Monday 11 December 2017

In brief: Prince William rejected legal advice to sign pre-nup agreement with Kate

Prince William's whispered words to Kate Middleton at the altar in Westminster Abbey were not his only romantic gesture. The Duke of Cambridge, as he now is, refused to sign a prenuptial agreement with his fiancee.

"William was advised that some legal agreement might be a good idea," said one of his friends. "But he loves Kate and trusts her implicitly, and was adamant that no agreement was necessary."

Last year, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson complained to an undercover reporter that she had been given a divorce settlement of "zero" when her six-year marriage to the Duke of York came to an end in 1992. She eventually raised that figure to £15,000 (€16,000).

However, it is understood that the duchess and her two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, had, in fact, received about £3m (€3.37m) from the royal family.

Taliban launches new spring offensive

THE Taliban announced the beginning of its spring military offensive against the US-led coalition yesterday, a day after a Pentagon report claimed that militant fighting spirit was low after heavy losses on the battlefield.

The Taliban said it would start today to launch attacks on military bases, convoys and Afghan officials, including members of the government's peace council, who are working to reconcile with top insurgent leaders.

"The war in our country will not come to an end unless and until the foreign invading forces pull out," read the release from the leadership council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which is what the Taliban calls itself.

Squatters to buy Christiania site

Residents of a hippie enclave in the Danish capital of Copenhagen have agreed a deal allowing them to buy the former naval base they first occupied 40 years ago.

The 900-strong population of Christiania had backed the plan to purchase the counterculture haven from the state after the squatters lost a long-running legal battle earlier this year, asserting their unreserved right to use the one-time military base as their home.

The deal is expected to cost the hippies around €20m.

20 drown as bus slips into the Nile

AT least 20 Egyptians were drowned in the Nile while on a trip to visit the grave of a relative on Friday. Five people are also missing after a minibus hired for the graveyard visit slipped from the ferry that carried it across the river.

One of the survivors said the families were marking the 40th day since the death of one a relative. "The bus fell into the Nile while it was disembarking from the ferry," he said. The ferry captain has been detained for questioning.

German police thwart al-Qaeda threat

THREE suspected al-Qaeda members were working on making a shrapnel-laden bomb in Germany to attack a crowded place such as a bus -- a plot that shows Europe faces an ongoing terror threat, officials said yesterday.

Law enforcement officials said the trio, arrested last Friday after being under surveillance for months, hadn't picked a target, but were experimenting with explosives and detonators before authorities swooped in. The suspects include a Moroccan, a German with Moroccan citizenship, and a German with Iranian citizenship.

Endeavour's final launch is delayed

Nasa delayed this weekend's launch of the space shuttle Endeavour because of a glitch, but the crew and captain's wife Gabrielle Giffords -- the Congresswoman shot in the head in Tucson last January -- got a chance to meet US President Obama as he toured the Kennedy Space Centre.

Endeavour's launch was scrubbed four hours before lift-off after heaters failed on one of its power units. Nasa said it would be at least tomorrow before it can try again to launch Endeavour on what will be its final voyage.

Yemen leader in U-turn over exit deal

Yemen's embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, backed away yesterday from a mediated deal that would have seen him step down in exchange for legal immunity. According to witnesses yesterday, his forces killed four people while pushing anti-government demonstrators out of a square where they had been camped.

Funding runs out for alien searchers

THE search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe has been dealt a major blow by budget constraints at the University of California, Berkeley, which funds the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) project.

The world's only radio telescope array designed to eavesdrop on potential signals from distant worlds has been shut down after money ran out, said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer for the group in northern California.

Sunday Independent

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