me and repeated in a deliberate manner ‘kill it.’"

Mr Bloomberg has been asked about the allegation in previous interviews. In 2001 he told the NBC Today Show he “never said it”.

Bloomberg LP reportedly settled the case on undisclosed terms and she is now bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Some of the comments come from a 32-page compilation of crude and sexist remarks Mr Bloomberg allegedly made that was given to him at a 1990 office party as a joke. 

He is also accused to have once said "look at the ass on her" when pointing out a woman while New York mayor. He denied making the remark. 

Julie Wood, Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman, said: “Mike Bloomberg has supported and empowered women throughout his career – from appointing women to the very top positions in his mayoral administration to supporting women candidates for higher office to an industry-leading 26-weeks of paid family leave at his company.

“At the same time, Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong. He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.”

Harvey Weinstein’s accusers hit back after film producer says his work promoting women has been forgotten

Harvey Weinstein has angered his accusers with what they see as a self-pitying interview from hospital, in which he claimed he had done more to promote women professionally than anyone else in Hollywood.

“I feel like the forgotten man,” the 67-year-old said.

“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!”

Speaking to The New York Post on Friday from a hospital, where he had been operated on for back problems, Weinstein refused to answer any questions about the accusations against him. He is due to go on trial on January 6 on charges of rape and sexual assault, which he denies.

He also complained to the newspaper that his work in the film industry has been ignored.

“It all got eviscerated because of what happened,” he said. “My work has been forgotten.’’

Harvey Weinstein and Jennifer Lawrence at the premiere of Silver Linings Playbook in 2013

Weinstein was released from hospital on Sunday.

His comments were greeted with scorn by some of the scores of women who have accused him of sexual harassment, rape and assault.

Twenty-three of them, including actors Rosanna Arquette, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, signed a statement accusing Weinstein of “trying to gaslight society again” – meaning attempting to manipulate by presenting false information.

“He says in a new interview he doesn’t want to be forgotten. Well, he won’t be,” the women said.

“He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing.

“He will be remembered by the collective will of countless women who stood up and said enough. We refuse to let this predator rewrite his legacy of abuse.”

McGowan, one of the first women to publicly speak out against Weinstein, claiming he sexually assaulted her in a hotel in 1997, described him as a “prolific rapist”.

“I didn’t forget you, Harvey,” she tweeted. “My body didn’t forget you. I wish it could.”

The 46-year-old actress – who won a $300,000 settlement from Weinstein over her accusations of abuse – continued: “I refused to sign an NDA after it happened because I knew I would come for you. And I did. This is about stopping a prolific rapist. You.”

Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex. 

A lawyer for three women who have accused Weinstein described his interview as a “public relations stunt” and a “complete failure to accept responsibility.”

Douglas H Wigdor, who represents actress Wedil David and two Jane Does, one of whom will testify at Weinstein’s upcoming criminal trial, attacked his “horrific actions, his complete failure to accept responsibility, and his recent efforts to force survivors to accept an inadequate and paltry civil settlement.”

Last week Weinstein’s lawyers were reported to have reached a $25 million settlement with more than 30 women who have accused him, in a civil case, of sexual misconduct. Weinstein himself does not have to admit wrongdoing, and will not pay any money himself as it will all be funded by insurance.

Mr Wigdor’s three clients have refused to accept the settlement, which could derail the process before a final agreement is reached.

Emmanuel Macron’s pensions Tsar resigns over conflict of interest as French strikes reach Christmas crunch

President Emmanuel Macron of France has suffered a major blow in his tense strike standoff with unions over pension reform after its architect resigned over a conflict-of-interest scandal.

Jean-Paul Delevoye, Mr Macron’s high commissioner for pensions, had come under increasing pressure to step down for failing to disclose a high-paying private sector job while in government, which is illegal under the French constitution.

He also “forgot” to inform France’s political transparency body that he held unpaid positions on various boards, including one linked to insurance and national rail operator SNCF – both with vested interests in pension reform.

In all he had omitted his role in 13 bodies, including two paid posts.

In a statement, Mr Delevoye said his credibility had been undermined by "violent attacks" by unions and opposition leaders seeking to discredit a pensions overhaul he dubbed “essential for France."

He confessed to having displayed “culpable irresponsibility” over the omissions and pledged to pay back the money, totalling more than €120,000 (£100,000) since September 2017.

Hardline unions are threatening to keep up travel strikes over Christmas Credit: Anadolu Agency

"Jean-Paul Delevoye made these omissions in good faith, he will now be able to explain himself," an official in the French presidency said, adding that Mr Macron will name a new commissioner "as soon as possible".

France’s political transparency watchdog will decide whether to press charges on Wednesday.

A Gaullist former Chirac ally, Mr Delevoye was instrumental in drawing up a new, “universal, points-based” pension system that Mr Macron promised in his election manifesto would be a fairer replacement of the current one, with its bewildering 42 different regimes, some with generous perks.

His departure is a major loss to the French president as he was a trusted ally with cabinet experience and deep technical knowledge of the pension system.

Lauded even by hardline unions as a man they could do business with, Mr Delevoye nevertheless oversaw a reform that has triggered a 12-day strike, which some unions say could drag on over Christmas unless the government scraps it.

Most of Paris metro is still shut over pension strikes and one in three national rail lines is working Credit:  BERTRAND GUAY/AFP

On Monday, the Sorbonne in Paris said it had cancelled or postponed year-end exams because of potential travel problems for students.

Meanwhile, most metro lines in the capital remained closed or operated skeleton services. Only one in three of France’s high-speed TGV trains and one in four regional trains were running.

The resignation came a day before unions staged a third day of national protest since the movement began on December 5.

The hardline CGT wants the pension reform scrapped altogether, while more moderate unions, including the powerful CFDT, back the new system but are up in arms over a move to effectively raise the full retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2027.

Jeremy Corbyn should never have apologised over anti-Semitism claims, says French far-Left ally

French far-Left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon has sparked uproar by claiming Jeremy Corbyn should never have apologised over “churlish” anti-Semitism accusations, which he claimed were trumped up by the chief rabbi and Israeli Right.

Mr Mélenchon, who came fourth in France’s 2017 presidential election, claimed that the UK Labour leader lost a part of the electorate during his election campaign by showing “weakness” over such allegations.

In a blog, he said: ”(Corbyn) had to endure, unaided, churlish anti-Semitism claims from England’s chief rabbi and various influence networks linked to Likoud (the hard Right party of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu”.

“Instead of riposting, he spent his time apologising and making pledges. In both cases, he showed weakness, which worried popular sectors (of the electorate),” he said.

The Labour defeat “must serve as a lesson”, said Mr Mélenchon, an MP who leads the France Unbowed party.

“Corbyn spent his time being insulted and stabbed in the back by a handful of Blairite MPs. Instead of riposting, he took it on the chin.”

Jeremy Corbyn was personally accused of 11 counts of anti-Semitism in a leaked Jewish Labour Movement dossier this month Credit: TOBY MELVILLE/Reuters

Earlier this month, Mr Corbyn was personally accused of 11 acts of anti-Semitism in an extensive leaked dossier detailing an alleged "cover-up" within the Labour Party over its treatment of Jews. The submission compiled by the Jewish Labour Movement alleges Mr Corbyn "has repeatedly associated with, sympathised with and engaged in anti-Semitism".

But Mr Mélenchon dismissed such allegations and said that in France he would never let himself "be influenced by lobbies of any sort – be they financial or from a sectarian community.”

He then went on to slam what he called the "arrogant and sectarian dictates" of the Crif, France’s Jewish umbrella group.

The Crif slammed the claims, saying they were reminiscent of "Vichy rhetoric about the Jewish conspiracy”.

They were, it said, “a shocking and surprising hotchpotch: what link is there between the Crif and the British elections?,” asked Crif president Francis Kalifat.

The “media-hungry” Marxist’s "conspiracy theory drift speaks volumes about his thought processes”.

The French government condemned Mr Mélenchon’s comments, with education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer branding them “foul” and liable to “fuel anti-Semitism”.

French interior minister Christophe Castaner denounced Mr Mélénchon's comments as "foul" Credit: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP

Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, called them “shocking and inappropriate”.

After winning almost 20 per cent of the vote in the first round of France’s 2017 presidential elections, Mr Mélenchon’s popularity has nosedived following a string of controversial outbursts.

Last week, he was handed a three-month suspended prison term and an €8,000 (£6,700) fine for intimidating officials investigating his funding.

In October 2018 prosecutors launched searches of his party offices and home.

Mr Mélenchon was filmed shouting "I am the Republic!" at a police officer and shoving him. With colleagues he then tried to break into the party HQ.

Matteo Salvini wades into culture wars as populist is chased around Italy by ‘sardines’

It was a classic piece of showmanship. On a chilly night in Ravenna, a town in northern Italy renowned for its Byzantine mosaics, Matteo Salvini was warming up the crowd like a late-night comedian.

As the leader of the Italian opposition paced the stage with a microphone in his hand, a woman piped up and suggested that he might like to indulge in a panino with Nutella to ward off the cold.

He didn’t miss a beat, explaining that he no longer indulged in the sticky chocolate spread.

“And you know why, Signora? Because I found out that Nutella uses Turkish nuts. I prefer to help companies that use Italian products. I prefer to eat Italian and help Italian farmers because they need help.”

It was…