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Queen Elizabeth turns 92: 5 fun facts

Queen Elizabeth II turned 92 on Saturday, and after 65 years on the throne, she holds the distinction of ruling longer than any monarch in the United Kingdom’s history. 

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The queen actually celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday, which is April 21; and one in June when she hosts a parade -- weather permitting -- called “Trooping the Color.”

Here are some other fun facts about the Queen: 

One queen, many presidents and popes

Harry S Truman was in the White House and Pope Pius XII was on the throne of St. Peter when Elizabeth II was coronated in 1952. Thirteen U.S. presidents and seven popes have served during her reign.

Her French is tres bien

The queen speaks fluent French, as evidenced by this video:

She has met rocket men (and women)

The queen has hosted Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space; Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space; and Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the crew of Apollo 11 that was the first crew to land on the moon. Armstrong and Aldrin were the first men to walk on the moon in July 1969.

Mechanically inclined

The monarch received driving and mechanic training as a member of the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II.

Olympic experience

Elizabeth is the first head of state to open two Olympic games in two different countries. She opened the 2012 Summer Games in London and the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

Sources: The official website of the British Monarchy, wire services.

Prince Charles will succeed Queen Elizabeth as head of the Commonwealth

It’s official: Prince Charles will succeed Queen Elizabeth as head of the Commonwealth, the BBC reported.

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The Queen had said it was her “sincere wish” that the Prince of Wales succeed her when she dies. Leaders of the Commonwealth discussed the issue before making their decision, the BBC reported.

Unlike the British crown, the lead role in the Commonwealth is non-hereditary, the BBC reported.

At a news conference, British Prime Minister Theresa May praised the Queen for her "vision and duty" in growing the Commonwealth from eight members to 53. She said it was "fitting" Prince Charles would succeed her due to his "proud support" of the Commonwealth "for more than four decades."

The role is largely symbolic and carries no maximum fixed term, the BBC reported.

The Queen turned 92 on Saturday. Charles, her oldest child, is 69.

Swedish musician Avicii dead at 28

Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead Friday in Oman, his publicist confirmed. He was 28.

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Royal Wedding: Everything to know before Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle

On May 19, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry in Windsor, England, in a ceremony that will be low-key only by royal standards.

For the millions of commoners expected to watch on TV, some aspects of the nuptials may seem as odd or over-the-top as the more highbrowed guests’ headgear.

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This guide covers everything anyone’s ever wanted to know about the big event.  

The happy couple: Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, 33, is the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and the younger son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. He’s fifth in line to the throne -- Charles is first -- but the order will change when his sister-in-law Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to her third child

Related: Meghan Markle: 7 things to know

Rachel Meghan Markle of California, 36, is the only child of Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland, who are divorced. She co-starred for seven seasons on “Suits” on USA Network. One day after the royal engagement announcement on Nov. 27, 2017, the cable network made it official Markle wouldn’t be back for season 8. Her last appearance, in the two-hour season finale, airs April 25.

The “I Do” date and time: The ceremony begins at noon local time on May 19. That’s 7 a.m. EST in the U.S. After the ceremony, the newlyweds will take a carriage ride through the town of Windsor, then head back to Windsor Castle.

The venue: St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. A royal residence some 20 miles west of London, Windsor Castle is where Queen Elizabeth spends most weekends. It’s the largest inhabited castle in the world.

The chapel, which was built in the 14th century, is where some other royals have wed. In 2005, Harry’s dad and stepmom, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were married in a civil service in the town of Windsor, then had a prayer service at St. George’s Chapel. It seats 800 people.

Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engaged: What to know

Many royals are buried in the chapel as well. Most infamously, perhaps, King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, his third of six wives, lie there for eternity.

Will it be on TV?: Nothing’s been officially announced yet, but two things are beyond certain about this wedding: The queen will have the best seat in the house and it will be televised and live-streamed. 

Nothing brings in tourists and other business like TV coverage of a fancy wedding. When Harry’s brother, Prince William, married Kate Middleton in 2011, it was shown live on TV in over 180 countries and streamed online. YouTube alone had 72 million livestream views. 

The reception: All guests invited to the actual ceremony will attend a luncheon afterward hosted by the queen at St. George’s Hall. The traditional wedding cake for royal weddings is fruitcake.

Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seek charity donations over wedding gifts

People reported that, according to a March 20 statement from Kensington Palace, Harry and Meghan are said to be going rogue and having a lemon elderflower cake with buttercream icing. After that, will be a reception that night for an even more select guest list of 200 people that Prince Charles is throwing at Frogmore House, another royal residence about a half-mile from Windsor Castle. 

The wedding party: The Brits do this differently, generally favoring little kids as bridesmaids/flower girls and page boys instead of adult attendants. In past royal weddings, this has led to memorable incidents, like a 4-year-old Prince William playing with his straw boater hat and talking away during the 1986 nuptials of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Right now, William’s own kids, Prince George and Princess Charlotte are considered a done deal for Harry’s wedding party. So is the 4-year-old daughter of Markle’s Canadian stylist and close friend, Jessica Mulroney.

You can bet on everything in the U.K.when it comes to this wedding and William is getting top odds to be his brother’s best man. Plus, oddsmaker William Hill is reportedly taking bets on how William will wear his hair on the big day.

Who’s invited: Six hundred invitations to the ceremony have gone out. Count on all the immediate royal relations, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, Uncle Prince Andrew and his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, plus various dukes and duchesses and major and minor European royalty. 

Then there are some celebrity friends of the bride -- tennis star Serena Williams) and groom -- singers James Blunt and, if you believe the tabloids, Rihanna -- who should make the cut. Also, the Spice Girls may or may not be there. Mel B, aka Scary Spice, has said they will be, but when asked about it by “Late Late Show” host James Corden, Posh Spice Victoria Beckham  stammered, “I don’t know.”

Related: See Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s official wedding invitation

Additionally, 2,640 members of the public have been invited inside the grounds of Windsor Castle to watch the arrival and departure of the wedding party and guests. Included are 100 schoolchildren, 600-plus people who live and work around Windsor Castle, plus others from charities, nonprofits and other causes important to the couple.

Who’s not invited: Besides you and me? President Donald Trump. And he’s in good company. British Prime Minister Theresa May isn’t invited either. In fact,  no U.S. or world political leaders have been invited, according to Kensington Palace (home base and official representative of Harry and William). “It has been decided that an official list of political leaders — both UK and international — is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s wedding,” the palace explained in that lovely, do forgive us sort of British way. Royal officials won’t say if good FOH (Friends of Harry) Barack and Michelle Obama, were invited, but it’s known they’re not going.

What about Fergie? That would be Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York and friend of Harry’s late mother, Diana. The fun-loving redhead fell out of favor with the royal family after her 1996 divorce from Prince Andrew. In a very public dis, she was left off the guest list for William and Kate’s 2011 wedding.

British tabloid the Sun quoted an unnamed source who said she won’t be there because Harry supposedly couldn’t trust her to “keep her mouth shut and respect their privacy.” People reported Harry had “pushed for” Fergie to be invited because he’s very close to her daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice. 

What about Meghan’s family? Though long divorced, Markle’s parents released a joint statement of joy over her engagement and it’s said both will be at the wedding. In fact, Thomas Markle, an Emmy-winning lighting director, is expected to give his daughter away.

Related: Who are Meghan Markle’s family members, Prince Harry’s future in-laws?

After that, things get a bit sticky. Proving that the royals don’t have a monopoly on family issues, Meghan’s two older half siblings from her dad’s first marriage reportedly aren’t invited -- and at least one of them isn’t happy about it. Her half sister, Samantha Grant, has reportedly claimed Meghan is “inviting 2000 complete strangers” to the wedding rather than family and even blasted Harry about it with a “Time to man up!” tweet. Grant’s reportedly writing a book about Markle. Trevor Engelson, an American movie and TV producer and Markle’s ex-husband, is said by some British newspapers to be developing a show about an American divorcee who moves to England to marry a prince.

Meghan’s wedding dress: Despite her convention-flouting penchant for wearing pants at some royal engagements, it’s expected that Markle will wear a dress. The design is top-secret, but the designers mentioned most often as front-runners to create it are Erdem Moralioglu, Ralph & Russo and Alexander McQueen. All three are London-based and McQueen designed Kate Middleton’s royal wedding gown. With it being the U.K., spectators can bet on the dress. However, sometimes British bookmakers have periodically suspended betting as a lot of money pours in on one particular designer.

Harry’s duds: Most likely a uniform.  Harry served in the British Army for 10 years, doing two tours in Afghanistan and rising to the rank of captain. In 2014, he launched Invictus Games, an annual Paralympic-style sporting event for injured servicemen and women In December, he was appointed Captain General Royal Marines, taking over the important ceremonial role after 64 years from his grandfather, Prince Phillip.

What everyone else will wear: For men, the invitation specifies “dress uniform, morning coat or lounge suit.” For the ladies, it’s “day dress with hat.” Many women will sport fascinators, lightweight headpieces decorated with feathers, flowers and beads, among other items. They are worn for formal occasions. 

Royal Wedding Souvenirs : Shops in London already have royal wedding mugs, tea towels, decorative objects and the like for sale.

What does '420' mean? Here are 10 things you may not know about the term

You may not realize it, but Friday is a holiday, of sorts.On April 20 – or 4/20 – marijuana advocates around the world gather to celebrate, in a variety of ways, the cannabis plant. Last year, thousands gathered in cities across the United States to consume marijuana in places where it is legal to do so, as well as places where it isn’t.

If you are not familiar with the term “420” as it is used in the marijuana culture, here’s a look at its origins and its meaning.

1. The term “420” was first associated with marijuana use in 1971.

2. It was the time of day when a group of California high school students who called themselves the “Waldos” decided to meet to hunt for a rumored abandoned stash of cannabis. The students would meet at 4:20 p.m. near a statue of Louis Pasteur on the grounds of San Rafael High School to go to search for the crop. If one of the Waldos called for a “4:20 Louis” it meant that everyone was to meet at the statue to search for the marijuana.

3. Eventually, “4:20 Louis” became just “4:20,” and the number was recognized not as a call to hunt for the abandoned cannabis, but as a code word for smoking pot.

4. The members of the band the Grateful Dead moved to the San Rafael area from San Francisco in 1970. They had connections to some of the parents of the Waldos, and eventually picked up the phrase and began using it.

5. The term spread past San Rafael with the help of the Grateful Dead and after a story about the Waldos appeared in “High Times.” Another story in the magazine suggested that 4:20 was an “accepted” hour to use cannabis.

6. April 20 is observed around the country and around the world as a time to gather together to smoke pot. In places where it is illegal to sell it, it is often given away on that day.

7. Some believe that the number 420 refers to the anniversary of the deaths of Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix. It does not. Neither died on April 20.

8. It is not a police code for someone smoking marijuana, either.

9. Snapchat may allow users to display a 420 graphic on Friday.

10. Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream and Sour Patch Kids candy were the top two requested “munchies” delivered by goPuff in 2016. The on-demand delivery company saw an 80 percent increase in orders for food such as chips, cookies, candy and beef jerky on April 20, 2016, according to company officials. 

‘Angry badger’ forces doors to close at 500-year-old castle tunnel, tourist spot

A castle in Scotland has lasted for 500 years but the property is apparently no match for an angry badger. Yes, you’ve read that right. An angry badger shut down tourist access to a tunnel at Craignethan Castle, the BBC reported.  

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Officials allowed the public access to the rest of the 5-century-old building but the tunnel was closed not only for people’s safety, but also for the badger’s, officials told the BBC.

The badger apparently did some damage to the masonry of the castle before it left the building either Friday night or Saturday morning on its own accord.

The animal left after castle staff members tried cat food and honey to coax it out, the Guardian reported.

Castle staff members who run the property’s Twitter account had a little online fun, posting a GIF image of dancing badgers when they announced the tunnel’s closing.

Queen Elizabeth's last corgi dog put down

The last of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis was put to sleep after a long struggle with cancer, The Daily Mail reported. The dog, Willow, was nearly 15.

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That means that for the first time since World War II, the Queen, 91, does not have a corgi in her household.

Monty Roberts told Vanity Fair she didn’t want to have any more young dogs after 2012 because she didn’t want to “leave any behind,” Time magazine reported.

Willow also was part of the Queen’s official 90th birthday portrait in 2016, Time reported. The dog died a week before Elizabeth’s 92nd birthday

Willow is one of the Pembroke Welsh corgis that Elizabeth has owned, The New York Times reported. Her first corgi, Susan, was given to her as an 18th birthday present in 1944, the Times reported. 

According to Vanity Fair, Elizabeth, then a princess, became so enamored with Susan that she sneaked the dog with her and Prince Philip on their honeymoon in 1947.

All of the corgis Elizabeth has owned since then are descendants of Susan, the Times reported. Willow was believed to be part of the 14th generation of dogs descended from Susan.

Airstrikes in Syria: Breaking down the firepower

Saturday morning, the Pentagon provided details about the military weapons that were employed in the airstrike late Friday night against Syria.

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Missiles were launched from three different areas: the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the North Arabian Gulf. Lt Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said 105 missiles were fired by the U.S.-led coalition. 

>> Trump tweets ‘Mission accomplished’

Here is a breakdown:

Eastern Mediterranean Sea: Six Tomahawk missiles were fired from the USS John Warner, and three missiles were fired from a French frigate.

Red Sea: The USS Monterey fired 30 Tomahawk missiles, while the USS Laboon launched seven Tomahawk missiles.

North Arabian Gulf: The USS Higgins fired 23 Tomahawk missiles.

From the air: Two American B-1 Lancer bombers fired 19 joint air-to-surface missile. British Tornado and Typhoon jets combined to shoot eight storm shadow missiles, while the French launched nine SCALP missiles from a combination of Mirages and Dassault Rafales jets.

>> Syrian civil war: Why are they fighting?

Russia responds to Syria airstrike, warns of 'consequences' 

Russia warned of “consequences” in the aftermath of the airstrikes launched by the United States and its allies on Syria, CNN reported Saturday.

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The U.S., United Kingdom and France launched strikes aimed at three locations in Syria -- a scientific research facility in Damascus and a production facility and storage facility in Homs, said Gen. Joseph Dunford, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks as an "act of aggression against a sovereign state," CNN reported. On Twitter, the Russian embassy in the United States criticized the missile strikes, with Ambassador Anatoly Antonov tweeting that “The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard."

>> Trump announces strike on Syria

"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented," Antonov said. "Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences."

Syria's Foreign Ministry called the attacks a "flagrant violation of the international law," CNN reported.

The Syrian Armed Forces said in a statement Saturday that 110 missiles were fired on Syrian targets and that the country's defense systems "intercepted most of the missiles, but some hit targets including the Research Center in Barzeh."

Russia's news agency TASS reported that none of the missiles fired by the three western nations struck areas near its naval and air bases in Syria. Those bases come under the protection of Russian air defense units.

"Cuckoo's Nest,' 'Amadeus' director Milos Forman dead at 86

Director Milos Forman, who won Academy Awards for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus,” died Friday in the United States after a short illness, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He was 86.

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Forman, a native of Czechoslovakia, won an Oscar for “Cuckoo’s Nest,” the 1975 film that was adapted from the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey and starred Jack Nicholson. The film won five Academy Awards, including best picture, best actor, best actress, director and adapted screenplay.

Forman picked up another Oscar for the 1984 film “Amadeus,” which won eight awards, including best picture and director.

Forman earned his final Oscar nomination for the 1996 film, “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” a drama about Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt. In 1999, he directed “Man on the Moon,” a film about comedian Andy Kaufman.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths, 2018

He was born Jan Tomas Forman on Feb. 18, 1932, in Caslav, a town outside of Prague, Czechoslovakia, according to the Hollywood Reporter. His parents were killed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, and he spent much of his youth in a boarding school for war orphans.

Forman became an American citizen in 1975, continued his success in 1979 with “Hair” and in 1981 with “Ragtime,” which was nominated for eight Oscars.

He married Martina Zborilova, his third wife, in 1999. 

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