‘Tinder Swindler’ victim continues to look for love on dating show

Fjellhoy was one of the women whom Hayut duped out of thousands of pounds by posing as a wealthy heir. (Photo: Netflix)
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Updated 28 November 2022

‘Tinder Swindler’ victim continues to look for love on dating show

  • Hayut told Newsbeat that he denies the accusations shown in the Netflix documentary

LONDON: If you watched “The Tindler Swindler,” Netflix’s hit documentary about fraudster Simon Leviev, whose real name is Shimon Hayut, then you will definitely recognize Cecilie Fjellhoy.  

Fjellhoy was one of the women whom Hayut duped out of thousands of pounds by posing as a wealthy heir.  

Five years on, Fjellhoy, 33, is ready to find love again and is appearing on “Celebs Go Dating,” a show where a cast of stars — often from reality shows like “Love Island” and “The Only Way is Essex” — go on dates with non-celebrities. 

Speaking at the series launch, Fjellhoy said to BBC’S Newsbeat: “I don’t feel like a celeb. I don’t want people to think that I look at myself like a celeb, but I really appreciate that my face is actually known around the world. I am blessed that I’m able to do ‘Celebs Go Dating’ and show a different side to me.”

Fjellhoy seems optimistic about dating after her debacle. She explains she finds dating “fun” and will “continue to have with it.”  

She is even back on Tinder. “I never looked at Tinder as the one to be blamed for what happened to me because I met him in real life,” she said, “but I think I went a bit too quick back on the apps.” 

Following the release of “The Tinder Swindler,” Fjellhoy received an outpouring of sympathetic reactions from viewers. However, she was also at the receiving hand of misogynistic comments from people who labeled her as a “gold digger” and deserving of the unfortunate events that befell her.  

Fjellhoy said she is expecting a backlash to her dating show appearance, saying, “Trolling always happens. I’ve learnt not to read (the comments).”

She believes, however, that is important to shine a light on such comments, explaining that they can be “dangerous.”

“It’s fun to laugh about it, but it can be dangerous in the long run,” she said.  

Fjellhoy has been campaigning for more awareness on romance fraud and is calling for training for police and healthcare professionals so that victims can feel better supported. She also wants to help remove some of the stigma surrounding scams so people can feel less ashamed about seeking help if they do fall prey to fraudsters.  

Speaking on Hayut’s release, Fjellhoy said it is “disheartening” and that her goal was to “keep people protected from people like him.” 

In 2019, Hayut was convicted of four charges of fraud, not relating to Fjellhoy’s allegations, and was sentenced to a total of 15 months in prison. He was released after serving only five. Previously in Denmark, in 2015, he was sentenced for defrauding three women. 

Hayut told Newsbeat that he denies the accusations shown in the Netflix documentary. 

Fjellhoy said she unexpectedly ran into Hayut at a beach club in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he currently resides.   

She said she waved at him and continued on. “I am not scared of him. He cannot hurt me anymore,” she said. 

Hayut claims he reported her Tel Aviv visit to the Israeli police and accused her of harassment.  

Fjellhoy says she still receives messages from people, young and old, sharing their own stories of romance fraud. Her advice to them is to speak out if they believe they are being scammed, to reach out to family and friends and to recount their experiences. She also advises them to contact the banks as “they’re not your enemy.” 

She said: “The thing with fraud (is that) you don’t realize red flags when they’re happening. That’s why it’s dangerous. When you realize you’ve been defrauded, go to the police, go to the bank.”


Weapons to wasabi: Russian jihadist runs Syria sushi outlet

Updated 30 March 2023

Weapons to wasabi: Russian jihadist runs Syria sushi outlet

  • Islam Shakhbanov headed to Syria in 2015 “to take part in jihad.”
  • Shakhbanov was inspired to open “Sushi Idlib” after sampling Japanese cuisine during his travels

IDLIB: A Russian jihadist has traded his weapons for wasabi by opening a small sushi restaurant in war-torn Syria’s rebel-held northwest, as the conflict wanes and fighters look for other income.
Islam Shakhbanov, 37, from Russia’s Muslim-majority Dagestan republic, said he headed to Syria in 2015 “to take part in jihad.”
But after years of war, the Damascus government has regained control of most of the country and Syria’s main frontlines have largely frozen, putting many foreign fighters out of a job.
“In the end I opened this sushi restaurant,” the goateed man told AFP, standing near a banner displaying a fish, with slogans in Arabic, English and Russian.
Wearing a warm vest, and with a dark winter cap on his head, Shakhbanov said he fought alongside jihadist factions and the Faylaq Al-Sham rebel group until about five years ago.
Faylaq Al-Sham is a Sunni Islamist group that has acted as Turkiye’s proxy during several Turkish military campaigns on Syrian soil. It has also been the source of pro-Ankara mercenaries sent to battle in Libya on the side of the UN-recognized government.
The group fought fierce battles against the Russian-backed Syrian regime in Aleppo, Idlib and Latakia provinces, and is considered close to the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Shakhbanov said he had lived in countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, and was inspired to open “Sushi Idlib” after sampling Japanese cuisine during his travels.
He boasted it was the first sushi restaurant in the conservative enclave, Syria’s last main rebel bastion where many people depend on humanitarian aid.
Rebel-held Idlib is home to about three million people, around half of them displaced by 12 years of war.
The enclave is controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, the former Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, and other rebel groups — some of whom count fighters from central Asia and the Caucasus among their ranks.
Landlocked Idlib is surrounded by regime troops to the south but borders Turkiye to the north, with the coast less than 25 kilometers (16 miles) away in some places.
Shakhbanov said he imports many of his ingredients from Turkiye — pickled ginger, soy sauce, prawns and even crab.

Idlib was among the areas struck by a February 6 earthquake that collapsed buildings and killed tens of thousands, mostly in Turkiye.
The sushi restaurant survived unscathed.
Behind the counter, two chefs, also former fighters from Russia, chopped fresh salmon and cucumber, spreading the ingredients onto a bed of rice and seaweed before pressing everything into a roll.
The restaurant at first struggled to attract customers in the impoverished enclave where Japanese food is an oddity, but Shakhbanov bills his seaweed rolls as “affordable.”
A California roll sells for 60 Turkish lira ($3), double the price of a large shawarma sandwich more familiar to local residents.
He said he now has about a dozen regulars and hopes to attract more customers by adding fried dishes to the menu.
But Shakhbanov, married to a Syrian woman and with two young daughters, said he is ready to leave the sushi behind and taste combat again should divided rebel factions agree on a military strategy.
“I opened a restaurant,” he said, “but I did not abandon jihad.”

Prince Harry makes surprise showing at UK privacy case

Updated 27 March 2023

Prince Harry makes surprise showing at UK privacy case

  • Others taking part in the legal action include Elton John, Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost

LONDON: Britain’s Prince Harry on Monday made an unexpected appearance at London’s high court for a hearing in a privacy claim launched by celebrities and other figures against a newspaper publisher.
The publisher of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers (ANL), is trying to end the high court claims brought by high-profile figures including Harry and singer Elton John over alleged unlawful activity at its titles.
Harry, who now lives in California after quitting royal duties in 2019 and launching a barrage of criticism of the British royal family, was pictured arriving at the court in central London.
Others taking part in the legal action include actresses Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost as well as John’s husband David Furnish, Doreen Lawrence — the mother of murder victim Stephen Lawrence — and former Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes.
Lawyers for the group told the court the publisher of the Daily Mail commissioned the breaking and entry into private property, illegally intercepted voicemail messages and obtained medical records.
“The claimants each claim that in different ways they were the victim of numerous unlawful acts carried out by the defendant, or by those acting on the instructions of its newspapers, The Daily Mail and The Mail On Sunday,” lawyer David Sherborne said in written submissions to the court.
The alleged unlawful included “illegally intercepting voicemail messages, listening into live landline calls, obtaining private information, such as itemised phone bills or medical records, by deception..., using private investigators to commit these unlawful information gathering acts on their behalf and even commissioning the breaking and entry into private property,” Sherborne said.
The alleged wrongdoing dates from 1993-2011, but some went on as late as 2018, he added.
Harry, also known as the Duke of Sussex, sat near the back of the court, two seats away from fellow complainant Frost.
ANL has described the allegations as “preposterous smears” and a “pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone-hacking scandal.”
Britain’s phone hacking scandal, which first blew up in 2006, saw journalists at the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World hack into the voicemails of royals, celebrities and murder victims.
It triggered the closure of the mass-selling Sunday tabloid, a mammoth police investigation, a judge-led inquiry and criminal charges that gripped Britain for years.

A spokesperson for ANL also said the allegations were “unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims, based on no credible evidence.”
A four four-day preliminary hearing is being held at the high court with ANL arguing that the allegations are “stale” and should be dismissed without a trial.
Harry, the younger son of Britain’s King Charles III, has long had a difficult relationship with the media.
His mother Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 after she and her companion, Dodi Fayed, left the Ritz Hotel pursued by paparazzi photographers.
In 2019 while on a tour of South Africa with his wife Meghan, Harry linked media intrusion to Diana’s death and spoke of his fears of history repeating itself.
“I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum,” he told television journalist Tom Bradby, accusing sections of the media of waging a “ruthless campaign” against Meghan.
“Everything that she (Diana) went through, and what happened to her, is incredibly important every single day, and that is not me being paranoid, that is just me not wanting a repeat of the past,” he said.
Both Harry and Meghan have been involved in other recent legal action targeting British newspapers.
The couple, whose popularity ratings have plummeted, have dominated headlines in the past few years due to a string of interviews, a Netflix series and Harry’s autobiography “Spare” in which they complained bitterly about their treatment as working members of the royal family.
Buckingham Palace has not responded to the claims, while the late Queen Elizabeth II famously commented that “recollections may vary.”


Actor Jonathan Majors arrested on assault charge in New York

Updated 26 March 2023

Actor Jonathan Majors arrested on assault charge in New York

  • The star of the recently released “Creed III” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old woman: NYPD

NEW YORK: The actor Jonathan Majors was arrested Saturday in New York on charges of strangulation, assault and harassment, authorities said.
New York City police said that Majors, star of the recently released “Creed III” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old woman. Police responded around 11 a.m. to a 911 call inside an apartment in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea.
“The victim informed police she was assaulted,” a spokesperson for the NYPD said in a statement. “Officers placed the 33-year-old male into custody without incident. The victim sustained minor injuries to her head and neck and was removed to an area hospital in stable condition.”
He was no longer in police custody as of Saturday night, the NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Associated Press.
A representative for Major denied any wrongdoing by the actor.
“He has done nothing wrong,” said the representative in an email to the AP Saturday. “We look forward to clearing his name and clearing this up.”
Majors is one of the fastest rising stars in Hollywood. After breaking through in 2019’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” Majors has starred in “Da 5 Bloods,” “The Harder They Fall” and last year’s “Devotion.” He also stars in the recent Sundance Film Festival entry “Magazine Dreams,” which Searchlight Pictures is to release in December.




Large asteroid to zoom between Earth and Moon

Updated 25 March 2023

Large asteroid to zoom between Earth and Moon

  • An observatory in La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, first spotted the asteroid on February 27
  • The asteroid will again swing past Earth in 2026

PARIS: A large asteroid will safely zoom between Earth and the Moon on Saturday, a once-in-a-decade event that will be used as a training exercise for planetary defense efforts, according to the European Space Agency.
The asteroid, named 2023 DZ2, is estimated to be 40 to 70 meters wide, roughly the size of the Parthenon, and big enough to wipe out a large city if it hit our planet.
At 19:49 GMT on Saturday it will come within a third of the distance from the Earth to the Moon, said Richard Moissl, the head of the ESA’s planetary defense office.
Though that is “very close,” there is nothing to worry about, he told AFP.
Small asteroids fly past every day, but one of this size coming so close to Earth only happens around once every 10 years, he added.
The asteroid will pass 175,000 kilometers from Earth at a speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour. The moon is roughly 385,000 kilometers away.
An observatory in La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, first spotted the asteroid on February 27.
Last week, the UN-endorsed International Asteroid Warning Network decided it would take advantage of the close look, carrying out a “rapid characterization” of 2023 DZ2, Moissl said.
That means astronomers around the world will analyze the asteroid with a range of instruments such as spectrometers and radars.
The goal is to find out just how much we can learn about such an asteroid in only a week, Moissl said.
It will also serve as training for how the network “would react to a threat” possibly heading our way in the future, he added.
Moissl said preliminary data suggests 2023 DZ2 is “a scientifically interesting object,” indicating it could be a somewhat unusual type of asteroid. But he added that more data was needed to determine the asteroid’s composition.
The asteroid will again swing past Earth in 2026, but poses no threat of impact for at least the next 100 years — which is how far out its trajectory has been calculated.
Earlier this month a similarly sized asteroid, 2023 DW, was briefly given a one-in-432 chance of hitting Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046.
But further calculations ruled out any chance of an impact, which is what normally happens with newly discovered asteroids. Moissl said 2023 DW was now expected to miss Earth by some 4.3 million kilometers.
Even if such an asteroid was determined to be heading our way, Earth is no longer defenseless.
Last year, NASA’s DART spacecraft deliberately slammed into the pyramid-sized asteroid Dimorphos, significantly knocking it off course in the first such test of our planetary defenses.

Firefighters rescue 5 mischievous boys lost in New York City sewer

Updated 24 March 2023

Firefighters rescue 5 mischievous boys lost in New York City sewer

  • Scream as loud as you can for rescuers to hear you, 911 dispatcher the panicked lads

NEW YORK: Five mischievous boys had to be rescued after they crawled through a storm drain tunnel in New York City and got lost, authorities said.
In audio released by the fire department, 911 dispatchers work to pinpoint the boys’ exact location and then tell them to scream once rescuers are close enough to hear.
“Now you can scream as loud as you can,” a dispatcher says. “They want you to scream and yell.”
The five boys, aged 11 and 12, crawled into a storm drain on Staten Island at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, fire department officials said at a news conference Wednesday.
The boys walked about a quarter mile and then called 911 when they couldn’t find their way back, officials said.
“We’re stuck in the sewer,” one of the boys says on the recording. “You’re stuck where?” a dispatcher responds.
A second dispatcher says he is familiar with the area and tries to determine exactly where the boys are. “Once you went down, was the sewer left, right, straight — where was it?” the dispatcher asks. “I need you to guide me.”
When sirens can be heard, the dispatcher tells the boys to scream. At first the boys fear that the rescuers aren’t stopping.
“It sounded like they went past us,” one boy says.
The dispatcher assures the boys, “They’re not going anywhere, we’re going to get you out of there.”
Soon an emergency responder can be heard saying “We might have hands on the kids right now,” and then, “We have all five children removed from the sewer.”
Firefighters said the boys were in the tunnel for about an hour. The boys and one firefighter were taken to a hospital for evaluation, but none had significant injuries, officials said.
“Amazing that the cellphone worked in the tunnel,” FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens told reporters. “That was a key component of us finding them.”