Today I’m glad I didn’t kill myself yesterday. : mentalhealth


Yesterday I was in a deep depression ready to end it all, trying to resist the urge. Today I feel stable. I’ve been for a walk with a mental health group. I’ve listen to good music.

Today, I’m glad I didnt kill myself yesterday.

EDIT: Honestly I’m really overwhelmed by all the support from you lovely people. I thought no one cared. This is still hard for me to believe.

Bless you all. May you find light in the darkness. Strength when you feel weak and the courage to keep going. <3

We’re all in this together, much love to you guys. xx

Edit: spelling mistakes.

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Why the jumbo jet was designed with a hump and four more things you didn’t know about the plane


On February 9, 2019, it will be 50 years since the first Boeing 747 took to the skies. Since its first passenger flight, in 1970, it has become the most successful commercial jet aircraft built. More than 1500 747s have rolled out of Boeing’s Everett production facility, they’ve carried more than 3.5 billion passengers and flown the equivalent of 70,000-plus trips to the moon and back. Chances are you’ve flown aboard a 747 several times, yet there are a few things about the aircraft that might come as a surprise.

How the Boeing 747 got its hump

A Cathay Pacific 747-800 freighter will make its first flight from regional Australia on Monday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Boeing’s 747 was conceived as a multi-purpose aircraft, both as a passenger carrier and a cargo aircraft. In the 1960s, when the 747 was on the drawing boards, it was believed that supersonic aircraft were the future of passenger flights. If that proved the case, the 747 might be relegated to the role of a heavy-duty cargo aircraft.

To allow for that option the 747 was designed with a flip-up nose with a hinge at the top making it possible to load and unload even large cargo items quickly. However, the cockpit was in the way so designers added the hump and put the cockpit up there. The most aerodynamic design proved to be a teardrop-shaped hump and that gave the 747 its upper level. And as history proved, the 747 turned out to be one of the most successful aircraft that ever flew, while supersonic flight failed to gain traction.

A revolutionary power plant

The Boeing 747 was the first aircraft to be fitted with high-bypass turbofan jet engines. Turbofan engines, in which most of the air that enters the intake bypasses the core engine where combustion takes place, began replacing the far smaller turbojet engines on commercial aircraft in the 1960s.

These were low-bypass turbofans, which produce more jet thrust relative to fan thrust. High-bypass turbofans produce greater fan thrust relative to their jet thrust. They’re also quieter – anyone who lives under a flight path can hardly forget the screaming jet engines of the past – they’re more powerful and they offer improved fuel efficiency.

After a design competition, Pratt & Whitney was awarded the contract for the 747’s engines and developed the JT9D engine. The JT9D produced 43,500 pounds of thrust, more than twice that of the engines used to power the Boeing 707 or Douglas DC-8, the workhorses of the day. Built extensively from titanium and nickel alloys, the JT9D was the precursor of the high-bypass turbofan engines that power all larger modern commercial jet aircraft but the test phase was hampered by engine stalls and damage to the turbine casings.

The 747’s first commercial service, a Pan Am flight between New York and London on January 22, 1970, was cancelled due to engine overheating. A substitute aircraft was eventually deployed, and the flight took off six hours behind schedule.

The 747 could have bankrupted Boeing

The 747 was a revolutionary aircraft, and development costs were astronomical. Its sheer size meant that just about everything about it – the airframe, the cockpit, the landing gear – required fresh thinking. Boeing had to create a special facility large enough to build the aircraft. Eventually they settled on a site at Everett, 50 kilometres north of Seattle. The production facility still holds the record for the world’s largest building by volume, which now stands at more than 13 million cubic metres. Some 16 MCG playing fields could fit comfortably inside. When it was first built clouds would form inside its ceiling, a problem solved by a new air circulation system.

Boeing’s up-front investment in the 747 totalled more than $1 billion, yet constant injections of bank funds were required to keep the project alive. Boeing eventually took on a debt of more than $US2 billion to develop the 747, leaving it burdened with more debt than any other corporation in history at the time. In today’s terms, that would be close to $US14 billion.

As time would tell, Boeing’s huge gamble paid massive dividends, and the company held a stranglehold on the production of supersize passenger aircraft until the arrival of the A380, which carried its first passengers in 2007, 37 years after the 747 took paying passengers into the skies.

The presidential plane

Air Force One, carrying U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump lands at London Stansted Airport in Stansted, England, Thursday, July 12, 2018. Trump is making his first trip to Britain as president after a tense summit with NATO leaders in Brussels and on the heels of ruptures in British Prime Minister Theresa May's government because of the crisis over Britain's exit from the European Union. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Air Force One. Photo: AP

The 747 has long been the favoured long-distance conveyance for some heads of state, the big timers as well as those with an inferiority complex, plus a few crackpot dictators. As well as the heads of state of China and Japan, the rulers of Kuwait, Brunei, Oman and Morocco all have Boeing 747s in their executive fleet.

Former President Saddam Hussain had a personal Boeing 747SP, the stubby, long-range version, for his personal travels.

The most famous of all the presidential 747s is Air Force One, used by the US president, which joined the ranks of the executive fleet in 1990 during the administration of George H.W. Bush. That aircraft boasts a number of refinements that you won’t find on a typical 747. The triple-deck aircraft includes a suite for the president with a large office, bathroom and conference room, a medical suite that can function as an operating room, with a physician permanently on standby and two galleys that can feed 100 people at a time.

The onboard electronics, hardened against an electromagnetic pulse, enable the US president to continue to perform his or her duties in the event of an attack on the US.

Plans to replace the original presidential 747s were scuttled by Donald Trump when he balked at the replacement cost – almost $US4 billion. Instead the president will get a pair of almost-new Boeing 747-8 aircraft, originally destined for Russian carrier Transaero until that airline went bankrupt.

Some weird and wonderful adaptations

The Space Shuttle Atlantis takes off atop its modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft from Edwards Air Force Base in Calif. as photographers take pictures, on the first leg of its ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center, Sunday, July 1, 2007. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Photo: AP

As well as ferrying billions around the globe, 747 aircraft have been called upon to perform some unusual duties. A 747 was officially designated a Space Shuttle Aircraft and used to “piggyback” the Space Shuttle between its landing sites and the Kennedy Space Centre. It was the first Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, SCA 905, that carried the Space Shuttle Enterprise aloft and released it mid-flight, allowing it to glide and land under its own control.

Nasa's Sofia flying telescope aircraft

NASA’s SOFIA flying telescope. Photo: NASA

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is an airborne observatory housed in a radically modified Boeing 747SP. A joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Centre, the SOFIA 747 carries a 2.7-metre reflecting telescope designed for infrared astronomy. The telescope is revealed at cruise altitude, when a large door opens in the aft section of the aircraft.

The German Aerospace Centre defines SOFIA’s role as “to understand the development of galaxies and the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems from interstellar clouds of gas and dust”. At ground level, water vapour in the troposphere hinders observations in the infrared. By flying in the dry, blue skies at altitudes above 12 kilometres, SOFIA’s 747 escapes almost all our planet’s atmospheric water vapour. Nightwatch is a military program with the official title of E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post, which uses four Boeing 747 aircraft.

These aircraft serve as survivable mobile command posts in the skies for the US president and the secretary of defence, a strategic command and control centre that allows the United States military to continue to fight even after a devastating nuclear ground attack. When the president travels outside North America, an E-4 is deployed to a nearby airport, just in case the call comes.

See also: Airline ditches half its A380s: Why no one wants the superjumbo

See also: 10 amazing planes you’ll never get to fly on

See also: The reason why Boeing plane models always start with a seven



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Mosman house that Justin Bieber didn’t reject sold for $21.5 million


The Mosman house briefly home to Justin Bieber during his Sydney tour four years ago has sold for more than $21.5 million.

Thankfully, it has been well aired since the pop sensation and his entourage left to “smell like a Nimbin boarding house”, as revealed by PS columnist Andrew Hornery at the time, which will no doubt be a relief to buyers, retired Merrill Lynch and Commonwealth Bank executive Doug Dovey and his wife Debra.

The sale ends a four-year campaign to sell the state-of-the-art residence on a neat 650 square metres that started at the bullish $20 million-plus level on behalf of former model-turn-luxury property investor Cameron MacDonald.

Cameron MacDonald listed his state-of-the-art Mosman residence four years ago for more than $20 million.
Cameron MacDonald listed his Mosman house four years ago.

Bieber wasn’t the only star to rent the turn-key property during its sales campaign. Just weeks before Bieber sent Mosman’s teenagers into a frenzy of excited star stalking crooner Adele had touched down in Sydney to lease the Mosman house as a decoy while she kicked back in Hunters Hill.

Raine & Horne Mosman’s Brendan Warner, who originally listed it but was later joined by Ray White Double Bay’s Nic Krasnostein and Ashley Bierman, declined to comment on the sale despite the Doveys already lodging their purchase on title.

At the time it hit the market Warner described the Coronation Avenue property as, “a house built for billionaires, and by far the best fit-out internally of any house I’ve seen”.

“It’s like a three-level penthouse with these harbour views,” he added.

While the Doveys are not quite billionaires, they are returning to Mosman from their recently sold Milsons Point penthouse in The Point, listed last year for more than $15 million.

The couple had downsized to Milsons Point in 2015 for $7.5 million, and sold their former home in Mosman’s Golden Triangle a year later for $12.8 million.

Also reshuffling their Mosman real estate is Harris Farm co-chief executive Angus Harris and his wife Louisa, who have paid $8.1 million for a knock-down-rebuild that backs onto Chinamans Beach.

The Harris family’s purchase was revealed on settlement this week following a fairly quick sales campaign by Ray White Mosman’s Geoff Smith and Richard Harding, who were shopping it to buyers on behalf of John Barnes, owner of Queensland’s oldest thoroughbred stud Canning Downs.

The Harris family already own in Mosman, having purchased a bungalow in 2013 for $1.8 million that has been extensively renovated since, and adding a house in Avalon Beach two years ago for almost $3 million.

De Angelis returns to Hunters Hill

4 Sea Street Hunters Hill
The De Angelis hotelier family have bought another waterfront house in Hunters Hill.

Pub baron Arch De Angelis and his wife Robyn have snapped up a $9 million waterfront house in Hunters Hill two doors from their long-held home amid talk locally it was purchased for their 40-year-old son Phillip.

Phillip’s move to within earshot of his parents will no doubt be a welcome milestone in his life after his well-documented court appearances of recent years on charges of drink driving and domestic violence after he assaulted his former girlfriend.

The purchase through Ward Partners’ Matthew Ward reunites all four of the De Angelis children on the peninsula, each with their own waterfront homes: Marc and Nicole in neighbouring homes on the Woolwich waterfront; Peter with his $8.8 million digs bought in 2018; and now Phillip with his own home complete with his own jetty, pontoon and mooring pen.

Also in the neighbourhood is their cousin, former Liberal MP Craig Laundy – son of pub titan Arthur Laundy, who is Robyn De Angelis’s brother – who bought his nearby waterfront home five years ago for $8.28 million.

Geddes gets his houses in order

141 victoria st potts point
The Kanga backpackers is set to be converted into a single residence.

The death knell has sounded for yet another backpackers of Potts Point thanks to the high-end housing plans of Fat Prophets chief and founder Angus Geddes.

Geddes was the sole bidder for three terraces in a row on Victoria Street when they sold at auction last Saturday for $11 million – $1.4 million above the guide – through a tight-lipped Bernadette Summers of The Agency.

Geddes, who already owns a couple of apartments in the neighbourhood including a $6.75 million pad in the Omnia building, is planning to turn the heritage 1890s terraces into one private residence.

They are across the road from the two terraces that once made up Zingers backpacker bought by cattle baron Theo Onisforou in 2018 for $3.25 million each amid plans to redesign them into single terraces for his kids.

Swapping Point Piper for Queensland

6/6 Wentworth Street Point Piper
Robert and Sarina Stavrides are selling their apartment in the Kilmory estate.

Former chief executive of Chanel Korea, Robert Stavrides and his wife Sarina have listed their Point Piper garden apartment in the historic Kilmory estate for $12 million to $13 million.

Stavrides, who led the French luxury brand in Korea for about 15 years before he retired a few years ago, has listed it with 1st City Real Estate Group’s Julian Hasemer given the couple’s plan to spend more time in Queensland with family.

The three-bedroom apartment is one of seven set in the grand hall of the 1913-built Arts and Crafts residence was purchased in 2010 for more than $5.2 million.

Point Piper’s values have only soared since, as evidenced by the $11.65 million paid by China’s queen of soft rock Tian Zhen in 2016 for the apartment upstairs, and this week’s more than $37 million sale of the O’Neil family’s former boatshed.

Point Piper’s beachfront $10 million deal

6/10 Wolseley Road Point Piper
The four-bedroom spread has scored a lavish renovation by interior designer Sue Roseman.

Macquarie Capital’s global executive chairman David Roseman and his interior designer wife Sue have sold their Point Piper beachfront apartment for $10 million.

Di Baker, of her eponymous agency, had a guide of more than $9 million on the whole-floor spread after she and The Agency’s Ben Collier sold the couple the nearby duplex of JP Morgan boss Paul Uren and his wife Jennifer for more than $16 million.

The Rosemans had undertaken a major renovation of the four-bedder after they bought it 13 years ago for $3.9 million. The buyer remains a mystery.

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Sharron Phillips inquest hears testimony that a taxi driver didn’t kill her in 1986 – his son did


Allison Clancy told the Coroner’s Court her brother-in-law Raymond Peter Mulvihill confided in her about his role in the crime at a family gathering in 1992.

Mr Mulvihill’s son Ian Seeley told police in 2016 he believed his father had killed the 20-year-old Ms Phillips and coaxed him into unwittingly helping him dispose of her body.

That information prompted the state Attorney-General to reopen the inquest into her death, the subject of a three-day hearing before state coroner Terry Ryan from Monday.

However, Ms Clancy told the inquest that Mr Mulvihill gave her a different version of events in 1992 when they both attended a christening for Mr Seeley’s son.

“Sharron Phillips — my 15 minutes of fame — dumped by the big hero downstairs,” she said Mr Mulvihill told her, referring to Mr Seeley.

Ms Phillips vanished without a trace in May 1986 after her car ran out of fuel at Wacol in Brisbane’s west.

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Sharron Phillips inquest hears testimony that a taxi driver didn’t kill her in 1986 – his son did


Allison Clancy told the Coroner’s Court her brother-in-law Raymond Peter Mulvihill confided in her about his role in the crime at a family gathering in 1992.

Mr Mulvihill’s son Ian Seeley told police in 2016 he believed his father had killed the 20-year-old Ms Phillips and coaxed him into unwittingly helping him dispose of her body.

That information prompted the state Attorney-General to reopen the inquest into her death, the subject of a three-day hearing before state coroner Terry Ryan from Monday.

However, Ms Clancy told the inquest that Mr Mulvihill gave her a different version of events in 1992 when they both attended a christening for Mr Seeley’s son.

“Sharron Phillips — my 15 minutes of fame — dumped by the big hero downstairs,” she said Mr Mulvihill told her, referring to Mr Seeley.

Ms Phillips vanished without a trace in May 1986 after her car ran out of fuel at Wacol in Brisbane’s west.

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Delta reveals she didn’t start drinking alcohol until she was 27


After bursting into the spotlight at 18, Delta Goodrem missed out on some typical teenage moments – like having her first drink.

The pop star has revealed she was 27 when she first started drinking, joking on Kyle and Jackie O that she was a “late bloomer” and probably won’t “let loose” entirely until her seventies.

The alcohol admission forms the opening line of her new single Billionaire, released today, in which the 36-year-old singer muses about the past chapters of her life and reflects on how she’s grown.

RELATED: Delta Goodrem reveals secret health battle

Opening up to The Daily Telegraph about the lyric, she said: “I’d worked from such a young age that it wasn’t until my late twenties that I finally started to have my teenage years.”

Elaborating on radio this morning, she added that while navigating a few “health challenges” in her younger years, drinking alcohol and going out with friends was never a priority.

“It just wasn’t really my thing,” she said.

At the age of 18 – shortly after she topped the charts with Born To Try – Goodrem was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and forced to put all working commitments on hold while undertaking treatment.

Speaking to WHO Magazine last year, she said of the July 2003 diagnosis: “It was like a bomb had gone off.

“I remember that when I was first told I had cancer, my body went into shock and I shook uncontrollably for the next 24 hours,” she said.

Goodrem lost her hair due to chemotherapy and said the changes to her physical appearance were “confronting”.

RELATED: ‘Creepy’ Delta stalker defends love messages

“It was very hard to feel beautiful in an external sense – my skin colour had a green tinge to it, there was a lot of steroid effects and it was hard to feel good.”

After beating cancer, Goodrem’s career continued, with the star this week revealing her late-20s brought a “period of self-discovery”, which she explores in her new single.

“The lyrics mention how I was trying to numb the pain around me,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

“It was an interesting chapter in my life.”

When probed by Kyle Sandilands this morning about when she’s going to “go through her sl*tty phase” given the late start with alcohol, she joked: “I’m thinking a bit later … I’m thinking in my 70s or something, I think that’s when I’ll really let loose.”

While her cancer battle is behind her, Goodrem’s career unfortunately hasn’t been without more health-related bumps in the road.

Last year, she opened up about the terrifying secret health battle that left her unable to speak following complications from surgery.

In a confronting video uploaded on social media, dated October 2018, the Voice star can be seen struggling to communicate while hooked up to tubes in a hospital bed after having her salivary gland removed.

Goodrem explained that she woke up from surgery to discover a paralysis of a nerve in her tongue had left her unable to speak.

After months of rehabilitation with daily speech therapy, Goodrem was finally able to get her voice back.

She explained to fans that she’d kept her health battle private for so long as hadn’t been “ready” to share it.

However – much like today’s Billionaire release – it was laid bare in her song Paralyzed, which was inspired by the difficult period.

Last week, Goodrem pushed back her indoor arena tour – which would have been the first of its kind in Australia since the pandemic.

Originally planned for April, it will now start in September amid potential border closures as the coronavirus vaccine rollout continues.



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Why council didn’t finish its homework



The Byron Shire’s hopes to rein in holiday letting remains in limbo.

The council referred a planning proposal seeking to place a 90-day cap on non-hosted holiday letting more than a year ago.

But the state planning department later asked for an economic analysis to accompany the proposal.

The council voted in November to refer an amended proposal to the department for Gateway Determination.

The changes involved the inclusion of “precinct areas that permit non-hosted short term rental accommodation for 365 days in those areas that have already been taken up almost exclusively for STRA, and 90 days for those areas that have not”.

The 365-day area was removed from the west of Tweed Street in Brunswick Heads.

Deputy mayor Michael Lyon said the council was still awaiting a determination on its short term rental accommodation planning proposal.

Cr Lyon said the council didn’t submit the economic analysis sought by the planning department because they were not given enough time.

But he said the proposal itself had enough data to satisfy what the department was seeking.

“We’ve resubmitted our amended planning proposal,” Cr Lyon said.

“We’ve indicated to them the format that they wanted the economic analysis done in was … just too much to do in the time frame that was allowed.

“But we have given them ample evidence of the economic impacts of short term holiday letting on the availability and affordability of accommodation in the shire.”

He said he was hopeful the proposal would be resolved before a state planning policy on holiday letting comes into effect in June.

Otherwise, he said it would be “reasonable” for the department to defer Byron from inclusion in the policy until the local rules are approved.

“It’s been very difficult to get all the people involved in this in the state government on the same page,” he said.

“The concern for us is that we’ve been trying to regulate holiday letting now for several years.

“There’s a number of things that we’re working on that they’re pretty much holding us up on.”



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Virgin CEO Hrdlicka says a2 Milk didn’t handle her departure well


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The large spending on IT experts, strategy consultants in China, and analysts was necessary, she says, to quickly modernise a2 after it had failed to keep pace with its enormous revenue and distribution growth.

“We didn’t have an IT person in the company when I arrived… not a single IT person,” Ms Hrdlicka says. “Supply chain, the ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, everything was super fine for a company that’s turning over $50 million in revenue, but not one who’s on its way to a billion.”

“So of course you have to spend to get people who know what they’re doing, because you don’t have anybody inside the company who does.“

Ms Hrdlicka said she appreciated that Geoff Babidge – A2’s previous CEO, who returned temporarily after she left abruptly in late 2019 – later publicly endorsed the work she commissioned as “high quality” and “very valid”.

Virgin has shed around 3000 employees – or a third of its workforce – in the past year and Ms Hrdlicka previously warned more jobs could go when the JobKeeper wage subsidy program ends on March 28.

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But Virgin said this week the federal package to prop up the airline industry by paying for 800,000 half-price air tickets should be enough to stave off further redundancies, provided state borders remain open and demand recovers as expected.

Virgin is currently flying at around 50 per cent of its pre-COVID domestic capacity, while Qantas and Jetstar are at 60 per cent and targeting 80 per cent by mid-year.

The half-price airfare scheme’s announcement on Thursday triggered a 78 per cent jump in flight searches on Virgin’s website and a 40 per cent jump in bookings, the airline said on Friday, prompting it to launch a two-hour, half-price sale on Friday. Jetstar quickly matched that by offering fares as low as $25.

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Meghan Markle ‘didn’t know what she was in for’ and was baffled by Australia tour crowds


Meghan Markle reportedly “didn’t understand what she’d let herself in for” by marrying Prince Harry and was left baffled by the enthusiasm of royal fans, a source has said.

Ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey airing today, insiders have shared what they think led to the couple’s split from royal family.

Speaking to The Times, one source said the former Suits actress “didn’t get it” when frenzied crowds showed up to welcome her and Prince Harry on their royal visit to Australia.

The insider claimed that upon seeing crowds of royal fans waiting outside the Sydney Opera House, Meghan said to the team: “What are they all doing here? It’s silly.”

“They were like, ‘They’re here because they admire and support a monarch and an institution that you’re representing.’”



The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on a school visit during their tour of Australia in October 2018

The tour, a time-honoured royal tradition dating back to 1867, saw Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, visit Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji just one day after announcing their first pregnancy.

At the time the tour was hailed a success with huge crowds turning out eager to see the newlyweds.

The source’s claims come in a busy week for the royals which has seen Meghan deny allegations that she bullied palace staff.



Meghan Markle
Meghan has spoken of the lack of freedom she had while she was a working royal

Last week Buckingham Palace broke from tradition to make a public statement saying it was “very concerned” about reports that Meghan had driven out two personal assistants.

The royal “bullying” saga took an astonishing twist last night as it emerged Prince William’s wife Kate could assist the probe into Meghan.

Former aides are set to claim the Duchess of Cambridge witnessed Meghan’s “challenging behaviour”.



Keep up to date with all the latest news from the Queen, Charles, William, Kate, Harry, Meghan, George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and the rest of the family.

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But now Kate, 39, could be quizzed in a formal probe into alleged bullying by Duchess of Sussex Meghan.

Meanwhile sources close to Meghan and Harry have said the allegations have been timed to “undermine” their tell-all with Oprah later today.

The Duchess, in preview clips of the interview, criticised the constraints she found herself under as a working royal.



Meghan and Harry arrive for a “meet the people” walk at the Sydney Opera House in 2018

Meghan has also accused The Firm of “perpetuating falsehoods” about her and Harry.

The duchess said it was “liberating” to be able to agree to the interview with the US TV host, an choice she says she was denied while representing the Crown.

Meghan’s spokesperson has said she was “saddened” by the claims and said her focus now was on “building compassion around the world.”

The spokesman said: “The duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.

“She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good.”

Ahead of the Oprah interview, Meghan’s friends have come out in support of the former actress, who is expecting her second child.

Former Suits co-star Patrick Adams launched a fierce defence of ‘powerful woman’ Meghan and labelled the royals ‘toxic’.



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Here’s Why the U.S. Didn’t Sanction Mohammed bin Salman for His Role in the Jamal Khashoggi Killing


In newly declassified detail, the world can now read why the CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dispatched the 15-man hit squad that killed and dismembered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. MBS, as the prince is known, “viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the Kingdom,” the report asserts, and “broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him.” The plot, which saw Khashoggi lured to his death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, turned MBS from a figure many hoped would modernize Saudi Arabia into an international pariah.

But public shaming is where President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to hold MBS–who denies ordering Khashoggi’s murder–accountable appears to end. On Feb. 26, his Administration announced new sanctions and travel restrictions for dozens of MBS’s alleged henchmen, but punishment of the 35-year-old de facto ruler is limited to bruising his ego. U.S. officials say they won’t be inviting him to visit anytime soon, and Biden isn’t taking his calls, communicating instead with his father, 85-year-old King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. (MBS will have to make do with conversing with the Pentagon chief.)

The slap on the wrist sparked immediate criticism in Washington from lawmakers and human-rights activists who want to see MBS charged–or even, somehow, ousted from power–for the killing. But the Biden Administration has evidently calculated it has too much at stake to alienate Riyadh; State Department spokesman Ned Price described the diplomatic slights “not as a rupture, but as a recalibration.”

Saudi Arabia is central to ongoing U.S. efforts to offset Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the Middle East, to continue to strengthen ties between Israel and the Arab world, and to help Washington fight the violent extremism Riyadh’s fundamentalist clerics have been accused of helping foster. The nation hosts key U.S. military and intelligence posts, and buys billions in U.S. military equipment, even after a recent Biden ban on offensive weapons sales to the country to stop MBS’s increasingly bloody campaign in Yemen. “Militarily speaking, we have obligations there in Saudi Arabia, and we’re going to continue to meet those,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. Indeed, Saudi news agencies reported that Saudi and U.S. troops began a joint training exercise just two days after the Khashoggi report’s release.

Biden officials hope the diplomatic snubs are just enough to distinguish Biden from Donald Trump’s coddling of the kingdom–and to keep MBS from lashing out at other journalists and dissidents. Saudi analyst Ali Shihabi says the rising royal does feel insulted, and could turn to Beijing both to hedge his bets and to salve his battered pride if he continues to come under attack from Washington. “But if this is put behind us, he will forget about it,” Shihabi says. Biden’s team appears to have calculated that most Americans, coping with COVID-19’s chaos at home, have already done just that.



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