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Kate photo: ‘An intern doing that wouldn’t get a job’ – Photo agency director unimpressed by Princess of Wales’s editing | UK News

If an intern had produced the sort of editing the Princess of Wales did on her photo of her and her children, they would not get a job, a senior photographic agency executive has told Sky News.

Eric Baradat, a photo director at Agence France-Presse (AFP), described Kate’s efforts as “really amateur” and said he and his colleagues “joked this morning, saying if an intern was doing that at AFP, they wouldn’t get a job, no chance at all”.

He told Sky News they soon realised there was “some very strange business going on” with the picture after it was published on Sunday.

Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales, visits Sebby's Corner in north London, Britain November 24, 2023. The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to provide support to families with young children in the run up to Christmas. Sebby's Corner was formed in January 2021 and provides items to families in need across Barnet, Hertfordshire and London. Frank Augstein/Pool via REUTERS
The Princess of Wales. File pic: PA

He said that “the more you look at the picture, the more you enlarge it, it becomes obvious that it’s been manipulated or altered or doctored or whatever you call it, really badly… in a way that is really amateur” and “really badly done”.

As to how the image slipped through their checks, he admitted “doubting images” was one of their responsibilities, “especially nowadays, where no image can be trusted. Basically, no single image can be trusted.”

The Prince of Wales after attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.
Pic: Reuters
William at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday. Pic: Reuters

However, all the agencies have “total trust with the material that Kensington Palace is usually sending out”, especially given the picture was one without “political consequences”.

As experienced editors, he said, they should “debunk a lot of the fake [pictures]” and sometimes use software programmes to help identify them.

But in the case of the 42-year-old princess’s editing efforts, “you don’t need that”, as “it’s obvious with the human eye, with somebody that knows digital images that there’s not even a need for that”.

AFP was one of the agencies that told media outlets to “kill” the photo from their systems and archives.

The Princess of Wales apologised “for any confusion”, admitting on Monday she had edited the Mother’s Day image.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” she said in a statement.

Associated Press told Sky News the photo showed an “inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand”.

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On Monday afternoon, a Reuters spokesperson said: “The source of yesterday’s handout photo said that she has experimented with editing. The altered photo didn’t meet Reuters standards of image quality, and that is the reason we withdrew it yesterday.”

The photo was the first official image released since Kate had abdominal surgery in January.

Royal sources said the Princess of Wales made “minor adjustments” and that she and Prince William – who took the photo – wanted to offer an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day.

“The Wales family spent Mother’s Day together and had a wonderful day,” the source added.

UN agency chief ‘shocked’ as UK and others pause funding over claims staff involved in Hamas attack | World News

The head of the UN refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) has said the decision by nine countries to pause funding for the aid agency is “shocking”.

The suspension of funding by countries including the UK and US followed allegations UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel.

“These decisions threaten our ongoing humanitarian work across the region including and especially in the Gaza Strip,” commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini said.

Follow live: ‘Ironclad’ intel shows UN agency staff links to Hamas

“UNRWA is the primary humanitarian agency in Gaza, with over two million people depending on it for their sheer survival,” Mr Lazzarini said.

“Some 3,000 core staff out of 13,000 in Gaza continue to report to work, giving their communities a lifeline which can collapse anytime now due to lack of funding,” he added.

He suggested UNRWA would be “forced to suspend its humanitarian response” if funding was not reinstated.

In the wake of the allegations, the Foreign Office said it was “temporarily pausing any future funding of UNRWA whilst we review these concerning allegations”.

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Israeli senior adviser says 12 UN members just the ‘tip of the iceberg’

It comes after a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was “documented, clear and ironclad” information showing 12 UNRWA staff members were part of the Hamas force that broke into Israel and killed 1,200 civilians.

Mark Regev said a lot of the information that led to the accusations was shared by Hamas on social media.

“Hamas went live on social media and boasted a lot of the material, so you actually see the faces and the people involved in a lot of the crimes,” he told Sky News.

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Major flooding could continue until Tuesday after Storm Babet, Environment Agency warns | UK News

Flooding from major rivers could continue until Tuesday following Storm Babet, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned.

Despite the worst of the storm now having passed, rivers in North Yorkshire, the Midlands and the South West could continue to overflow, the agency said.

“Ongoing flooding is probable on some larger rivers including the Severn, Ouse and Trent through to Tuesday,” said EA flood duty manager Katharine Smith.

Derby City Council said there were record-breaking water levels in the River Derwent and said the clean-up could take several days.

Pictures gathered by a Sky News team in Rotherham and Catcliffe in South Yorkshire showed cars submerged up to the tops of their doors.

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Why so much rain has fallen on UK

In Scotland, where there was a red weather warning in the east of the country on Saturday, a large number of homes that lost power have been reconnected.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said it restored power to 36,000 of its customers by 4.45pm on Saturday following a “day of progress” and was making a “final push” to “reconnect the remaining 700 properties”.

The most vulnerable customers are being “spoken to directly and are being offered practical help, support and accommodation where necessary”, it added.

The last remaining Met Office weather warning, for rain, expired at midnight.

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Rugby pitch submerged under floodwater

In the North Sea, off the coast of Aberdeen, a company operating a drilling platform said it had removed non-essential personnel after four of the platform’s eight anchors became detached in severe weather caused by Storm Babet.

Stena Drilling Limited said two coastguard helicopters and a search and rescue helicopter were “mobilised to transfer 45 non-essential personnel from the drilling unit to neighbouring platforms and to Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands”.

The Stena Spey platform remains secure and stable, the company added.

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A car on a bridge washed away near Dundee
A car on a bridge washed away near Dundee

In London, King’s Cross station was closed on Saturday afternoon to “manage passenger numbers”.

Managers said it was because Storm Babet had brought “severe disruption to the rail network”.

A retired man with Parkinson’s disease said there was a “high chance of a crush” during overcrowding at the central London terminal.

John Hinson, 61, from North Ferriby in East Yorkshire, said people were “crashing against the barrier” as they tried to reach their trains.

“It was just so dangerous,” he said.

UN refugee agency criticises Suella Braverman speech branding illegal migration ‘existential challenge’ | Politics News

The United Nations’ refugee agency has rebuked Home Secretary Suella Braverman after she claimed the current asylum system is no longer fit for purpose.

Ms Braverman called for a reform of the international system in a speech in Washington DC.

She outlined how she believed the current system was “outdated”, and branded the number of displaced people in the world as an “epoch-defining challenge”.

The senior cabinet minister – whose speech was signed off by Number 10 – called for reform of the 1951 UN Human Rights Convention, which forms the basis of the asylum system.

The UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, responded to Ms Braverman’s speech by saying the convention “remains as relevant today as when it was adopted in providing an indispensable framework for addressing those challenges, based on international co-operation”.

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‘Being gay isn’t enough to claim asylum’

“The need is not for reform, or more restrictive interpretation, but for stronger and more consistent application of the convention and its underlying principle of responsibility sharing,” it added.

“An appropriate response to the increase in arrivals and to the UK’s current asylum backlog would include strengthening and expediting decision-making procedures.

“This would accelerate the integration of those found to be refugees and facilitate the swift return of those who have no legal basis to stay.

“UNHCR has presented the UK government with concrete and actionable proposals in this regard and continues to support constructive, ongoing efforts to clear the current asylum backlog.”

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Ms Braverman said uncontrolled and illegal migration is an “existential challenge for the political and cultural institutions of the West” – adding that “uncontrolled immigration, inadequate integration, and a misguided dogma of multiculturalism have proven a toxic combination for Europe over the last few decades”.

Part of her speech criticised how current levels of migration have led to “undermining the stability and threatening the security of society” in “extreme cases”.

“If people are not able to settle in our countries, and start to think of themselves as British, American, French, or German, then something is going badly wrong,” she added.

Ms Braverman said “we now live in a completely different time” to when the UN Human Rights Convention was signed.

She went on: “Is the Refugee Convention in need of reform?

“What would a revised global asylum framework look like?

“How can we better balance national rights and human rights, so that the latter do not undermine national sovereignty?”

Read more:
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Ms Braverman also questioned whether courts have redefined asylum to be granted for people suffering “discrimination” instead of “persecution” – especially in the context of someone who is gay or a woman.

“Where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary.

“But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if, in effect, simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin, is sufficient to qualify for protection.”

Punchy home secretary landing blows ahead of party conference

It is no surprise to hear Suella Braverman talking tough on immigration.

Even so, today’s language is particularly punchy.

She talks about the “obvious threat to public safety and national security” illegal immigration poses and says “nobody entering the UK by boat from France is fleeing imminent peril”.

There has been backlash already, unsurprisingly, from charities and NGOs. One man who crossed the Channel in 2019 (fleeing Iran) told me the home secretary has “turned her back” on those in need.

It is criticism the home secretary is used to. Beyond the ethics, though, there is the question of whether anything she says will actually shift the dial.

The most eye-catching part of the home secretary’s speech was her call to reform the UN Refugee Convention. She says the convention, set up after the Second World War, needs to adapt for a “different time” and its application has shifted too far from helping people fleeing “persecution” to those fleeing “discrimination”.

It’s not clear there is any appetite to reform the convention from the 140+ other countries signed up to it. It won’t fix the small boats problem any time soon.

She also spoke about the importance of deterrents: Rwanda and the Illegal Migration Bill. The Rwanda plan has been bogged down in court, and there is no proof yet that government legislation will work. Small boat crossings are down from last year, but they are still much higher than 2021. Last month, more than 800 people crossed the Channel in a single day.

Suella Braverman pointed to polling showing most red wall voters want to stop small boat crossings “using any means necessary”. She did not point to the recent YouGov poll suggesting 86% believe the government is handling immigration badly.

Her speech may not distract from the perils of the government’s illegal migration policy, but it certainly sends a message ahead of the Conservative Party conference.

The speech and its contents were met with criticism from a range of charities, MPs and campaigners.

Ben Bradshaw, a gay Labour MP and former cabinet minister, asked if any “LGBT or any other Tories” were prepared to condemn the home secretary, adding that “being gay is enough to result in persecution or death in many countries”.

Michael Fabricant, a Tory MP and a patron of the Conservative LGBT+ group, said that “if someone simply claims to be gay in order to seek asylum, that should not lift the bar to entry to the UK”.

He added: “However, if someone has experienced persecution from the country from which they are escaping, it presents a different and far more persuasive case. Each application should be considered carefully on its merits.”

Read more:
Debate over Refugee Convention is vital to protect the most vulnerable

Braverman has leadership ambitions – but her rhetoric risks backfiring

‘Cynicism and xenophobia’

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said: “The Refugee Convention is a cornerstone of the international legal system and we need to call out this assault on the convention for what it is – a display of cynicism and xenophobia.

“The Refugee Convention is just as relevant today as it was when it was created, and verbal assaults from the home secretary don’t alter the harsh realities that cause people from countries such as Sudan, Afghanistan and Iran to flee from conflict and persecution.”

He added: “Instead of making inflammatory speeches decrying the rights of people fleeing persecution and tyranny, Suella Braverman should focus on creating a functioning UK asylum system that tackles the massive backlog her policies have created, so as to be able to meet the limited refugee responsibilities that fall to the UK.”

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Josie Naughton, chief executive of Choose Love, said: “It is the home secretary, not the global refugee convention, that is out of touch with the modern age.

“The UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention was put in place to protect every human being searching for safety, fleeing war zones, danger and threats to their life and freedoms. More than ever, the world must come together and unite behind it. We cannot solve this problem by seeking to undermine fundamental human rights. Working together is the only solution.”

Pound falls again as agency downgrades outlook for UK’s credit rating to ‘negative’ | Business News

A measure of confidence in the UK’s creditworthiness has been slashed by another major ratings agency in the wake of the mini-budget, piling further pressure on the under-fire pound.

Fitch revealed on Wednesday night that it had cut the outlook for its credit rating on UK government debt to “negative” from “stable”.

It maintained its overall rating – with AAA being the ideal verdict – at AA-.

The shift reflected, it said, mounting concern over the level of borrowing required to fund the chancellor’s tax and spending pledges made in the Commons last month.

Financial markets delivered a stinging verdict on the package, dubbed a growth plan by Kwasi Kwarteng, with sterling eventually plunging to an all-time low against the dollar.

Investors also demanded higher rates of return for holding UK government debt, with the Bank of England later intervening to buy long-dated bonds to prevent a crisis for pension funds.

A series of U-turns have since helped the pound and bond yields recover some poise.

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Truss: ‘No shame’ over tax U-turn

The UK currency was, however, trading back towards $1.13 on Thursday morning though that partly reflected a rekindling of dollar strength after further oil market turbulence.

Fitch revealed its decision days after a similar move by rival Standard & Poor’s.

It said of the chancellor’s mini-budget: “The large and unfunded fiscal package announced as part of the new government’s growth plan could lead to a significant increase in fiscal deficits over the medium term.”

The agency hit out at the lack of independent budget forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in the statement and the policy clash that sees the government trying to grow the economy at a time when the Bank of England is trying to shrink demand in its fight against inflation.

It added: “Although the government reversed the elimination of the 45p top rate tax… the government’s weakened political capital could further undermine the credibility of and support for the government’s fiscal strategy.”

Sky News revealed on Wednesday that Mr Kwarteng was due to meet bank bosses on Thursday amid concerns about the impact of the recent market turmoil on home loan provision.

It has emerged that the average mortgage interest rate has risen to above 6%, meaning households are paying the greatest portion of their income on mortgage payments since 1989 – exacerbating the wider cost of living crisis.