UK’s Prince Harry and Meghan in first royal event after wedding

admin   •   May 23, 2018   •   4544

 

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace, their first royal engagement as married couple, in London, May 22, 2018. Dominick Lipinski/Pool via Reuters

Britain’s Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan Markle – the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – appeared at their first official engagement since marrying last weekend when they attended an event in the gardens of Buckingham Palace on Tuesday (May 22).

The couple, whose wedding in Windsor on Saturday (May 19) was watched by millions of TV viewers worldwide, was at a party to celebrate Harry’s father Prince Charles’ charity patronages and military affiliations ahead of his 70th birthday this year.

Also, there were several emergency services personnel who were first responders after the Manchester suicide bombing exactly a year ago which killed 22 people, the Palace said.

Charles and his wife Camilla visited Manchester Arena last June to meet staff who were first on the scene immediately after the bombing.

Heir to the throne Charles, who will be 70 in November, played an impromptu role in Saturday’s royal wedding, accompanying Markle up the aisle in the absence of her own father who was unable to attend.

Harry and U.S. former actress Markle are expected to go on honeymoon later, though no details of when or where have been announced. — Reuters

Britain clinches Brexit deal, Johnson now faces parliament challenge

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured) at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, 15 October 2019. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN / POOL

Britain clinched a last-minute Brexit deal with the European Union on Thursday (October 17), but still faced a challenge in getting it approved by parliament.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Britain and the European Union had agreed a “great” new Brexit deal and urged lawmakers to approve it at the weekend.

“We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control,” Johnson said in a tweet.

Johnson is hoping to get approval for the agreement in a vote at an extraordinary session of the British parliament on Saturday, to pave the way for an orderly departure on October 31.

However, the Northern Irish party that Johnson needs to help ratify any agreement has refused to support the deal that was hammered out over weeks of negotiations.

The head of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said in Brussels he was “unhappy” with the deal and would vote against it. Lawmakers in his party said they had been told to vote for another referendum on Saturday.

Johnson has no majority in the 650-seat parliament, and in practice needs 320 votes to get a deal ratified this Saturday – in what will be the first Saturday session since the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982. The DUP have 10 votes.

The British parliament defeated similar deals struck by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, three times.

Johnson won the top job by pledging to renegotiate May’s agreement, though he is reviving the bulk of it now, with changes to the protocol on how to treat the border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

The uncertainty over parliament’s approval means that, two weeks before the latest date for the United Kingdom’s departure from the world’s largest trading bloc, the possible outcomes still range from an orderly departure to a chaotic exit or even another referendum that could reverse the entire endeavour.

It is unclear what Brexit will ultimately mean for the United Kingdom and the European project – built on the ruins of World War Two as a way to integrate economic power and thus end centuries of European bloodshed.

Johnson, who was the face of the campaign to leave the EU in Britain’s 2016 referendum, has repeatedly said he will not ask for a delay – even though parliament has passed a law to oblige him to do just that if it has not agreed and ratified a deal by Saturday. (Reuters)

X-rays brighter than the sun to virtually decipher ancient scrolls

Robie de Guzman   •   October 3, 2019

Ancient scrolls dating back to 2,000 years ago

Scientists at Britain’s national synchrotron facility have harnessed powerful light beams to virtually unwrap and decipher fragile scrolls dating back some 2,000 years in a process they hope will provide new insights into the ancient world.

The two complete scrolls and four fragments – from the so-called Herculaneum library, the only one surviving from antiquity – were buried and carbonized by the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and are too fragile to be opened.

The items were examined at the Diamond Light Source facility in Oxfordshire, home to Britain’s synchrotron, a particle accelerator in which beams travel around a closed-loop path.

Electrons are accelerated to near light speeds until they emit light 10 billion times brighter than the sun, then directed into laboratories in ‘beamlines’ which allow scientists to study minute specimens using x-ray beams in extreme detail without damaging them.

“The idea is essentially like a CT scanner where you would take an image of a person, a three-dimensional image of a person and you can slice through it to see the different organs,” said Laurent Chapon, physical science director of Diamond Light Source.

“We… shine very intense light through (the scroll) and then detect on the other side a number of two-dimensional images. From that we reconstruct a three-dimensional volume of the object… to actually read the text in a non-destructive manner,” Chapon said.

The ink on the scrolls is difficult to see, even through a synchrotron, because it is carbon-based like the papyrus it is written on. But scientists hope the density of the paper will be different where written characters are present.

By scanning the fragments where characters are visible, they hope to create a machine-learning algorithm that will decipher what is written on the scrolls.

The data generated by the process will be analysed by scientists at Kentucky University in the United States using advanced computing techniques to decipher the scrolls’ contents.

“The library at Herculaneum was the only library that survived from antiquity and because of that the material inside is extremely valuable,” said Brent Seales, professor of computer science at Kentucky University.

“Texts from the ancient world are rare and precious, and they simply cannot be revealed through any other known process.” (Reuters)

(Production: George Sargent)

Meghan guest-edits British Vogue, honors ‘forces for change’ women

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2019

Meghan, wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, has chosen to feature 15 women she considers “Forces for change” on the cover of the September issue of British Vogue that she guest edited, Buckingham Palace said on Sunday (July 28).

The Duchess of Sussex, who gave birth to her first child in May, spent seven months working with British Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful on the issue.

The former actress, 37, said in a statement she had sought to steer the focus of the September issue – usually the year’s most read – to “the values, causes and people making impact in the world today”.

The cover of the magazine, which will be available on Aug. 2, features women including teenage climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, boxer Ramla Ali and actress and women’s rights advocate Salma Hayek Pinault.

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward, and model and former refugee Adut Akech are among others featured in a list that also includes mental health and diversity campaigners.

“Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light,” Meghan said in the statement.

“I hope readers feel as inspired as I do, by the ‘Forces for Change’ they’ll find within these pages.”

The issue also features a “candid conversation” between Meghan and former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, and an interview with veteran primatologist Jane Goodall. (REUTERS)

(Production: Edward Baran, Tara Oakes)

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