Meghan Markle ties the knot — but not with Prince Harry

Souvenirs featuring Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancée US actress Meghan Markle are pictured in a gift shop in Windsor, west of London. American, mixed-race and “fiercely independent,” Markle is widely seen as a breath of fresh air for Britain’s royal family. (AFP)
Updated 25 April 2018
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Meghan Markle ties the knot — but not with Prince Harry

LOS ANGELES: A little less than a month before her royal wedding to Britain’s Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has said “I do” — on television.
Markle fans who can’t wait until the actress walks down the aisle next month can tune into the seventh season finale of the legal drama “Suits” — which sees Markle’s character Rachel tie the knot with Mike, played by Patrick J. Adams.
“I wanted to marry you from the second I met you,” Mike says in a preview of the episode, to air Wednesday.
“You are the husband I’ve always wanted,” Rachel says, marking a happy ending for the two actors leaving the series.
“We know there’s another wedding on the horizon for Ms. Markle but just seeing her here in all of her bridal resplendence is a fairytale come true,” said the network USA, which airs the series, on its website.
The characters Mike and Rachel had already tried getting married in a previous season — but police arrested the former and thwarted the nuptial plans.
Shortly after announcing her engagement to Prince Harry, the future Duchess, 36, said she would leaving acting to focus on humanitarian work.
Her final appearance on “Suits” — in which she has starred since 2011 — will be a dress rehearsal of sorts for her big day on May 19, when she will marry Prince Harry in a chapel inside Windsor Castle before 600 invited guests.
Another 2,640 people will be welcomed onto the castle grounds.
American, mixed-race and “fiercely independent,” Markle is widely seen as a breath of fresh air for Britain’s royal family.
“I was born and raised in Los Angeles, a California girl who lives by the ethos that most things can be cured with either yoga, the beach, or a few avocados,” she once wrote.
She will be the second American to join the British monarchy after socialite Wallis Simpson — who married King Edward VIII after he abdicated, and like Markle had once divorced prior to marrying royalty.


Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

An aerial photo of a road running through an palm plantation in Dumai, Riau, Sumatra island, Indonesia. (Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman/via REUTERS/File)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

  • Researcher Alice Hughes found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
  • An average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.

KUALA LUMPUR: Forests in parts of Southeast Asia face greater threats than previously thought because researchers often rely on data that ignores new roads, which are precursors to deforestation and development, a study shows.
The paper, published this month by the journal Biological Conservation, showed that an average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.
“Large-scale forest clearance is preceded by the growth of road networks, which provide a stark warning for the region’s future,” the study said.
Author Alice Hughes, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, studied a total of 277,281 square kilometers by analyzing satellite images and maps showing forest loss and coverage, as well as agriculture concessions.
She found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
“We are deluding ourselves that we still have large tracts of inaccessible, pristine forest, when the reality is highly-fragmented, very accessible forests,” Hughs said on Friday.
Her research examined road networks in parts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
“In some parts of the region, up to 99 percent of roads on those global maps, which are used as the basis for a huge amount of further analysis, are not included,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Deforestation and development of forests in the area studied have occurred at a rapid pace since 2000, said Hughes, while maps used by researchers do not regularly update their road data.
“Most of the time these roads are just providing access to forests and up to 99 percent of deforestation is within 2.5 km of road,” she said. “They are clearly the access method.”
She added that the region urgently needs better protection and enforcement for its remaining forests.
Indonesia, which is the world’s biggest palm oil producer, introduced a forest clearing moratorium in 2011 to help reduce deforestation.
Hughes said the ban should be expanded beyond just land designated as natural, untouched primary forest to include all high biodiversity forests.
Hughes’ research methodology should be used to determine whether the same patterns exist in other parts of the world, said Christopher Martius, team leader for climate change at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research.
“It is surprising that nobody ever did that before, and it is shocking that the result shows we grossly underestimated the possible threat to tropical forests from road building,” he said by email.