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Thursday
Apr182019

Prince Harry and Meghan may break from tradition with royal nanny: Report

Karwai Tang/WireImage(LONDON) -- Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, may look beyond the normal pool of royal nannies when selecting someone to care for their first child, according to a new report in the U.K.'s The Daily Mirror.

“Meghan and Harry have actually said that they actually favor an American over a Brit and also the nanny could be female or male I understand,” Daily Mirror reporter Russell Myers told ABC News' Good Morning America. “So we could be seeing a royal first on both counts and even a manny.”

Meghan, 37, a native of California, is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in a matter of weeks. She and Harry have been working with an agency in London to find a nanny for their first-born, according to Myers.

The royal couple has also indicated to the agency that they want their nanny to feel like more a member of their family than hired help, Myers’ reports.

Buckingham Palace has not commented.

If Meghan and Harry were to choose an American or a male nanny, it would be yet another way the couple is paving their own way as members of Britain’s royal family.

Harry and his older brother, Prince William, had female nannies throughout their childhood, including Olga Powell and Tiggy Legge-Bourke.

William, and his wife, Duchess Kate, selected Maria Borrallo, a graduate of the prestigious Norland College, to care for their three children, starting in 2013 with the birth of Prince George.

Norland College, located in Bath, about 100 miles west of London, is largely considered the Harvard for English nannies. It is affectionately known as the Mary Poppins school because of the quality of the nannies who come from its ranks.

"The nannies are taught everything from defensive driving to security issues to how to care for a future king or queen," ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy said in 2015, the year William and Kate's second child, Princess Charlotte, was born. "So she just really knows everything that you could possibly need to know about bringing up a child."

Norland nannies train for three years before receiving their diploma.

ABC News' Amy Robach went inside the famous school before Prince George's birth and learned that the nannies in training could only wear minimal makeup with their hair up, one pair of stud earrings and flat lace-up shoes. Their distinctive Edwardian brown uniform, complete with bow tie, felt hat and white gloves, has barely been updated since the college's conception in 1892.

Nannies are taught to push the large Silver Cross prams -- or strollers -- favored by the royals and fold a cloth nappy or diaper, using cotton wool instead of wipes to clean a baby's bottom.

Most importantly, they learn to live by the Norland motto, "love never faileth."
 
"It isn't about the strict discipline and nanny knows best," Liz Hunt, the college's principal told ABC News in 2013. "What we look for, in particular, is someone who is warm, caring, fun-loving; somebody who will enable the child to grow and to be empowered."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr182019

North Korea test-fires new tactical guided weapons, state media reports

Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North Korea reportedly test-fired a new type of tactical guided weapon on Wednesday in a move that could dampen the prospects of a successful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Hours later, the isolated nation outright called for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to be replaced in negotiations between the two countries.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected and directed the test-firing, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday, although U.S. officials have not confirmed those reports.

If confirmed, the test would mark the country's first public weapons test since its second summit with President Donald Trump ended without an agreement earlier this year.

A senior North Korean diplomat called for Pompeo to be replaced on Thursday, calling for a more "careful and mature" negotiator, according to South Korean media outlet Yonhap. Pompeo has overseen much of the negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea over denuclearization, taking multiple trips to Pyongyang to speak with Kim's government.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui was critical of Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton following the collapse of talks in Vietnam earlier this year. Both disputed last month that there were any issues between the two sides.

"Following that, we continued to have very professional conversations, where we tried our best to work together and represent our respective sides. I have every expectation that we'll be able to continue to do that," Pompeo said in March.

KCNA did not publish images from the test site or disclose details about the type of weapon tested. South Korean news agency Yonhap also reported on the testing, calling the development an "event of very weighty significance" in North Korea's efforts to beef up its military power.

The term "tactical" implies that the weapon may have been a battlefield or short-range type of weapon and not a long-range ballistic missile that could pose a threat to the U.S., experts said.

The Pentagon is not yet confirming what test may have taken place, but an official told ABC News that it had ruled out a ballistic missile test.

A White House official would not comment on the reported test beyond acknowledging that they are aware of the reporting.

"We are aware of the report, and have no further comment," the White House official said.

Trump laid out an all-or-nothing strategy when he met with Kim in Vietnam two months ago, telling the North Korean leader that he would have to give up all weapons of mass destruction if he wanted sanctions relief.

"He said the testing will not start," Trump said at a press conference after the summit. "He said he is not going to do testing of rockets or missiles or anything having to do with nuclear."

The summit ended abruptly with Trump leaving ahead of schedule without a reaching a deal. The president dismissed the idea that the breakdown of his talks with Kim meant their relationship has soured.

"We just like each other," Trump said at the time. "We have a good relationship. It's a totally different system to put it mildly but we like each other."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

French prime minister announces competition to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral's iconic spire

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) — France's prime minister has announced "an international architecture competition" to rebuild the iconic arrow-like spire atop the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which caught fire on Monday evening.

“Should we reconstruct an arrow? The same? Adapted to the techniques and challenges of our time? An international architecture competition for the reconstruction of the cathedral spire will be organized," French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

The 300-foot spire toppled over in flames on Monday night as a massive fire engulfed the world-famous medieval Catholic cathedral, an 850-year-old landmark situated in the middle of the Seine river on a tiny island i within the French capital. Firefighters battled the blaze for nine hours before quelling the flames.

No one was killed in the fire, the cause of which is under investigation.

The cathedral was partially encased in scaffolding while undergoing a $170 million renovation at the time of the fire. Much of the ribbed oak roof, made up of centuries-old wooden beams, was destroyed.

Yet, despite the extensive damage, which will take years to repair, the historic edifice appears to be mainly intact with its belfries and many other iconic features spared.

Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, who was at the cathedral when the blaze broke during a mass, told reporters the famous 18th-century organ, which boasts 8,000 pipes, and three rose-stained glass windows, which date back to 1250, both survived the inferno.

A bronze rooster that sat atop a cross on the spire was also found only slightly damaged, according to Chauvet.

Valerie Pecresse, president of the Ile-de-France region that encompasses Paris, called it a "miracle" that the walls of the cathedral are still standing.

Firefighters remained on site Wednesday working to secure the structure, dampening potential hotspots and removing priceless artwork, artifacts and relics, according to a spokesperson for the Paris Fire Brigade.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address Tuesday that he wants to see the fire-gutted cathedral restored in five years and it will be "even more beautiful." Nearly $1 billion in donations from worshipers and billionaires around the world has already been pledged to help rebuild it.

The blaze came at the start of Holy Week, the busiest and most important period of the liturgical year. Easter is on Sunday.

Bells at cathedrals across France will ring out Wednesday evening in honor of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

London climate protesters glue themselves to train as 300 arrested

Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images(LONDON) — Over 300 climate change activists have been arrested during three days of demonstrations in London.

Protesters have been attempting to disrupt transportation in the city, including gluing themselves to trains and blocking off a major intersection at Waterloo Bridge.

The action is being led by the radical Extinction Rebellion group with the aim of moving governments worldwide to "take decisive action on the climate and ecological emergency."

On Monday, police imposed a 24-hour "condition" on Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus, two of London's busiest locations, to prevent protesters from gathering, but videos published on the Extinction Rebellion Twitter page show protests are still going strong.

The videos show activists singing and dancing, as well as some being dragged away and arrested by police.

Meanwhile, one activist glued himself to a train window in Canary Wharf, one of London's busiest financial centers, and two activists glued themselves to the top of the train unfurling a banner that read "Climate Emergency."

Two men and one woman were arrested "on suspicion of obstructing the railway" after specialist teams "trained in protest removal" arrived on the scene, British Transport Police said in a statement.

And the protests could continue for the foreseeable future, according to Extinction Rebellion activist Roger Hallam, who said they were protesting to "inform the British people that they will die if we do not stop the government from putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere."

"We are in ongoing rebellion against the government," he told ABC News. "It will end when we get the demands met. This particular mobilization will continue for one to two weeks depending on whether many people join in mass civil disobedience."

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said Tuesday while he shared the protesters' "passion" for the need to tackle climate change, he was "extremely concerned" by the disruption to London's public transport.

"It's one of the biggest challenges we face -- and Governments around the world are failing to take the action we need," he said in a statement. "However … targeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change, as well as risking Londoners' safety, and I'd implore anyone considering doing so to think again."

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Wednesday
Apr172019

NASA plans record-setting stay for Christina Koch at International Space Station

NASA(NEW YORK) -- Last month, NASA astronaut Christina Koch was less than a week away from a historic all-women spacewalk before a spacesuit availability problem nixed that plan, but on Wednesday the space agency announced its intentions to give Koch a different piece of history. This one will just take a lot longer.

NASA announced that Koch -- who took off for the International Space Station on March 14, or Pi Day -- will stay in space through February 2020. The Michigan native and former electrical engineer for the agency spoke to ABC News' David Kerley exclusively.

"I still have the grin on my face that won't seem to go away, just that I'm here every day," she said in an interview from the International Space Station. "I don't necessarily count numbers or days I just think about doing my best every day."

Koch is a rookie astronaut and, if all goes as planned, will surpass Peggy Whitson’s single spaceflight record for a female of 288 days in space on Dec. 28. She previously spent months at the poles of the Earth working on firefighting and search and rescue teams, in addition to doing scientific field work. She's also worked as an electrical engineer in labs at the Johns Hopkins University and NASA.

She completed her spacewalk earlier this month without fellow astronaut Anne McClain, who began her International Space Station stay in December. McClain had completed her first spacewalk on March 22 and discovered then that she needed a “medium-size hard upper torso,” or the shirt of the spacesuit, according to NASA.

That is apparently the same size worn by Koch and NASA has a limited availability of spacewalking spacesuits. There is only one medium-size top on the space station.

Koch says exploring new frontiers -- whether that is the North Pole or space -- is critical to the betterment of the earth.

"The perspective that you gain up here looking down on earth, and seeing a world without borders representing all of humanity, up here in a global effort to explore and to do science on the frontiers. That actually benefits the earth that we're looking down on," she told Kerley.

"My primary message is to challenge yourself to reach farther than you think you can go," Koch said. "I think when we achieve a dream that's just outside of what we thought was in our reach, it has magnifying effects both for ourselves and what we can then strive to do in the future, but also for the world around us."

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Wednesday
Apr172019

Rare 20-carat blue diamond unveiled in Botswana

Okavango Diamond Company(NEW YORK) -- Botswana unveiled the largest rare blue diamond ever discovered within its borders: a super rare "Fancy blue" diamond weighing more than 20 carats.

The unique gemstone was discovered at Botswana’s Orapa mine as a 41.11-carat rough stone. Its unusual and vibrant blue color is created by the molecular inclusion of the rare mineral boron -- which between one and three billion years ago was present in the rocks of ancient oceans during violent, diamond-forming volcanic activity.

“From the first moment we saw the diamond, it was clear we had something very special," said Marcus ter Haar, MD of Okavango Diamond Company. "Everyone who has viewed the 20-carat polished diamond has marveled at its unique coloration, which many see as unlike any blue stone they have seen before. It is incredibly unusual for a stone of this color and nature to have come from Botswana -– a once-in-lifetime find, which is about as rare as a star in the Milky Way.”

“It is little surprise blue diamonds are so sought after around the world as only a very small percentage of the world’s diamonds are classified as fancy color and, of those, only a select few can be classified as being Fancy Blue,” ter Haar added.

The polished stone is named "The Okavango Blue" in recognition of Botswana’s own environmental natural treasure and World Heritage site the Okavango Delta. It is further a symbol of Okavango Diamond Company, the diamond sales and marketing arm of the Botswana government.

Speaking to ABC News from Botswana, ter Haar said the diamond will not be put up for sale just yet.

“The iconic Okavango Blue will be showcased over the coming months to promote Botswana as a leading global producer of natural ethical diamonds with an anticipated sale toward the end of the year,” ter Haar said.

“Only a handful of similar blue stones have come to market during the last decade, of which the Okavango Blue rightfully takes its place as one of the most significant,” said ter Haar.

Blue diamonds are so rare, they comprise only about 0.02 percent of mined diamonds but their beauty and value is such that they include some of the world’s most famous jewels.

Diamonds are a key natural resource for Botswana and account for approximately half of government revenue.

The Gemological Institute of America has graded the stone as Oval Brilliant Cut, 20.46 carats, Fancy Deep Blue color, VVS2 clarity.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

Teen climate change activist meets Pope Francis ahead of protest

TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg met the pope in Rome Wednesday ahead of a youth rally against climate change this week.

Thunberg, 16, met Pope Francis at the end of his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, shaking hands with the pontiff and showing him a banner adorned with the slogan "Join the Climate Strike."

"The Holy Father thanked and encouraged Greta Thunberg for her commitment in defense of the environment, and in turn Greta, who had requested the meeting, thanked the Holy Father for his great commitment in defense of creation," the director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, told reporters about the meeting Wednesday morning in the Vatican.

The teenage climate change activist rose to worldwide fame after addressing the United Nations climate change summit in Poland at the age of 15 in August. She has since become one of the most influential leaders in the worldwide School Strike for Climate movement, also known as Fridays for Future.

After Thunberg embarked on a solo climate change protest at her school in Sweden in August, a movement spread. Thousands of students have joined her in protesting in over 1,325 places in 98 countries over the past six months, according to Thunberg.

Thunberg was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by three Norwegian lawmakers in March for her services to environmental campaigning. In response to the news, she said she was "honored and grateful."

Thunberg is in Rome ahead of another youth climate strike scheduled for Friday, which is expected to draw huge crowds as her activities garner more and more media coverage around the globe. Over 1.6 million people from 131 countries took part at the last "School Strike for Climate" global protest on March 15, in which schoolchildren boycott their school day, according to the Fridays for Future website.

"Youth throughout the world are voicing what many people are feeling: that national leaders simply must do more if we're going to have any chance at achieving our collective goal under the Paris Agreement of limiting climate change to 1.5C.," Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of UN Climate Change, told ABC News. "These youth understand just how urgent it is that we find solutions; after all, our window of opportunity is closing rapidly."

Thunberg's meeting with the Pope followed a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, where she told European politicians that "cathedral thinking" was needed in order to tackle climate change, in apparent reference to the fire at Notre Dame.

"It is still not too late to act," she told lawmakers, according to The Guardian. "It will take a far-reaching vision. It will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now . I ask you to please wake up and make changes required possible."

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Wednesday
Apr172019

Kim Jong Un to meet Vladimir Putin as North Korea pivots to Russia for help

Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- A month and a half after President Donald Trump ended his summit with Kim Jong Un without a deal, the young North Korean leader is preparing to step out again on the world stage. This time, it will be for his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The summit comes at a critical time and the relationship with Russia has become increasingly important, according to analysts, as Kim seeks to maintain his nuclear weapons stockpile while loosening the economic pressure on his country.

That means the U.S. will be watching closely, with its chief negotiator Stephen Biegun heading to Moscow this week for meetings. It's the special representative for North Korea's first visit to Russia since October, and he is likely to take the Kremlin's temperature ahead of the Putin-Kim summit, as well as reinforce the importance of the United Nations Security Council sanctions implementation, according to a State Department official.

"The United States is committed to working with interested parties, including Russia, on the robust and sustained implementation of U.N. sanctions in order to move forward with denuclearization," the official told ABC News.

The Kremlin confirmed Monday that a meeting was being planned, but declined to provide any details. South Korea's Blue House -- the office of the president, which is in steady contact with North Korea -- told ABC News that "preparations are underway," but had no further comment. The meeting could come as soon as the end of next week, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

While China has long been North Korea's most important ally, Russia has played a key second role as an economic partner and tried to assert itself as a political player, often by playing a foil to U.S. interests.

The summit would be Kim's first trip to Russia. It's unclear in what city the two will meet, but the most likely option is the far eastern port city Vladivostok, where Kim Jong Il, visited in 2011. That was the most recent meeting between the two countries, when Kim's father met then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Ulan-Ude -- near the border with Mongolia, thousands of miles east of Moscow.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

Manhunt underway for fake deliveryman who shot woman with crossbow

Peel Regional Police(TORONTO) -- Canadian authorities have released surveillance footage of a suspect who shot a woman with a crossbow on her front porch while posing as a delivery person.

The video, released Monday, showed a masked man approaching the 44-year-old woman's home near Toronto with a large cardboard box in his hand and a hidden crossbow. He rang the doorbell, chatted with the woman for a few moments and fired an arrow into her chest, leaving her with life-threatening injuries.

Officers with the Peel Regional Police are investigating the November 2018 attack as an attempted murder and asked for the public's help with identifying the suspect, who ran and fled the scene in a vehicle parked nearby. He is still on the run.

"The victim suffered massive trauma that was both life-threatening and life-altering," Peel Regional Police Superintendent Heather Ramore said at a news conference Monday. "It is clear that this attack was meant to end the victim's life."

Ramore said the suspect may have been hired to carry out the attack.

"Comments that were made to the victim by the suspect indicate that the victim was targeted and that the suspect may have carried out the attack at the request of another individual," Ramore said. "This was not a random act."

Investigators declined to offer details about the victim, citing the ongoing investigation, but said she did not know her assailant.

Peel Regional Police Detective Sgt. Jim Kettles said the woman spent several months in the hospital and will be "in a recovery phase for the rest of her life."

"The injuries that she sustained were absolutely devastating. It involved damage to a lot of her internal organs," Kettles said. "She'll be still undergoing medical treatment for her injuries. Her life will never be the same."

The department said it released the video in the hopes that someone may recognize the suspect.

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Tuesday
Apr162019

Notre Dame Cathedral's famed rose windows, organ spared: Church official

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(PARIS) -- As towering flames shot through the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral, some witnesses thought the Gothic structure that has stood for 850 years was doomed.

But after firefighters battled for nine hours to put out the blaze, officials said Tuesday that despite the extensive damage that will take years to repair, many of the historic building's iconic features were left intact.

Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, who was at the cathedral when the fire broke out about 6:20 p.m. local time on Monday, said the three rose-stained glass windows survived the inferno.

The large round windows that date back to 1250 were "not blemished," Chauvet told reporters.

Chauvet said the cathedral's famous 18th-century organ that boasts 8,000 pipes was also left unscathed.

"The organ, too, thank God, did not get water and is intact," Chauvet said.

Andrew Finot, head of communications for Notre Dame Cathedral, said about 80% of the artifacts in the sanctuary were saved, including the Crown of Thorns purportedly placed on Jesus Christ's head during his crucifixion, and the Tunic from Saint Louis worn by the 13th-century King Louis IX. He said a team raced to the cathedral when the fire broke out and removed many of the relics.

Photos released Tuesday showed the altar in the main sanctuary was left intact and a gold crucifix that hangs at the rear of the pulpit appeared unscathed.

But the cathedral's huge roof, which was mostly supported by ancient wooden beams from a medieval forest, was a total loss. Charred wooden beams fell through the arched ceiling and landed in front of the altar.

"There is no more roof," Chauvet said.

During the fire, a spire that stood atop the center of the cathedral broke apart and toppled over.

Chauvet said a rooster that sat atop a cross on the spire was found slightly blemished.

"We found the rooster," Chauvet said.

Chauvet said he was at the cathedral Monday afternoon when a passerby directed his attention to the first signs of smoke.

"I went immediately to the rectory and they had already called the firefighters," Chauvet said. "We have guards that three times a day check in on the framework to make sure it doesn’t burn.

He said when the first alarm sounded, the guards went to check the wooden framework, but it was too late.

"It was too late because the fire had started underneath. There was nothing to do," he said. "Framework from the 13th century I could tell you it burns fast."

Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region that encompasses Paris, said on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday that it is a "miracle" that the walls of the cathedral are still standing. She said firefighters fought the blaze through the night, saving the main sanctuary and the cathedral's historic bell towers.

Chauvet said his faith has been bolstered by the outpouring of support and sympathy from around the world.

"This is horrible, it’s painful, it’s sad," Chauvet said. "But Easter is coming up, it gives hope. I pray a lot in front of the crowned virgin. When I went in I said, I hope shes still there, and she was. All alone."

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