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World News in English. Mashed: Vanity Fair.Celebrity.Lifestyle.Money..

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World News in English. Mashed: Vanity Fair. Celebrity. Lifestyle.Money


World News in English.
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Vanity Fair.
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Prince Charles is celebrating his 70th birthday in style!

On Wednesday, Charles was photographed with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall moments before heading to his birthday party hosted by his mother Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

For the special evening, Charles sported a black tuxedo while Camilla chose a stunning off-the-shoulder navy gown and accessorized her look with dangling diamond earrings and a diamond necklace.

Inside the party, Queen Elizabeth made a sweet speech praising her eldest child and heir to the throne, noting that she was honored to be there to experience the milestone.

It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday, the 92-year-old monarch began. It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like to use an analogy I am certain will find favor planting a tree and being able to watch it grow.

The Queen continued, My mother saw me turn 70, of course. And she was heard to observe that 70 is exactly the age when the number of candles on your cake finally exceeds the amount of breath you have to blow them out.

In addition, she went on to praise Charles dedication to saving the environment and raising a family.

Over his 70 years, Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history and a wonderful father, the monarch said. Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative.



Happy 70th Birthday, Prince Charles!

Meghan and Harry, who are expecting her first child in the spring, arrived to the palace in a separate car.
Meghan also sported a classic updo and diamond drop earrings that she previously wore in Fiji during the couples royal tour last month.


So this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a duchy original, Queen Elizabeth concluded, jokingly referring to the company which her son set up in 1990 to sell organic food products. To you Charles. To the Prince of Wales.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were also spotted arriving at Charles celebration.

After spending all day in Yorkshire on official royal duty, Will and Kate made a glamorous entrance to the bash. Kate was spotted wearing a one-shoulder ruffled pink gown with a show-stopping updo that showed off her glittering diamond drop earrings surrounded by a pear-shaped stone.



Queen's touching tribute to son Charles at his 70th birthday party

Charles and Camilla attended a tea party before the evening party (PA)

The Queen delivered a touching speech to her son Charles as she hosted a lavish birthday party for his 70th at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday night.

Her Majesty described The Prince as passionate, creative and as a duchy original, as she raised a toast to her heir in front of family, friends and members of European royalty.

She also paid tribute to Charles passion for the causes he cares about the most, namely conservation and the arts, and mentioned his wife Camilla by name rather than title.

My mother saw me turn 70, of course. And she was heard to observe that 70 is exactly the age when the number of candles on your cake finally exceeds the amount of breath you have to blow them out.

Over his 70 years, Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history and a wonderful father.
Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative.

So this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a duchy original.

To you Charles. To the Prince of Wales.

Charles was joined by his closest family members at the bash, including his sons William and Harry and their wives Kate and Meghan.

His daughter-in-laws were spotted arriving at the palace, both sporting some jaw-dropping earrings and what appeared to be off-the-shoulder gowns.
Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Looked Glamorous As Hell at Prince Charless Birthday

Kate wows in a pink gown and statement earrings (Getty)

The Duchess of Cambridge paired her single-drop earrings which are a departure from her beloved tiny pairs with a ruffly, one-shoulder pink dress.Hopefully, the duchesses had a lovely night that included very little movement and quite a lot of sitting, as those pendulous earrings arent exactly made for the dance floor.

It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday, The Queen said.

It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like to use an analogy I am certain will find favour planting a tree and being able to watch it grow.



Queen Elizabeth Shows Off Her Sense Of Humor At Prince Charles' Birthday Party

Queen Elizabeth showed off her cheeky sense of humor while giving a sweet speech about her son, Prince Charles, turning 70.

It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday, Her Majesty said Wednesday during the party at Buckingham Palace.

It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like to use an analogy I am certain will find favor planting a tree and being able to watch it grow, she added, referring to Charles love of the environment.

My mother saw me turn 70, of course, the queen added. And she was heard to observe that 70 is exactly the age when the number of candles on your cake finally exceeds the amount of breath you have to blow them out.

Elizabeth said that over his 70 years, she and her husband, Philip, have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader, a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history, and a wonderful father.

Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative, the 92-year-old queen said.

She ended the speech with another joke, directed at the organic food line Charles started in 1990 called Duchy Originals.

So this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a duchy original, she said. To you Charles. To the Prince of Wales.



The Telegraph
California wildfire death toll reaches 71 as number missing rises to 1000

The death toll in California's wildfires climbed to 71 on Friday as the number of missing people surpassed 1000, while authorities continued the search for survivors and victims.

However, Kory Honea, Butte sheriff, said the list of missing people was dynamic, and could contain the names of people who did not realise they had been reported missing.

"We are still receiving calls, we're still reviewing emails," he said.

President Donald Trump is expected to visit the area on Saturday to see for himself the grief and damage caused by California's most deadly wildfires.

But he may face anger from locals for comments suggesting the fires could have been prevented or contained with better forest management.

In an interview recorded on Friday and scheduled for broadcast on Fox News Sunday, Mr Trump said he was surprised to see images of firefighters removing dried brush near a fire. "This should have been all raked out," he said.

Meanwhile, deputies found eight more bodies on Friday, bringing the death toll to 71.

Authorities are trying to reassure an anxious public that the long list of missing names - jumping from 600 a day earlier - may simply reflect the difficulty in trying to account for everyone thought to be in the area.

Some on the list have been confirmed as dead by family and friends on social media. Others have been located and are safe, but authorities have not yet marked them as found.

An exhausted llama lays in a partially burned field in Paradise, California 
Credit: Josh Edelson/AFP

Tamara Conry said she should never have been on the list.

"My husband and I are not missing and never were," she wrote Thursday night on Facebook. "We have no family looking for us. ... I called and left a message to take our names off."

Authorities compiled the list by going back to listen to all the dispatch calls they received since the fire started, to make sure they didn't miss anyone.

In last year's catastrophic wildfires in California wine country, Sonoma County authorities at one point listed more than 2,000 people as missing. But they slowly whittled down the number. In the end, 44 people died in several counties.

Firefighters search a burned-out building in Paradise, California
Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomber

The wildfire this time all but razed the town of Paradise, population 27,000, and heavily damaged the outlying communities of Magalia and Concow on November 8, destroying 9,700 houses and 144 apartment buildings, authorities said.

Firefighters were gaining ground against the blaze, which blackened 222 square miles (575 square kilometers). It was 45 percent contained and posed no immediate threat to populated areas. Crews managed to stop it from spreading toward Oroville, population 19,000.

This patch of California, a former Gold Rush region in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is to some extent Trump country. The the Republican candidate beat Hillary Clinton in Butte County by 4 percentage points in 2016.

But some survivors resent that Mr Trump took to Twitter two days after the disaster to blame the wildfires on poor forest mismanagement. He threatened to withhold federal payments from California.

"If you insult people, then you go visit them, how do you think you're going to be accepted? You're not going to have a parade," Maggie Crowder of Magalia said Thursday outside an informal shelter at a Walmart parking lot in Chico.



See Queen Elizabeth, 92, Ride a Horse Around Windsor Castle


Queen Elizabeth is so active (you know, running a kingdom) that it's easy to forget she's actually 92-years-old. She rarely misses an official royal event or photo op, and her latest age-defying stunt is horseback riding around Windsor Castle. Just to clarify, the Queen mounted and rode a horse...and she's just eight birthdays away from living for a century.

Great weather is reportedly sweeping over England right now, and rather than sip tea on one of the castle's many luxurious balconies, the Queen took a trot around the grounds at Windsor Castle alongside her son Prince Edward, 54. Head over to the Daily Mail for the photos.

For their horseback session, the Queen wore a headscarf and trench coat similar to the below photo, which is from the Windsor Horse Show earlier this year. Prince Edward however, opted for full-on horseback riding gear (complete with helmet and all).

The Queen is definitely an animal lover, so it should come as no surprise that she's still horseback riding. She's been photographed with horses and other animals on the palace grounds many times over the years and has owned more than 30 Pembroke Welsh Corgis throughout her lifetime. Sadly, the last of her Corgis (Whisper) died last month.

Keep on trotting, Queen Elizabeth!



Brigitte Macron Wore a Princess-Worthy Gown With the Queen of Belgium

Brigitte Macron might not actually be royalty, but she looked every bit the princess while attending a state dinner at the Royal Palace in Belgium. Joining Queen Mathilde of Belgium for the black-tie affair, Macron wore a sleek black dress with glittering embellishments at the neckline and waist. Queen Mathilde, for her part, wore a pretty velvet number that was a bit reminiscent of Meghan Markle's favorite bateau neckline.

We revel in Macron's tours of other countries just as much as we love when Markle or Kate Middleton travel abroad. So far, Macron has worn a polished all-gray outfit and a cool tweed pantsuit, and we can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeve in Belgium. Scroll down to see everything Brigitte Macron has worn on her tour of Belgium so far.



Here's what Doria Ragland can expect during her first Christmas with the royal family

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland. Image via Getty Images.

Meghan Markles mother, Doria Ragland, is just weeks away from spending her first Christmas with the royal family.

In an unprecedented move, the Queen has extended an invitation for Ragland to join senior members of the royal family for three days of holiday festivities at Sandringham House. The invite is believed by royal insiders to be a sign of the Queens affection for Markle, who doesnt have any family in England.

In an interview with Grazia magazine, Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, gave a rundown of what Ragland can expect during her time with the royals.

According to Seward, Ragland will arrive with the rest of the family on Christas Eve at Sandringham, the Queens private estate in Norfolk, for three days filled with family activities, lots of wardrobe changes and, as expected, plenty of rules to follow.

After her luggage is unloaded, there will be a present-giving ceremony after tea, Seward said, noting that there will be nothing informal about the festivities. Gifts will be opened in order of precedence but dont expect the Windsors to be exchanging pricey designer goods. There are mainly useful things, such as homemade jams, china or curios bought from county fairs.

Rumour has it that Prince Harry once gifted his grandmother a shower cap that read, Aint life a bitch. Last year, during her first holiday with the monarch, Markle gifted the Queen a singing hamster.

Then it will be lethal martinis and a black-tie dinner, Seward explained, noting that the Queen comes up with a seating chart for dinner. Theres a really careful old-fashioned placement Its always boy-girl, boy-girl.

On Christmas Day, the royals attend church at 11 a.m. before returning for lunch, where everyone gathers for a traditional carving of the turkey, Christmas crackers. Oh, and and everyone (except the Queen) is expected to wear their paper hats.

After lunch, its time for the Queens televised speech and a brisk walk around the grounds to make room for more food. Christmas tea is followed by a short siesta before dinner, giving guests plenty of time to gear up for another luxurious meal.

Like most families, Christmas with the royals revolves around eating and theres one royal tradition that the Queen still follows to ensure her guests are leaving with full stomachs.

Seward says that all guests are weighed on antique scales when they arrive at Sandringham and when they leave. The expert explained the tradition dates back to King Edward VII, who was known for his hearty appetite, and wanted to make sure that all of his guests were well fed.

Boxing Day for the family will be dedicated to a day of shooting but Seward reveals that Markle and Ragland will not be required to join unless they want to.

With another American among their ranks, Seward says the royals will most likely let it slide if Ragland flubs some royal protocol.

It is unusual for an outsider to be invited, but the royal family does change, she added. Im sure the royals will do everything in their power to make Doria feel at home.



The Cut
Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Matched Again

On Wednesday (American Thanksgiving Eve), our favorite duchesses Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle stepped out, respectively, for two separate royal outings while doing one of the things they apparently love more than almost anything else. Yes, they were matching again.

During their separate outings Kate to the University College London to chat about childrens mental health, and Meghan to the Hubb Community Kitchen to support the Together charity cookbook the sisters-in-law were photographed sporting similar looks. Kate, 36, was re-wearing her Paule Ka skirt suit, while Meghan, 37, sported an outfit by Club Monaco. But the underlying theme? They were both wearing black tights and mostly burgundy outfits.

Here, look below at Kates outfit.

Now, lets look at Meghans attire.
Whether or not Kate and Meghan meant to match (it is autumn and they were both wearing autumn outfits, so maybe its a coincidence?) is up for debate (because maybe there are no coincidences in life). But the pair have worn similar outfits and/or accessories in the past. In October, they both wore maroon polka-dot dresses around the same time (wow), and earlier this month, they both wore glamorous statement earrings and updos at the same event (incredible). But it is suspect that theyd show up to events on the same day in eerily similar clothes. Lets take another closer look.

Heres Kate:

And Meghan:
Ahhhhh, they both look lovely and elegant, yet my eyes and brain hurt from seeing so much double. But given that Queen Elizabeth wanted to wear matching green hats with Meghan that one time, I can only assume that triplet-ing with her will be the next stop on their royal matching tour.



Thursday, 22nd November, 2018

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia.
It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places.




Meghans sister called her a social climber: After the engagement was announced, Samantha Markle took to the tabloids to call her half-sister a social climber. She claimed Meghan only wanted to become a princess, and love had nothing to do with her engagement to Harry.



Apparently the Reason Queen Elizabeth Won't Give Up the Throne Has to Do With Princess Charlotte

Prince Charles turned 70 earlier this month, which was a joyful occasion for many people, mainly due to the fact that it prompted Kensington Palace to release many adorable photos of the royal fam, including the first pics of baby Prince Louis. But Charles' big bday also might have caused to you think, "Wait-he's 70 and still a prince? How much longer will this guy have to wait to be king?" Well, according to new reports, the answer is a while.

The Daily Mail reports that according to a royal insider who has spent many years observing and working with the royal family, Queen Elizabeth isn't eager to give up her throne. Apparently, the 92-year-old has been very much enjoying the recent wave of popularity that the younger generation has brought to the royal family. "I dont think shes going anywhere, anytime soon," says the source. "I think the Queen sees what those boys and their wives bring...Princess Charlotte, already at the age of 3, knows how to work a crowd. Maybe now through her grandchildren she can see a way of just staying on the crest of that wave."

And the source has a point-is there anything more adorable than Harry and Meg's PDA or Prince George at an official royal event? All that said, Queen Elizabeth's mother lived to be 101-basically, Prince Charles is just going to have to keep being patient.
Photo credit: Pool/Max Mumby - Getty Images



Associated Press
With child coming, it's off to the suburbs for Harry, Meghan
LONDON (AP) Like many a couple before them, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are moving to the suburbs ahead of the anticipated birth of their first child.


Officials said Saturday that Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will move from Kensington Palace in central London to Frogmore Cottage, a house on the grounds of Windsor Estate, early next year.
The couple, who married in a chapel on the Windsor Castle grounds in May, is expecting their first child in the spring. Windsor is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of central London.
The palace statement said that "Windsor is a very special place for their royal highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate."
Windsor Castle is one of Queen Elizabeth II's favorite homes. It is surrounded by horse country where she used to ride frequently in her younger days, and she is known to prefer the castle and its environs to Buckingham Palace, her more formal official residence in central London.
Harry and Meghan have been living at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace since announcing their engagement last year. They will keep their office at Kensington Palace, which is also home to Prince William and his wife Kate.
Frogmore Cottage is a two-story, stucco-covered house on the Windsor Estate. It is near Frogmore House, the grand 17th century manor house where Meghan and Harry held their evening wedding reception for 200 friends after their nuptials earlier in the day.
The cottage and house were called Frogmore because of the many frogs that resided in the marshy area near the River Thames.
The move means that William and Harry will no longer be living in close proximity to each other now that Harry is starting his own family. William and Kate have three children.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Officially Leaving Kensington Palace and Moving to Windsor

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are officially leaving their two-bedroom cottage at Kensington Palace for a bigger and more remote home.
According to the Daily Mail, a spokesperson for the couple made the announcement today, saying:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will move to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate early next year as they prepare for the arrival of their first child...Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate. The Duke and Duchesss office will continue to be based at Kensington Palace.
If your first reaction to this news, like mine, was, "WTF is Frogmore Cottage?" well, it's a royal home near Windsor Castle and about 20 miles away from London. Frogmore Cottage is on the estate of the Frogmore House, which is the royal palace where Megs and Harry had their private wedding reception and took their engagement photos.
But don't be fooled but the humble 'cottage' title. Apparently, the residence, which was a gift from the Queen to Harry and Meghan, has ten bedrooms and a nursery, which, tbh, sounds more like a luxury home than a cottage.
And not only did the royal couple want to move in order to have more room for their growing family, but apparently this relocation was partially motivated by their desire to put some space between themselves and Prince William and Kate Middleton. According to a royal source, Harry and Meghan were originally going to move into a larger apartment at Kensington Palace, "but there has been a bit of tension between the brothers. Now Harry and Meghan dont want to live next to William and Kate and want to strike out on their own."
Interestinggggg. Now excuse me while I mull over this drama with a plate of second-day Thanksgiving leftovers.

It Looks Like Doria Ragland May Be Part of the Reason Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Moving

Meghan Markel's mom Doria Ragland has proven time and time again that, unlike *some* of Megs family, she is totally charming and more than able to fit in with the royal fam-there's even speculation that the queen invited Doria for Christmas!
So it makes total sense that once Meghan and Harry welcome their first child, Doria will be all over those grandma duties. And according to the Daily Mail, Doria "is said to want to be a hands on gran" and that "it is believed Doria will stay with the Sussexes on a regular basis when she comes to visit her new grandchild."
But Meghan and Harry's current place at Kensington Palace only has two bedrooms-which means that once the baby comes, there'd be no place for Doria to stay if one of the rooms becomes a nursery. However, now that Meghan and Harry are moving to Frogmore Cottage, a royal residence with ten bedrooms, Doria won't only be getting her own room-apparently, "the couple want her to have a wing of their next home."
There's also been speculation that Doria is planning t0 move to England for good, so it's possible that her grandchild duties are just part of the reason why she would have her own space at Frogmore Cottage. Plus, we know that Doria and Harry get along-this summer she had an "extended stay" at Oxfordshire with the royal couple.
So now that we know how Harry and Meghan are planning to fill two of the 10 bedrooms at their new home-any bets on what they're going to do with the remaining eight?



Meghan Markle said to be causing a rift in the royal family


Theyve grown up extremely close and played the role of best man at each others weddings, but it seems things may not be going so smoothly between the royal princes right now.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently decided to move away from their Kensington Palace neighbors, Prince William and Kate Middleton and according to a friend of the royals, it may be because of trouble between the two couples.

A royal source has claimed theres a growing rift between the two couples, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Prince William and Kate Middleton. (Photo: Getty Images)

According to a palace source, Meghan and Kate arent as close as we thought, and its starting to cause tension between the brothers.

Kate and Meghan are very different people, the source told the Daily Mail. They dont really get on.

The palace confirmed that Harry and Meghan are moving to Frogmore Cottage (where they held their wedding reception) on the Windsor Estate early next year as they prepare for the arrival of their first child. The new home  is said to need major work to be fit for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with plans reportedly to include 10 bedrooms, a new nursery, a gym and a yoga studio.

Harry and Meghan, who currently live in a small cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace, always planned to upsize, but it was thought they would occupy another palace unit the size of the one Kate and William live in. 

The initial plan was for Harry and Meghan to move out of their cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace and into one of the main apartments, a royal source told The Sun. But there has been a bit of tension between the brothers.

The brothers are spending less time together as they focus on their own families. (Photo: Getty Images)

The decision to move also comes after reports that Princes Harry and William would have separate courts instead of using Kensington Palace as a joint office.

The brothers have leant on each other and looked after each other since their mother died, royal correspondent Roya Nikkah told The Sunday Times. But now they have their own families; they no longer rely on each other as before.



Queen Elizabeth Finds the Word Pregnant "Vulgar"

A Kensington Palace representative spoke with The Telegraph. This is one question that Clarence House has not been asked by the public for some time, which is why it no longer features. With the title's removal from official communication, if Camilla will be queen is anyone's guess.

In-laws are fun, especially when they double as beloved long-reigning monarchs.

Though most matriarchs have a list of unwritten rules in mind for their families, Meghan Markle and Kate Middletons grandmother-in-law has more than a few non-traditional pet-peeves, which include a distaste for wedge heels, potatoes, and men in shorts.

Perhaps the most shocking among Queen Es laundry list of unique grievances is this: the word pregnant. What about it, you ask? Well, according to an Us Weekly palace source, she finds the term vulgar.

So does Queen Elizabeth just politely skirt the topic of female gestation, even though shes a mother of four, grandmother of eight, and great-grandmother of seven (soon to be 8!)? Nah, she still talks about the condition we traditionally call pregnancy, but under a different (and incredibly old-fashioned) guise. Instead of using that vulgar p-word, the queen refers to expectant women as in the family way.




Town & Country
Queen Elizabeth Reveals the Most Annoying Thing About Opening Buckingham Palace to the Public

When you love something too much, you can destroy it. Such is the case with childhood toys, well-worn paperbacks, and apparently, Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth revealed that when she opens her residence to the public (as she does for a period of time every year), the tourists have a habit of ruining the carpets.

A newspaper snippet tweeted out by royals writer Phil Dampier gave some insight into the matter. The Queen was speaking to former Government whip Janet Anderson, when she explained how legions of tourists mess with her home.

"Everyone shuffles along in a line," the monarch said, while offering a demonstration. "This means that they push all the carpet pile in one direction, so the following year we have to turn all the carpets round so they can push it back the other way." The nerve!

Of course, the Queen was likely providing a rare dose of humor, not a critique of the royal watchers clamoring to peek inside her house. After all, it's not only the general public she has to host-events like State Banquets and Investiture ceremonies require much more hands-on effort from the Queen.

Speaking of which, she has more than a few upcoming receptions to prepare for. The most high-profile event on her calendar might be the annual holiday lunch for the extended royal family in Buckingham Palace. After that, she'll be able to abscond to Sandringham for a more close-knit Christmas.

No word on the carpet situation at the Queen's northern estate just yet.



Ukraine Should Not Be a Member of NATO

Doug Bandow

Security, Eurasia
Washington should stop adding to the Alliance new members who are security liabilities.
Ukraine Should Not Be a Member of NATO

Another day, another crisis in the relationship between Russia and Ukraineand another powerful reminder why the latter should not be inducted into NATO. Washington has nothing at stake worth going to war over who has access to the Sea of Azov.

The latest confrontation between Moscow and Kiev occurred when Russian vessels blocked Ukrainian vessels from moving into the shallow body of water between the two nations through the Kerch Strait. Kiev charged that Russia prevented lawful passage of its ships and instituted an illegal blockade. Moscow, in turn, claimed that the Ukrainians entered illegally and engaged in aggressive maneuvers. A Russian gunboat shot up a Ukrainian vessel, injuring several sailors.

Full-scale war is possible. Both sides had been increasing military forces in the region. Although Russian president Vladimir Putin does not appear to be stoking nationalist fires at home, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is an underdog for reelection and might benefit from a crisis. The latter called a war cabinet meeting, warned of possible conflict, and instituted martial law (which would allow postponing the election). The Rada is considering declaring a state of war with Russia. Demonstrators have taken to Kievs streets.

The Putin government, which has harassed Ukrainian marine traffic entering what is essentially an enclosed sea, looks mostly to blame. Moscows aggressiveness might be a negotiating tactic or part of a campaign to turn the Sea of Azov into de facto territorial waters.

Still, Moscow is not without security concerns. The Kerch Strait Bridge is a possible target. Indeed, in May Washington Examiner columnist Tom Rogan argued that Ukraine should now destroy elements of the bridge. While that course of action would be an escalation against Putin and one that would almost certainly spark Russian retaliation, this bridge is an outrageous affront to Ukraine's very credibility as a nation. Worse, Rogan declared: The U.S. could and should support Ukraine here with confidence in our own military power. Even if an election-minded Poroshenko eschews taking such a risk, nationalist and neo-fascist militias might not be so restrained.

So far the crisis is contained. The UN Security Council met but will take no action with Russia as a member. Poroshenko requested support via tweet: We appeal to the partner countries under the Budapest Memorandum, to the EU countries, to participants of the Normandy format in order to coordinate effective measures to protect Ukraine. We appeal to the whole pro-Ukrainian coalition: we must stand united!

Thats quite a list. It includes, respectively, the United States and United Kingdom, most of Europe, and France and Germany. However, if one thing is certain, it is that the continent will do nothing. The EU did issue a statement: We expect Russia to restore freedom of passage at the Kerch Strait and urge all to act with utmost restraint to de-escalate the situation immediately. But most European governments arent particularly interested in defending themselves. They certainly wont launch a glorious crusade on behalf of Ukraine, which they wont admit to either the EU or NATO.

America is the only nation on that list that matters. Washington would be expected to do the heavy lifting in any war that includes Moscow, handle the nuclear exchange, conduct the air war, resupply the allied combatants, clear the seas, manage the ground campaign, and take the casualties. The UK and France would help out. Poland would contribute. Everyone else would offer advice and hope that Russia fired its weapons over them toward North America.

This should remind us that we are lucky (or blessed) President George W. Bush failed in his effort to add Kiev (and Georgia) to NATO. Had he succeeded Washington would have been obligated to come to Ukraines defense if it invoked Article 5 against Moscow. Backed by the United States, Kiev would have been much more likely to take a belligerent approach toward Russia. Poroshenko would have advanced his reelection prospects and possibly triggered the sort of war that only offers the possibility of reclaiming Crimea.

While alliances deter, they also ensnare. If war breaks out, then Washington is automatically involved. And war becomes more likely when governments believe they can borrow the U.S. armed forces for their own purposes, which makes them more reckless.

It is fine to be pro-Ukrainian, as Poroshenko put it. Russias various assaults on Ukraine were wrong. However, there is no cause for Washington to go to war. First, Kiev is of little security interest to the West. Ukraine suffered as part of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, without any meaningful impact on America or Europe. Ukraines current travails are unsettling but not threatening to anyone else.

Moreover, Kiev, the Europeans, and America are hardly blameless. Ukraine is no beau ideal of democracy. Moreover, years after backing a color revolution in Kiev (which made the disastrous incompetent Viktor Yushchenko president), Washington and Brussels cheerfully encouraged a street putsch against the elected though flawed leader who leaned toward Russia. U.S. officials unashamedly talked about who they wanted to take over as Ukraines prime minister. Ukraines economic orientation toward Europe and membership in NATO was supposed to follow. That didnt warrant war by Moscow, but Washington would have taken, shall we say, a dim view if the situation was reversed and Russia intervened in Mexico, installing its preferred leaders and pushing the country toward membership in the Warsaw Pact.

Needed is a general settlement covering Ukraine and Georgia. Crimea wont go back to Ukraine without Moscows defeat in war. Russia is unlikely to stop stirring the pot in Ukraines Donbass region so long as NATO membership is a formal objective. The statement would serve as a strategy to bring peace and stability, if not liberalism and democracy, to that part of the world.

The allies close NATOs doors and drop sanctions, without formally recognizing Crimeas annexation. Russia ends its support for Ukrainian separatists and halts other destabilizing activities, such as interfering with Ukrainian shipping entering the Sea of Azov. Georgia and Ukraine lean however they wish culturally, economically, and politically, but abandon efforts to become a Western military tripwire. No one is happy. Everyone prospers with the result.

Weirdly, the one policy that appears to unite anti-Trump liberals and neoconservative hawks centers around Russia. Both are intent on making Moscow an enduring enemy, with no gain for America. At times this bizarre alliance appears to wish it could launch the first missile targeting the Russian Federation. If Kiev was a NATO member, then the bipartisan war hawks just might have gotten their chance.

NATO has outlived its usefulness. It risks dragging America into an unnecessary war in which most European allies would do little more than watch. Getting out is more complex than getting in. In the meantime, Washington should stop adding to it new members that are security liabilities. The Trump administration should instead focus on engaging in serious negotiations to end the neo-Cold War that has developed between Washington and Moscow.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: Americas New Global Empire...



European politicians call for new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

Ukrainian ships are detained in Kerch Strait in this still image from video released by Russian Federal Security Service November 27, 2018. Russian Federal Security Service/Handout via REUTERS

By Andrew Osborn and Anton Zverev

MOSCOW/KERCH, Crimea (Reuters) - Several senior European politicians on Tuesday raised the possibility of new sanctions against Russia to punish it for capturing three Ukrainian vessels at sea, an incident the West fears could ignite a wider conflict.

A Russian minister said further sanctions would solve nothing and that the incident should not be used to derail the Minsk accord, which aims to end fighting in eastern Ukraine between Kiev's forces and pro-Russian separatist rebels.

Russian assets have come under pressure on financial markets amid concerns that possible new sanctions could hurt the economy, though the rouble on Tuesday clawed back some earlier losses as investors bet any sanctions would not be swift.

Russia opened fire on the Ukrainian boats and then seized them and their crews on Sunday near Crimea - which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Moscow and Kiev have tried to pin the blame on each other for the incident.

President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone on Monday that Moscow was ready to provide more details to bolster its version of events. Moscow says Kiev deliberately provoked it in order to trigger a crisis.

Merkel, who also spoke on Monday with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, called for de-escalation and dialogue.

The United States urged European nations on Tuesday to do more to assist Ukraine in its standoff with Russia.

Ukraine has introduced martial law for 30 days in parts of the country it deems most vulnerable to an attack from Russia. It has said its ships did nothing wrong and that it wants the West to impose new sanctions on Moscow.

Some of the 24 Ukrainian sailors held by Russia for straying into Russian waters appeared on Russian state TV on Tuesday admitting to being part of a pre-planned provocation. Kiev denounced what it described as forced confessions.

A court in Crimea ordered seven of the Ukrainian sailors to be detained for two months pending a possible trial. It was expected to order the other sailors to be detained for the same period in separate hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Their vessels were captured by Russian forces at sea near the Kerch Strait, which is the only outlet to the Sea of Azov and controls access to two major Ukrainian ports.

A Reuters reporter at the Crimean port of Kerch where the vessels are being held saw masked armed men on board one of the ships removing boxes of ammunition.

Two Russian police officers with automatic rifles stood on the pier where the Ukrainian vessels were moored. The vessels bore traces of collisions and big holes in places.


Senior German conservative Norbert Roettgen, a close Merkel ally, said the European Union may need to toughen its sanctions against Russia, imposed partly over Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

Karin Kneissl, foreign minister of Austria, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said the EU would consider sanctions depending "on the exposition of facts and the further conduct of both parties".

Poland and Estonia, both hawkish on Russia, expressed support for more sanctions.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki told Reuters the incident in the Kerch Strait vindicated Warsaw's call for a more unified Western stance toward Russia.

"Russia remains wrongly convinced that the reaction of the West isn't unified... because in energy matters there is one stance and in defense matters there is another," he said, noting that some EU states such as Germany backed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that increases Europe's reliance on Russian gas.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also raised Nord Stream 2 on Tuesday when asked to comment on the Ukraine-Russia spat, saying some European nations should review their support for a project that "helps the Russian government".

Nauert also said Europe could more vigorously implement existing sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

"The United States government has taken a very strong position in... support of Ukraine. We would like other countries to do more as well," she told a regular briefing in Washington.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, speaking during a visit to Berlin, said more sanctions against his country would "not help to solve any problem at all".

He suggested Kiev provoked the incident to derail already halting implementation of the Minsk accord in eastern Ukraine, and said Moscow had a keen interest in ending that conflict after absorbing more than a million refugees from the region.

EU foreign ministers are due to discuss the crisis on Dec. 10. EU leaders are expected later next month to agree to extend existing sanctions on Russia, diplomats said.

Russia's FSB security service released video footage on Tuesday of the captured sailors saying they had ignored Russian orders to stop. At least one appeared to be reading from a script. Ukrainian politicians said the sailors were coerced, rendering their confessions meaningless.

The FSB said it had information showing the sailors' mission had been pre-planned by the Ukrainian government and that two intelligence officers from Ukraine's SBU security service had been on board to coordinate the provocation.

Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU, confirmed that his officers were on board to support the military and said one of them had been seriously wounded after Russian aircraft fired missiles at the Ukrainian vessels.

(Additional reporting by Natalia Zinets and Matthias Williams in Kiev, Tom Balmforth and Andrew Osborn in Moscow, Tassilo Hummel, Sabina Siebold, Andrea Shalal and Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels, John Irish in Paris, Angel Krasimirov in Sofia, Joanna Plucinska in Warsaw, David Alexander and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Gareth Jones)
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This Famous Couple Will Probably Be Godparents to Meghan and Harry's Royal Baby


From Cosmopolitan

Wondering who Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will pick to be godparents to their royal baby? Probably a whole group of lucky friends and family members, but first on the list is potentially George and Amal Clooney.

The Daily Mail reports that the famous couple are "all but confirmed" to be among the baby's godparents, with a source friendly with both the Clooneys and the royals telling the magazine, "Amal and Meghan have been close for years, and Harry and George have become buddies because of that. They're much closer than the headlines let on."

The source also says that George has "told a couple of people he has a strong hunch" they'll be asked to be godparents.

It's clear the couples are indeed super close, as George and Amal were on the guest list for the royal wedding, and Meghan and Harry reportedly visited them in Lake Como shortly after they got hitched. Of course, we won't officially find out if the Clooneys made the cut until next spring, when the royal baby is due to arrive!



The Cheat Sheet
Meghan Markle Net Worth: How Does The Duchess Make Her Money?


On its own, Meghan Markles net worth is nowhere close to other royal family members worth (according to reports, Kate Middletons net worth is around double). Ahead, we take a closer look at Meghan Markles net worth. Discover how much she was worth before becoming a royal, she and Prince Harrys net worth together, and how she makes her money now that she quit her acting career, below. ...

Meghan Markle net worth

Before marrying her prince charming, Meghan Markle made quite the name for herself. As a star on USAs hit series Suits, the actress brought in quite a bit of money each year. That coupled with endorsements, sponsorships, and other acting gigs earned her a net worth of around $5 million.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle net worth

Going into the royal family, Meghan Markles net worth was around $5 million. But, now that she and Prince Harrys net worth are combined, the Duchess of Sussex is worth between $30 and $45 million. The royal family likes to keep their money habits and finances under wraps, but according to some reports, Prince Harry is allegedly worth somewhere between $25 and $40 million. His fortunes, combined with Meghan Markles net worth makes them very wealthy newlyweds.
How does Meghan Markle make money?

Meghan Markle makes money in a few ways. For one, she has a good chunk of money from her career as a working actress. The former actress allegedly made around $50,000 per episode on USAs hit series, Suits and she likely still earns residual money each time an episode from seasons 1 through 7 air.
In addition to her role on Suits, Meghan Markle also had cameos in various films. Her appearance in Remember Me (starring Robert Pattinson) made her around $177,000. She also earned around $160,000 for her part in the short film, The Candidate and $145,000 for The Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down.

On top of her acting roles, Meghan Markle earned around $80,000 per year through brand partnerships and endorsements. The former actress even had two collections with Canadian store, Reitmans in 2016 (when she and Prince Harry first started dating). She made money through this partnership, as well as modeling the collection.
The Duchy of Cornwall

Since shes no longer a working actress and royal family rules prohibit her from accepting endorsement deals Meghan Markle has to make her money in other ways. Luckily, she and Prince Harry receive an allowance from The Duchy of Cornwall (aka, Prince Charless royal funds) every year.

The Duchy of Cornwall is a collection of real estate, rental properties, land, and other money-making entities that fund the Prince of Wales and his familys expenses. In other words: Its their salary for representing the royal family full-time at engagements, ceremonies, and charitable causes.

Theres no telling how much Prince Harry and Meghan Markle earn from The Duchy of Cornwall. But, rumor has it, Prince Harrys annual allowance went up a significant amount once the Duke and Duchess married. And, they could earn even more once their baby arrives in spring 2019.
Prince Harrys inheritance

A chunk of Prince Harrys net worth comes from the inheritance left by his mother, the late Princess Diana. On his 30th birthday, he allegedly came into $10 million (after taxes) via a trust set up in his name. The trust also included his mothers jewels, which was split between Prince Harry and Prince William.

Prince Harry was also a captain in the British Army and earned between $50,000 and $53,000 per year, according to Forbes.


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