Lahore, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate are touring Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, where they will visit a cancer hospital previously visited by William's mother, the late Princess Diana.
The hospital was started by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, whose first wife Jemima Goldsmith was a friend of the late princess.
The royal couple played cricket with children and members of Pakistan's cricket team at the National Cricket Academy. Their day began with a birthday party at a charitable organization, SOS Children's Village, and they'll also visit the historic Badshahi mosque.
Since arriving, the royal couple have been advocates for girls' education, visiting a girl's school in Islamabad. They addressed climate change while in Pakistan's northern region, where glaciers are melting at an alarming rate.
They return home Friday.
Multan, Oct 11 (AP/UNB) — Pakistan's foreign minister says Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate will arrive in the capital, Islamabad, on a four-day visit next week.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Friday the royal couple, known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will arrive in Pakistan on Oct. 14.
He said the visit will further improve ties between Pakistan and Britain.
Qureshi said Prince William's mother Princess Diana visited Pakistan in the 1990s to participate in a fund-raising event for a cancer hospital built by Imran Khan, now Pakistan's prime minister.
Qureshi said Pakistanis still fondly remember Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997.
London, Oct 2 (AP/UNB) — British royal Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has sued a tabloid newspaper that she claims illegally published a personal letter she wrote to her father.
The civil lawsuit accuses the Mail on Sunday of copyright infringement, misuse of private information and violating the U.K"s data protection law with the "intrusive" publication of the letter, a spokeswoman for Schillings, the law firm handling the case, said.
Prince Harry accused the Mail on Sunday of editing the letter in "an intentionally destructive manner" to "manipulate" readers with an unflattering portrayal of his wife, who was the American actress known as Meghan Markle before the couple married in May 2018.
In a long statement lambasting British tabloids more broadly, Harry said the lawsuit had "been many months in the making" following a "ruthless campaign" to smear Meghan by a "press pack that has vilified her almost daily" and created "lie after lie at her expense" during her maternity leave.
"I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in," the prince said in the statement posted on the couple's royal website.
"There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face - as so many of you can relate to - I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been," Harry said.
A Mail on Sunday spokesman told Britain's Press Association the paper "stands by the story it published and will be defending this case vigorously.
"Specifically, we categorically deny that the duchess's letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning," the spokesman said.
Harry has lashed out at British celebrity news coverage before. He lashed out at aggressive paparazzi that stalked Meghan's every move when they were dating and offensive treatment of her biracial heritage by some media.
In Tuesday's statement, he mentioned his late mother, Princess Diana, who died in an August 1997 car crash while being pursued by paparazzi, as the reason he knew the move to take a tabloid to court "may not be the safe one, it is the right one..
"Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself," he said. "I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person.
Meghan and Harry are paying for the lawsuit with private and not public funds, the Press Association reported. The news agency said if damages are awarded to Meghan, they will be donated to a charity that combats bullying.
The lawsuit also names the Mail on Sunday's parent company, Associated Newspapers.
Harry said the couple and their baby son, Archie, have received positive news coverage during their royal tour in southern Africa that demonstrated how Meghan has been subjected to press "bullying" back home.
"She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day, just as she is the same woman you've seen on this Africa tour."
Johannesburg, Sept 20 (AP/UNB) — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, along with their infant son, Archie, are making their first official tour as a family, starting Monday in a troubled South Africa whose president says women and children are "under siege" by shocking violence.
South Africa is still shaken by the rape and murder of a university student, carried out in a post office, that sparked protests by thousands of women tired of abuse and impunity in a country where more than 100 rapes are reported every day. This is "one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman," President Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday.
Empowering women is one of the issues Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will address on a 10-day, multi-country visit, along with wildlife protection, entrepreneurship, mental health and mine clearance — a topic given global attention by Harry's late mother, Princess Diana, when she walked through an active mine field during an Africa visit years ago.
Some in South Africa say they are happy to see the arrival of Meghan, who has been vocal about women's rights and is likely to speak out again. One of her first events is a visit to a workshop that gives self-defense classes to young girls.
"I think the Duchess of Sussex' visit is perfectly timed. She's coming to South Africa at an incredibly turbulent time," said Lara Rosmarin, who leads a local tech incubator that will be part of the royal visit. "People are anxious, people are scared, people are worried ... She's coming at a time when she can instill some hope and some promise and perhaps highlight the struggles of women in South Africa."
The high-profile visit by the royal family is expected to contrast with the breathtaking series of stories in local media in recent weeks about the reported abuse of women and children — "even babies," the president reminded Parliament this week.
The scope is now well known. More than 2,700 women were murdered last year, and more than 1,000 children, the government says. One in five women over age 18 have faced physical violence from a partner.
"The conviction rate for rape is a shameful 5%," the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, said Wednesday. The state should oppose bail for suspects, deny parole to those found guilty and ensure that a life sentence means life in prison, South Africa's president now says.
Some women want more, saying South Africa should bring back the death penalty for rapists. Capital punishment was abolished in the country in 1995.
Despite the recent unrest, the royal family likely will focus on the positive. Planned events in their first public stop, Cape Town, include a visit to a non-governmental group that trains surfers to provide young people with mental health services.
"She is a very influential person and just for her to be here and to some way influence the girls on our program ... is a big part of why we're excited to have her here," said Courtney Barnes, a surfing coach with Waves For Change.
Harry and Meghan also will visit the oldest mosque in South Africa and meet with Nobel Peace Prize winner and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A "rare privilege and honor," Tutu and his wife, Leah, said Thursday.
The prince later will break away for visits to Botswana, Angola and Malawi with a special focus on wildlife protection.
In Angola, Harry will walk in the footsteps of his mother, whose steps across a mine field in 1997 helped to inspire an international ban on anti-personnel mines later that year. That field in Huambo is now a busy street, and Angola's government, now years past a grinding civil war, hopes to be free of land mines by 2025.
The southern African nation is now turning toward ecotourism.
Meghan will remain in South Africa with events including a Johannesburg visit to a charity that helps to raise awareness of sexual violence in schools.
The royal family's Africa visit ends on Oct. 2.
New York, Sept 4 (AP/UNB) — The eco-minded Prince Harry is embarking on a massive travel sustainability initiative in partnership with key travel providers. They aim to improve the practices of the global industry amid an ever-increasing number of travelers.
The Duke of Sussex picked Amsterdam, a city hit hard by over-tourism, to announce Travalyst at a news conference Tuesday with his partners, Booking.com; TripAdvisor; Visa; China's largest travel company, Ctrip; and the Ctrip-owned fare aggregator Skyscanner.
The long-term initiative is focused on tackling the travel industry's impact on climate change, improving wildlife conservation, and protecting the environment in top tourist spots around the world. It aims to increase the amount of tourism dollars that go to local communities, and find answers to over-tourism.
"Travel has the unparalleled power to open people's minds to different cultures, new experiences, and to have a profound appreciation for what our world has to offer," the duke said in a statement shared with The Associated Press ahead of the formal announcement.
"As tourism inevitably grows, it is critically important to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices worldwide, and to balance this growth with the needs of the environment and the local population. Bringing companies, consumers and communities together is our best chance to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations," he added.
Harry drew criticism this summer when he and his family took a private jet to go on vacation, despite the flight's carbon impact on the planet. They had flown to the home of singer Elton John, who said the aircraft offered them needed privacy and protection, and was carbon-neutral because it was offset by a contribution to Carbon Footprint.
"I spend 99% of my life traveling the world by commercial" aircraft, Harry said Tuesday. He said he would take a private jet only when circumstances called for it, and would offset the carbon footprint.
Among issues the coalition will focus on is improving on-the-ground travel and tourism entrepreneurship in local communities.
Last year, the number of international trips taken globally reached 1.4 billion, a number reached two years faster than originally projected by the United Nations' tourism agency, the World Tourism Organization. According to the World Bank, the number of trips taken annually by people around the globe has more than doubled since 2000.
Travel and tourism fed $8.8 trillion into the global economy in 2018, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. In 10 years, the number of tourists visiting countries in emerging markets will reach 1 billion annually, comprising 57 percent of all international trips, the U.N. agency said.
Gathering service providers into one coalition is a feat unto itself in a competitive industry with piles of profit on the table. Other areas explored will include cleaner aviation fuel, more travel experiences focused on sustainability, and educating tourists on the footprints they make and the waste they leave behind.
"The commitment from these different brands to work together and help build a global network of like-minded social entrepreneurs, NGOs and policymakers is truly inspiring," said Gillian Tans, chairwoman of Booking.com. "Collaboration is the only path forward if we want to create a real paradigm shift in travel."
Bryan Dove, chief executive for Skyscanner, said the travel industry has an obligation "to preserve our world for future generations to explore and enjoy — but to do this we need to act now, as change won't happen overnight."
Harry began approaching potential partners for the coalition about two years ago. Specific programs and projects will likely be launched within the next 18 months. Harry will be actively at the helm.
Consumers are hungry for change, with 71 percent of global travelers telling Booking.com they think travel companies should offer more sustainable travel choices, and 68 percent saying it was important that their travel dollars support local communities.
At Skyscanner over the last 12 months, 10 million travelers selected the lowest carbon emission flight option, for instance.
Travalyst will be the first initiative to fall under the Sussex Royal charitable foundation of Harry and Meghan after they spun off from the joint trust established by his brother, Prince William, and duchess Kate.