Pippa Middleton wedding: Royals and celebrities at ceremony

Guests including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have attended the wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews.

Miss Middleton, 33, who is the younger sister of the duchess, married 41-year-old Mr Matthews at St Mark’s Church in Englefield, Berkshire.

The bride was accompanied by her father, Michael, as they arrived shortly after 11:15 BST for the 45-minute ceremony.

The church is a few miles from the Middleton family home in Bucklebury.

There was strict security in place on the estate, with villagers being asked to carry ID on the day, and asked not to speak to the press.

But the bride received a rousing cheer from around 100 royal fans and residents as she arrived.

Prince Harry, Princess Eugenie, and Roger Federer and his wife Mirka were among the guests at the church.

the guests at the church.

James Matthews and Pippa Middleton
Duchess of Cambridge stands with her daughter, Princess Charlotte, and the other bridesmaids and page boysThe Duchess of Cambridge stood with her daughter, Princess Charlotte, and the other bridesmaids and page boys as she waited for her sister to arrive
Pippa Middleton in her wedding carThe bride arrived with her father in a 1951 Jaguar Mk V car

The heavy downpour that started minutes after the beginning of the service ended a few moments before the church doors opened.

Wedding bells rang out just before 12.30 BST as the new husband and wife walked hand in hand along the church path.

Guests filed out and walked to nearby Englefield House, where it is believed a champagne reception is being held.

Pippa Middleton in her wedding veil
The Duchess of Cambridge adjusting Pippa Middleton's dressThe Duchess of Cambridge wore a blush pink dress by Alexander McQueen – the designer she chose for her own wedding gown

Miss Middleton wore a bespoke Giles Deacon dress, said to be crafted to create the impression of being seamless.

The dress was teamed with a Stephen Jones veil, a Maidenhair Fern tiara, and Manolo Blahnik ivory satin shoes.

David Emanuel, who designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress and hosts Say Yes to the Dress UK, called the gown “simple and pretty”.

“I predicted it would be soft and pretty and very English, which it is,” he said.

The bride’s nephew and niece, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, were page boy and flower girl.

Actress Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s girlfriend, is also reportedly in the UK but was not seen among the guests at the church.

Prince George, a page boy and princess Charlotte, a bridesmaid.Prince George was a page boy and his sister, Princess Charlotte, was a bridesmaid
The Duchess of Cambridge with her daughter, Princess Charlotte
Prince George and Princess Charlotte with other page boys and a flower girl

The BBC’s Adele Tobe in Englefield

Pippa Middleton was driven to St Mark’s Church alongside her father in a vintage 1951 Jaguar car. They shared a few words and then walked up to the church door to be greeted by the very excited bridesmaids and pageboys which included Princess Charlotte and Prince George.

A group of local well-wishers were allowed to come close to the church and were able to see all the guests arrive – including tennis star, Roger Federer.

Less than an hour later, the pair left the church as husband and wife.

They posed for photographs before leading their guests – by foot – through the park back to Englefield House for a reception, before carrying on to their party at Pippa’s parents’ house in Bucklebury.

The best man was reality TV star Spencer Matthews, the groom’s 28-year-old younger brother.

Miss Middleton’s diamond engagement ring is reported to have cost £250,000 – nearly 10 times the budget for the average wedding day.

But details of the couple’s wedding bands have not been revealed.

Princess EugeniePrincess Eugenie attended the ceremony with her partner Jack Brooksbank
Spencer Matthews, brother of the groom, greets Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Prince HarryReality TV star Spencer Matthews is brother of the groom and best man
James Middleton, brother of the bride, walks with his mother Carole Middleton as they attend the wedding of Pippa Middleton and James MatthewsJames Middleton, brother of the bride, accompanied his mother Carole Middleton as they arrived at church

Englefield resident Elizabeth Mary Reeves sported a silver wristband with the wedding date 20.05.17 printed on, given exclusively to locals who were let into the private church grounds to get a better look.

She said of the bride: “She stood and waved and looked just lovely. As all brides do, they glow, no matter how expensive their dress is.

“She looked absolutely beautiful.”

The 68-year-old, whose daughter and son married at the same church, said the bride and groom looked “very happy” as they waved to the small crowd gathered on the church green.

“(Prince) George was waving, (Princess) Charlotte was waving and Kate stooped next to them.

“I just love it. I think it’s so good for the village, so good for the country, and it just gives it a happy mood and we need a happy mood.”

Roger Federer and his wife MirkaRoger Federer and his wife Mirka were among the guests
Wedding guestsThe guests were dressed in a colourful array of outfits

After the ceremony, guests will celebrate the marriage in a large glass marquee, erected on the Middleton family’s property.

Among the members of the public who gathered in the village was Meryl Elizabeth Evans, from south Wales.

“It’s a nice atmosphere, everybody’s friendly, it’s just a nice country feel to it,” she said.

“We’ve met people from around the world, and the camera crews are from everywhere. It is the wedding of the year, isn’t it?”

St Mark's ChurchSt Mark’s Church is situated on private land

Trump’s visit: US, Saudi Arabia ink deals worth billions of Dollars

The US and Saudi Arabia signed defense and business deals worth billions of US dollars on Saturday as part of US President Donald Trump’s visit.

According to Al Arabiya local news, US defense contractor Raytheon has announced a partnership with Saudi military industries to create an Arab operation. Raytheon’s Arab branch will develop smart weapons and air defense systems in Saudi Arabia.

The announcement was made on Saturday during a CEO business forum in Riyadh that corresponded with Trump’s visit to the country, and focused on enhancing defense ties.

(From L) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and adviser Jared Kuchner take part in a bilateral meeting with Saudi officials on Saturday. /VCG Photo

Meanwhile, the American technology and engineering giant General Electric (GE) announced on Saturday it had signed 15 billion US dollar deals with Saudi Arabia which will help boost the kingdom’s drive to diversify its non-oil economy. The deals were also announced during the forum.

Read also: Trump in Saudi Arabia: First foreign trip starts as home troubles mount

Dozens of senior US business executives are meeting their Saudi counterparts at the conference.

Some of the prominent projects will help make Saudi power generation more efficient, and provide digital technology to petrochemical giant Saudi Aramco’s oil operations, aiming to add four billion US dollars to Aramco’s annual productivity.

Trump arrived in Riyadh on Saturday as part of a two-day trip to discuss cooperation, especially in counterterrorism.

Source: Xinhua

Trump in Saudi Arabia: First foreign trip starts as home troubles mount

The US says it has signed deals worth more than $350bn (£270bn) with Saudi Arabia as Donald Trump begins his first foreign trip as president.

The agreements included an $110bn arms deal, which the White House described as the single biggest in US history.

Mr Trump and his wife Melania were greeted in the Saudi capital by King Salman on Saturday morning local time.

The eight-day trip comes as Mr Trump faces uproar at home following his sacking of FBI director James Comey.

It will also take in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Brussels, the Vatican, and Sicily.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the arms deal was aimed at countering the “malign” influence of Iran.

“The package of defence equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the entire Gulf region,” he told a news conference in Riyadh.

Mr Trump is accompanied on his visit by his daughter Ivanka, an unpaid White House adviser, and her husband Jared Kushner, a key member of the Trump administration.

Like British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on their recent visits to Saudi Arabia, Mrs Trump and Ivanka Trump did not wear headscarves.

In January 2015, Mr Trump criticised then-First Lady Michelle Obama for doing the same. In a tweet, Mr Trump said she had “insulted” her hosts.

On Sunday, Mr Trump will attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh and speak about his “hopes of a peaceful vision of Islam”. Aides say the president hopes his speech will resonate worldwide and express “a common vision of peace, progress and prosperity”.

Mr Trump caused controversy during his campaign by calling for Muslims to be temporarily banned from entering the US over security concerns. Legislation aimed at restricting travel from several Muslim-majority countries remains tied up in the US courts.

The summit agenda is expected to focus on combating Islamist militants and the growing regional influence of Iran.

Mr Trump has been a fierce critic of the international deal with Iran which eased sanctions in return for a curb on its nuclear activities.

US President Donald Trump (C) receives the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi ArabiaMr Trump received Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honour from King Salman (R)

Unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama, he is not expected to highlight human rights during his trip.

In a tweet, King Salman praised Mr Trump, adding that he hoped his visit would “strengthen our strategic co-operation”. He later handed the US President Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honour, the King Abdulaziz medal.

Can Trump follow the script? By Lyse Doucet, Chief International Correspondent, in Riyadh

It’s being called a summit like no other and in some ways, that’s true. Saudis note that past presidential visits were organised by the Royal Court. This time Riyadh is bursting with summits and forums, drawing in all levels of government and everyone from wealthy CEOs, to experts on extremism, to young savvy social media experts.

But behind the hype, there’s nervousness too. “We don’t talk about an elephant in the room, we call it the elephant in Riyadh,” a young Saudi tells me, highlighting the famous unpredictability of the US president when he veers from the official script. This visit is tightly choreographed to minimise that risk.

Source: BBC / CGTN Global

There is no money, we inherited a bad economic situation – Nana Addo

President Akufo-Addo is being frank with the many agitating worker unions in the country by simply admitting that government is cash-strapped. But he did lay some blame for his administration’s inability to settle arrears of many worker unions at the feet of the erstwhile Mahama government.

“There are some things that should be easy to deal with but will prove difficult for some time to come largely because there is no money, but now arrangements are being put place that will enhance the generation by the state,” the president explained.

President Akufo-Addo was speaking during a meeting with leadership of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) in the wake of protests and threats of strikes from a number of labour unions. “The economic situation my government and I inherited was not the best; both in terms of the growth of our economy and the balances available in the public treasury. Many of the problems you are putting here are the results of a poor office treasury.”

“If we had money in the public system, you would find that many of the issues that concern you would not be there,” he stated. Plugging the leaks The President noted that one of the most apparent problems, money-wise, had to do with leaks in the system resulting from corruption, maladministration and the like.

Thus, he stressed the need to institute mechanisms to plug these leaks so that “the money we require to fund our own development will be immeasurably enhanced. Our need to go around begging people to help us will be reduced dramatically.” In this stead, the Akufo-Addo admistration is looking to save some GHc 35 million monthly in payroll costs and a total of over GHc 250 million in 2017.

This followed the government’s identifying of close to 50,000 ghost names on the payroll and Pensions Registry. The government has stressed its commitment desire to sanitise the public payroll system and rid it of ghost names thus, the Minister of Finance in April 2017 directed that names of 26, 589 public sector workers be removed from government’s payroll noting that those who were to be affected had not been registered on the new Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) biometric system.

Source: Ghana | Citifmonline.com

Bill Gates tweeted some great advice for new graduates

Bill Gates is one of the richest and most successful men in the world; Forbes puts his wealth above $87.5 billion. On Monday, he tweeted out advice to the graduating class of 2017. Needless to say, it’s probably wise to follow his advice, especially his last tweet: “This is an amazing time to be alive. I hope you make the most of it.”

Source: Recode.com

Miss USA Kara McCullough criticised for saying healthcare a ‘privilege’

The new Miss USA beauty pageant winner has sparked controversy by declaring that healthcare was a “privilege”, not a right. Kara McCullough, a scientist at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, appeared to link healthcare to employment.

But the beauty queen, 25, faced a backlash on social media.

It comes as the Trump administration battles to overturn Obamacare, which aimed to extend insurance coverage to the 15% of Americans who lack it.

Earlier this month the lower chamber of the US Congress passed a new healthcare act that Democrats say will leave millions uninsured.

However, Republicans in the Senate have indicated they will cast it aside and write a new law.

Asked during Sunday’s pageant in Las Vegas whether healthcare was a privilege or a right, Miss McCullough said: “I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege.”

She added: “As a government employee, I’m granted healthcare and I see first hand that for one to have healthcare, you need to have jobs.

“We need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunity to have healthcare as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide.”

Her remarks divided liberal-minded and conservative-minded viewers. Some were quick to criticise her stance.

Image copyright@MAKHONDLOVU
Image copyright@MOLLIE64438390
Image copyright@KEE_LYME_PIE

Miss McCullough – who was born in Italy and was representing Washington DC – was also asked if she considered herself to be a feminist but said she preferred the term “equalism” and said men and women had equal opportunity in US workplaces.

“I don’t really want to consider myself – try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men’,” said the contestant, who says she wants to see more women employed in government science roles.

Some people on social media supported her views.

Image copyright@JOSIE_TERRY
Image copyright@CROSS_BEARER89

Obamacare has been opposed by Republicans since it was first proposed in 2009.

Republicans say the law imposes too many costs on business and describe it as a “job killer”, although the number of jobs in the healthcare sector has risen since it was introduced.

Opponents have also decried it as an unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of private businesses and individuals.

Source: BBC

Trump ‘shared classified information with Russia’; officials told media.

President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about so-called Islamic State (IS) to Russia’s foreign minister, officials have told US media.

The information came from a partner of the US which had not given the US permission to share it with Russia, says the Washington Post.

It happened when Mr Trump met Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office last week, says the paper.

But a senior security official has said the report is not true.

US National Security Advisor H.R McMaster: “I was in the room, it didn’t happen”

“This story is false,” said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy, who was in the meeting. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”

Mr Trump’s National Security Advisor, Gen HR McMaster, also said the story was false.

The Trump campaign’s alleged links to Moscow have dogged his presidency, and are part of several investigations.

But the president has dismissed it as “fake news”.

During the election campaign, Mr Trump repeatedly criticised his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for how she handled sensitive material.

Russia: The scandal Trump can’t shake

A knife in the back? Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

The fallout from this story could be enormous and not just because there is a boundless trove of Republican quotes over the past year – directed at Mrs Clinton – about the utmost importance of protecting top-secret information.

There is the Russian connection, of course.

The FBI is currently investigating the Trump campaign for possible ties to Russian interests. Meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak featured prominently in the firing of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal on Russian investigation matters.

Then there is the question of whether US allies will be more reluctant to share sensitive intelligence information with the US, lest the president put sources at risk.

This will only stoke accusations by Trump critics that the president is undisciplined and inexperienced in the delicacies of foreign policy, where his shoot-from-the hip style presents an ongoing danger.

Finally, it is worth remembering the simmering feud Mr Trump has had with the US intelligence community. It took less than a week for this highly embarrassing story to leak. If the revelation was a knife twisted in the president’s back, it is not hard to suspect where it came from.

What actually happened?

In a conversation with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, in the Oval Office, the president revealed details that could lead to the exposure of a source of information, officials told the Washington Post and the New York Times.

The discussion was about an IS plot and the intelligence disclosed came from a US ally, information considered too sensitive to share with other US allies, the papers report.

Others present realised the mistake and scrambled to “contain the damage” by informing the CIA and the National Security Agency, says the Post.

What has the reaction been?

The Senate’s second-highest ranked Democrat, Dick Durbin, said Mr Trump’s actions appeared to be “dangerous” and reckless”.

The Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, said the story was “very, very troubling” if true.

And what about the White House?

In a statement delivered outside the White House, Mr McMaster said: “The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organisations to include threats to aviation.

“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

The Washington Post, which broke the story, said the McMaster statement did not amount to a denial of their story.

Source: BBC