Meghan Markle's father reportedly to undergo heart surgery, won't be able to attend daughter's wedding to Prince Harry

Meghan Markle’s father will reportedly not be able to walk her down the aisle because he is scheduled to undergo heart surgery.

Thomas Markle, who told TMZ this morning that he changed his mind and wanted to attend the wedding after yesterday saying he would not go, is scheduled to undergo surgery in the early hours of Thursday morning (Wednesday morning LA time).

FILE - In this April 25, 2018 file photo, Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration on ANZAC Day at Westminster Abbey in London. The couple will wed on May 19. (Eddie Mulholland/Pool via AP, File)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were reportedly devastated over Thomas Markle's decision to not attend the wedding before his change of heart. Source: Associated Press

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"They will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed," Thomas Markle told the celebrity news website.

Last week, Mr Markle reportedly suffered a heart attack and was then hospitalised this morning (NZ time) with chest pain.

In an earlier report, Mr Markle said his daughter had tried to call him on Tuesday but he didn't have his phone on him, according to the celebrity news site.

He said she also texted saying she loved him and was concerned about his health.

Mr Markle said Meghan was not upset after his staged paparazzi photos. He was reportedly so upset by the reaction the photos that he decided to not attend the wedding.

He also said he didn’t think the Queen would be bothered by the photos.

"I don't think the Queen is thinking about what I'm doing."

"I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle."

If doctors allowed him out of hospital, Mr Markle said he will travel to England for the wedding.

Yesterday, Prince Harry and Ms Markle requested "understanding and respect" for her father after the celebrity news site reported he would not be coming to the royal wedding to walk his daughter down the aisle.

Thomas Markle's decision is a bombshell for the bride-to-be. Source: 1 NEWS

Yesterday’s palace statement on the "difficult situation" did not confirm the TMZ report that Thomas Markle had decided not to attend. 

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'Babysitting while black' - police called on African American man babysitting white children

Police were called to a residence in Cobb County in the US state of Georgia, after a white woman reported a black man for babysitting two white children.

As he shopped while babysitting the children of David Parker and Dana Mango, Corey Lewis was stopped by a woman and asked if the children were okay.

"We then left to go get gas, she moved closer and waited there," said Mr Lewis.

The woman then returned later to ask if she could speak to the children, before Mr Lewis said no, leading to the police being called.

Mr Lewis then returned home, before Cobb County Police showed up.

The officer questioned the 10-year-old and the 6-year-old before calling their parents.

"I said are you saying that because there's an African American male driving my two white kids, that he was stopped and pulled over and questioned and he said I'm sorry ma'am that’s exactly what I'm saying," Mango told CBS46.

The parents confirmed to CBS46 that Mr Lewis had been arranged to babysit weeks ago, with their son part of his mentoring programme, 'Inspired by Lewis.'

"B-W-B which I guess is the new thing, babysitting while black," said the father.

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Tsunami warning cancelled after 7.0 magnitude Papua New Guinea earthquake

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck Papua New Guinea's New Britain Island today.

The quake, at a depth of 39.5km, was centred around 200km southwest of Rabul just before 10am NZT.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially said hazardous waves were possible for coasts within 300km of the quake's epicentre, but now say the threat has passed.

There are no immediate reports of damage.

Earthquake.
(file picture). Source: 1 NEWS

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US stocks suffer worst loss in eight months as tech companies plunge

US stocks plunged to their worst loss in eight months today as technology companies continued to drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 831 points.

The losses were widespread, and stocks that have been the biggest winners on the market the last few years, including technology companies and retailers, suffered steep declines. Apple and Amazon both had their worst day in two and a half years.

The Nasdaq composite, which has a high concentration of technology companies, had its biggest loss in more than two years.

Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell, said investors fear that rising interest rates and growing expenses are going to erode company profits next year.

"The tax cuts juiced earnings this year and that's not sustainable," he said. "The market's starting to say that the glass may be half empty."

The S&P 500 index sank 94.66 points, or 3.3 percent, to 2,785.68. The benchmark index fell for the fifth straight day, which hadn't happened since just before the 2016 presidential election.

The Nasdaq composite tumbled 315.97 points, or 4.1 percent, to 7,422.05. It's fallen 7.5 percent in just five days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 831.83 points, or 3.1 percent, to 25,598.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 46.45 points, or 2.9 percent, to 1,575.41.

After a long stretch of relative calm, the stock market has suffered sharp losses over the last week as bond yields surged. Stocks had come close to big drops in the last few days, but each time they recovered some of their losses. That didn't happen Wednesday as stocks fell further late in the day.

Apple gave up 4.6 percent to $US216.36 and Microsoft dropped 5.4 percent to $US106.16. Amazon skidded 6.2 percent to $US1,755.25.

Industrial and internet companies also fell hard. Boeing lost 4.7 percent to $US367.57 and Alphabet, Google's parent company, gave up 4.6 percent to $US1,092.16.

Insurance companies dropped as Hurricane Michael continued to gather strength and came ashore in Florida bringing winds of up to 155 miles an hour. Berkshire Hathaway dipped 4.7 percent to $213.10 and reinsurer Everest Re slid 5.1 percent to $US217.73.

Luxury retailers tumbled after LVMH, the parent of Louis Vuitton, said its sales growth in China slowed. Tiffany plunged 10.2 percent to $US110.38 and Ralph Lauren fell 8.4 percent to $US116.96.

The biggest driver for the market over the last week has been interest rates, which began spurting higher following several encouraging reports on the economy. Higher rates can slow economic growth, erode corporate profits and make investors less willing to pay high prices for stocks.

The 10-year Treasury yield remained at 3.20 percent, about where it was late Tuesday, after earlier touching 3.24 percent. It was at just 3.05 percent early last week and 2.82 percent in late August.

Technology and internet-based companies are known for their high profit margins, and many have reported explosive growth in recent years, with corresponding gains in their stock prices.

Gina Martin Adams, chief equity strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence, said the stocks have become more volatile in the last few months because investors have concerns about their future profitability.

"Amazon recently announced they were increasing wages, Facebook is spending a ton on security," she said. "Semiconductors have the most exposure to China out of segments in the S&P 500."

Sears Holdings nosedived after the Wall Street Journal reported that the struggling retailer hired an advisory firm to prepare a bankruptcy filing that could come within days. The stock fell 16.8 percent to 49 cents. It was more than $US40 five years ago.

Sears has closed hundreds of stores and sold several famous brands or put them on the block as it sees more customers abandon its stores.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 2.4 percent to $US73.17 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 2.2 percent to $US83.09 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline shed 2.7 percent to $US2.02 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.2 percent to $US2.39 a gallon. Natural gas rose 0.6 percent to $US3.28 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose 0.2 percent to $US1,193.40 an ounce. Silver dipped 0.5 percent to $US14.33 an ounce. Copper fell 0.9 percent to $US2.78 a pound.

Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent, South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.1 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.1 percent.
The CAC 40 in France dropped 2.1 percent, Germany's DAX lost 2.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in London fell 1.3 percent.

Stocks from emerging markets were also hard hit. Investors see many of these countries as being vulnerable to higher U.S. interest rates, which can pull away investment dollars. Brazil's Bovespa lost 2.5 percent and the Merval in Argentina sank 2.2 percent.

The dollar fell to 112.59 Japanese yen from 113.05 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $US1.1525 from $US1.1496. The British pound rose to $US1.3197 from $US1.3146.

FILE- This Jan. 4, 2018, file photo shows the interior of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 10. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
The interior of the New York Stock Exchange. Source: Associated Press


Britain's Supreme Court side with bakery who refused to bake same-sex marriage cake

Britain's Supreme Court have reversed a lower court ruling and ruled that a bakery owned by a Christian family didn't discriminate against a gay customer when it refused to make a cake bearing a slogan supporting same-sex marriage.

Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland refused in 2014 to make a cake iced with the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the phrase "Support Gay Marriage." The owners argued they shouldn't be forced to put messages on their products at odds with their Christian beliefs. The court agreed.

"In a nutshell, the objection was to the message and not to any particular person or persons," Judge Brenda Hale wrote in the unanimous decision.

"It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person's race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristics. But that is not what happened in this case."

The general manager of the bakery, Daniel McArthur, said he was relieved by the decision.

"I want to start by thanking God," he told reporters. "He has been with us during the challenges of the last four years."

The case was brought by the customer, gay rights activist Gareth Lee, and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. It received backing from the Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland's largest support organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The Rainbow Project expressed disappointment with the decision.

"We believe this is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification," director John O'Doherty said. "We will, however, take time to study this judgment by the Supreme Court to understand fully its implications for the rights of LGBT people to access goods, facilities and services without discrimination."

It wasn't immediately clear if the plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights.

The cake was ordered by a gay rights activist. Source: BBC