Prince Harry goes solo on royal tour as pregnant Meghan rests

Britain’s Prince Harry was greeted with a traditional Aboriginal ceremony. (Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2018
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Prince Harry goes solo on royal tour as pregnant Meghan rests

  • The pair have already traveled to Sydney, Melbourne and the regional town of Dubbo since touching down in Australia last Monday
  • They are set to visit Fiji and Tonga after Fraser Island

FRASER ISLAND, Australia: Prince Harry greeted an Aboriginal community on the stunning World Heritage-listed Fraser Island Monday as his pregnant wife Meghan took a break from official duties during the royal couple’s Australian tour.
The pair have already traveled to Sydney, Melbourne and the regional town of Dubbo since touching down in Australia last Monday, drawing thousands of screaming fans to their events.
The visit to Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland state took on a different tone, as the Duke of Sussex was greeted with a traditional Aboriginal ceremony from the local Butchulla people on the peaceful shores of Lake McKenzie.
Harry later walked barefoot on the soft white sands of the lake, a source of drinking water for the Butchulla people, and splashed water on his face.
Fraser is the world’s largest sand island and the prince was due to unveil a plaque to dedicate the holiday site’s acres of rainforests to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project.
His visit will also touch on other environmental issues, a cause close to his father Prince Charles’ heart, when he meets with park rangers to learn more about the island’s plants and animals.
Later, he will meet with two Hervey Bay paramedics, who are being recognized for granting a dying woman’s final wish by taking her to the beach.
A photo of a paramedic beside a stretcher facing the ocean was posted on Facebook last year and went viral around the world.
The royal couple had earlier arrived in Queensland by plane before traveling to the island separately.
Harry boarded a barge, a route used by tourists to travel to the island, while the Duchess of Sussex took a different vessel and then retreated to a private residence.
Her choice of dress, a maroon number with white polka dots, sparked excitement in Queensland, as the deep brownish-red happens to also been the official color of the state.
The pair are due to visit Fiji and Tonga after Fraser Island.


Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

Updated 19 November 2018
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Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

  • US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors
  • Raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation

HELSINKI: Social media in Finland was ablaze with bemused comments on Monday after US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors.
Speaking to reporters during the weekend while in California to see the impact of devastating forest fires, the US president again blamed forest management, but said Finland had the answer.
Trump cited the Finnish president as telling him Finns “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things (in the forest), and they don’t have any problem.”
However the Nordic country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper on Sunday that he had no recollection of raking being mentioned when the pair met in Paris a week ago.
“I told him that Finland is a country covered in forests, but we also have a good warning system and network,” the president said.
Finnish social media users were quick to pile in, describing Trump’s comments as “rake news” and posting pictures of themselves brandishing the garden implement.
By late Sunday, raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation which is 72 percent covered by forests, predominantly of pine, birch and fir.
Meanwhile Yrjo Niskanen, head of emergency preparedness at Finland’s national forest center, said the US president may have been referring to the practice of removing branches and loose material left in the forest after logging.
But he pointed out that this is not done with a rake — and the wood is collected for energy production.
“I’ve never thought before that it could be removed because of the fire risk, that’s not mentioned in any forestry manuals. It’s taken away purely for business reasons,” Niskanen told the Iltalehti newspaper.