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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no longer 'working members' of royal family: Buckingham Palace

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Paul Grover- WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) —  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer “working members” of the royal family, according to Buckingham Palace. With the queen’s blessing, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are embarking on the “next chapter of their lives” by stepping back from their royal duties and will no longer receive public funds. The new arrangement goes into effect in the spring of 2020 and will be reviewed in a year’s time. “This is seismic. It’s an abdication really,” said Alastair Bruce, ABC News’ royalty consultant. “He was given the opportunity to serve as a member of the royal family but he has essentially abdicated from that and it’s all been put into abeyance.” Alastair notes that the children of the Earl of Wessex — Harry’s uncle — have also chosen not to use their HRH titles, or have their titles in abeyance, so Harry and Meghan are not unique in this respect. Both will still be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, according to a palace source. “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always

London man reports fake bomb threat to delay flight he was running late for: Police

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Sussex Police Department(LONDON) —  A London man running late for his flight reported a fake bomb threat to try and delay it, police said. Rashidul Islam, 32, was going to meet his fiancee in Marrakech, but had issues with public transport on the way to his flight out of Gatwick and worried he would miss it, according to a statement from Sussex police on Friday. He then allegedly decided to anonymously call the police and report a fake bomb threat. “EasyJet flight 8897 leaves in 40 minutes … There may be a bomb on the plane, you need to delay it, you need to stop it now,” Islam told the operator, according to police. Passengers and crew on the flight were evacuated and held in a gate room as authorities investigated. Sussex Police Department EasyJet could not be reached for comment. When Islam arrived at the airport to check-in, police realized his number matched the one from the anonymous call, according to authorities. He was taken into custody and admitted to making the fake threat, police said.  Islam pleaded guilty

Australian wildfires prompt $11,000 fine for tossing lit cigarette out of car

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Brett Hemmings/Getty Images(SYDNEY) —  Drivers in Australia can now face a penalty of up to $11,000 if they are caught tossing a lit cigarette out of their car. The new punishment, which went into effect on Friday in New South Wales, can also apply to automobile passengers if they throw a cigarette. Passengers would be fined $1,320. The hefty fine would be given if the offense was committed during a total fire ban, which is declared on days of extreme weather and prohibits people from the lighting of any fires in the open or engaging in other activities that may start a fire. It is not immediately clear how much a person would be fined when there isn’t a fire ban. The penalty comes amid the Australia bushfires that have decimated parts of the country. New South Wales Rural Fire Service Association President Brian McDonough applauded the government’s move to crack down on cigarette tossers. More than 200 people were caught tossing a lit cigarette out of their vehicle in New South Wales in 2019, according to a government press

Fact checkers expose alleged news site run by far-right media company

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spyarm/iStock(NEW YORK) — EU DisinfoLab, in cooperation with newsroom fact-checkers, has uncovered a far-right Polish media operation running a website that was making slight changes to real, existing stories and re-posting them to sow discord. The non-governmental organization, which collaborates with newsrooms throughout the European Union to combat misinformation, discovered the alleged news site after being contacted by fact-checkers from Agence France-Presse. Roman Adamczyk, research coordinator for EU DisinfoLab, told ABC News he was contacted by the AFP fact-checkers after they saw suspicious activity on a site called France Libre 24. Adamcayk said a quick review of the site set off alarm bells for him. “First, because it was using a name close to France 24, which is a real mainstream media in France,” he said. “Then, we had a closer look at the content and we realized that a lot of articles in the website focused on polarizing topics such as identity, immigration, religion.” Adamczyk told ABC News that the articles cited mainstream media sources but were rewritten to change their meanings. “Many articles were presented as being sourced

Giuliani associate Parnas texted with Trump campaign donors, including about Ukraine efforts

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Stephanie Keith/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas was in contact with at least two major Trump campaign donors– one with an official role in the Republican National Committee– during his efforts to pressure Ukraine into opening politically motivated investigations, documents released by the House Intelligence committee this week revealed. Parnas’ interactions with the two men, Harry Sargeant III and Tommy Hicks Jr. — who have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to fundraising vehicles for the president — provides more fuel to assertions by the president’s critics that political motives – and not the nation’s foreign policy goals — drove the efforts in Ukraine. In an interview on CNN on Thursday, Parnas confirmed his work in Ukraine was all about ensuring President Trump remained in office. “It was all about 2020, to make sure he had another four years,” Parnas said. “That was the way everybody viewed it. That was the most important thing, for him to stay on for another four years and keep the fight going. I mean, there was no other reason for doing it.”

Trump impeachment trial complicates 2020 Democrats' time on campaign trail

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial has scrambled the Democratic primary, forcing senators in the race to overhaul their schedules in the final stretch before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. At a time when presidential candidates traditionally camp out in early voting states, the four senators will spend their afternoons at their desks in the Senate chamber, sitting in silence for six days a week, listening to evidence and debating over whether Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress in efforts to investigate the Ukraine affair. “I would rather be in Iowa today, there’s a caucus there in two and a half weeks,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told reporters Thursday at the U.S. Capitol amid impeachment proceedings. “But I swore a constitutional oath as a United States senator to do my job.”  He is hosting a rally in Iowa Wednesday evening and his campaign has said he’s willing to go back-and-forth to continue to squeeze in events during the trial. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who has made face-to-face campaigning and selfie lines a signature

Andrew Yang's wife Evelyn says she was sexually assaulted by her doctor during pregnancy

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Motortion/iStock(NEW YORK) —  Presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s wife, Evelyn Yang, claims she was sexually assaulted by her OBGYN while she was pregnant with her first son, revelations she said she shared on CNN on Thursday to help other women. In the interview, the candidate’s wife said she faced months of abuse as a patient of Dr. Robert Hadden. “It started with inappropriate questions around how intimate I was with my husband, sexual activity, just very inappropriate, probing questions that were unrelated to my health,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash. “The examinations became longer, more frequent, and I learned that they were unnecessary most of the time.” Yang said the abuse escalated when she was seven months pregnant. “I was in the exam room, and I was dressed and ready to go. And then at the last minute, he kind of made up an excuse. He said something about I think you might need a C-section. And he proceeded to grab me over to him and undress me and examine me internally, ungloved. And at first I was a little bit

Bloomberg gets 45-day extension on financial disclosures from FEC

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Scott Heins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Federal Election Commission on Friday granted Mike Bloomberg’s campaign an additional 45 days to file his mandatory personal financial disclosure form. That extended deadline, March 20, means the multibillionaire former mayor of New York City won’t have to disclose additional details on his considerable private fortune until more than two weeks after Super Tuesday. Millions already will have voted in states on which Bloomberg is staking his entire 2020 gambit — slightly fewer than than half of the delegates in the race will be on the table. Bloomberg’s campaign cites his late entry into the Democratic primary as the reason, along with the intricacies of his paperwork. “Mr. Bloomberg, who became a candidate for President of the United States on November 21, 2019, has made diligent efforts to prepare his report,” Bloomberg’s counsel wrote in requesting the extension. “Nevertheless, due to the complexity of his holdings and the need to obtain certain information from third parties, Mr. Bloomberg needs additional time to gather and review his financial information and complete and file his report.”

Trump administration announces proposals to loosen guidelines for school meals

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Melissa Kopka/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The Trump administration announced a set of proposals on Friday that will loosen school and summer meal guidelines, further weakening one of former first lady Michelle Obama’s signature policy efforts. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue defended the new proposals in a statement Friday saying they will “empower schools to give their very best to our children nationwide.” “Our proposed changes empower schools to give their very best to our children nationwide and have the potential to benefit nearly 100,000 schools and institutions that feed 30 million children each school day through USDA’s school meal programs,” Perdue said in the statement. The Trump administration in 2018 finalized its rollback of school lunch regulations under former President Barack Obama, which was later challenged in court by a group of states. ABC News previously reported that some of the changes finalized by the Trump administration included allowing schools to offer additional milk flavors and curbing Obama-era regulations on sodium limits. Friday’s proposed rules build onto the 2018 regulation, according to the USDA statement. “Under the school meals proposed rule, school nutrition

Pompeo denies knowledge of any surveillance on Yovanovitch but says US will investigate

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday denied having knowledge of any surveillance conducted on former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — whose ouster is now at the center of the impeachment process — but he said the State Department will investigate whether any occurred. “We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,” Pompeo said during an interview with conservative radio host Tony Katz. “I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as Secretary of State, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate.” Ukrainian police had already announced earlier this week that they were investigating the alleged surveillance. In the radio interview, Pompeo also denied being acquainted with Lev Parnas, the former associate of Rudy Giuliani who handed over a trove of text messages and other materials to Congress that included revelations texts about a possible surveillance effort. “I’ve not met this guy, Lev Parnas, to the best of my knowledge. I’ve never encountered, never