Britain Royal Rift

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, England, Sunday Jan. 12, 2020.

Queen prepares for royal family summit

LONDON — Ensconced with aides at her royal retreat, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II prepared Sunday for a crisis family meeting to work out a future for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, after their dramatic decision to walk away from royal roles.

Well-wishers cheered the monarch as she made her weekly trip to a church at her Sandringham estate in eastern England. Meanwhile, supporters of the royal family’s feuding factions used the British media to paint conflicting pictures of who was to blame for the rift.

Royal officials said the queen had summoned her grandson Harry, his elder brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles to Sandringham, 100 miles north of London, for a meeting today.

The summit reflects the queen’s desire to contain the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s decision to “step back” as senior royals, work to become financially independent and split their time between Britain and North America. The couple, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, made the announcement Wednesday without telling the queen or other senior royals first.

William is expected to travel to Sandringham from London and Harry from his home in Windsor, west of the British capital. Charles will fly back from the Gulf nation of Oman, where he was attending a condolence ceremony Sunday.

Trump keeping Ukraine theory alive

The theory took root in vague form well before Donald Trump laid claim to the White House in 2016. The candidate’s close confidant tweeted about it. His campaign chairman apparently spoke about it with people close to him.

What if, the idea went, it was actually Ukraine — and not Russia — that was interfering in the 2016 election?

Never mind that the notion has since been amplified by the president of Russia, the country that U.S. intelligence agencies unequivocally blame for interfering in that year’s presidential race. Or that Trump’s hand-picked FBI director and other American officials have said there’s no information pointing to Ukraine interference. Or that 25 Russians stand charged in U.S. courts with hacking into Democratic emails and waging a covert social media campaign to sway American public opinion.

The Ukraine theory lives on.

Now, Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the matter and a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, is at the heart of a congressional inquiry that produced Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives. A Senate trial is next.

Esper says no evidence embassies under threat

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark Esper explicitly said Sunday that he had seen no hard evidence that four American embassies had been under possible threat when President Donald Trump authorized the targeting of Iran’s top commander, raising questions about the scale of the threat described by Trump last week.

As the administration struggled with its justification for the drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Esper and other officials tried to refocus attention on voices of dissent in Iran.

Esper said street protests in Tehran show the Iranian people are hungry for a more accountable government after leaders denied, then admitted shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane. The plane was downed shortly after Iran launches strikes against US bases in Iraq in retaliation for Soleimani’s killing.

“You can see the Iranian people are standing up and asserting their rights, their aspirations for a better government — a different regime,” Esper said. He appeared on two Sunday news shows while national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, was interviewed on three others — pressing the White House’s campaign to bring “maximum pressure” on Tehran to change its behavior.

O’Brien suggested the United States sees this moment as an opportunity to further intensify pressure on Iran’s leaders, with whom the U.S. has been at odds for four decades. Iran’s leaders already are under enormous strain from economic sanctions that have virtually strangled Iran’s main source of income — oil exports.

12 shot, 5 dead, in single day of shootings

BALTIMORE — Authorities say 12 people were shot, five of them fatally, in eight separate weekend shootings in Baltimore.

The first of Saturday’s shootings was reported at about 2:30 a.m. and involved three female victims, all found with apparent gunshot wounds in a car in a northeastern section of the city. One victim, a 28-year-old woman, died shortly after arriving at a hospital.

A few hours later, police responding to a shooting in southeast Baltimore found a 46-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the leg. Then, a second shooting victim, a 40-year-old man, walked into a hospital seeking treatment for a gunshot wound to his leg.

Shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday, police found a man fatally shot in southeast Baltimore. That was followed less than half an hour later by a shooting in central Baltimore that left a 37-year-old man wounded.

A 38-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound around 7 p.m. Saturday in northeast Baltimore.

Some pet products touted as CBD don’t have any

Companies have unleashed hundreds of CBD pet health products accompanied by glowing customer testimonials claiming the cannabis derivative produced calmer, quieter and pain-free dogs and cats.

But some of these products are all bark and no bite.

“You’d be astounded by the analysis we’ve seen of products on the shelf with virtually no CBD in them,” said Cornell University veterinary researcher Joseph Wakshlag, who studies therapeutic uses for the compound. “Or products with 2 milligrams per milliliter, when an effective concentration would be between 25 and 75 milligrams per milliliter. There are plenty of folks looking to make a dollar rather than produce anything that’s really beneficial.”

Such products can make it to the shelves because the federal government has yet to establish standards for CBD that will help people know whether it works for their pets and how much to give.

Still, there’s lots of individual success stories that help fuel a $400 million market that grew more than tenfold since last year and is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2023, according to the cannabis research firm Brightfield Group.

The Associated Press

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