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Live updates: Queen Elizabeth II dies, Charles becomes king

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Live updates: Queen Elizabeth II dies, Charles becomes king

LONDON – The head of the Anglican church says the death of Queen Elizabeth II is a moment of enormous change for Britain and the world.

The queen – who was monarch and supreme governor of the Church of England — died Thursday at 96 after 70 years on the throne.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says that for many people, “a part of our lives we’ve taken for granted as being permanent is no longer there.”

He says that with her death “there is an enormous shift in the world around us, in how we see it and how we understand ourselves.”

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

— Prince Charles became king upon his mother’s death

— Will Charles be loved by his subjects, like his mother was?

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— Queen Elizabeth II, a monarch bound by duty, dies at 96

— Elizabeth has been the only monarch most people in Britain know

— ‘A constant in my life’: World mourns Queen Elizabeth II

— Biden is 13th and final US president to meet Queen Elizabeth II

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

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

NEW DELHI — The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Friday expressed his deep sadness over the death of Queen Elizabeth II and offered his condolences to her family and the British people.

In a letter to King Charles III, the Dalai Lama said “I remember seeing photographs of her coronation in magazines when I was young in Tibet.”

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He added that “your mother lived a meaningful life with dignity, grace, a strong sense of service and a warm heart, qualities we all should treasure.”

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, whose 50-year reign is now Europe’s longest, called Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II “a towering figure among European monarchs and a great inspiration to us all.”

“We shall miss her terribly,” Margrethe said in a statement released by the Danish royal household. Elizabeth died Thursday at 96 after 70 years on the British throne.

In neighboring Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf said the British monarch had “an outstanding devotion and sense of duty” and Norway’s King Harald said Elizabeth devotedly “accompanied the British people through joys and sorrows, in good times and bad times.”

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto said Elizabeth “witnessed and shaped history like few others. Her sense of duty and devotion to service are an example to us all.”

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BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed condolences to the British royal family over the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

He noted in the statement Friday that Elizabeth was the first British monarch to visit China, which she did in 1986. “Her death is a great loss to the British people.”

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The statement added that China was willing to work with King Charles III as an opportunity to promote bilateral relations and benefit the two countries and their people.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also sent a message of condolence to British Prime Minister Liz Truss.

The queen’s death Thursday comes amid tensions between Britain and China over human rights, trade and China’s relentless crackdown on free speech and the political opposition in the former British colony of Hong Kong.

The Queen’s death was a top trending topic on Chinese social media, with many people saying her death marks the end of an era.

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MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his profound sadness Friday over the queen’s death saying she “exemplified to the world a true monarch’s great dignity, commitment to duty, and devotion to all those in her realm.”

“We, together with many Filipinos living and working in England, though not subjects of the Queen, have found ourselves having developed a great sense of affection for her as a Queen, as mother, and as a grandmother,” Marcos Jr. said in a statement posted on Facebook. “The world has lost a true figure of majesty in what she demonstrated throughout her life and throughout her reign as Queen.”

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CANBERRA, Australia — Malcolm Turnbull, the leader of a failed campaign to have an Australian president replace the British monarch as Australia’s head of state and who later became prime minister, came close to tears on Friday in paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

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Turnbull was chair of the Australian Republican Movement in 1999 when Australians voted at a referendum against the nation becoming a republic, severing its constitutional ties to the queen. He was prime minister between 2015 and 2018, during which time the queen gave him a photograph of herself with her husband Prince Philip.

Turnbull’s voice trembled as he recalled looking at the photo on Thursday night before he and his wife Lucy Turnbull went to bed with a sense of dread because of news from Buckingham Palace of the queen’s failing health.

“I took the portrait of the queen out and set it up and we just thought, ‘What an amazing life. What amazing leadership,’” Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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TORONTO — Elton John paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at his concert in Toronto on Thursday night, saying he was inspired by her and is sad she is gone.

“She led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace and decency and genuine caring,” John said.

“I feel very sad that that she won’t be with me anymore, but I’m glad she’s at peace,” he said. “I’m glad she’s at rest and she deserves it. She worked bloody hard.”

The singer-songwriter then performed his 1974 track “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

John was knighted by the queen in 1998, a year after the death of his friend Princess Diana. Prince Charles also anointed the musician and charity patron as a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor last year.

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Condolences poured in from around the world following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese mourned Queen Elizabeth II as the only only reigning monarch most Australians have known and the only one to ever to visit their country.

“And over the course of a remarkable seven decades, Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change,” he said. “Through the noise and turbulence of the years, she embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm.”

The British monarch is Australia’s official head of state, although these days the role is considered primarily ceremonial.

President Joe Biden signed the condolence book at the British Embassy in Washington, and his wife, Jill Biden, brought a bouquet of flowers. The president was overheard telling embassy staff, “We mourn for all of you. She was a great lady.”

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the queen’s “immutable moral authority,” her intimate knowledge of and the stability she brought “across the fluctuations and upheavals of politics, a permanence with the scent of eternity.”

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who announced this year the British commonwealth intended to become fully independent, said: “We are saddened that we will not see her light again, but we will remember her historic reign.”

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Queen Elizabeth II was “the very heart and soul of the United Kingdom” and that her passing was greatly mourned by everyone in the city-state.

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Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro decreed three days of mourning and said Elizabeth “was a queen for all of us.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol tweeted their condolences, and Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah mourned the queen on Facebook as “a towering figure” dedicated to serving the people of the UK and the Commonwealth.

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The foreign affairs minister for Myanmar’s National Unity Government, an underground parallel government spearheading the fight for democracy in Myanmar against its military-led government, posted her condolences on Twitter.

“I’m deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On behalf of @NUGMyanmar and the people of Myanmar, I extend our deepest sympathies to the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth,” wrote Zin Mar Aung.

Myanmar, then called Burma, gained independence from British colonial rule in 1948.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia have offered their condolences over the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Statements carried early Friday in Saudi state media quoted King Salman as saying that Queen Elizabeth was “a model of leadership that will be immortalized in the history.”

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He added: “We recall with appreciation the efforts of the deceased in consolidating the friendship and cooperation relations between our two friendly countries, as well as the high international status that Her Majesty enjoyed throughout the decades during which she acceded to the throne of your friendly country.”

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters she was awoken a little before 5 a.m. by a police officer shining a torch into her bedroom to tell her the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

Under New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements, the queen was also New Zealand’s monarch and head of state.

“The last days of the queen’s life captures who she was in so many ways,” Ardern said. “Working until the very end on behalf of the people she loved.”

Ardern said the queen was an extraordinary woman who she’d remember for her laughter. Ardern said that like many other people, she was feeling not only deep sadness but also deep gratitude.

“Here is a woman who gave her life, utterly, to the service of others. And regardless of what anyone thinks of the role of monarchies around the world, there is undeniably, I think here, a display of someone who gave everything on behalf of her people, and her people included the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Ardern said New Zealand had moved into a period of official mourning, and would hold a state memorial service after the official funeral in Britain.

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LONDON — Several sporting events in Britain were called off as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The BMW PGA Championship golf event immediately suspended play Thursday and the course and practice facilities will be closed Friday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said Friday’s play in the second test between England and South Africa at the Oval would not take place.

Horse racing meetings in Britain were suspended on Thursday night and Friday, and domestic rugby matches in England and Scotland were called off on Thursday and games will not be played over the weekend, either.

Friday’s stage in cycling’s Tour of Britain was canceled, with a decision on the final two stages over the weekend to be taken in due course.

In New York, a moment of silence was held before the U.S. Open women’s semifinals Thursday night. “We would like to pause to remember Queen Elizabeth II,” the stadium announcer said. “Our thoughts are with the people today of the United Kingdom. Remember to be part of us in a second of silence.”

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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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