Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The countdown is on for Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s July delivery, and with every public appearance the duchess looks more like a mom-to-be.On Wednesday the duchess’ seven-months-pregnant baby bump was on full display as she attended Queen Elizabeth II’s annual summer garden party at Buckingham Palace.As more than 8,000 partygoers dressed in festive hats circled the palace’s grounds, Duchess Kate stood out in a lemon-yellow coat dress and cream-colored fascinator topped by a bow. The duchess also carried a nude-colored handbag that, when she held it clasped below her waist, clearly showed off her growing belly.Duchess Kate, 31, appeared at the annual fete with her in-laws, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and smiled through the festive affair, gamely greeting other party guests clearly excited to meet her.This year’s garden party featured Olympians, Paralympians and officials from the 2012 Olympics in London, an event the duchess and her husband, Prince William, attended both as royal figures and as spectators enjoying the fun.The Queen’s garden party, a royal tradition since the 1860s, features its own special blend of tea, more than 27,000 cups of which the attendees were expected to enjoy Wednesday. Garden party guests also eat 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake at each affair, according to the Royal website.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Two attackers savagely killed a man believed to be a British soldier just outside army barracks in southeast London, telling eyewitnesses the killing was "an eye for an eye...because Muslims are dying by British soldiers every day." British Prime Minister David Cameron said there were "strong indications this is a terrorist incident" and senior British officials convened an emergency meeting in Britain's equivalent to the White House Situation Room. The two attackers hacked the victim to death with large knives and afterward approached eyewitnesses, asking them to start filming with their camera phones. One of the attackers, who spoke with a southern London accent, carried a meat cleaver and his hands were deeply stained with blood as he spoke directly to the camera. "We swear by almighty Allah, we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone, your people will never be safe," the man said calmly, according to ITV News, which obtained the video. Just a few minutes later, armed police arrived. The two men rushed the police, according to eyewitnesses, and police opened fire, wounding both of them. The attackers "went for the police with the machetes, knife and handgun," one eyewitness told the BBC. "I don't think they cared." The attack echoed a plot from 2008, when a British man pleaded guilty to plotting to kidnap and behead a British soldier. Police believe it was an isolated incident, but the emergency cabinet meeting ordered security to be tightened around Woolwich, where the attack took place, and other military barracks in London, according to the BBC. Cameron cut short a visit to France and called the attack "absolutely sickening" and a "most appalling crime." "People across Britain, people in every community, I believe, will condemn this attack," he said at a news conference in Paris. "We have had these sorts of attacks before in our country and we never buckle in the face of them." Numerous eyewitnesses emphasized the brutality of the attack. "These two guys were crazed. They were not there. They were just animals," a man who identified himself as James told a local radio station. "They then dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road.”
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aiweiwei.com(BEIJING) -- The opening moments of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s new video (available on the artist’s website) set the tone for the next five minutes and 13 seconds. Against pounding guitar chords reminiscent of a Metallica classic, Ai is seen handcuffed and wearing a black hood in a dimly lit cell.He described it as an “inch accurate” replica of the one in which he spent 81 days in detention after his arrest in 2011. Two guards stand over him when, suddenly, his hood is ripped off and the artist stares straight into the camera as the cadence builds to a crescendo. In the corners of his mouth and glint of his eyes is the familiar hint of rebellion seen before in his previous video work. It’s just the starting point.The music video tells the story of Ai’s time behind bars after he was arrested in the spring of 2011 in a crackdown on dissidents and outspoken, creative thinkers. Eventually, the Chinese government charged him with tax evasion. He was only released after an international outcry put the spotlight on the Chinese government’s practice of detaining dissidents to silence them.The government, he says, continues to hold his passport, making it impossible for him to travel outside China. Setting aside the music for a moment, the video is at times poignant and at others somewhat over the top. Ai has a notably recognizable, expressive face, although it is the very lack of expression in his art that has effectively conveyed his disdain for the Chinese leadership.There are scenes that capture the extent to which he was monitored at all times: in the shower, while using the restroom, as he tried to sleep and when he ate.
“I think it is about how the power of the state tried to manage and maintain this kind of control,” he told the New York Times.At the narrative unfolds, Ai, 55, is portrayed as part-gangster, part-playboy. He has said the second half of the video is about the fantasies of his guards who openly questioned him about the “real” world outside the facility. Scenes of scantily clad women dancing on a small stage dissolve into a scenario in which a child around the same age as Ai’s own young son begins to shave his head. A bald Ai is next seen in drag wearing bright red lipstick and strutting back and forth in a black dress.Ai, the son of renowned Chinese poet Ai Qing, has described the music as “heavy metal” although it is really more avant-garde. The lyrics embrace profanity, and few can be printed here. He describes China as a country that “puts out like a hooker” and the stanzas get more extreme from there. But he has said the entire experience was akin to therapy for an experience that still gives the artist and his family nightmares.He worked on the project with the acclaimed Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who has worked with directors as diverse as Americans Gus Van Sant and M. Night Shyamalan and the Chinese director Zhang Yimou. A full-length album, The Divine Comedy, is set for release June 22. It will mark the two-year anniversary of his release from detention.While the music might not have even devout fans rushing to download the album, Ai says the video has a broader message. “I wanted to show people we can all sing,” he told the New York Times. “It’s our voice.”Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A pizza mission to U.S. military service members in Afghanistan has made the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest pizza delivery.The non-profit, Pizza 4 Patriots, a 501(c)3 registered non-profit based in Illinois, has been sending pizzas to military service members abroad for the last five years.Last summer, Pizza 4 Patriots and shipping company DHL organized their biggest delivery yet: 30,000 pizzas to service members in Kandahar, Bagram and Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in celebration of Independence Day. The delivery began June 21, 2012. DHL donated its services and loaded the pizza shipments at a service center in Chicago.Ian Clough, CEO of DHL Express U.S., said he was grateful to Pizza 4 Patriots and proud of DHL’s “dedicated employees.”“Feedback from U.S. troops who received the care packages has been heartwarming as they truly appreciate the recognition for their valuable service,” Clough said in a statement.Mark Evans, the retired Air Force master sergeant who started Pizza 4 Patriots, said he has been working with Guinness since last summer for the record. After the necessary affidavits from witnesses were on record, Guinness officially recognized the delivery in April and notified Evans this month.Evans said he is “completely pleased and overwhelmed.”“The world record is secondary to taking care of our soldiers and sending them a slice of home,” Evans continued.The 12-inch pizzas were made by Great Kitchens, Inc. in Illinois with some donated ingredients or funded by various donors.Earlier this year, Pizza 4 Patriots sent 21,000 pizzas to military members serving abroad during the Super Bowl. Next up, Evans is raising enough money to send 25,000 pizzas to troops across the world for this Independence Day.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Deadly attacks driven by sectarian tensions slowed somewhat in Iraq on Tuesday, although officials there say that bombings still took the lives of 20 people while injuring at least 100 others.The death toll during six days of renewed sectarian violence is now close to 270 with nearly 100 fatalities reported on Monday, half of them in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods.Most of Tuesday's attacks occurred north of the capital as militants used car bombs and explosive-laden vests to strike at Iraqi civilians and security forces.Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has blamed Sunni lawmakers and tribesmen for stirring up the latest tensions, while Sunnis maintain that it's al-Maliki's fault for marginalizing them.In another sign of the deteriorating situation, the Iraqi parliament postponed an emergency session on Tuesday to address the violence when the prime minister's supporters refused to attend the meeting.
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ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- The United Nations-Arab League mediator in charge of trying to find a solution to the two-year conflict in Syria expressed optimism on Tuesday that officials from President Bashar al-Assad's government and representatives of the opposition will attend a peace summit being brokered by Washington and Moscow.Speaking in Cairo, Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters, "The Syrian people are building great hopes on the conference, as the opposition prepares itself to take part and likewise the Syrian regime prepares to take part in this conference."Brahimi's hopes hinge on whether Damascus actually sends officials to the summit scheduled for early June. Recently, al-Assad expressed little enthusiasm for the talks, saying there are too many groups fighting in Syria to gain a consensus as well as a ceasefire.However, at least one member of the opposition said on Tuesday he'd be open to discussions with al-Assad's government.Moaz al-Khtaib, the former president of the Syrian National Coalition, maintained that rebel fighters would opt for a political situation to the crisis if Damascus' intentions are genuine.He added, "All the opposition forces want is a solution for the Syrian people. Rebels have nothing to lose. They are determined to stay to the end. But we are facing unprecedented suffering."The death toll from the two-year conflict ranges from 80,000 to 120,000 fatalities.
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Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Human Rights Watch on Tuesday decried the latest surge of "moral crimes" in Afghanistan, in which women and girls are actually punished for offenses perpetrated against them by men.The watchdog group pointed to the latest figures by Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry that found 600 females imprisoned for "moral crimes" as of May 2013 -- a jump of 200 incarcerations since October 2011.Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that 12 years after the Taliban was driven from power, "women are still imprisoned for being victims of forced marriage, domestic violence and rape. The Afghan government needs to get tough on abusers of women, and stop blaming women who are crime victims."In virtually all cases of girls and half involving women, the "moral crimes" constituted running away from home in order to flee from forced marriages or abusive relationships.Sex outside of marriage is also grounds for imprisonment of females, punishable by up to 15 years in jail. Even a woman who is raped or forced into prostitution can be found guilty by Afghan courts on the charge of sex outside of marriage.Women and girls accused of "moral crimes" can also be subject to "virginity tests" to determine if they engaged in recent sexual intercourse.Among other things, Human Rights Watch is calling on President Hamid Karzai to declare that running away is not a crime, which would overturn the judgment of the Afghan Supreme Court that has deemed it should be prosecuted as such.
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ABC/Donna Svennevik(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pick to succeed him won't be doing that.Iran's Guardian Council decided on Tuesday that Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close presidential aide whose daughter happens to be married to Ahmadinejad's son, is not eligible to run in the June 14 presidential election.The electoral watchdog also decided that former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani could not get on the ballot of eight candidates that includes Saeed Jalili, the country's chief nuclear negotiator.The decision to exclude Mashaei, although a slap in the face to Ahmadinejad, was anticipated since he has long been at odds with Iran's ruling theocracy.Conservatives who support the ayatollah claim that Mashaei is unacceptable because he puts Iran ahead of Islam.In the past, Mashaei angered the clergy by suggesting that Iran could forge close ties with Israel, as well as for applauding women who danced in a ceremony in Turkey. Women in Iran aren't permitted to dance in public.All of those on the ballot are establishment candidates, more in tune with the thinking of the hard-line clerics, who oppose any association with the West.
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iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was evacuated and closed for four hours on Tuesday after a man shot himself dead near the altar. Dominique Venner, a 78-year-old French historian, entered the cathedral Tuesday and placed a sealed letter on the altar before shooting himself in front of hundreds of tourists, according to the U.K.'s Independent. Venner apparently killed himself in protest against France's recent decision to allow same-sex civil unions.According to the newspaper, authorities immediately cleared the building, one of France's most popular tourist locations now in its 850th anniversary year, and closed it to the public for about four hours.
Though efforts were made by cathedral security to revive Venner, a former member of the nationalist terrorist movement OAS, he later died of the self-inflicted gunshot wound.The Independent reports Venner posted an essay online earlier Tuesday laying out his views on gay marriage. He called for "new, spectacular and symbolic actions to shake us out of our sleep, to jolt anesthetised minds and to reawaken memory of our origins."In addition to ranting against gay marriage, Venner wrote in the essay that the "population of France" and Europe was going to be "replaced" and brought under "Islamist control," The Independent reports.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio