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Piers Morgan says royals deciding against wearing masks was ‘not a smart move’

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piers morgan says royals deciding against wearing masks was not a smart move

Piers Morgan blasted the Queen and Prince William for appearing in public without wearing face masks today, calling it ‘not a smart move by the Royal Family’. 

Royal author Omid Scobie also suggested it was a wasted opportunity to present a ‘strong visual’ amid the country’s ongoing fight against coronavirus.

The 94-year-old monarch, who falls into the ‘at risk’ age bracket for Covid-19, was joined by her grandson at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down near Salisbury for her first public engagement since lockdown.

The duo met scientists who worked in the aftermath of the 2018 Novichok attack, and are currently supporting the UK’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But while the pair maintained strict social distancing and arrived separately by helicopter and car, neither opted to wear face coverings – with all 48 people due to come into close contact with the royals tested for Covid-19 by Dstl beforehand.

Omid Scobie accused the Royal Family of wasting an opportunity to present a 'strong visual' today amid the country's fight against coronavirus after the Queen (pictured) and Prince William appeared in public not wearing face masks

Omid Scobie accused the Royal Family of wasting an opportunity to present a ‘strong visual’ today amid the country’s fight against coronavirus after the Queen (pictured) and Prince William appeared in public not wearing face masks

The 94-year-old monarch, who falls into the 'at risk' age bracket for Covid-19, was joined by her grandson at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down near Salisbury for her first public engagement since lockdown

The 94-year-old monarch, who falls into the ‘at risk’ age bracket for Covid-19, was joined by her grandson at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down near Salisbury for her first public engagement since lockdown

In response to a tweet from Kensington Palace about the event, GMB host Piers tweeted: ‘Why no masks or social distancing? Sorry, but this is not a smart move by the Royal Family as the virus rages and the country heads into another lockdown.’

Mr Scobie, who wrote the controversial biography Finding Freedom which raised eyebrows for its gushing praise and intimate knowledge of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, tweeted this afternoon: ‘No masks for anyone at today’s engagement, but Buckingham Palace confirm that the Queen consulted her own doctors and all staff at @dstlmod tested negative before the visit.’

He then followed up with a further tweet, writing: ‘My two cents: While sensible and safe precautious were clearly made, I do worry that most people seeing the photos/videos won’t know the back story. As the majority of the UK enters tighter restrictions, seeing leaders in masks would have been a strong visual [sic].’ 

Both men’s tweets sparked a passionate discussion, with a number of people accusing the monarch of sending a ‘bad message’ by failing to wear masks.

One Twitter user commented in response to Mr Scobie: ‘Bad form, another one of the rules that apply for the plebs but not for the elite. Especially since Charles also flaunted them.’

In response to a tweet from Kensington Palace about the event, GMB host Piers tweeted: 'Why no masks or social distancing? Sorry, but this is not a smart move by the Royal Family as the virus rages and the country heads into another lockdown'

In response to a tweet from Kensington Palace about the event, GMB host Piers tweeted: ‘Why no masks or social distancing? Sorry, but this is not a smart move by the Royal Family as the virus rages and the country heads into another lockdown’

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Omid Scobie shared back to back tweets in which he suggested leaders such as members of the Royal Family wearing masks would have been a 'strong visual'

Omid Scobie shared back to back tweets in which he suggested leaders such as members of the Royal Family wearing masks would have been a ‘strong visual’

Another wrote: ‘Absolutely terrible message. We don’t even have to go through the incubation period issue. The optics are terrible as the country falls into a deeper and deeper mess, & public figures flouting basic mask wearing. Sigh.’

‘Masks should be worn regardless of testing. This virus is still active,’ exclaimed another. 

Broadcaster Piers Morgan also criticised the monarch’s decision not to wear a mask, saying it was ‘not a smart move’, while the pressure group Republic said the Queen should have set an example by wearing a face mask. 

Others observed how it seemed to be different rules for the elite, after Donald Trump was photographed taking off his mask on his return to the White House after being treated for coronavirus. 

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Mr Scobie's thread sparked a passionate discussion, with a number of people accusing the monarch of sending a 'bad message' by failing to wear masks

Mr Scobie’s thread sparked a passionate discussion, with a number of people accusing the monarch of sending a ‘bad message’ by failing to wear masks

However, some Twitter users felt Piers and Mr Scobie were making an issue out of nothing, with one tweeting: ‘At first I thought it wrong that @RoyalFamily Queen and @KensingtonPalace were not wearing facemasks however the reality is that wearing masks is not law, they all tested negative and are all socially distanced. Ppl should not be trying to make a drama out of a non story.’

Another wrote: ‘Bore off, everyone was tested prior and negative. There’s no problem here.’ 

And one added: ‘Her Majesty the Queen would never have gone out if it was not safe to assume something else or to imply is a total sense of irresponsibility again I will say if it was not safe she would not be there.’ 

‘Not worth two cents,’ wrote another. ‘She may have a medical exemption from wearing one. Ever thought about that?’

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Some Twitter users however felt Mr Scobie was making an issue out of nothing, given everyone present at the engagement had tested negative for Covid-19

Some Twitter users however felt Mr Scobie was making an issue out of nothing, given everyone present at the engagement had tested negative for Covid-19

Today was the first time the Queen has ventured from a royal residence in seven months, outside of her household of reduced staff – dubbed HMS Bubble – to carry out her duties as head of state. 

Royal author Robert Jobson told MailOnline the Queen chose not to wear a mask in a bid to send a message of calm and hope to the public.

The commentator said the royal had taken advice from her doctors who said it was safe to forego a mask, and ensured necessary measures were taken to protect everyone present from the risk of Covid. 

Mr Jobson said: ‘The Queen ensured there was a Royal safety bubble. She created a secure area where there was no danger to her or anyone else.

‘She is sending a message of confidence to the people; she’s going back to work, she’ll go about her business in the usual way, but without taking chances. She is reassuring the public that things must go on as normal, wherever it is safe to do so.

‘In a message of calm, she is saying you can make it work and things will get back to normal.’

Kensington Palace declined to comment as to whether the duke was also required to have a test in order to be able to accompany his grandmother.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Africa death: Isabel dos Santos’s husband dies in diving accident off the coast of Dubai

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africa death isabel dos santoss husband dies in diving accident off the coast of dubai

The husband of Africa’s richest woman has died in a diving accident off the coast of Dubai after getting into trouble.

Sindika Dokolo, 48, married Isabel dos Santos in 2002 after they met as students at King’s College in London. Their wedding in Angola – where 70 per cent of residents live below the breadline – cost £2.5 million.

The Congolese businessman and art collector was an experienced driver but could not be revived after getting into trouble on Thursday, The Times reported. 

Cedric Mala, a friend, told the newspaper: ‘Unfortunately the last outing was fatal. The doctors tried to resuscitate him without success.’

Sindika Dokolo (right), 48, married Isabel dos Santos (left) in 2002 after they met as students at King's College in London. Their wedding in Angola - where 70 per cent of residents live below the breadline - cost £2.5 million

Sindika Dokolo (right), 48, married Isabel dos Santos (left) in 2002 after they met as students at King’s College in London. Their wedding in Angola – where 70 per cent of residents live below the breadline – cost £2.5 million

Nicole Scherzinger, Mr Dokolo and Mrs dos Santos attend the de Grisogono party during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Villa des Oliviers on May 15, 2018

Nicole Scherzinger, Mr Dokolo and Mrs dos Santos attend the de Grisogono party during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Villa des Oliviers on May 15, 2018

Mrs dos Santos posted a photograph with her husband and one of their three children on the day of his death. It was captioned: ‘My love…’

Art was Mr Dokolo’s passion, according to his family. He was the son of the founder of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Bank of Kinshasa.

Mr Dokolo collected more than 5,000 works from contemporary African artists and wanted to help restore African art and artefacts back to museums on the continent.

Earlier this year Mrs dos Santos was accused of siphoning off millions of dollars of public money from deals involving diamonds, oil and telecoms during her father Jose’s 38-year rule as president of Angola. 

Mrs dos Santos, who has 223,000 Instagram followers and socialises with celebrities like Rita Ora and Nicole Scherzinger, claimed that prosecutors used dodgy emails and a bogus passport made by an internet scammer to prove her wrongdoing.

The Congolese businessman and art collector (pictured with his wife) was an experienced driver but could not be revived after getting into trouble on Thursday, The Times reported

The Congolese businessman and art collector (pictured with his wife) was an experienced driver but could not be revived after getting into trouble on Thursday, The Times reported

Ms dos Santos with Amber Heard (left) and Cara Delevingne (right) at Cannes in May 2014

Ms dos Santos with Amber Heard (left) and Cara Delevingne (right) at Cannes in May 2014

In addition to having the signature of the late Seventies martial arts star rather than hers, the passport showed two different serial numbers, the wrong date of birth and information in English when Angolan documents are in Portuguese, she said. 

Insisting she is innocent, Mrs dos Santos claimed her fortune was ‘built on my character, my intelligence, education, capacity for work, perseverance’.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, English-educated Mrs dos Santos, owner of a £13million home in Kensington, West London, said the Angolan and Portuguese courts had relied on ‘fabricated evidence’ to pin blame on her. 

How Jose Eduardo dos Santos ruled with an iron fist for 38 years 

Jose Eduardo dos Santos ruled the oil-rich southern African country of Angola with an iron fist for 38 years.

Top positions were awarded to his cronies and wealth accumulated in the hands of a select few during this time.

His time in charge was also widely associated with authoritarianism, corruption and nepotism. 

He left a legacy of poverty and nepotism after stepping down in 2017 from the top job in a country still recovering from a 1975-2002 civil war. 

In April, prosecutors froze the bank accounts and holdings owned by his daughter Isabel and her husband.

But Mr dos Santos’s children claim they have been unfairly targeted by an anti-graft campaign by their father’s successor President Joao Lourenco.

His son Jose Filomeno went on trial earlier this year for allegedly embezzling $500million (£385million) from Angola’s sovereign fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018. Nicknamed ‘Zenu’, he faces up to 12 years in jail if found guilty.

Meanwhile, Zenu’s half-sister Welwitschia was suspended from Angola’s parliament last October for absenteeism and ‘unjust enrichment’.

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‘It appears that a well-orchestrated state campaign has been waged against me,’ she told MailOnline. ‘It’s ridiculous that Portugal, a senior EU country, should seize assets based on the Angolan state’s reliance on a passport that a child could see is a fake.

‘Evidence has been fabricated on the back of sham emails and the signature of a beloved but long dead movie star. This is not right and my assets should be released as a matter of urgency.’

Last year, Angolan courts charged Mrs dos Santos, who was educated at Cobham Hall girls’ boarding school in Kent and King’s College London, with a long list of crimes including embezzlement and money laundering, allegedly committed during her time at the helm of the state oil giant Sonangol.

She and her husband were accused of steering payments of more than $1billion (£800,000) from publicly-owned company to firms in which they held stakes, before moving it out of the country.

Their accounts were frozen in Angola in December. Portuguese prosecutors followed suit in February after she was accused of corruption during her time at Sonangol.

Evidence included emails that seemed to show Mrs dos Santos contacting Japanese businesses, offering to invest €1billion as a way of getting embezzled funds out of Angola. Her passport was apparently scanned to prove she was genuine.

But the emails were simply sent by a shady Middle Eastern fraudster who faked the passport to con the Japanese – and the court took the documents at face value, she said. 

Alvaro Joao, spokesman for Angola’s public prosecutor, dismissed the accusations as a ‘comedy’. He said: ‘The passport is not a sufficient document for a magistrate to order… (a halt to) banking operations.’

An international arrest warrant for Mrs dos Santos could be issued if she failed to cooperate with the investigation, the prosecutor added, pointing out that the Portuguese court had not relied on the questionable documents.

The colourful socialite built up a vast business empire over the past two decades, with stakes in several Angolan and Portuguese companies. She has spoken of her hopes to become president in 2022.

Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves but its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a ruling elite. Among the general population, life expectancy is among the lowest in the world and infant mortality is among the highest

Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves but its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a ruling elite. Among the general population, life expectancy is among the lowest in the world and infant mortality is among the highest

Mrs dos Santos left Angola in 2017 when her father stepped down and spends her time between London and Dubai, though her current whereabouts are a closely guarded secret.

Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves but its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a ruling elite. Among the general population, life expectancy is among the lowest in the world and infant mortality is among the highest. 

A consortium of investigative journalists, after analysing a trove of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents, accused the former first daughter of looting state coffers during her father’s nearly four-decade rule.

The leaked documents appeared to reveal how she secured access to lucrative deals involving diamonds, telecoms, oil and land, cutting shady deals that allowed her and her husband to purchase valuable assets belonging to the state.    

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Government will ensure women have access to female-only lavatories in public buildings

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government will ensure women have access to female only lavatories in public buildings

Ministers are set to boost the number of female-only toilets in public spaces to protect women’s safety.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick launched a review today of lavatories which could prevent women having to queue ages for the loo.

It comes after the Old Vic theatre in London sparked controversy last year by abolishing its female-only toilets.

Evidence reveals increasing numbers of public toilets are being switched to ‘gender neutral’, leading to problems for women and the elderly.

Ministers are to review provisions of female-only toilets across the UK for women's safety. The Old Vic sparked controversy last year by abolishing these toilets

Ministers are to review provisions of female-only toilets across the UK for women’s safety. The Old Vic sparked controversy last year by abolishing these toilets

The review will look at signage, which should be clearer and use sex-specific language to avoid confusion. 

It will also consider the ratio of female toilets needed versus those for men, and will address misconceptions that equality legislation requires the removal of sex-specific toilets.

The Department of Housing said the removal of sex-specific toilets has sparked concern over recent years and is against legislation which stipulates public authorities have a duty to provide safe spaces for women in lavatories in buildings.

Mr Jenrick said: ‘The review that I have launched today will help women be assured of the necessary provision of toilets.

‘This is a necessity, and I have listened to the concerns raised by many women and the elderly in relation to this issue.

‘I have launched a review to establish the best way to deliver this as a priority and make sure that women can expect a sense of dignity, security and safety when using facilities.

‘We want to maintain safeguards that protect women and the proper provision of separate toilets, which has long been a regulatory requirement, should be retained and improved.’

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the review was necessary and he had 'listened to the concerns' raised by many women over toilet access

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the review was necessary and he had ‘listened to the concerns’ raised by many women over toilet access

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Suspected killer of estate agent was ‘spotted hurling large suitcase into canal after she vanished’

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suspected killer of estate agent was spotted hurling large suitcase into canal after she vanished

The suspected killer of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh was spotted hurling a large suitcase into a canal in west London three days after she vanished, a retired detective has revealed.

Ms Lamplugh, 25, disappeared 34 years ago, it is believed after going to meet a client who called himself ‘Mr Kipper’ in Fulham, south west London.  

Killer John Cannan, 66, is currently serving three life sentences at Full Sutton Prison in York after being convicted of murder, attempted kidnap and rape in 1988.

He has never been charged in connection with Ms Lamplugh’s murder, but is believed to have told a former girlfriend that he strangled her and buried her body in concrete.

Now former detective superintendent Jim Dickie, who was in charge of a re-investigation into the case, says he was told last year that Cannan was seen dumping a big trunk into the Grand Union Canal in Brentford. 

Killer John Cannan, above, 66, is currently serving three life sentences at Full Sutton Prison in York

He has never been charged in connection with the murder of Suzy Lamplugh (above)

Killer John Cannan (left), 66, is currently serving three life sentences at Full Sutton Prison in York but has never been charged in connection with the murder of Suzy Lamplugh (right)

Former detective superintendent Jim Dickie says he was told last year that Cannan was seen dumping a big trunk into the Grand Union Canal (pictured above) in Brentford, west London

Former detective superintendent Jim Dickie says he was told last year that Cannan was seen dumping a big trunk into the Grand Union Canal (pictured above) in Brentford, west London

A lorry driver is said to have witnessed the scene while on his way to work at 5am, three days after Ms Lamplugh vanished.

Cannan was alleged to be seen with the suitcase on a trolley, and ran away after a splashing sound was heard.

Mr Dickie told The Sun: ‘I believe the canal sighting is the best piece of information to have emerged about Suzy’s potential whereabouts since she went missing more than 34 years ago.’

Cannan was jailed for life with a minimum of 35 years in April 1989 for the rape and murder of Shirley Banks, 29, in Bristol. 

The former detective drew similarities between the two cases, noting that Ms Banks’ body was found in a rural location near a main road, while the Grand Union Canal is close to the A4 and M4. 

 He added: ‘We think that after leaving the bail hostel, Cannan had a room somewhere where he took Suzy and murdered her before hiding the body.

‘There were warehouses around that area at the time where he could easily have got a trolley.’

Ms Lamplugh’s car was found in the evening on the same day she disappeared, parked in a Fulham street a mile from the house, with its handbrake off but with her purse still in the door pocket. 

Police activity in July last year on a roadside verge adjoining a field near Pershore, Worcestershire, in connection with the murder of the estate agent 34 years ago

Police activity in July last year on a roadside verge adjoining a field near Pershore, Worcestershire, in connection with the murder of the estate agent 34 years ago

Six years later, the Metropolitan Police revealed its prime suspect in the case to be serial rapist and convicted killer Cannan – but the Crown Prosecution Service ruled there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. 

Ms Lamplugh was officially declared dead, presumed murdered, in 1994 and her parents Paul and Diana both died without finding out what happened to their daughter.

The estate agent’s disappearance is one of the most puzzling cases of the 20th century.

Witnesses reported seeing a woman meeting her description arguing with a man outside a property in Shorrolds Road at about 1pm on July 28, 1986.

In August 2010, police began searching a field off the B4084 between Pershore and Drakes Broughton, about three miles from the former Norton Barracks in Worcestershire, where a search had previously been carried out in December 2000 and February 2001.

In December 2000, police had also searched a nearby brickworks, which had been mentioned in several of the original witness statements.

Suzy Lamplugh: Timeline of one of the UK’s most notorious cold cases

July 28 1986: Ms Lamplugh leaves her estate agency office in Fulham, west London, at 12.40pm to meet a client called Mr Kipper. At 10pm, her white Ford Fiesta is discovered in Stevenage Road, Fulham. The doors are unlocked, the handbrake is off and the ignition keys are gone. Her purse, still containing £15, is in the pocket of the driver’s door. A massive police hunt is launched. 

December 1986: The Suzy Lamplugh Trust is set up by Suzy’s parents, Paul and Diana Lamplugh, to tackle violence and support stalking victims.

October 1987: With few leads, the police inquiry into the disappearance is closed. The file remains open.

April 1989: John Cannan is jailed for life with a minimum of 35 years for the murder of newlywed Shirley Banks in Bristol. He is also sentenced for a rape and an attempted kidnap.

February 1994: Ms Lamplugh is officially declared dead, presumed murdered.

December 1999: Her mother receives new information from a secret source claiming her daughter’s body could be within the grounds of abandoned Army barracks at Norton, Worcestershire. Scotland Yard says the information is not new but orders a review because of the complex twists in the case.

December 4 2000: Cannan is questioned in prison in connection with the kidnap and murder of Ms Lamplugh. No charges are brought.

December 11 2000: Officers begin a fingertip search of a disused brickworks and a surrounding copse and lake near Norton Barracks in Worcestershire. Investigators return to the scene several times but are not thought to have made significant developments.

June 14 2002: Police submit a new file to the CPS to examine if there is enough evidence to prosecute a suspect.

November 5 2002: Mr Lamplugh speaks of his ‘anger and frustration’ at news the CPS will not charge Cannan, citing insufficient evidence.

December 2002: Reports first surface that Ms Lamplugh may be buried in the garden of the West Midlands home previously owned by the suspect’s mother, Sheila. There is talk of excavating the garden in Sutton Coldfield but Jim Dickie, the detective superintendent leading the investigation at the time, later confirmed his officers did not dig or perform an ‘extensive’ search of the home.

August 2010: Police end their search in a meadow between Pershore and Drakes Broughton in Worcestershire with no remains found.

August 18 2011: Mrs Lamplugh dies aged 75 after suffering a stroke.

June 12 2018: At the age of 87, Mr Lamplugh dies after living with Parkinson’s disease. His death ends hopes that the parents may see justice for their daughter.

October 29 2018: Investigators led by the Metropolitan Police return to Cannan’s mother’s former home in Shipton Road, Sutton Coldfield, to prepare to excavate its garden in the hope of ending the 32-year mystery.

November 2 2018: Cannan reiterates his innocence in the case, saying through his solicitor that he hopes the search of the property will conclude swiftly to ‘end speculation’ that he was responsible.

November 12 2018: The ‘painstaking’ two-week search of the garden finds no evidence. Police insist the case remains open.

July 3 2019: Police begin searching land in Pershore, Worcestershire following new information about the disappearance.

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