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Live updates: King Charles set to visit Northern Ireland

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Live updates: King Charles set to visit Northern Ireland

LONDON — British officials say some 500 foreign dignitaries will attend Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, but invitations have not been sent to the leaders of Russia, Belarus or Myanmar.

Officials said the funeral next Monday, to be held at London’s Westminster Abbey, will be the biggest international event Britain has hosted in decades.

U.S. President Joe Biden was among the first to announce that he would be flying in with his wife, Jill Biden. The leaders of most Commonwealth countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada, are also expected to attend.

France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italy’s Sergio Mattarella, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro are among the presidents attending.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, as well as former Spanish monarch Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia, are also due to travel to London for the occasion.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

— Anger over past, indifference meets queen’s death in India

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— After the death of a renowned queen, life in London goes on

— Queen hailed in Scotland “as a constant in our lives”

— Loss of unifying queen could fray the bonds of fractious UK

— People wanting to pay final respects to queen face long wait, strict rules

— For Queen Elizabeth II, Balmoral estate was place to ‘be normal’

— Former British colonies are conflicted over Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy

— What’s next for the UK as Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest

— Find more AP coverage here: https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

EDINBURGH, Scotland — King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, have left Edinburgh on their way to Belfast.

In Northern Ireland on Tuesday, they will visit 18th-century Hillsborough Castle, which is the official royal residence.

The royal couple are to meet with Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris and leaders of local political parties.

They will then meet with leaders of Northern Ireland’s major faiths.

Afterward, a commemorative service will be held at St Anne’s cathedral in Belfast, where an 18th-century parish church once stood.

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The royal couple fly to London later in the day.

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LONDON — Britain’s Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, has penned a poem in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

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The poem published Tuesday, “Floral Tribute,” is in the form of a double acrostic, which means that the first letter of each line spells out Elizabeth when taken together. It describes the coming of a September evening and references one of the queen’s favorite flowers, the lily of the valley.

“The country loaded its whole self into your slender hands / Hands that can rest, now, relieved of a century’s weight,” he wrote.

Armitage told the BBC Tuesday that he featured the queen’s first name because he wanted to take a personal approach.

He said the queen’s name was something “she probably rarely got to hear very much because everybody had to preface that with ceremonial nominals.”

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland — King Charles’ visit to Northern Ireland is a politically delicate trip for the new sovereign.

There are mixed feelings about the British monarchy in Northern Ireland, where there are two main communities: mostly Protestant unionists who consider themselves British and largely Roman Catholic nationalists who see themselves as Irish.

That divide fueled three decades of violence known as “the Troubles” involving paramilitary groups on both sides and U.K. security forces, in which 3,600 people died.

The royal family was touched personally by the violence: Lord Louis Mountbatten, a cousin of the queen and a much-loved mentor to Charles, was killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb in 1979.

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A deep sectarian divide remains, a quarter century after Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement.

But in a sign of how far Northern Ireland has come on the road to peace, representatives of Sinn Fein — the main Irish nationalist party, linked during the Troubles to the IRA — are attending commemorative events for the queen and meeting the king on Tuesday.

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EDINBURGH, Scotland — While King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, travel to Northern Ireland on Tuesday, the queen’s coffin will be flown to London.

St. Giles’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, where members of the public are paying their respects as the coffin lies at rest, is to close at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT).

Two hours later, a hearse will take the coffin by road to Edinburgh airport. Princess Anne will accompany the coffin on its flight to London.

From RAF Northolt, west of London, the coffin will be driven to Buckingham Palace where it will be met by members of the royal family.

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EDINBURGH, Scotland — King Charles is due to fly to Northern Ireland on Tuesday on the latest leg of his tour of the nations that make up the United Kingdom.

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Thousands of people lined up through the night in Edinburgh to pay their last respects to his mother’s coffin at St. Giles’ Cathedral in the Scottish capital. Some people even walked past the coffin and then rejoined the end of the line to get a second view.

On Monday night, Charles and his siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward, their heads bowed, briefly stood vigil around their mother’s flag-draped coffin as members of the public filed past.

Early Tuesday, a man wearing a suit adorned with medals stood silently, bowed his head and moved on. A woman dabbed away tears with a handkerchief. Another woman with two young children in their school uniforms walked slowly past the coffin.

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EDINBURGH, Scotland — King Charles III and his siblings have stood in silent vigil around their mother Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward lowered their heads as they stood at four sides of the oak coffin on Monday evening. They stood for about 10 minutes alongside four members of the Royal Company of Archers, who stood guard armed with arrows and quivers.

As they performed the traditional vigil, a procession of members of the public lined up to view the queen’s coffin and filed past. Some bowed as they passed the king, while others walked solemnly by with their heads lowered.

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LONDON — Officials in charge of the park outside Buckingham Palace have told people to stop leaving marmalade sandwiches as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II because of the “negative impact on the park’s wildlife.”

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Some mourners have left the snacks alongside floral tributes at Buckingham Palace and neighboring Green Park. The sandwiches are a reference to a comedy sketch featuring the queen and an animated Paddington Bear filmed for the late monarch’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.

In the video, the queen said that like Paddington Bear she also favors marmalade sandwiches and hides them in her purse “for later.”

The Royal Parks organization said Monday people should not leave the snacks but could leave teddy bears and other items if they wished.

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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli leaders on Sunday credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct Iranian attack involving hundreds of drones and missiles, calling the coordinated response a starting point for a “strategic alliance” of regional opposition to Tehran.

But Israel’s War Cabinet met without making a decision on next steps, an official said, as a nervous world waited for any sign of further escalation of the former shadow war.

The military coalition, led by the United States, Britain and France and appearing to include a number of Middle Eastern countries, gave Israel support at a time when it finds itself isolated over its war against Hamas in Gaza. The coalition also could serve as a model for regional relations when that war ends.

“This was the first time that such a coalition worked together against the threat of Iran and its proxies in the Middle East,” said the Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

One unknown is which of Israel’s neighbors participated in the shooting down of the vast majority of about 350 drones and missiles Iran launched. Israeli military officials and a key War Cabinet member noted additional “partners” without naming them. When pressed, White House national security spokesman John Kirby would not name them either.

But one appeared to be Jordan, which described its action as self-defense.

“There was an assessment that there was a real danger of Iranian marches and missiles falling on Jordan, and the armed forces dealt with this danger. And if this danger came from Israel, Jordan would take the same action,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said in an interview on Al-Mamlaka state television. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Sunday.

The U.S. has long tried to forge a regionwide alliance against Iran as a way of integrating Israel and boosting ties with the Arab world. The effort has included the 2020 Abraham Accords, which established diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab countries, and having Israel in the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East and works closely with the armies of moderate Arab states.

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The U.S. had been working to establish full relations between Israel and regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack sparked Israel’s war in Gaza. The war, which has claimed over 33,700 Palestinian lives, has frozen those efforts due to widespread outrage across the Arab world. But it appears that some behind-the-scenes cooperation has continued, and the White House has held out hopes of forging Israel-Saudi ties as part of a postwar plan.

Just ahead of Iran’s attack, the commander of CENTCOM, Gen. Erik Kurilla, visited Israel to map out a strategy.

Israel’s military chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, on Sunday thanked CENTCOM for the joint defensive effort. Both Jordan and Saudi Arabia are under the CENTCOM umbrella. While neither acknowledged involvement in intercepting Iran’s launches, the Israeli military released a map showing missiles traveling through the airspace of both nations.

“Arab countries came to the aid of Israel in stopping the attack because they understand that regional organizing is required against Iran, otherwise they will be next in line,” Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel’s military intelligence, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said he had spoken with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and that the cooperation “highlighted the opportunity to establish an international coalition and strategic alliance to counter the threat posed by Iran.”

The White House signaled that it hopes to build on the partnerships and urged Israel to think twice before striking Iran. U.S. officials said Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would not participate in any offensive action against Iran.

Israel’s War Cabinet met late Sunday to discuss a possible response, but an Israeli official familiar with the talks said no decisions had been made. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing confidential deliberations.

Asked about plans for retaliation, Hagari declined to comment directly. “We are at high readiness in all fronts,” he said.

“We will build a regional coalition and collect the price from Iran, in the way and at the time that suits us,” said a key War Cabinet member, Benny Gantz.

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Iran launched the attack in response to a strike widely blamed on Israel that hit an Iranian consular building in Syria this month and killed two Iranian generals.

By Sunday morning, Iran said the attack was over, and Israel reopened its airspace. Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, claimed Iran had taught Israel a lesson and warned that “any new adventures against the interests of the Iranian nation would be met with a heavier and regretful response from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The foes have been engaged in a shadow war for years, but Sunday’s assault was the first time Iran launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran said it targeted Israeli facilities involved in the Damascus strike, and that it told the White House early Sunday that the operation would be “minimalistic.”

But U.S. officials said Iran’s intent was to “destroy and cause casualties” and that if successful, the strikes would have caused an “uncontrollable” escalation. At one point, at least 100 ballistic missiles were in the air with just minutes of flight time to Israel, the officials said.

Israel said more than 99% of what Iran fired was intercepted, with just a few missiles getting through. An Israeli airbase sustained minor damage.

Israel has over the years established — often with the help of the U.S. — a multilayered air-defense network that includes systems capable of intercepting a variety of threats, including long-range missiles, cruise missiles, drones and short-range rockets.

That system, along with collaboration with the U.S. and others, helped thwart what could have been a far more devastating assault at a time when Israel is already deeply engaged in Gaza as well as low-level fighting on its northern border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

While thwarting the Iranian onslaught could help restore Israel’s image after the Hamas attack in October, what the Middle East’s best-equipped army does next will be closely watched in the region and in Western capitals — especially as Israel seeks to develop the coalition it praised Sunday.

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In Washington, Biden pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would hold talks with allies. After an urgent meeting, the Group of Seven countries unanimously condemned Iran’s attack and said they stood ready to take “further measures.”

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s war in Gaza. In the Oct. 7 attack, militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, also backed by Iran, killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed over 33,000 people, according to local health officials.

Hamas welcomed Iran’s attack, saying it was “a natural right and a deserved response” to the strike in Syria. It urged the Iran-backed groups in the region to continue to support Hamas in the war.

Hezbollah also welcomed the attack. Almost immediately after the war in Gaza erupted, Hezbollah began attacking Israel’s northern border. The two sides have been involved in daily exchanges of fire, while Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have launched rockets and missiles toward Israel.

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Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Michelle L. Price in Washington; Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran; Samy Magdy in Cairo; Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan; and Giada Zampano in Rome contributed to this report.

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How to get rid of NYC rats without brutality? Birth control is one idea

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How to get rid of NYC rats without brutality? Birth control is one idea

New York lawmakers are proposing rules to humanely drive down the population of rats and other rodents, eyeing contraception and a ban on glue traps as alternatives to poison or a slow, brutal death.

Politicians have long come up with creative ways to battle the rodents, but some lawmakers are now proposing city and statewide measures to do more.

In New York City, the idea to distribute rat contraceptives got fresh attention in city government Thursday following the death of an escaped zoo owl, known as Flaco, who was found dead with rat poison in his system.

City Council Member Shaun Abreu proposed a city ordinance Thursday that would establish a pilot program for controlling the millions of rats lurking in subway stations and empty lots by using birth control instead of lethal chemicals. Abreu, chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, said the contraceptives also are more ethical and humane than other methods.

The contraceptive, called ContraPest, is contained in salty, fatty pellets that are scattered in rat-infested areas as bait. It works by targeting ovarian function in female rats and disrupting sperm cell production in males, The New York Times reported.

New York exterminators currently kill rats using snap and glue traps, poisons that make them bleed internally, and carbon monoxide gas that can suffocate them in burrows. Some hobbyists have even trained their dogs to hunt them.

Rashad Edwards, a film and television actor who runs pest management company Scurry Inc. in New York City with his wife, said the best method he has found when dealing with rodents is carbon monoxide.

He tries to use the most humane method possible, and carbon monoxide euthanizes the rats slowly, putting them to sleep and killing them. Edwards avoids using rat poison whenever possible because it is dangerous and torturous to the rodents, he said.

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Some lawmakers in Albany are considering a statewide ban on glue boards under a bill moving through the Legislature. The traps, usually made from a slab of cardboard or plastic coated in a sticky material, can also ensnare small animals that land on its surface.

Edwards opposes a ban on sticky traps, because he uses them on other pests, such as ants, to reduce overall pesticide use. When ants get into a house, he uses sticky traps to figure out where they’re most often passing by. It helps him narrow zones of pesticide use “so that you don’t go spray the entire place.”

“This is not a problem we can kill our way out of,” said Jakob Shaw, a special project manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “It’s time to embrace these more common sense and humane methods.”

Two cities in California have passed bans on glue traps in recent years. On the federal level, a bill currently in committee would ban the traps nationwide.

“It ends a really inhumane practice of managing rat populations,” said Jabari Brisport, the New York state senator who represents part of Brooklyn and sponsored the bill proposing the new guidelines. “There are more effective and more humane ways to deal with rats.”

Every generation of New Yorkers has struggled to control rat populations. Mayor Eric Adams hired a “rat czar” last year tasked with battling the detested rodents. Last month, New York City reduced the amount of food served up to rats by mandating all businesses to put trash out in boxes.

While the war on rats has no end in sight, the exterminator Edwards said we can learn a lot from their resilience. The rodents, he said, can never be eradicated, only managed.

“They’re very smart, and they’re very wise,” he said. “It’s very inspiring but just — not in my house.”

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Coachella: Earthquake shakes SoCal desert during music fest

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Coachella: Earthquake shakes SoCal desert during music fest

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A small earthquake shook the Southern California desert Saturday near Coachella, where the famous music festival is being held this weekend. No damage or injuries were reported.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 3.8, hit at 9:08 a.m. about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of Borrego Springs in Riverside County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter was about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Coachella. It struck at a depth of about 7 miles (11 kilometers), the USGS said.

A dispatcher with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said there were no calls reporting any problems from the quake.

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