The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sophie pregnant

London, May 6(Reuters): The youngest son of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife Sophie, are expecting their first child in December after a dangerous failed pregnancy left them devastated in 2001.

“Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex are very pleased to announce that the Countess of Wessex is expecting a baby in December,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement today.

A spokeswoman said the pair were “delighted and thrilled”.

The announcement came some 18 months after Sophie, then 36, was airlifted to hospital and underwent a two-and-a-half hour operation to end a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, in which the foetus grew outside her womb.

The countess spoke at the time of her sadness at losing their first child.

Vivid mask

Tokyo (Reuters): Defying critics who called it “indecent”, a Japanese wrestler-turned-politician turned up for his first day at work on Tuesday sporting a vividly patterned mask. Formerly a wrestler known as “The Great Sasuke”, Masanori Murakawa won fame — and a seat in a local assembly in northern Japan — wearing a similar mask. “I have absolutely no intention of taking it off, no matter how much opposition there is,” the otherwise conservatively dressed Murakawa said before taking his place in the council chamber in Iwate, 460 km north of Tokyo. He had attempted to defuse criticism by choosing a mask that revealed more of his face than before — and which featured the emblem of the region picked out in gold on the side. Not all local voters were impressed. “Before you know it prefectural civil servants will all be wearing masks too,” one Iwate council employee grumbled.

Animal plans

Sydney(Reuters): Australia plans to build a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of horses, donkeys, dogs and pigeons and other animals which died fighting their country’s wars. The Australian branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said work on the A$340,000 ($214,000) memorial would begin by the end of the year. “We sent an estimated 100,000 horses to World War One alone. Only one came back,” said an RSPCA spokeswoman. The memorial will be dedicated to the horses, donkeys and camels that hauled wagons, artillery or men; pigeons that carried messages or warned of gas attack; dogs that sniffed for mines or hunted the enemy; and mascots, like monkeys, that armies have long taken with them on campaign. The RSPCA said an animal war memorial was also in the works in Britain.

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