Excitement levels grow in Windsor ahead of Prince Harry's wedding - 'This thing is huge'

Excitement levels are rising rapidly in Windsor ahead of Saturday's Royal nuptials.

For some, there's an even bigger reason to be thrilled.

They live or work on the 3km procession route, where more than 100,000 will be clamouring for an up close look at the Royal newlyweds.

Europe correspondent Joy Reid takes a tour through St George’s Chapel in Windsor. Source: 1 NEWS

Here's Paul Hobbs, with some of the locals. 

1 NEWS reporter Paul Hobbs is covering the Prince Harry and Markle’s wedding and has the latest. Source: Breakfast

Seven Sharp takes in the sights and sounds ahead of the big day. Source: Seven Sharp

Paul Hobbs meets some of the locals ahead of the big day. Source: 1 NEWS

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Turkey says joint 'inspection' planned at Saudi consulate

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are expected to conduct a joint "inspection" of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing nearly two weeks ago, Turkish authorities said.

The US President said he would inflict severe punishment if the kingdom was found responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s death.
Source: Breakfast

The announcement from an official at Turkey's Foreign Ministry comes as international concern continues to grow over the writer's disappearance. American lawmakers have threatened tough punitive action against the Saudis, and Germany, France and Britain have jointly called for a "credible investigation" into Khashoggi's disappearance.

The Foreign Ministry official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations. Officials in Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team that flew into and out of Turkey on Oct. 2 killed and dismembered Khashoggi, who had written Washington Post columns critically of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom has called such allegations "baseless" but has not offered any evidence Khashoggi ever left the consulate.

Such a search would be an extraordinary development, as embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil. Saudi Arabia may have agreed to the search in order to appease its Western allies and the international community.

However, it remained unclear what evidence, if any, would remain nearly two weeks after Khashoggi's disappearance. As if to drive the point home, a cleaning crew with mops, trash bags and cartons of milk walked in past journalists waiting outside the consulate on Monday.

President Donald Trump has said Saudi Arabia could face "severe punishment" if it was proven it was involved in Khashoggi's disappearance. Trump tweeted Monday that he had spoken with Saudi King Salman, "who denies any knowledge" of what happened to Khashoggi.

"He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer," Trump wrote. "I am immediately sending our Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo) to meet with King!"

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia warned that if it "receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy."

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations," said the statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The statement did not elaborate. However, a column published in English a short time later by the general manager of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news network suggested Saudi Arabia could use its oil production as a weapon. Benchmark Brent crude is trading at around $80 a barrel, and Trump has criticized OPEC and Saudi Arabia over rising prices.

Saudi media followed on from that statement in television broadcasts and newspaper front pages Monday.

The Arabic-language daily Okaz wrote a headline on Monday in English warning: "Don't Test Our Patience." It showed a clenched fist made of a crowd of people in the country's green color.

The Saudi Gazette trumpeted: "Enough Is Enough," while the Arab News said: "Saudi Arabia 'will not be bullied'."

The Arab News' headline was above a front-page editorial by Dubai-based real-estate tycoon Khalaf al-Habtoor, calling on Gulf Arab nations to boycott international firms now backing out of a planned economic summit in Riyadh later this month.

"Together we must prove we will not be bullied or else, mark my words, once they have finished kicking the kingdom, we will be next in line," al-Habtoor said.

Already, international business leaders are pulling out of the kingdom's upcoming investment forum, a high-profile event known as "Davos in the Desert," though it has no association with the World Economic Forum. They include the CEO of Uber, a company in which Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars; billionaire Richard Branson; JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon; and Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford.

News that the CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, would pull out of the conference drew angry responses across the region. The foreign minister of the neighboring island kingdom of Bahrain, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, tweeted Sunday night that there should be a boycott of the ride-hailing app both there and in Saudi Arabia.

Late Sunday, Saudi King Salman spoke by telephone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Khashoggi. Turkey said Erdogan "stressed the forming of a joint working group to probe the case." Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, said King Salman thanked Erdogan "for welcoming the kingdom's proposal" for forming the working group.

The king said Turkey and Saudi Arabia enjoy close relations and "that no one will get to undermine the strength of this relationship," according to a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency. While Turkey and the kingdom differ on political issues, Saudi investments are a crucial lifeline for Ankara amid trouble with its national currency, the Turkish lira.

Prince Mohammed, King Salman's son, has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment. But Khashoggi's disappearance has led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of the upcoming investment conference in Riyadh, called the Future Investment Initiative.

The Saudi stock exchange, only months earlier viewed as a darling of frontier investors, plunged as much as 7 percent at one point Sunday before closing down over 4 percent. On Monday, Riyadh's Tadawul exchange closed up 4 percent.

Concerns appeared to spread Monday to Japan's SoftBank, which has invested tens of billions of dollars of Saudi government funds. SoftBank was down over 7 percent in trading on Tokyo's stock exchange.

Khashoggi has written extensively for the Post about Saudi Arabia, criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving. Those policies are all seen as initiatives of the crown prince.


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Trump says Saudi king denies knowledge of missing journalist

President Donald Trump said on Monday (Tuesday NZ Time) he has spoken with Saudi Arabia's king, who "denies any knowledge" of what happened to the Saudi journalist who disappeared after entering the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul last week. Trump said he is dispatching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the region.

Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman. Source: Associated Press

Trump has been under pressure to take action on the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who has been living and writing in the United States, including columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Turkish officials say that they believe Saudi agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi after he entered the consulate and that Turkey has audio and video recordings of it.

The kingdom has called the allegations "baseless" but has offered no evidence the writer left the consulate.

On Monday (local time), Trump tweeted that he "just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened 'to our Saudi Arabian citizen.' He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answers. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!"

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow declined to speculate on what Trump might do after the president promised "severe punishment" in a "60 Minutes" interview if the U.S. determines that Khashoggi was indeed killed inside the Saudi consulate.

Saudi Arabia has pledged to economically retaliate for any U.S. punitive action.

Trump has said repeatedly he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia — as some in Congress have suggested — because it would harm the U.S. economically.

"We will take stern action with the Saudis if necessary," Kudlow said. "The United States is the dominant energy player so we're in pretty good shape, in my opinion, with our energy boom to cover any shortfalls. We'll wait and see, but rest assured that when the president says we will take actions if we find out bad outcomes, he means it."

Kudlow said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would be attending a previously scheduled Saudi conference this week to address terrorist financing but those plans could change as details of the investigation become available.

Sens. Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake, members of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress is prepared to move quickly and firmly if Trump fails to adequately respond to the Oct. 2 disappearance of Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor. Rubio said U.S.-Saudi relations may need to be "completely revised" and stressed the U.S. would lose credibility on human rights if the Trump administration remained silent.

He also said Mnuchin should skip the Saudi conference.

"I don't think any of our government officials should be going and pretending it's business as usual until we know what's happened here," said Rubio, R-Fla.

Rubio declined to rule out a halt to the arms sales, stressing that the U.S. must send a message to repressive governments worldwide.

"There's not enough money in the world for us to buy back our credibility on human rights if we do not move forward and take swift action," Rubio said. "Arms sales are important not because of the money but because it also provides leverage over their future behavior."

Flake said if the Saudis did, in fact, kill Khashoggi, Congress might specifically curtail U.S. military aid to Saudi-led forces in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Gulf states in a military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The U.S. provides weaponry, intelligence and logistical support for the bombing campaign.

"I do think that arms sales will be affected. Certainly our involvement in Yemen with Saudi Arabia will be affected," said Flake, R-Ariz.

More than 20 Republican and Democratic senators instructed Trump last week to order an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance under legislation that authorizes sanctions for perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross human rights violations. The writer had been living in self-exile in Virginia for the past year. The lawmakers' letter was a preliminary step under the Global Magnitsky Act toward taking punitive action.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has reviewed the U.S. intelligence into what happened to Khashoggi, has said, "The likelihood is he was killed on the day he walked into the consulate."

Trump visited the kingdom on his first overseas trip as president and has touted U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia.


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Duke and Duchess of Sussex announce they're expecting their first baby

Kensington Palace says Prince Harry and his wife the Duchess of Sussex are expecting a child in autumn next year.

The palace says the couple has "appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public."

The announcement Monday comes as Harry and the former Meghan Markle arrived in Sydney at the start of a 16-day visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

The trip officially begins on Tuesday and will see the couple watch the Invictus Games, visit a Sydney zoo and visit the rural Flying Doctor service.

The royals touched down this morning in Sydney, part of their first tour as a married couple. Source: Associated Press

Meghan Markle and husband Prince Harry took a trip to the English county.
Source: BBC


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Pauline Hanson unsuccessful in moving motion in Australia's parliament saying 'it's OK to be white'

Australian politician Pauline Hanson has declared "anti-white" racism is on the rise, unsuccessfully moving a motion in federal parliament saying "it's OK to be white".

The One Nation leader said anyone who watched the news or social media could see increased attacks on western civilisation and the prevalence of anti-white racism.

"It is indeed OK to be white. Such a simple sentence should go without saying but I suspect many members in this place would struggle to say it," she told parliament.

"People have a right to be proud of their cultural background whether they are black, white or brindle."

The motion was defeated 31-28 despite the support of government senators.

Crossbench senator Derryn Hinch savaged Senator Hanson, saying she was locked in a race to the bottom of the sewer with Katter's Australian Party member Fraser Anning.

"It could have been written on a piece of toilet paper," Senator Hinch said of the motion.

"This sort of racism is not only wrong, it could be dangerous."

Greens leader Richard Di Natale also had a crack at former One Nation senator Anning and Senator Hanson.

"The reality is this 'it's OK to be white' slogan has got a long history in the white supremacist movement where both these clowns get most of their material from," Senator Di Natale said.

Pauline Hanson.
Pauline Hanson. Source: Twitter Pauline Hanson


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