Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- It will likely be the most anticipated, most-reported birth of the year.Sometime around mid-July, the Duchess of Cambridge -- formerly known as Kate Middleton -- will give birth to a baby that will be the future king or queen of England.The duchess made her final solo engagement last week in Southampton. Her final public appearance will be this Sunday.Royal sources tell ABC News that plans are now in place for the royal birth. The baby is likely to be born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, in London. That’s the same hospital where Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William and Prince Harry.Sources tell ABC News the palace is being extremely careful in planning media coverage of the birth. The first announcement will only come after Kate has been admitted to the hospital in an early stage of labor. The palace wants to avoid media catching her being admitted while having contractions.This will be followed by a second announcement: the birth. According to royal protocol, the public will only learn of the birth after the Queen and the Middletons have been informed.The birth announcement will be signed on official Buckingham Palace note paper and -- with cameras rolling -- it will be driven to the palace where a liveried footman will put it on an easel (the one last used when Prince William was born) in the palace forecourt.It will include sex, weight and time of birth. There may also be a few additional literary flourishes. When William was born, for example, the announcement included the words “he has blue eyes and cried lustily.”As for the name of the baby, it will be announced when the parents decide. Since royal babies have a long string of names, royal watchers are guessing a boy would have the names Charles and Philip and a girl would have the names Elizabeth and Diana.The Duke and Duchess do not know the sex of their baby -- they chose not to ask.Traditionally in England a girl takes the throne only if she does not have brothers. It is called the rule of primogeniture and it dates back to the 1700s. But the 16 nations of the British Commonwealth have already agreed to amend those rules in a nod to changing times and changing attitudes.That means that the baby -- boy or girl -- will be third in line to the throne.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Four U.S. soldiers were killed overnight in what a U.S. official called an “indirect fire” attack at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement that insurgents fired two mortars into Bagram. It was not immediately clear how many people were injured.The attack came just hours after Taliban officials said they were prepared to sit down for direct peace talks with Afghan and U.S. officials over the future of Afghanistan, and Afghan security forces officially took the security lead from the U.S.-led NATO coalition.“We can confirm four International Security Assistance Force service members died following an indirect fire attack in eastern Afghanistan today,” NATO confirmed in a short statement.“It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,” the release said.Just hours after the Taliban opened a new office in Qatar, supposedly to help kickstart the peace process, Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly called off all negotiations with the United States -- and with the Taliban -- on any long term peace deals.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- There's been a big setback to establishing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.A day after the Taliban opened a new office in Qatar, supposedly to help kickstart the peace process, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has abruptly called off all negotiations with the United States -- and with the Taliban -- on any long term peace deals.In a statement Wednesday, Karzai’s office said, "In view of the contradiction between acts and the statements made by the United States of America in regard to the Peace Process, the Afghan government suspended the negotiations, currently underway in Kabul between Afghan and US delegations on the Bilateral Security Agreement."Karzai's spokesperson wouldn't comment on why the negotiations have been suspended, but there's widespread speculation that it has to do with the Taliban's new office.A recent online video shows the Taliban raising their national flag inside their office, something many of Karzai's supporters consider an insult, saying they should be raising the Afghan national flag instead.Karzai is demanding the Taliban renounce all violence and negotiate directly with his hand-picked High Peace Council, but the militants are set to negotiate -- for the first time since the war began in 2001 -- directly with the United States.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The two-day G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland ended Tuesday with a whisper, not a bang.In the final communiqué, the U.S. and its allies issued a general message on reviving the global economy saying, "Promoting growth and jobs is our top priority."However, President Obama and his counterparts disagree on Europe's approach, which is through continued spending cuts, while the U.S. contends that stimulus measures are needed to get the continent out of its long recession.There was also scant movement about how to handle the ongoing conflict in Syria, which turned out to be the dominant topic of discussion.All agreed that a peace conference in Geneva being arranged by Washington and Moscow is the best course of action but the talks, which were supposed to have been underway by this time, might not occur until August or September.Furthermore, the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin was in evidence as there was nothing in the communiqué about getting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of the picture so that the country can move toward a transitional government.Putin is at odds with the West and isn't ready to abandon al-Assad, who remains intent on achieving a military victory over rebel forces after 27 months of war and more than 80,000 deaths.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested Tuesday that there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel in the West's standoff with Iran over its rogue nuclear program.According to the Russian official, if the United Nations eases its sanctions against Tehran, the Iranian government would be willing to stop uranium enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, a step that would presumably slow its alleged development of nuclear weapons.In a statement, Lavrov said, "The international community should react to Iran's constructive steps by similar measures [such as the] gradual halt of sanctions and scrapping them, including the curbs of unilateral basis or those approved by the Security Council."The foreign minister also encouraged the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, otherwise known as the P5+1, to resume negotiations with Iran about it nuclear ambitions.Lavrov's announcement comes just days after Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran's new president. While indicating that his government would be more transparent about its nuclear program, Rouhani was adamant about not suspending uranium enrichment.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- A Shiite mosque in Baghdad was targeted by militants on Tuesday, leaving 29 people dead and dozens more wounded.According to Iraqi officials, it was a coordinated suicide bombing designed to kill as many people as possible.Witnesses said the first assailant detonated his explosives at a checkpoint in Baghdad's middle-class al-Qahira district.When police rushed to the scene, a second bomber blew himself up inside the mosque itself where worshippers were performing midday prayers.There was no claim of responsibility for the assault although suspicion fell on Iraq's main al Qaeda group, which is trying to restart sectarian warfare between Shiites and Sunnis.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Matt Cardy/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their first child in July and a report by the Centre for Retail Research in Nottingham, England, predicts that the national economy could gain as much as $380 million because of the birth.Joshua Bamfield, the center's director, says, "This is a good news story and there really is no downside. With the birth coming in July, people will have time to get involved, and that means additional spending."Breaking it down by the numbers, Bamfield says the various festivities surrounding the arrival of William and Kate's baby, which include alcohol sales, could fetch $136 million alone. Souvenirs and toys could bring in another $125 million, while Brits and visitors are also expected to spend another $119 million on books, DVDs and media.One item that's expected to fly off shelves: a pair of Union Jack leather booties for about $35 at the estate of future grandpa Prince Charles in Gloucestershire.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday that former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., will be the Obama administration’s new special envoy to deal with conflict-ridden Central Africa, which covers the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and the rebel groups of M23 (operates in Democratic Republic of Congo) and the Lord's Resistance Army (Uganda and South Sudan). Feingold was pleased to accept the appointment. He was very active concerning African issues during his years in the Senate, serving as chair of the Africa sub-committee on the Senate Foreign Relations committee. "It is an honor to join my friend, Secretary of State John Kerry, at the Department of State to focus on an important region of the world we both care about so deeply. Secretary Kerry and I worked well together for 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I am so pleased to continue that productive working relationship," Feingold said Tuesday.“It is a great responsibility to take on the role of United States Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, as the people in the region have arrived at a time of significant opportunity for peace. The appointment of Mary Robinson as the UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, and the signing of the February 2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, have brought a renewed focus to the causes of instability in the region, and created an historic opportunity for this important, but challenged, region of Africa," he added.Kerry is made the announcement about Feingold's appointment Tuesday as a sign of how seriously the Obama administration continues to take the ongoing conflict in Africa, which is responsible for the deaths of over 5 million people since 1998.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Scott Olson/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is celebrating two important birthdays this week.Last Friday, the mayor and his youngest daughter, Leah, embarked on a week-long commemorative trip to Israel to celebrate her bat mitzvah.Going on a trip with each of his children is "a family tradition," Sarah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the mayor, told ABC News.Unlike Emanuel’s past commemorative trips with son Zach and daughter Ilana, this year the family tradition coincides with another celebration – the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.This week, Emanuel will join a bevy of political heavyweights to discuss global leadership and to celebrate the 90th birthday of Israeli President Shimon Peres.Other attendees include former President Clinton, former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Obama adviser David Axelrod. President Obama is also scheduled to make an appearance via video stream.According to Hamilton, on Wednesday Emanuel joins Blair, Gorbachev and Peres in a panel discussion about executive leadership. The conference agenda describes the event as a look into each leader’s experience navigating a “demanding arena that is full of dangers [and] political difficulties.”The conference kicks off Tuesday night with an invitation-only reception in honor of Peres’ birthday, and will include appearances by Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro.Hamilton couldn’t say whether Leah Emanuel would be attending the reception with her father.“He doesn’t talk about his kids publicly,” she said. “The trip is for them to learn more about their family’s history.”The mayor is set to return to Chicago on June 23.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio