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Royal blunder: How Camilla was mistaken for Princess Diana in embarrassing gaffe

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When Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, it was made known that when he ascended to the throne, she would not take on the title of Queen Consort. She would be known as the Princess Consort, instead. This was to appease those who bore the couple ill will for their affair.

For this reason, despite being able to, Camilla has never used the title of Princess of Wales and has styled herself as the Duchess of Cornwall after her husband’s Duchy estate.

This, however, has not stopped people from calling Camilla Princess of Wales.

In 2010, fury erupted as the former Commonwealth Games chief Suresh Kalmadi managed to confuse Diana with the Prince’s present wife, Camilla.

He told a room full of startled reporters at a press conference: “Yes, Princess Diana was there.”

As the horror of what he had just said dawned on him, the bumbling official hastily corrected himself adding: “Prince Charles and [Camilla] the Duchess of Cornwall…

“Now they have gone off and they appreciated all the efforts made here.”

Clarence House did not issue a comment.

It was not the only blunder made by Mr Kalmadi, whose conduct around the 2010 Commonwealth Games came under scrutiny, with the Central Vigilance Commission (India’s anti-corruption organisation) asking the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe certain aspects of the games’ organisation.

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Prince Charles was pictured surrounded by empty chairs as he sat in the sparsely filled swimming complex, which had been specially renovated for the games.

There were similar problems with other arenas, with athletes forced to compete in front of dozens rather than thousands of spectators.

One diplomatic source said: “India fought hard to get the games here for the first time.

“It has been such a shambles, the Indians have voted with their feet and are keeping away.”

The Prince and Camilla were on a five-day trip to India.

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Controversy over Camilla’s title re-emerged in March, when some reports claimed that Charles was considering pushing for his wife to become Queen Consort, as is traditional.

Clarence House immediately issued a rebuttal of this statement, saying: “The intention is for the Duchess to be known as Princess Consort when the Prince accedes to the throne.

“This was announced at the time of the marriage and there has been absolutely no change at all.”

Camilla’s supporters have argued that her growing importance within the family, as well as her increasing popularity – she was ranked 8th most popular royal in a YouGov poll last year – have meant that the public would be happy for her to become Queen Consort.

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Netflix 'Cheer' coach Monica on college sports during quarantine

Netflix set to auto-cancel inactive subscriptions; faster wireless speeds coming soon

Fox Business Briefs: Netflix recently began asking customers who hadn’t watched anything in 12 months if they want to keep their membership, users who don’t confirm will have their subscriptions automatically canceled; AT&T says its 5G network is expected to reach nationwide coverage this summer.

Nationals may have been canceled for Netflix “Cheer” star Monica Aldama and her 14-time national championship-winning team as a result of the coronavirus pandemic this year, but she continues to coach her superstar squad off the mat.

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Netflix’s “Cheer” stars. (Netflix)

The Netflix mega-hit, which followed Aldama, the woman behind the 14-time national championship cheer program in Navarro, a community college 50 miles south of Dallas in Corsicana, Texas, and her squad's journey to Nationals. The show catapulted her team from humble beginnings to big-time successes with endorsement deals with some of the country's biggest brands.

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The team has garnered a celebrity fan following from the likes of Oprah and Ellen Degeneres, and squad members like Jerimiah “Jerry” Harris, Gabby Butler and Morgan Simianer have landed deals since the show aired in January. But when it comes to money, Aldama serves as a mentor coaching the kids to be good with their finances, especially in the uncertain times of the pandemic.

“When it comes to money advice I tell them, ‘Don’t spend it. Save for the future. Save for the rainy days.' When the kids start making money they get excited to buy all these new clothes and things they forget that it might not be there in the future, that’s something I try to talk about” Aldama told FOX Business, adding that she also helps with career advice.

“I tell them when you’re looking for a job, you need to look at things like benefits, retirement plans, stuff they don’t think about that I didn’t either when I was their age.”

Aldama had to rethink her routine when the pandemic broke out in March. Her daily coaching sessions turned into frequent check-ins with her team on Zoom and she turned her driveway into a makeshift gym space for HIIT workouts and routines.

America saw Aldama grapple with stress-inducing sleepless nights ahead of Nationals in Daytona, however, Aldama says that getting a good night's rest has been a priority while in quarantine. She swears by saffron-infused Fast Asleep chocolates from Objective Wellness, which subs in GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid, a calming neurotransmitter produced by your brain) instead of melatonin.

"The bedtime routine I had started with Fast Asleep in the lead up to Daytona and continued to be such a huge help with all the changes and new practices," Aldama said.

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And she'll need it for when she gets back on the mat. The Navarro cheer team is gearing up to start practicing again in August with temperature checks and COVID-19 tests in place.

"Our conference has decided recently that we would start as normal. We're hoping we can get on the right path," Aldama said. "I know we are definitely going to have some plans in place for testing athletes when they get to campus."

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Packed roads in south-west England as holidaymakers flock on 'Super Saturday'

Police say roads leading into Devon and Cornwall were ‘very, very busy’ today, as the public celebrated the lifting of lockdown restrictions on ‘Super Saturday’.

Pictures show heavy traffic in the south-west, with busy service stations, congested motorways and dozens of caravans on the roads this afternoon.

Authorities have asked motorists to travel outside of peak hours amid the surge in traffic.

People are also being advised to check their vehicles before heading off, with many using cars and caravans for the first time in months.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police’s roads policing teams tweeted: ‘The roads are wet and very, very busy heading in to Devon and Cornwall.

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‘We’re out in force trying to keep things moving but please keep a safe distance, use your headlights and ensure you check your caravan before your journey as many have been laid up for a long time.’


Highways England posted a picture from a traffic camera showing long queues near junctions 30 and 31 of the M5.

They wrote: ‘We are experiencing heavy congestion in this area. Journey times may be extended. Please consider travelling outside of peak times.’

One road user, Jay Leake posted from Taunton Deane Services on the M5 southbound at 5.30am saying it was busier than a bank holiday.

He said: ‘Nowhere for HGVs to park and take a break as these lot have taken over the place.

‘The volume of traffic including caravans overnight has been worse than a bank holiday.’

The A38 in Devon closed in both directions on Saturday after a car hit the central reservation, causing long tailbacks. 

Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘Police closed both sides of the carriageway to allow for the Air Ambulance to land whilst fire crews assisted in making the scene safe.

‘Fire crews have now left the scene in the hands of police and were able to confirm before they left that the casualty was not seriously injured.’

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Gardening myths: Eggshells, soap sprays, talking to plants and marigolds

The coronavirus has kept us housebound for months. During that time, many of us figured out that having a garden is one answer to getting outside and away from the crowds, as well as a welcome break from the next binge-watch series.

Most importantly, we feel a strong desire to grow our own food crops and plant flowers to remind us that we are vital in the whole circle of life.

Now that your garden is planted and well on its way to producing fruit, vegetables, flowers and bliss, where are you finding answers for questions about growing care and remedies for issues that crop up (pun intended)? You know, questions about common summer plant issues like soft, brown spots on tomatoes, bugs munching on leaves, and whether talking to your plants will really help them grow better.

Are internet sites and the jillion YouTube videos worth your time? Shouldn’t we rely on science and testing?

Will adding eggshells around plants prevent blossom end rot on vegetables, mainly tomatoes?

Since the beginning of the chicken or the egg, gardeners have found uses for eggshells in the garden. From starting seeds, pest repellent, mulch, mixed in with bird seed, to the most widely known cure for blossom end rot on tomatoes and peppers, which is believed to be caused by a calcium deficiency in the soil.

Blossom End Rot (BER) looks like brown, mushy, sunken areas on fruit bottoms. It typically happens on the earliest ripening fruit. The theory is that adding crushed eggshells to the planting hole or sprinkled around the plant adds calcium to the soil, preventing or correcting BER. Oh, if it were only that easy.

It’s not that the soil calcium isn’t right there for the plant roots to take up; it’s a case of whether the roots can access it. Two conditions can prevent calcium uptake. There could be a nutrient imbalance (usually too much magnesium) that interferes with calcium uptake. Inconsistent (too much, too little) watering also causes blossom end rot.

The solution: Maintain appropriate watering practices (deep, every few days, not every day), especially during these hot days. Don’t forget the organic mulch, which helps maintain even moisture around the plant. And toss those crushed eggshells into the compost pile.

Source: Kansas State University Extension Service

Will homemade soap sprays deter or kill pest insects?

Insects are a given in any garden. The good news is so are beneficial insects that prey on the pests. Many gardeners mix their own soap spray to smother undesirable pests like aphids, spider mites and others.

So, yes, soap sprays work. But keep a couple of things in mind when making your own:

  • Correct dilution is key to avoid burning plants (some plants are more susceptible than others).
  • Keep the mixture to 2-3 percent dilution and test a small area of leaves to check for sensitivity prior to spraying the entire plant.
  • Avoid spraying in heat of the day (evening is best).
  • Be sure to identify the pest correctly prior to spraying. There may be some collateral damage to beneficial insects, so use care.
  • Over-the-counter soap sprays are less apt to cause plant injury because they have been formulated to minimize plant injury.

Source: Colorado State Extension Service. 

If I talk to my plants, will they grow better?

We are not alone in thinking a little bit of smooth-talking or a light hum might stimulate our plants enough to reward us with a brighter bloom or bigger pumpkin. (Can they tell us to stop if we’re too pitchy?)

If you answered “yes” or “maybe,” you are correct. Studies are not copious by scientific plant professionals, but so far results show promise and are close enough to start a dialogue with your garden plants.

In 2014 at Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, 30 rose bushes were exposed to Western classical and rock music, along with Indian classical music and Vedic chants (melodic speaking of Hindu hymns). One group was kept in silence. After 60 days, the roses subjected to Vedic chants showed longer shoot growth, and bigger and more flowers.

Maybe not so scholarly was the television series “Mythbusters,” whose hosts in 2009 grew garden peas in several greenhouses on a sunny rooftop, exposing them to all types of music genres and talk radio 24/7. One group remained in silence. After 30 days, the peas subjected to heavy metal music had the most vigorous growth and largest peapods. The silent greenhouse of peas sulked and lacked active growth. (The moral: Be mindful of your neighbors if you turn the volume to 11 when playing AC/DC out in the garden.)

Source: International Journal of Environmental Science and Development

Do marigolds planted around the garden repel bad insects? 

It’s hard to miss the almost neon-colored yellow and gold marigolds growing in gardens and containers everywhere.

They perk up landscapes and, as a bonus, they repel pest insects, right?

So if you answered, yes, that French marigolds (Tagetes spp.) reduce numbers of root-knot nematodes — destructive, microscopic roundworms that live underground and inside plant roots of many ornamental plants, fruits and crops — then you are correct.

The worms’ chewing causes plant roots to swell and form bulging growths on the roots, which result in plants wilting or dying. A Florida scientific study that showed using marigolds to repel root-knot nematodes (and some other pest nematodes) applies to plants in Colorado, too. Tagetes marigolds contain a compound that is toxic to pest root-knot nematodes.

The study found, however, that for marigolds to effectively repel nematode pests, they need to be planted very closely together in the same area where desirable plants will be planted, but several weeks earlier and tilled into the soil before the new plants go in. That’s not easy to do in our short growing season.

But don’t despair: Even if the method doesn’t work here, go ahead and plant marigolds for their ease of care and continuous bloom.

Source: University of Florida Extension Service.

Resources for gardening questions

Finding garden answers and advice on the internet is as easy as turning on your phone or laptop. Discerning credible, researched and science-based information is not difficult, either. In our own backyard, look to Colorado State University and surrounding land-grant based agricultural schools for information that works for our high desert to mountain environments. (Bonus: No ads are featured on the pages.)

Check the dates of the articles, as products change over the years and new research goes on all the time.

One of my favorite go-to resources is Linda Chalker Scott’s site on horticultural myths from Washington State University.

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Coronavirus clouds US Independence Day events

The US is marking its Independence Day amid a surge in coronavirus cases, and many events have been cancelled.

Beaches have been closed in Florida and California, city parades cancelled and firework displays curtailed.

However, President Donald Trump will host a big party in Washington, with hundreds expected to pack the White House’s South Lawn.

The daily tally of coronavirus infections hit a new record on Friday – 52,300, Johns Hopkins University said.

The number is rising in 39 states, and at least five – Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, North Carolina and South Carolina – had single-day case records on Friday, the New York Times reports.

According to the Johns Hopkins research, nearly 130,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the US – by far the highest total – and the US has 2.8 million confirmed cases.

How is 4 July being marked in the US?

In Washington, the White House has invited hundreds of medics to the 4 July party – medics who have been treating Covid-19 patients – despite the safety concerns of the local mayor. The fight against the pandemic is a theme of what the White House calls its Independence Day “Salute to America”.

Thousands of people are expected to pack nearby streets to watch a military flypast and fireworks.

The US Department of the Interior plans to hand out 300,000 face masks to spectators who gather on the National Mall. They will also be urged to keep 6ft (1.8m) apart.

Joe Biden, the Democrat rival to Mr Trump in this year’s presidential election, tweeted that “this Fourth of July, one of the most patriotic things you can do is wear a mask”.

Firework displays are a traditional highlight of 4 July, but an estimated 80% of cities and towns have cancelled their shows.

New York City usually holds an hour-long extravaganza, but this year it was replaced by five-minute displays through the week, organised by Macy’s department store, with a final televised one on Saturday – all at undisclosed locations.

Major League Baseball cancelled its 2020 All-Star Game for the first time since World War Two.

Defying the health warnings, President Trump on Friday addressed a big crowd at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, condemning the “angry mobs” who had toppled statues in anti-racism protests.

The site, with its giant mountain carvings of former US presidents, was chosen to strengthen his claim that US heritage is under attack.

Two of the presidents carved at Mount Rushmore – George Washington and Thomas Jefferson – were slave owners.

Mr Trump, gearing up for a tough re-election battle, accused protesters of waging “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children”.

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Formula One: Leclerc admits Ferrari struggles 'crazy'

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA (AFP) – Twelve months after claiming a dramatic pole position at the Red Bull Ring, Charles Leclerc on Saturday (July 4) struggled to secure seventh on the grid for Ferrari – and admitted it was “crazy”.

The Monegasque driver, whose brilliant first season with the team in 2019 led them to decide not to offer four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel a new contract for 2021, said Ferrari’s problems at the delayed season-opening Austrian Grand Prix were worse than expected.

Team boss Mattia Binotto had warned before flying to Austria that Ferrari had decided to re-design the SF1000 car with a package of aerodynamic upgrades to be introduced at the third race in Hungary later this month.

But both drivers were surprised how relatively uncompetitive they were – Leclerc squeezing through to take seventh on the grid while Vettel was 11th after missing the top-10 shootout.

“It’s not been an easy qualifying session, unfortunately, and that’s where we are at the moment,” said Leclerc.

“We have to stay positive, try and get out of these hard times and work as a team – and try and to cheer everyone up.”

Leclerc scraped through to Q3 in 10th before finishing seventh in Q3, trailing cars from Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Racing Point When his engineer told him he was 10th, he responded immediately: “Crazy.” Vettel admitted he was shocked.

“Of course, yes, it’s a surprise,” Vettel said of his qualifying performance.

“We thought we had a little bit more in hand, but it looks like the others were probably running a bit more fuel and were a bit more conservative in practice.

“I was not so happy with the car – more over-steer on entry than I would have liked.

“But we’ll see. Tomorrow is a different picture. I think with the track getting a bit hotter, it was a bit more costly for us today.

“It’s a long race. I think in race trim we are always better. I think we will be there to make up some good ground and score some good points.”

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Catalonia curbs movement of 200,000 people after new coronavirus outbreaks

LLEIDA (Reuters) – Police at roadblocks warned motorists they were entering a lockdown zone on Saturday as Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia reimposed restrictions on more than 200,000 people following several new coronavirus outbreaks.

Residents in Segria, which includes the city of Lleida, will not be able to leave the area from 12 noon (1000 GMT) on Saturday, but they will not have to stay at home as was the case during Spain’s original lockdown.

As police stopped cars heading to Lleida, some drivers decided to turn around to avoid getting stuck inside the city.

“We’ve decided to confine Segria due to data that confirm too significant a growth in the number of COVID-19 infections,” Catalan regional president Quim Torra told a news conference.

Regional health ministry data showed there were 3,706 cases in the Lleida region on Friday, up from 3,551 the previous day.

Catalonia is one of the hardest-hit parts of Spain, with a total of 72,860 coronavirus cases, according to regional health ministry data released on Friday.

People in Lleida will be allowed to go to work outside the city, but from Tuesday workers entering or leaving the lockdown area will have to present a certificate from their employer.

Spain has registered 205,545 coronavirus cases and 28,385 deaths, making it one of Europe’s worst-affected countries.

After imposing a strict lockdown on March 14, the government has been gradually easing restrictions in a multi-phase plan since early May.

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US aircraft carriers conduct military drills in South China Sea

Manoeuvres coincide with ones launched by Beijing near the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both Vietnam and China.

Two US aircraft carriers conducted exercises in the disputed South China Sea on Saturday with China also carrying out manoeuvres that have been criticised by the Pentagon and neighbouring states.

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were performed operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific”, a US Navy statement said.

It did not say exactly where the exercises were being conducted in the South China Sea, which extends for 1,500 km (900 miles) and 90 percent of which is claimed by China despite the protests of its neighbours.

“The purpose is to show an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability,” Rear Admiral George M Wikoff was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the exercises.

China and the United States have accused each other of stoking tension in the strategic waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from coronavirus to trade to Hong Kong.

Oil and gas reserves

Wikoff, commander of the strike group led by the Ronald Reagan, said the exercises were not a response to those being conducted by China, which the Pentagon criticised this week as “counterproductive to efforts at easing tensions and maintaining stability”.

China dismissed the US criticism of its drills on Friday and suggested the United States was to blame for increasing tensions.

US carriers have long carried out exercises in the Western Pacific, including in the South China Sea. At one point recently, the United States had three aircraft carriers in the region.

China announced last week it had scheduled five days of drills starting July 1 near the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both Vietnam and China.

Vietnam and the Philippines have also criticised the planned Chinese drills, warning they could create tension in the region and impact Beijing’s relationship with its neighbours.

The United States accuses China of trying to intimidate Asian neighbours who might want to exploit its extensive oil and gas reserves. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of the South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion of trade passes each year.

The US statement said the naval exercises gave commanders the flexibility and capabilities “that only the US Navy can command”.

In 2016, an international ruled that China has no legal basis for its claims to sovereignty over the South China Sea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration said China’s “nine-dash line” territorial claims, which cover most of the South China Sea, will not be recognised under international law.

Beijing rejected the ruling and has continued to build up islands under its control. 


UpFront

South China Sea: The world’s next big war?

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Marseille turns green with election of first woman mayor

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) – Marseille became the latest French municipality to elect a green mayor on Saturday, in a wave that has swept the country since local elections at the end of last month.

Michele Rubirola, the first female leader of France’s second city, won the most votes from city councillors, ending almost a week of suspense after the June 28 poll which failed to give her green-left coalition an absolute majority.

Her election marked the end of a quarter century of conservative rule in Marseille, which joins Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and others in sending environmentalists to power.

Rubirola pledged to clean up the Mediterranean port city, which has suffered from pollution, municipal strikes and traffic congestion, but has also been ridden by gang violence, corruption and poverty.

“This is the end of clannishness, nepotism and cronyism,” she told supporters of her so-called “Marseille Spring” coalition.

President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche party performed poorly in the June 28 local elections which saw a resurgence in support for left-leaning groups, particularly green candidates.

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Car slams into two protesters on closed Seattle highway

Authorities said it was not immediately clear if the demonstrators, one who was critically wounded, had been targeted.

Two women have been struck by a fast-moving car with one critically injured after a driver sped through a protest-related closure on a freeway in Seattle.

A 24-year-old woman from Seattle suffered critical, life-threatening injuries and a 32-year-old woman from Bellingham, a city about 145km (90 miles) north, suffered serious wounds early Saturday, Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead said.

The driver, a 27-year-old man from Seattle, was taken into custody, Mead said. The man’s motive was not immediately clear although impairment was not considered a factor. 

It was also not clear where the driver entered the highway, which had been shut amid continuing protests in the city calling for racial justice. Such demonstrations have been common across the United States since the May 25 killing of George Floyd after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

Mead said the unnamed man faced multiple felony charges and was suspected to have driven the wrong way on an exit ramp.

Captured on video

Police said protesters had been on the freeway for more than an hour before the car drove around the blockade at around 1:36am. 

Video posted on social media, taken from a nearby overpass, showed a white car travelling at high speed and navigating around two vehicles positioned across the lanes of the highway as a barrier. The vehicle careened into a small crowd of protesters, striking the two people who flew into the air.

This was a purposeful attack, plain and simple. Pray the driver is brought to justice. #seattleprotests pic.twitter.com/yEyeDYP2kH

The pair landed on the ground several metres away. 

Twitter user Larry Subramanian, who captured a video of the incident, wrote in a post: “Please pray for the victims of this cowardly and senseless attack. They were peaceful protesters. This is terrible.”

Protesters had shut down the interstate highway for 19 days in a row, Mead said at a news conference on Saturday, adding the freeway is “simply not a safe place” for pedestrians. He said he hoped demonstrators would cease what he called “unlawful behaviour”.

“My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety – plain and simple,” Mead said.

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