Morgan feels vindicated, Raab feels pressured, the Irish women’s football team feel equal… and I think we all feel ready for some Abba, right?
LET’S CATCH UP
Piers Morgan “was entitled” to say he disbelieved the claims made by the Duchess of Sussex during her interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, according to Ofcom.
Remember: Following Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah which aired in March, Piers Morgan - during a programme of Good Morning Britain - said he doesn’t “believe a word she says”. This included Markle’s claims she felt suicidal during her pregnancy. The reaction sparked such debate that it led to Morgan ultimately walking off set, and in the end leaving his role as co-anchor.
Although Ofcom concluded they found Morgans’s comments “potentially harmful and offensive,” they maintained that the “restriction of such views would, in our view, be an unwarranted and chilling restriction on freedom of expression both of the broadcaster and the audience.”
Here is a link to Ofcom’s full report.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab faced a grilling from fellow MPs on his handling of the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan. During the often tense questioning, Raab was asked about his recent holiday in Crete, his contact with diplomats in the region, and his knowledge on how many Britons were left in the country. Here is a helpful explainer of the key points.
Worth noting: Raab is now on a visit to neighbouring countries of Afghanistan. While he declined to comment on where exactly he was going, The Guardian said it is “understood” Raab will first visit Doha in Qatar, “where the Taliban’s exiled leaders have been based”.
ON TODAY’S AGENDA
One of the British ISIS fighters in the group dubbed ‘The Beatles’, is expected to plead guilty at a hearing in Virginia later today.
Alexanda Kotey grew up in the UK but moved to Syria to join ISIS. He was one of four Britons nicknamed the Beatles because of their British accents. The group are accused of carrying out particularly brutal crimes, including the recorded beheading of journalists whose bodies were never found.
Kotey was arrested alongside another British fighter, El Shafee Elsheikh, and the pair were ultimately extradited to the US to face charges. Both originally pleaded not guilty. The New York Times, citing an FBI expert, said Kotey’s change in plea from not guilty to guilty likely indicates he is cooperating with authorities. Media reports suggest Elsheikh has not changed his plea.
Worth noting: Other members of ‘The Beatles’ cell were ‘Jihadi John’ - who was killed in a 2015 airstrike - and Aine Davis, who is currently in prison in Turkey.
GIMME! GIMME! GIMME!
The group has teased a “special livestream announcement” at 5:45pm UK time on Thursday.
It is not fully known what the announcement will be about, but many media reports suggest it could be a new tour, new music, or both. It has been 39 years since the group released new music.
Not an Abba fan? Fine, but Does Your Mother Know? Mamma Mia? Yeah.
*Here is a link to their Youtube channel.
KEEPING AN EYE
Some media reports suggests an official announcement on a new Taliban government is “imminent”.
While a lot of the latest reporting about Afghanistan has been focused on the political dynamics at play, western reactions, and Taliban moves, this powerful piece below provides a devastating look at the human cost of recent weeks. I would highly recommend watching it.
R KELLY TRIAL UPDATE
For the first time ever, the minister who married R Kelly and Aaliyah has spoken publicly about the marriage ceremony.
Back in 1994 when R Kelly was 27 and singer Aaliyah was just 15, the pair married in a secret ceremony. A fake ID was obtained, suggesting Aaliyah was 18. Rumours of the marriage continuously resurfaced over the years, with neither party ever publicly addressing them. It is understood that Aaliyah’s parents had the marriage annulled once they heard about it. Aaliyah later died in a plane crash in 2001, at the age of just 22.
Anyway, Minister Nathan Edmond said he declined to sign an NDA ahead of the ceremony, but gave Kelly his word he would not discuss it publicly. Edmond said the pair wore matching jogging suits during the ten-minute ceremony.
Worth noting: As CNN wrote, Edmond is only speaking publicly against R Kelly now as “he was forced to do so because of the subpoena”.
- BBC News: Flood-hit New York declares state of emergency
- The Guardian: Joe Rogan has Covid - and his treatment will make health experts feel ill
- The Financial Times: Crypto platforms need regulation to survive, says SEC boss
- Al Jazeera: UN warns of Afghan food crisis as Taliban parades seized weapons
- The Irish Times: Cully & Sully founder’s Georgian seaside gem for €4.9m
- Hurricane Ida has led to a state of emergency being declared in both New York and New Jersey.
- Parts of Spain have also experienced extreme weather conditions, with floods impacting the eastern part of the country.
BEING A GOOD SPORT
Cyclist Dame Sarah Storey has become the greatest Paralympian in British history, after winning her 17th gold medal.
Worth noting: These are Storey’s eight games. She first participated in Barcelona back in 1992 at the age of 14, according to Sky News.
Cristiano Ronaldo broke records, and hearts, when he secured Portugal’s victory over the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday. Ronaldo scored two late goals, bringing his total to a record 111 international goals.
Staying with football and the Republic of Ireland, both the men’s and women’s international teams have agreed to incorporate equal pay.
“The men's squad have agreed to reduce their international fees, with the FAI matching their contribution to ensure that the Senior Women's team match fee is increased and all male and female players receive the same match fee from the September international window onwards.” - Statement from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI)
According to The Guardian, Ireland joins a list of five countries who pay their male and female international players the same amount - New Zealand, England, Brazil, Norway and Australia.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…