Tag Archive: royal wedding


Triple bombing kills 27 at Iraqi police station

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110519/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq

By YAHYA BARZANJI and LARA JAKES, Associated Press Yahya Barzanji And Lara Jakes, Associated Press 1 hr 34 mins ago

KIRKUK, Iraq – A triple bombing killed 27 people and wounded scores outside a police station Thursday, heightening tensions in a northern Iraqi city already on edge after a string of kidnappings and attacks against security officers.

The new violence adds to strain that already besets Kirkuk, a city that has long been plagued by ethnic squabbles over land and oil fields. Iraqi and U.S. officials long have feared Kirkuk and the disputed lands surrounding it — sandwiched between Arab villages and an autonomous Kurdish region — could destabilize the country if American forces leave at the end of this year on schedule.

“This shows there is no government in this country,” railed Ahmed Salih, 55, sitting next to a hospital bed where his 30-year-old son, Omar Ahmed, lay with bandages around his head and legs. “How such an incident can take place at the police station, where there is security, is nonsense.”

The first blast, a bomb stuck to a car in a parking lot in central Kirkuk, lured policemen out of their fortified headquarters to investigate around 9 a.m., said police Capt. Abdul Salam Zangana. Three minutes later, a second blast rocked the lot when a car packed with explosives blew up in the crowd of police.

“The boots of police officers were scattered at the scene,” said one a police officer, Ahmed Hamid, who survived the strike. “I saw a severed hand on the ground.”

The third bomb, planted on a road leading to a hospital, set cars and trucks ablaze when it exploded about 550 yards (500 meters) away less than an hour later. Zangana said it targeted a police patrol near a mosque.

In all, the blasts killed 27 — most of them police officers — and wounded at least 60 people, said provincial health director Siddiq Omar. Eyewitness Adnan Karim described the scene as “a chaos of terror and fear.”

Located 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Kirkuk has been an ethnic flashpoint for years among Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen, who each claim the oil-rich city as their own. Kirkuk’s two largest ethnic groups have their own competing security forces — the Arab national police and the predominantly Kurdish peshmerga forces — and that division has stoked tensions.

Within the last 10 days alone, police patrols in Kirkuk have been targeted in five roadside bombings and an Iraqi army base has been hit by two Kaytusha rockets, said city police Col. Sherzad Mofari.

In Mosul, another major city within the disputed territories, four Iraqi army soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb Thursday afternoon, a policeman said.

Also, Kirkuk kidnappers also killed a policeman and a Christian construction worker. The latter was dismembered after his attackers gave up on collecting the $100,000 random they had demanded.

Mofari blamed the violent upsurge on al-Qaida and its allies in Iraq, which seek to stir up Kirkuk’s tensions. “They are trying to keep this instability of security in the city for a long time,” he said.

American military commanders have long worried that the simmering fight over Kirkuk could provoke violence that could spread to the rest of the country. For the last several years, U.S. troops have worked to build partnerships between Iraqi army forces and the Kurdish security forces, known as peshmerga, to secure the swath of disputed lands that stretches over three northern Iraqi provinces — and over some of the world’s most lucrative oil reserves.

But as the U.S. troops withdraw, there is little indication the Kurdish-Arab partnerships will hold, and officials gloomily predict they could return to violence if the Americans leave as scheduled on Dec. 31.

In February, for example, the Kurdish government sent thousands of peshmerga around Kirkuk, claiming to be protecting the city from planned demonstrations that might turn violent. But the incursion scared Arab and Turkomen residents, who called it a thinly veiled attempt to surround Kirkuk with Kurdish forces. The peshmerga pulled back a few weeks later and the crisis passed without bloodshed.

In Baghdad, lawmakers are still haggling over rules for taking a national census that that would determine Kirkuk’s residency — and therefore which ethnic group can rightfully claim power — trying to shape the eligibility requirements to best suit their constituents.

Hours after the bombings, the U.N. envoy to Iraq, Ad Melkert, called on all sides to quickly settle the disputes to prove that Iraqi leaders want to ensure security and stability across the country. The U.N. has been working with Kirkuk’s leaders for years to settle the dispute over the territory and get the census taken, but few believe it will be resolved any time soon.

At one hospital where victims were taken, some said they were close to giving up hope.

“This is because of carelessness of security,” said Awaz Kamal, 45, crying as she watched her son, policeman Saman Salih, being prepared for an operation to remove shrapnel from his stomach.

Around them, bloodied and bandaged victims lay on the floor, because the beds were already filled with patients.

Then a police truck pulled into the hospital driveway with four bodies lying motionless in the truck bed. It was not clear whether they were alive or dead.

___

Jakes reported from Baghdad. Associated Press writers Hamid Ahmed and Rebecca Santana also contributed.

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By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Ramit Plushnick-masti, Associated Press 1 hr 15 mins ago

HOUSTON – A day after surgery to repair her skull, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ doctor has dubbed her “gorgeous Gabby,” encouraged by how she looks and is communicating after an operation considered a major milestone in her recovery from a gunshot wound.

Giffords had some pain and nausea shortly after the surgery, but a scan of her brain showed the operation was successful, said Dr. Dong Kim, the neurosurgeon who performed the intricate, three-and-a-half-hour procedure.

She’s doing so well that doctors are beginning bedside rehabilitation therapy, and say she’s on the path to being released, although they won’t discuss a timetable.

Giffords’ head was shaved for the surgery, and she’ll be able to stop wearing the cumbersome helmet that was protecting her head from further injury. Kim described her new look as “cute.”

“I started calling her gorgeous Gabby today,” Kim said at a hospital news conference Thursday. “She hasn’t looked in the mirror yet, but as soon as she does she’ll be very pleased.”

Doctors had to remove a piece of the congresswoman’s skull to allow for her brain to swell after she was shot in the head four months ago at a political meet-and-greet in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed in the attack and thirteen others injured, including Giffords.

To replace the missing bone, Kim attached a piece of molded hard plastic with tiny screws.

Giffords’ astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, who is orbiting Earth on the space shuttle Endeavour, said he kept in touch with his mother-in-law, his identical twin brother Scott, and his wife’s chief of staff throughout the surgery, and that he is pleased with how it went.

“She’s doing really well. Everything went as planned,” Kelly said in a TV interview from space. “Her neurosurgeons are very happy, she’s recuperating and she’s actually getting back to therapy today. So it went really, really well.”

Kelly also said that Giffords will receive outpatient care in Houston, meaning she will remain away from her home district in Arizona for the start of the next phase of her recovery. “We don’t know exactly when that is going to be, but I’m looking forward to that.”

Giffords also had a permanent shunt placed in the skin behind her ear to drain spinal fluid from her brain and into her abdomen, Kim said. It will relieve pressure from fluids that often build up in patients with a brain injury, but it’s not visible and many patients forget they have one, doctors said.

The surgery carries a 5 to 10 percent risk of infection, Kim said. There are still some remaining bullet fragments in Giffords’ brain that will not be removed because doing so could make her condition worse, he said.

Once Giffords returns to TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston from the nearby Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center where she underwent the surgery, the shunt and the skull surgery will further help her recovery.

“We’re optimistic that when she comes back we’ll see a lot of changes that will allow us to upgrade the rehabilitation,” said Dr. Gerard Francisco, the head of Giffords’ rehabilitation team.

___

Ramit Plushnick-Masti can be reached at http://twitter.com/RamitMastiAP

 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110519/ap_on_he_me/us_congresswoman_shot_surgery

Pippa Middleton Wears White

http://omg.yahoo.com/blogs/a-line/pippa-middleton-wears-white/819

Etiquette experts consider it bad formfor anyone but the bride to wear white on the wedding day. Not the Middletons. Kate’s sister Pippa wore a white maid of honor dress on the world’s biggest stage.

[Photos: See more of Pippa’s dress]
Like Kate’s wedding dress, Pippa’s gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The gown featured short sleeves, a low-cut neckline, and was form-fitting. Immediately following Pippa’s appearance at Westminster Abbey, web searches soared.

A blog from the “Today” show explains that a white dress for non-brides isn’t as rare as it used to be. Bridal designer Reem Acra told TODAY.com: “I like the idea that (Kate’s) sister is wearing white… It makes the whole thing more thematic and looks clean and modern.”

Tom Mora, J.Crew’s vice-president for bridal wear, told TODAY.com that “there is something quite beautiful about it… there’s a purity about her sister wearing white.”

Pippa’s dress had the same button detail and lace trim as Kate’s wedding gown, according to PopSugar. In addition to looking beautiful, Pippa also did an excellent job with the young bridesmaids and took good care of her sister’s train.

Below, some other buzzy moments to remember…

Kate remembers William’s name
The curse is broken! Kate remembered William’s full name! It might sound like a small victory, but it’s far from it. William’s full name is quite a mouthful. For the record, he is William Arthur Philip Louis. Imagine trying to remember that with two billion people watching.

The bride also wore white. Chris Jackson/Getty Images In royal weddings past, Princess Diana and Princess Sarah Ferguson messed up when asked to recite their groom’s full name. According to Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the queen, Diana mixed up the order of Charles’s names. Diana had a pretty good excuse: Charles’s full name is Charles Philip Arthur George. Same deal with Fergie; she accidentally repeated Prince Andrew’s middle name.

Not so with Kate. She nailed William’s full name. A good omen if ever there was one.

Kate Middleton‘s delicate figure
Kate Middleton caught the experts’ eyes for her dress as well as her slender physique. Barbara Walters began buzzing after she saw Middleton exit. “She’s very slim. Look at that waist!”

[Photo gallery: Kate’s wedding look]
James Middleton: expert reader
Kate Middleton‘s brother, James, gave a reading at the royal wedding, and though he would have had every excuse to be nervous or fumble over a phrase, the 24-year-old nailed the passages from Romans 12:1,2, 9-18. Pausing at the right times, never mispronouncing a word, and never losing his place, James was perfect with his high-profile task.

Michael Middleton’s butter fingers
The father of the bride did a wonderful job of walking with his beautiful daughter down the aisle and standing at attention at the front of the church. He did make one small mistake, though. Right when he arrived at Westminster Abbey, he dropped his hat. Oops. It was all aces from there. No harm, no foul.
Etiquette experts consider it bad formfor anyone but the bride to wear white on the wedding day. Not the Middletons. Kate’s sister Pippa wore a white maid of honor dress on the world’s biggest stage.

[Photos: See more of Pippa’s dress]
Like Kate’s wedding dress, Pippa’s gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The gown featured short sleeves, a low-cut neckline, and was form-fitting. Immediately following Pippa’s appearance at Westminster Abbey, web searches soared.

A blog from the “Today” show explains that a white dress for non-brides isn’t as rare as it used to be. Bridal designer Reem Acra told TODAY.com: “I like the idea that (Kate’s) sister is wearing white… It makes the whole thing more thematic and looks clean and modern.”

Tom Mora, J.Crew’s vice-president for bridal wear, told TODAY.com that “there is something quite beautiful about it… there’s a purity about her sister wearing white.”

Pippa’s dress had the same button detail and lace trim as Kate’s wedding gown, according to PopSugar. In addition to looking beautiful, Pippa also did an excellent job with the young bridesmaids and took good care of her sister’s train.

Below, some other buzzy moments to remember…

Kate remembers William’s name
The curse is broken! Kate remembered William’s full name! It might sound like a small victory, but it’s far from it. William’s full name is quite a mouthful. For the record, he is William Arthur Philip Louis. Imagine trying to remember that with two billion people watching.

The bride also wore white. Chris Jackson/Getty Images In royal weddings past, Princess Diana and Princess Sarah Ferguson messed up when asked to recite their groom’s full name. According to Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the queen, Diana mixed up the order of Charles’s names. Diana had a pretty good excuse: Charles’s full name is Charles Philip Arthur George. Same deal with Fergie; she accidentally repeated Prince Andrew’s middle name.

Not so with Kate. She nailed William’s full name. A good omen if ever there was one.

Kate Middleton‘s delicate figure
Kate Middleton caught the experts’ eyes for her dress as well as her slender physique. Barbara Walters began buzzing after she saw Middleton exit. “She’s very slim. Look at that waist!”

[Photo gallery: Kate’s wedding look]
James Middleton: expert reader
Kate Middleton‘s brother, James, gave a reading at the royal wedding, and though he would have had every excuse to be nervous or fumble over a phrase, the 24-year-old nailed the passages from Romans 12:1,2, 9-18. Pausing at the right times, never mispronouncing a word, and never losing his place, James was perfect with his high-profile task.

Michael Middleton’s butter fingers
The father of the bride did a wonderful job of walking with his beautiful daughter down the aisle and standing at attention at the front of the church. He did make one small mistake, though. Right when he arrived at Westminster Abbey, he dropped his hat. Oops. It was all aces from there. No harm, no foul.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_royals/20110429/wl_yblog_royals/royal-wedding-mysteries-solved

Why didn’t Prince William watch his bride walk down the aisle? Who was that little girl covering her ears and frowning while the newlyweds kissed on the balcony? Where can I get those gorgeous earrings Kate wore to her wedding? The last remaining mysteries of the royal wedding are solved, right here at Shine.

Who was that adorable little girl frowning and covering her ears on the balcony during the big kiss? That’s Prince William’s goddaughter, 3-year-old Grace van Cutsem, who was one of the official bridesmaids (there are no “flower girl” roles in traditional British weddings, so children are often included as bridesmaids or pages). She is the daughter of Lady Rose Astor and Hugh van Cutsem, and great-great-great-granddaughter of William Waldorf Astor, a New York-born lawyer and politician who later became a member of the British Aristocracy. (The Waldorf Hotel was one of his pet projects.) Little Grace was also pouting for part of the carriage ride; apparently, the crowd of adoring fans got a little too noisy.

Are there usually trees in Westminster Abbey? Kate loves the outdoors and, according to the Daily Mail, she ordered more than four tons of foliage to create an English country garden setting inside Westminster Abbey, including pyramid-shaped ornamental Hornbeams to frame the choir and a “living avenue” of 20-foot-tall, 15-year-old English Field Maples through which guests walked to their seats. The cost? About 50,000 pounds, or $83,335.

What music did Kate walk in to? It didn’t sound like the wedding march. The princess walked down the aisle to “I Was Glad” by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, who composed it for the coronation of Prince William’s great-great-great grandfather Edward VII in 1902.

Why didn’t Prince William watch his bride walk down the aisle? Tradition. The groom is the last person to see the bride, and can only do so after she has completed the long walk down the aisle and is at his side. Since the aisle at Westminster Abbey is about 300-feet long, he had at least a four-minute wait at the altar.

What did Prince William whisper to Kate? According to some lip readers, he told her that she looked beautiful—and then looked at his father-in-law-to-be and quipped, “We were supposed to have just a small family affair.”

Where did the bride and groom go in the middle of the ceremony? They went to the Shrine of Saint Edward the Confessor, a room inside the Abbey, to sign the wedding registers.

Why was Prince William wearing red? Prince William holds an honorary rank of Colonel of the Irish Guards, and he opted to wear an Irish Guard’s officer uniform instead of his Royal Air Force uniform. He also wore his Garter sash and star, Royal Air Force “wings,” and Golden Jubilee medal.

Was the bride’s dress inspired by Grace Kelly’s? It seems that way; in fact, Kate’s dress looks very much like the one worn by the American actress when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco in April 1956. Both Kate’s gown and that of Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco had long sleeves, a cinched waist, a figure-hugging bodice, short veils, medium-length trains, and lots of delicate lace.

What was in the bride’s bouquet? According to the official royal wedding website, the bouquet was a shield-shaped collection of Myrtle, Lily-of-the-Valley, Sweet William, Ivy, and Hyacinth. The Myrtle sprigs were from plants grown from the Myrtle used in the wedding bouquets of Queen Victoria in 1845 and Queen Elizabeth in 1947.

Any hidden messages? Each bridesmaid had her name and the date of the wedding hand-embroidered into the lining of her dress. The bride and groom could not customize their vows, but they did write their own prayer, which was read by Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, during the ceremony (download a copy of the program here). It was: “God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.” And of course, each of those flowers in the bride’s bouquet had a special meaning: Lily-of-the-Valley represents the return of happiness, Sweet William stands for gallantry, Hyacinth is for the constancy of love, Myrtle symbolizes marriage and love, and Ivy is for fidelity, marriage, wedded love, friendship, and affection.

What are the full names of the newlyweds? Prince Williams of Wales got another set of titles in time for the wedding, according to an announcement on the official royal wedding website. His full name is now His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Early of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Master of Arts. (According to the official website of the British Monarchy, those who have the title of HRH Prince or Princess do not need to use a last name, though theirs is Mountbatten-Windsor.) As his wife, the former Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton is now Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, but most people will probably call her Princess Catherine or Princess Kate (unofficially, of course).

Was Kate wearing Princess Diana’s tiara? No. Diana wore the Spencer Tiara, a family heirloom of ornate, stylized flowers decorated with diamonds in silver settings. The halo-style tiara that Kate wore was Cartier creation belonging to the Queen. King George bought it for the Queen Mother in 1936; the Queen Mother gave it to the Queen on her 18th birthday.

What about her earrings? The bride’s earrings were designed by Robinson Pelham, according to the official royal wedding website. They are diamond-set stylized oak leaves that frame a dangling diamond-set drop and pave-set diamond acorn. The earrings, which are a wedding gift to Kate from her parents, were made to match the tiara lent to her by the Queen, and were inspired by the Middleton family’s new coat of arms.

Why did the Middleton family get a new coat of arms? What happened to their old one? They didn’t have a coat of arms before, because they weren’t members of the British aristocracy. The new coat of arms features three oak-leaf-and-acorn sprigs representing the three Middleton children—Catherine (Kate), Philippa (Pippa), and James. A golden chevron honors Carole Middleton, whose maiden name was Goldsmith, and two thinner, white chevrons represent the mountains and stand for the family’s love of the outdoors.

Who got to be on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the royal newlyweds? The bride and groom took center stage, of course, but also appearing before the public were the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall), Carole and Richard Middleton, the couple’s siblings (Pippa and James Middleton and Prince Harry), the pages (Tom Pettifer and William Lowther-Pinkerton), and the bridesmaids (Eliza Lopez, Grace van Cutsem, The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, and the Honourable Margarita Armstrong-Jones. Yes, even some children have titles in England.)

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