Thor is a lesbian icon, according to fans

Thor is a lesbian icon, according to fans

(Marvel and Twitter) Marvel films don’t have many LGBT superheroes to look up to.

Unlike 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool series, which now includes a kick-ass lesbian couple , the pansexual Deadpool and Shatterstar, a bisexual, polyamorous superhero , Marvel has been reticent to feature any LGBT characters.

Marvel has attracted criticism for its extreme reluctance to include LGBT people in its films. (Marvel) A scene in Thor: Ragnorok confirming that superhero Valkyrie was bisexual was shot, but mysteriously edited out.

The Black Panther comics have depicted a lesbian relationship between warriors Ayo and Aneka – but a scene hinting at the romance was dumped from Ryan Coogler’s 2018 film adaptation.

And Star Wars execs are more than happy to encourage queer fans’ speculation about a romance between fan favourites Finn and Poe – while they rush to introduce heterosexual love interests. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty) So it makes sense that LGBT Marvel fans would use their boundless creativity to create an icon who can fill the gap.

And that icon, it turns out, is Thor, our very own god of thunder. (Marvel) There seems to be some disagreement over whether Thor is a lesbian or simply a lesbian ally, but either way, it’s a beautiful development among an underrepresented portion of the fandom.

One person explained the phenomenon, saying: “thor is an honorary lesbian icon but none of us dykelings can explain why. (harperrusset/twitter) “All we know is that he is the One Safe Man that all lesbians dance around like maenads and that’s just the way it is.”

Another fan wrote: “feminist and lesbian warrior, thor odinson.” (kenobarnes/twitter) They clarified their thinking, writing: “2012 fanfic thor who did nothing but raid tony’s fridge for poptarts vs 2018 canon thor who is now a lesbian ally and summons thunder as applause for women everywhere,” before calling on others to “rt ur character development kink.” (kenobarnes/twitter) Another person used pictures of rainbows and lightning bolts to prove their point, saying: “Thor, lesbian icon showing his approval and support, 2018.” (tgokmuch/twitter) That checks out.

Another fan insisted that Thor was “pure, soft, unproblematic, doesn’t get into petty fights, cute as f**k, has gay emo siblings, cinnamon roll will fuck u up, lesbian rights, threw the first stonewall brick.” (xmensupremacy/twitter) One of those seems historically inaccurate, but we’ll let it slide.

The “gay emo” comment surely refers to the fact that Thor’s half-sister in the comics, Angela, is a lesbian, while his brother Loki is canonically pansexual and genderfluid. Friendly reminder that Thor’s older comic sister is a canon lesbian and her name is Angela!! She is super badass and so is her girlfriend who is also canonically trans — angelasera warrior (@viictormancha) May 9, 2018 Another used a popular meme format to describe a conversation in which Thor talks to Bruce Banner – also known as the Hulk – about being called a lesbian god in New York. (barnesartboy/twitter) One showed “Thor supporting the whole lesbian community.” (lesbianthunder/twitter) And another smartly theorised that “the girls who asked thor for a photo back in thor: ragnarok were actually a lesbian couple and that’s why thor is THE ultimate ally and loved by all lesbians thank you for coming to my ted talk.” (harleivy/twitter) Another person wrote that Thor was “MY god of thunder,” “respects women,” a “lesbian ally” and has “good entrances,” whereas Greek god Zeus, in their words, was a “fuccboi,” “the root of every issue” and a “meninist.” (lgbtkenobi/twitter) And if you don’t get where these fans are coming from, you may be in trouble. (wlwvalkyrie/twitter) One fan explained that “people who don’t understand the thor is a lesbian meme are weak and won’t survive the winter.” More:

Anti-LGBT hate group leader Tony Perkins appointed to US religious freedom commission

Anti-LGBT hate group leader Tony Perkins appointed to US religious freedom commission

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty) Republicans have appointed an extreme anti-LGBT activist to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was today nominated to the federal government body, which polices ‘religious freedom’ internationally and makes policy recommendations to the White House and Congress.

Perkins is best known for his strong opposition to LGBT rights, and only last month urged schools to ban students from taking “same-sex dates” to prom.

He was nominated to the role by the Trump administration and GOP Senator Mitch McConnell. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (Win McNamee/Getty) The activist has made a number of extremely disturbing claims about gay people in the past, insisting Christians are “going to find ourselves being loaded in cattle cars like it was when the Nazis took over before we realize we are in such terrible danger”.

He claims that Christians are being sent to “camps” , and that soon gays are “going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians”.

The Southern Poverty Law Center notes he compared gays to paedophiles, saying: “While activists like to claim that paedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. It is a homosexual problem.” His views had caused the SPLC, which monitors extremism, to list the Family Research Council as a hate group. FRC President Tony Perkins speaks during The Family Research Council Action Values Voter Summit (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages) Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said: “Tony Perkins is the most recognizable anti-LGBTQ activist in America.

“He has espoused the most extreme views of LGBTQ people and other vulnerable communities including vocally supporting foreign laws that punish LGBTQ identity with death.

“The idea that Perkins would be making policy recommendations to an administration that is already anti-LGBTQ is dangerous and puts LGBTQ people directly in harm’s way.”

The Trump administration has maintained close ties to Perkins despite the FRC’s hate group designation. Tony Perkins The Family Research Council recently vowed to fight in court to keep details of its discussions with the Trump administration private – after a subpoena directed activists to turn over documents relating to its work on the transgender troop ban.

Perkins is alleged to have had input in a a White House policy document that made the case for banning transgender people from the military by citing transgender people’s “high rates of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders” and “extremely high rates of suicidal ideation and other comorbidities.”

The document also claimed that “transition-related treatment is proving to be disproportionately costly.”

Leading medical and military experts came forward to deride the claims, with the American Medical Association stressing that there is “no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service.” Two former Surgeons General also rubbished the report. More:

Tenth US trans death of 2018 confirmed as body found Texas creek

Tenth US trans death of 2018 confirmed as body found Texas creek

The body of a transgender woman was found dead in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, just days after another trans woman was found choked to death.

The unidentified victim, who becomes the tenth confirmed trans death in the US this year, was found in the waters of White Rock Creek, according to NBC’s Dallas news affiliate.

A kayaker found the body floating in the water. According to the police, the woman was wearing a black top and black scrub pants.

The Dallas Police Department held a press conference on Tuesday asking locals for help identifying the body. The police described the victim “as [a] black, transgender female approximately 5 feet, 3 inches, and weighing about 130 pounds.”

They are treating the case as an “unexplained death pending a cause of death determination,” and asked anybody with information to come forward.

On May 9, the body of Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, a 26-year-old trans woman , was found in her apartment. (Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon) The Dallas Police Department said Flores-Pavon was murdered. Although both women were trans women of colour, police said nothing indicates the two cases are related so far.

Dallas Police said Flores-Pavon had been choked to death. She was discovered unconscious and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

An eyewitness account reported that an unidentified man left her apartment shortly before Flores-Pavon was found unconscious, however, no arrest has been made so far.

A vigil was held for Flores-Pavon on Sunday at Dallas’ Cathedral of Hope. When Flores-Pavon’s body was discovered, police said there was “no evidence at this time to suggest this homicide was the result of a hate crime.” Monica Roberts, a board member of local charity Black Transwomen Inc., regretted the case hadn’t been handled as such. “These murder cases tend to be exceptionally violent and we fail to understand in the community why they aren’t classified as hate crimes,” she said.

“As people are educated about the issues of transgender folks, either on the transfeminine or transmasculine spectrum,” Roberts added. “Acceptance follows along.”

Flores-Pavon was the ninth trans woman to be murdered in the US so far this year.

According to Human Rights Watch, there have been 113 trans and non-binary people killed in the country since 2013.

28 trans people were killed in 2017 alone, making it the year with the highest number of homicides targeting trans or non-binary people.

A UK man who was choked by teens for being gay said there needed to be better education about LGBT issues .

The young man, who was attacked while commuting on the London Underground, received compensation for his attack.

He told the Evening Standard he would be donating it to LGBT charities Diversity Role Models and Just Like Us, which work to educate about LGBT people and tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobic bullying. More:

Remembering all the trans women who have been killed in the US this year

Remembering all the trans women who have been killed in the US this year

Since January, nine trans women have been tragically murdered in the United States.

Christa Leigh Steel-Knudslein, Viccky Gutierrez, Celine Walker, Tonya Harvey, Phylicia Mitchell, Zakaria Fry, Amia Tyrae Berryman, Sasha Wall and Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón have all lost their lives in 2018.

Of course, these are only the murders that have been officially documented, and have taken place in the US – it’s likely that there are many more undocumented murders of trans women elsewhere in the world.

While activists around the world fight for trans equality and acceptance, it’s also important to remember the members of the community who have tragically lost their lives, often at the hands of intolerance and bigotry. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42

Christa Leigh Steele-Kundslien, 42, was found stabbed and beaten to death in her Massachusetts home on 5 January. Her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, was found guilty. Christa was well known in her local community for her LGBTQ activism, and for being the founder of Miss Trans New England Pageant, which aimed to bring together trans women from around the region. Her longtime friend, Justin Adkins, said: “Her thing was always that transgender women are beautiful and need a venue for trans women to be seen as beautiful.” Viccky Gutierrez, 33

On 10 January, Viccky Gutierrez, 33, was stabbed and set on fire in her Los Angeles home. Her friends described her as “a young trans Latina immigrant woman whose warm smile would give anyone comfort.” Bamby Salcedo – the founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition – said in a video: “It’s not that she is gone, it is the way that she was murdered. She was brutally murdered, and we believe that it was intentional, we believe that it was premeditated.” Celine Walker, 36

36-year-old Celine Walker was shot to death in a hotel room on 4 February in Jacksonville, Florida. A close friend expressed her condolences on Facebook, and described Celine as living a “low key life where she did whatever needed to be done in order for her to survive.” Tonya Harvey, 35

Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot and killed in Buffalo, New York on 6 February in what police described as a “hate crime”. Her friend, Ashley Breathe, said on Facebook: “She was murdered this week and misgendered by media, I knew her since I started transitioning, she was so sweet and loving.” Another friend wrote: “Not only was she beautiful she was strong … everything she put her mind to she did it with conviction.” Phylicia Mitchell, 45

Phylicia Mitchell, 45, was shot on 23 February outside her Cleveland home. She was described as a “good person” by her longtime partner Shane Mitchell, “even though she had a drug problem”. He told the Cleveland press: “I miss her tremendously. That’s my soul mate. We went together everywhere. We did everything together. We always held hands on the bus. Years ago people didn’t respect that, but they do now.” Zakaria Fry, 28

28-year-old Zakaria Fry and 70-year-old Eugene Carroll Ray were found dead in a trash container on 19 February. They reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head and face. Albuquerque police arrested Charles Anthony Spiess, 27, in conjunction with their murder. Zakaria’s friend expressed his condolences and reminisced on when she helped him come out: “You told me fuck anyone who disagrees, and fuck all of those who can’t accept my happiness.” Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28

Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was found dead with gunshot wounds on 26 March in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A close friend of Amia said she was “loved by so many people” and “was taken away in the very manner she feared.” Her friends also vowed to bring “justice” to her death. Amia’s murderer has not been caught. Sasha Wall, 29

Sasha Wall, 29, was found slumped over her steering wheel on 1 April in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, with several bullet wounds. The FBI believe she knew her killer. Close friend Donovan Dunlap paid tribute to his “beautiful sister” on Facebook. “I cannot sleep, I hope they find who did this.” Carla Patricia Flores-Pav ón, 26

26-year-old Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón was found in her Texas apartment on 9 May. She had been choked to death. After their investigation, police said there was “no evidence at this time to suggest this homicide was the result of a hate crime.” Carla became the seventh trans woman of colour to be murdered this year. MAY TIMES. Get inside the latest Gay Times to discover exclusive interviews with Antoni Porowski, Dexter Mayfield, Daniel Newman, Casey Spooner and many more!. BUY NOW .

Saudi women troll men telling them ‘You won’t drive’

Saudi women troll men telling them 'You won't drive'

Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif It is a matter of weeks until the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia will be lifted.

Some men have taken to social media to vent their dissatisfaction with the change in the law, using an Arabic hashtag that translates as: "You won’t drive."

However, the hashtag went viral when Saudi women began hitting back at the sexist remarks.

"You wont drive" has been used on Twitter over 65,000 times since Monday. Watch: Saudi women prepare to hit the road

Lots of women posted funny pictures and videos to accompany their response to the hashtag.

Report A number of women decided to use the phrase to post pictures of their dream cars .

One user shared a photograph of a bright pink Audi along with the caption: "My car: June 2018".

Report Some other women shared photographs of their Saudi Driving School books.

Twitter user @Laam_92 simply and defiantly captioned her contribution to the trend: "I will drive."

Report Others suggested that the men who "give themselves the right to interfere in something that concerns women" were "losers".


While many of the responses to the hashtag were light-hearted, some shared a more serious analysis of the trend.

Sarah Al-Otaibi wrote that "this disgusting hashtag" was being used "to threaten women who might even think of driving".

Report A potted timeline of Saudi change

The lifting of the driving ban is one of a number of changes brought in by 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in recent years.

Here are some key changes: December 2015: For the first time, women vote and stand as candidates in local elections

April 2016: The government restricts the authority of the religious police to question and detain members of the public

September 2017: King Salman issues a decree that will allow women to drive

September 2017: Women are allowed to take part in public events to mark National Day .

October 2017: State TV airs a concert by Arab singer Umm Kulthum , the first such broadcast in decades

October 2017: The government says women will be allowed to attend public sports events from 2018

January 2018: Women are allowed into a football stadium for the first time

February 2018: A cleric of the highest Saudi religious body says women are under no religious obligation to wear abayas (black robes)

February 2018: Women are allowed to get jobs in the hotel industry in the Muslim holy city of Mecca

February 2018: Restrictions on celebrating Valentine’s Day are lifted

April 2018: Saudi Arabia hosts its first ever Fashion Week

April 2018: King Salman signs deals with France on creating a national opera

April 2018: The country hosts a women’s bicycle race for the first time

April 2018: The kingdom holds its first cinema screening in decades

By George Pierpoint, UGC and Social News

Additional reporting by BBC Monitoring

Sleep tips: Six ways to boost the chances of a good night’s rest

Sleep tips: Six ways to boost the chances of a good night's rest

Experts have found more evidence of the harm caused by disrupting our body clocks, linking it to depression and bipolar disorder among other things .

The paper’s authors say it’s a warning to societies becoming less in tune with the body’s natural rhythms, which influence not only when we feel sleepy but a range of other processes in the body.

So what are the things we can do to stack the odds in our favour for a good night’s sleep? Limit evening light

Are you inseparable from your mobile phone or laptop? Do you binge-watch box sets or check your social media late into the night?

If so, you’re likely to be disrupting your sleep.

That’s because these devices produce powerful blue light that delays when we feel sleepy by blocking the release of melatonin – the hormone our body produces to signal it’s time for sleep.

Having a cut-off time for when you stop using these devices of an hour and a half before bed is ideal, says Prof Malcolm von Schantz, from the University of Surrey.

Failing this, using blue-light blocking sunglasses and apps that lower the amount of blue light your devices produce in the evening can also help.

While blue light in the evening is particularly bad for our sleep, we should also limit other forms of electric light after sunset.

This can be done by using lamps and keeping our bedrooms dark, for example with blackout curtains. Body clock linked to mood disorders

Should we all become early risers?

Be consistent

It may be tempting to stay up late on Friday or Saturday, but ideally we should go to bed at similar times throughout the week.

This helps to reduce social jetlag – the mismatch between when we sleep during the working week compared with the weekend.

The bigger the jetlag the more harmful it is for health, including increased risk of heart disease and other metabolic problems. Laptops and phones should be kept out of our bedrooms, experts say But what about ditching the weekend lie-in?

Prof Von Schantz says this is a bad idea because if you want a lie-in it’s a sign you need to catch up on sleep. Make your bedroom a place of rest

Easily portable computers and phones have transformed our bedrooms from sanctuaries of rest into places of entertainment.

But if we want to boost our chances of a good night’s rest we need to reclaim them for sleep, experts say.

To do this we should keep phones, laptops and computers in other rooms, and consider investing in an alarm clock so that you don’t need to have your phone near your bed.

Keeping your bedroom cool is also important because it’s easier for our bodies to sleep in colder temperatures. Get morning Sun

Our body clocks are designed to follow the rise and fall of the Sun, but many of us don’t get enough light in the morning and have too much of it after sunset.

Making it a priority to get some morning Sun – for example, by opening curtains to let in as much light as possible or going for an early morning run – can help us to feel sleepier at earlier times.

If you can’t get morning light, either because of where you live or because it’s a dark winter’s day, light boxes, often used for seasonal affective disorder, can also be effective. Have a pre-bed routine

Having a pre-bed routine helps signal to our bodies that it’s time for sleep, Dr Ben Carter, from King’s College London, says.

Activities such as reading a book, listening to a podcast, or having a bath, can help to mentally unwind and get us ready for bed. Getting morning light can help night owls sleep earlier Dr Carter says: "Parents do this with their child to get good sleep.

"They have a set routine where they feed them, they bath them, they put them into bed, there’s nothing around them and then they read them a story.

"Having a lack of routine is not going to help you get to sleep."

Having our dinner at a similar time, ideally a few hours before bed, can also boost our chances of a good night’s sleep. Avoid caffeine

Most of us realise that a late-night coffee can make it hard to fall asleep at night.

But what you may not know is that caffeinated drinks – including tea and many fizzy drinks – can make it hard to get a good night’s slumber even if you have them earlier in the evening.

That’s because caffeine can stay in the system for five to nine hours. What about a night tipple?

Yes, this is point seven, but does it actually help us sleep?

A glass or two of wine, or a sip or two of brandy, for many is a pre-bed ritual.

But despite what you might think, experts say that a tipple before bedtime actually doesn’t improve our sleep.

Prof Schantz adds: "Alcohol has a weird effect in that it makes it easier to fall asleep, but it makes it harder to stay asleep and it affects the quality of our sleep."

Follow Alex on Twitter .

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding: All you need to know

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding: All you need to know

With the clock ticking until Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot, here’s what you need to know about the wedding of the year. When and where is it?

Meghan will walk down the aisle of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle The couple will wed on Saturday at 12:00 BST at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

The chapel – where Prince Harry was christened and Ms Markle was baptised – holds about 800 people.

At 13:00 BST, the newlyweds will travel through Windsor, Berkshire, in a carriage. The couple have chosen the Ascot Landau carriage, which is used in official and ceremonial state events. The carriage will leave Castle Hill, travel through Windsor and then it will proceed up the Long Walk all the way back to St George’s Hall by Windsor Castle. How to catch it

Warm up with BBC One’s They’re Getting Married in the Morning, an hour-long live look-ahead from 19:00 BST on Friday

Watch the big day unfold on BBC One with Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards and Dermot O’Leary from 09:00-14:00 BST on Saturday

Chris Evans will be live from Windsor for BBC Radio 2

There will be special editions of Radio 4’s Today programme and BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast

If you miss any of it, BBC Two will be showing the highlights of the day from 18:30-20:00 BST

The BBC has waived the TV licence fee , meaning street parties and other special events can screen the wedding live without buying a licence. How to join the celebrations

As many as 10,000 people are expected to descend on Windsor for the day, but be warned – rail bosses say it will be "extremely busy".

Queuing systems will be introduced at several stations – most likely London Waterloo, Slough, Staines and the two stations in Windsor – to avoid overcrowding on platforms.

Services between Windsor and Slough will run every 20 minutes, with trains increased from two carriages to four – the maximum that can operate on the local line.

South Western Railway will double its direct Windsor services from London Waterloo to four per hour and use 10-carriage trains.

Make sure you get there early, though – Thames Valley Police may order trains not to stop at Windsor if visitor numbers become a safety issue, and the wedding route could be closed off to latecomers.

Passengers are also being asked to keep baggage to a minimum as security checks on excess luggage could delay journeys.

People planning to travel by car are being warned by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to book parking in advance, as spaces are limited.

Motorists should also be aware of road closures along the procession route, starting at 22:00 BST on Friday.

In Windsor, viewing areas will be created along the procession route. There will be live entertainment in the town centre, which will be decorated with bunting and banners.

Big screens showing live footage of the wedding will be shown on the Long Walk and in Alexandra Gardens in Windsor. Who’s going?

Invitations die-stamped in gold have been sent out Invitations have been sent to 600 guests, with a further 200 invited to the couple’s evening reception – including the Spice Girls .

It is unclear whether Ms Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, will attend the wedding as planned.

Kensington Palace had previously said Mr Markle would walk his daughter down the aisle.

However, on 14 May it was reported that Mr Markle had told journalists at his home in Mexico that he had decided not to attend. It follows reports that he had staged photographs for a paparazzi photographer.

Kensington Palace issued a statement asking for "understanding" to be extended to Mr Markle in this "difficult situation".

Ms Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, is expected to arrive in the UK in the days before the wedding to meet the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

From Prince Harry’s side of the family, Kensington Palace confirmed the Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will attend – despite recently recovering from a hip replacement.

But Prince Harry’s newest nephew, Prince Louis, who will be three weeks old at the time, will not be there. Meghan’s father may not attend wedding

Who is Meghan Markle?

Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are not on the guest list after it was decided there would not be an "official list of political leaders".

Kensington Palace said that decision, which means US President Donald Trump will not attend, was taken in consultation with the government and reflects the fact Prince Harry is only sixth in line to the throne.

It has also been confirmed that Barack and Michelle Obama, who are friends of the prince, have not received an invitation.

More than 1,000 members of the public have been invited to the grounds of Windsor Castle and will be able to watch the arrival and departure of the bride and groom.

Twelve-year-old Amelia Thompson, who was injured in the Manchester Arena attack, is among them. Ask Me

It’s set to be the biggest social event of the year and will be followed by millions around the world.

Pick a question below and get the gossip on the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Pick a question. How will they get there?

Cliveden House, where Ms Markle will stay on the eve of the wedding, was linked to a 1960s political scandal Ms Markle, 36, will spend her last night before the wedding with her mother, Doria Ragland, at the luxury Cliveden House Hotel, in Buckinghamshire, about nine miles north of Windsor Castle.

Prince Harry, 33, will be staying 15 miles away at the Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park in Ascot, with his brother, the Duke of Cambridge. Prince Harry will stay with his brother, Prince William, at Coworth Park in Ascot On the day, Ms Markle will arrive at the chapel by car with her mother. The princes will also travel together. The couple will travel through Windsor in this carriage after the ceremony What are people likely to wear?

The dress code listed on the royal invitation requests a "morning suit or lounge suit" for men, and a "day dress with hat" for women.

That means shirts, suits and ties with the possibility of top hats and waistcoats for men.

Women will be expected to opt for knee-length dresses, with hat choices similar to those found at Royal Ascot.

The details of Ms Markle’s wedding dress remain a secret. You might also like:

Which celebs might be at the royal wedding?

Are you the ultimate Royal Wedding fan?

Meghan: ‘I’m proud of where I come from’ Who are the bridesmaids? Ms Markle will not have a maid of honour and all of her bridesmaids and pageboys will be children, Kensington Palace has said. The palace’s communications secretary, Jason Knauf, said Ms Markle "has a very close-knit group of friends and she did not want to choose one over the other"."They’re all going to be there in Windsor with her, in the days before in London," he added. "She’s very pleased to have their support on the day." Who is the best man? Prince William will return the favour after Prince Harry was best man at his wedding in 2011 As expected, Prince Harry has asked his brother, Prince William, to be his best man. Prince Harry was the Duke of Cambridge’s best man at his wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.Kensington Palace said Prince William was "honoured to have been asked" and was looking forward to supporting his brother. Who will lead the service? The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will marry the prince and Ms Markle.The Rt Rev David Conner, Dean of Windsor, will conduct the service at St George’s Chapel.Meanwhile, an American pastor will give the address – the Most Reverend Michael Curry is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, a US branch of the Church of England.Following the service, a carriage procession will travel along a route including Castle Hill, High Street, Sheet Street, Kings Road, Albert Road, Long Walk and back to Windsor Castle. What music will they have? The couple have chosen a selection of choirs, soloists and musicians to perform at their wedding.They include the Choir of St George’s Chapel, 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason – who won the 2016 BBC’s Young Musician, and gospel group Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir.An orchestra – fronted by Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas – will also perform. She will be accompanied by trumpet player David Blackadder, organ player Luke Bond and state trumpeters from the Band of the Household Cavalry. What do we know about the reception? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement photos were shot by Alexi Lubomirski at Frogmore House All 600 guests will attend a lunchtime reception at St George’s Hall, which is being given by Her Majesty The Queen.Ms Markle is reportedly planning to break with the tradition for royal brides by making a speech .Later in the evening, the newlyweds will celebrate with 200 guests at a private reception less than a mile from Windsor Castle at Frogmore House, hosted by Prince Charles.The 17th Century country house and gardens – a former home to numerous royals throughout history – was the back-drop for the pair’s engagement photos.The Royal Family will pay for the wedding, including the service, music, flowers and reception. What about the wedding cake? Kensington Palace said the couple were "very much looking forward to sharing" the cake with their wedding guests Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have chosen an organic lemon and elderflower cake.In keeping with the transatlantic nature of the occasion, the couple have enlisted Californian pastry chef and food writer Claire Ptak , owner of the Violet Bakery in east London, to bake the cake. The flowers? Philippa Craddock, a self-taught London-based florist, will create the wedding floral displays White garden roses, foxgloves and peonies – Ms Markle’s favourite flower – will surround the couple on their wedding day.London-based florist Philippa Craddock has been chosen to create the floral displays for St George’s Chapel and St George’s Hall and locally sourced foliage will be used.Soon after the couple started dating, Ms Markle posted a picture of a bouquet of pink and white peonies on her now-deleted Instagram account and on another picture of peonies she said the flower made her "endlessly happy". The photographer? Alexi Lubomirski will be the official wedding photographer. He took the photographs to mark the couple’s engagement and says he is honoured to have the opportunity to capture the "next chapter in this wonderful love story".Mr Lubomirski, who was born in the UK but lives in New York, is known for his fashion magazine images of Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and Scarlett Johansson. And the after-party? A statement from Kensington Palace said Ms Markle and Prince […]

Senate panel releases report on 2016 Trump Tower meeting

Senate panel releases report on 2016 Trump Tower meeting

The June meeting at Trump Tower involved Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort A Senate panel has released documents on a June 2016 meeting between top Trump campaign aides and a Russian delegation promising political "dirt".

The 2,500 pages of transcripts included interviews with Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, who met a Russian lawyer ahead of the 2016 election.

He said he could not recall if he discussed the meeting with his father.

The meeting is a part of an ongoing probe by the US Department of Justice into alleged Russia meddling in 2016.

Senator Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley released the documents after additional witness interviews on Wednesday.

"Americans rightly have many questions about this meeting, and today, we are releasing the transcripts and exhibits from interviews we’ve conducted to allow the public to know what we know," the Republican senator said in a statement on Wednesday after releasing the documents.

"These materials, taken in their entirety, provide the most complete public picture of the events surrounding the meeting to date."

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is conducting one of several investigations into Russia’s alleged interference in the US election, interviewed Mr Trump Jr and four other people who attended the 9 June meeting at Trump Tower in New York.

Rob Goldstone, who arranged the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, Georgian-American businessman Ike Kaveladze and a translator testified before the panel.

Ms Veselnitskaya was not interviewed, but the committee released her written responses to a letter that Mr Grassley sent her last year. All you need to know about Trump Russia story

Russia-Trump: Who’s who in the drama to end all dramas?

The committee also did not interview the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who both attended the 2016 meeting.

East Coast train line to be put into public control

East Coast train line to be put into public control

Rail services on East Coast Main Line are being brought back under UK government control, operator Stagecoach Group says.

Stagecoach says it has been advised that an "operator of last resort" would be appointed to run the London to Edinburgh service.

Stagecoach has operated the franchise with Virgin Trains since 2015.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is expected to make a statement to parliament shortly.

It is the third time in a decade that the government has called a halt to the East Coast franchise.

Stagecoach said in a statement that, along with Virgin, it had been negotiating a new contract with the Department for Transport.

But the company said it now understood that Mr Grayling was "no longer considering" Virgin and Stagecoach for the deal.

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Anne Frank’s Naughty Jokes Found In ‘Hidden’ Diary Pages

Anne Frank’s Naughty Jokes Found In 'Hidden' Diary Pages

Secret pages from Holocaust victim Anne Frank’s diary revealing risqué jokes and her musings on sex have been revealed for the first time.

The two pages were taped over with brown sticky paper but now Dutch researchers have divulged the Jewish teenager’s thoughts, written as she and her family lived in hiding from the Nazis.

“Anybody who reads the passages that have now been discovered will be unable to suppress a smile,” said Frank van Vree, director of the Netherlands’ Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Anne Frank apparently self-censored her diary out of fear her family would read her more risque writings He said the jokes “make it clear that Anne, with all her gifts, was above all also an ordinary girl.”

Frank and her family hid in a cramped secret annexe above a canal-side warehouse from July 1942 to August 1944, along with four other Jews. They were betrayed and arrested by the Nazis in August 1944.

The pages, dated to 28 September, 1942, were contained in the red-and-white checkered diary Annehad received for her birthday in June of that year, shortly before they went into hiding.

One joke involves a man who fears his wife is cheating on him. After searching the house, he finds a naked man in the closet. The @annefrankhouse , with @HuygensING and @NIODAmsterdam , today presented the hidden text on two pages covered up with gummed paper in the first #diary of #AnneFrank , with its red checked cover. Thanks to new technology the text on the hidden pages has now been made legible. — Anne Frank House (@annefrankhouse) May 15, 2018 When the husband asks the naked man what he’s doing there, Anne wrote, the naked man answers: “Believe it or not, I’m waiting for the tram.”

The Anne Frank House photographed the pages with a high- resolution camera and a light shining on them during a regular check on the diary’s condition in 2016. Later, researchers realised the underlying text was partly visible and modern software could probably decipher it.

Anne Frank House director Ronald Leopold said the pages were not especially scandalous or surprising, as Frank openly discusses her sexual maturation elsewhere in the diary.

“The only element that might be interesting from the point of view about her development as a writer and as a teenager is the fact that she’s creating, kind of, fiction” he said.

In addition to the jokes, Anne describes what a period is, describes the mechanics of sex and relays what she has heard of prostitution.

“I sometimes imagine that someone would come to me and ask me to inform him about sexual subjects, how would I do that?,” she wrote. “Here’s the answer…”

Anne frequently edited and re-wrote her diary entries during the long months in hiding, especially in 1944 after the Dutch prime minister in exile asked in a radio broadcast that people keep records about life during the occupation.

But exactly when and exactly why Anne blocked out the pages will likely never be known.

“She was probably afraid that other people she was hiding with, either her father, her mother or the other family would discover her diary and would read these things,” Leopold said.

Anne died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, aged 15.

Her father Otto was the only member of the family to survive the war. He recovered her diary, and had it published two years later. It is now considered one of the most important documents to have emerged from the Holocaust and has been read by millions of people and translated into 60 languages.