Britain’s Queen Elizabeth celebrates 91st birthday

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II reacts as she meets residents during her tour of Priory View, an independent living scheme for older residents, in Dunstable, north-west of London. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 91st birthday on April 21, 2017, with the world’s longest-reigning monarch taking a step back from royal duties to allow the younger generation to step forward. (AFP/POOL/ PETER NICHOLLS)
Updated 21 April 2017
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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth celebrates 91st birthday

LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, the world’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, celebrated her 91st birthday in a usual low-key fashion on Friday.
Artillery gun salutes in London’s Hyde Park and at the Tower of London will mark the occasion although the queen, who normally spends her birthday privately, has no formal engagements planned herself.
Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926 in Bruton Street in central London when Calvin Coolidge was US President and Joseph Stalin had just taken control in the Soviet Union and became queen in 1952 at 25.
Despite her age, she still regularly carries out official duties although she has cut back on the number of engagements in recent years, passing these onto other members of the Windsor family such as to her son and heir Prince Charles and grandsons, Princes William and Harry.
Polls show she remains very popular among Britons and royal aides say there is little prospect of her abdicating. Asked if she was well during a trip to Northern Ireland last year, she quipped “Well, I’m still alive.”
The queen has an official birthday in June which is publicly marked with a large parade of soldiers through central London, known as Trooping the Color.


Bill Cosby convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

Updated 26 April 2018
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Bill Cosby convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

NORRISTOWN-PENNSILVANIA: Bill Cosby was convicted Thursday of drugging and molesting a woman in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era,
completing the spectacular late-life downfall of a comedian who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as America’s Dad.
Cosby, 80, could end up spending his final years in prison after a jury concluded he sexually violated Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He claimed the encounter was consensual.
Cosby stared straight ahead as the verdict was read, but moments later lashed out loudly at District Attorney Kevin Steele and called him an “a--hole” after the prosecutor asked that Cosby be immediately jailed because he might flee. Cosby denied he has an airplane and shouted, “I’m sick of him!“
The judge decided Cosby can remain free on bail while he awaits sentencing.
Shrieks erupted in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, and some of his accusers whimpered and cried. Constand remained stoic, then hugged her lawyer and members of the prosecution team.
“Justice has been done!” celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who represented some of Cosby’s accusers, said on the courthouse steps. “We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed.”
The verdict came after a two-week retrial in which prosecutors put five other women on the stand who testified that Cosby, married for 54 years, drugged and violated them, too. One of those women asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?“
The panel of seven men and five women reached a verdict after deliberating 14 hours over two days, vindicating prosecutors’ decision to retry Cosby after his first trial ended with a hung jury less than a year ago.
Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He is likely to get less than that under state sentencing guidelines, but given his age, even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.
Constand, 45, a former Temple women’s basketball administrator, told jurors that Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called “your friends” and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no.
It was the only criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations from more than 60 women who said the former TV star drugged and molested them over a span of five decades.
“The time for the defendant to escape justice is over,” prosecutor Stewart Ryan said in his closing argument. “It’s finally time for the defendant to dine on the banquet of his own consequences.”
Another prosecutor, Kristen Feden, said Cosby was “nothing like the image that he played on TV” as sweater-wearing, wisdom-dispensing father of five Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”