Bridal couples at a Japanese wedding hall will have a special treat at their banquet: a bunch of fresh, juicy grapes that cost a record $5,400. A wedding hall operator bought the Ruby Roman grapes at auction for 550,000 yen ($5,400) on Saturday, the first day of the buying season in Ishikawa prefecture, central Japan, local media reported. The bunch of around 30 grapes weighed some 800 grammes (28 ounces), Japan's public broadcaster NHK said, adding that the red-skin grape can be as big as three centimetres (1.2 inches) in diameter. The top notch grapes -- costing around $180 a pop -- will be served at the wedding hall in Kanazawa, central Ishikawa. "I was surprised to see a higher price than I had originally imagined, but I would like bridal couples to savour them and have a great memory," the hall owner was quoted by NHK as saying. Around 30 bunches of the Ruby Romans were auctioned Saturday. Some 16,000 bunches are set to be sold this season only in Ishikawa which put the grape on the market in 2008. Then, the first bunch of Ruby Roman grapes fetched 100,000 yen. Japanese often present top-quality fruits such as melons as gifts. The first batches of carefully grown fruit often fetch extraordinary prices, making headlines in newspapers.
Eight victims were pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting Thursday night after a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis.
- The Telegraph
The historic family ties that prompted The Queen to invite German royalty Follow live updates from Prince Philip's funeral The Duke of Edinburgh's great niece, whose brother is in Windsor for his funeral on Saturday, has remembered Prince Philip as an "idol" for the younger generation of their family. Speaking from Munich, Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg said the Duke was a powerful role model to her and his "selflessness, lack of ego and sense of humour" will never be forgotten. Her tribute comes as the Queen prepares to say farewell to her husband of 73 years at Windsor Castle. "To all of us, he was an idol, he was somebody to look up to, we had enormous respect for him and it was always very exciting when he came to visit, and he came often," said Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. "And this has become clear to me in the week since he's died - the way he lived his life, his motto, which was an unwritten motto for us, this discipline, this selflessness, this lack of ego, but also his sense of humour always underlying all of that.
- Business Insider
Embattled Chinese billionaire Jack Ma may divest his Ant Group stake and give up control, reports say
In the wake of his public comments about financial regulations, Jack Ma may potentially exit his Ant Group empire, Reuters reported.
- Associated Press
The man accused of going on a shooting rampage at a Southern California business, killing four people, should not have been allowed to buy or own guns because of a California law that prohibits people from purchasing weapons for 10 years after being convicted of a crime. Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez was convicted of battery in 2015, which should have kept him from possessing or buying guns or ammo at stores that conduct background checks. Police say Gaxiola had targeted Unified Homes, the mobile home brokerage company in Orange, and had personal and business relationships with the victims.
Alison Brie and Dave Franco spent early pandemic days sleeping in and eating too much before finding a routine that helped their relationship thrive
The actress told Insider that self-care was a key component for the couple in keeping a strong relationship while they were stuck in their house.
- Associated Press
The former chief medical examiner for Maryland who testified on behalf of the officer accused of killing George Floyd is a defendant in a federal lawsuit over the death of a man who died under circumstances similar to Floyd. Dr. David Fowler was chief medical examiner in Maryland for 17 years before retiring in 2019. Fowler testified that he would have ruled Floyd's cause of death as “undetermined” rather than homicide.
Photos of Prince Harry and Prince William walking apart at Prince Philip’s funeral don’t show the whole picture of their relationship
Prince Harry and Prince William walked separately at Prince Philip's funeral, with Peter Phillips separating them, as Buckingham Palace had planned.
- Charlotte Observer
‘Intoxicated’ and ‘uncooperative’ crowd blocked and injured police officers, NC Law Enforcement Division says.
Fox News host Sean Hannity describes Chicago police shooting victim Adam Toledo as a '13-year-old man'
There was outrage on social media after Fox News host Sean Hannity described the Chicago police shooting victim Adam Toledo as a "13-year-old man."
LONDON (Reuters) -Helen McCrory, the "beautiful and mighty" British actress known for playing steely female characters on stage and screen, has died of cancer at the age of 52, her husband, Damian Lewis, said on Friday. The shock announcement drew tributes from author JK Rowling, fellow actors including Michael Sheen and from the artistic director at London's National Theatre who hailed McCrory as "unquestionably one of the great actors of her generation". On screen she starred as Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter films, as the matriarch of a crime family in Peaky Blinders and as the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, Cherie.
- Associated Press
The 300-million-year-old shark’s teeth were the first sign that it might be a distinct species. “Great for grasping and crushing prey rather than piercing prey,” said discoverer John-Paul Hodnett, who was a graduate student when he unearthed the first fossils of the shark at a dig east of Albuquerque in 2013. This week, Hodnett and a slew of other researchers published their findings in a bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science identifying the shark as a separate species.
- Business Insider
Biden has been unrelenting in his view that now is the time for bold change in America, and so far, Republicans have largely been unable to stop him.
In November, the Canadian government said it would make it easier for Hong Kong youth to study and work in Canada in response to new security rules imposed by China on the former British colony. "In the first three weeks that the program was open (Feb. 8 to Feb. 28), IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) received 503 applications for work permits and 10 applications for work permit extensions," press secretary Alexander Cohen said in an emailed statement.
- The Daily Beast
Danish Siddiqui/ReutersIn an apparent effort to secure votes for his party in India’s upcoming state elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has allowed at least 50 million Hindus to take to the Ganga river for a holy dip in a religious festival that has turned into an unprecedented COVID-19 superspreader event.The Kumbh Mela, or the pitcher festival, is a mega Hindu gathering that takes place every 12 years along one of four riverbank pilgrimage sites, where millions of people bathe in the Ganga, also known as the Ganges, hoping to wash away their past sins and achieve salvation from the cycle of life and death. The month-long festival has been linked to at least 2,000 coronavirus infections so far.The celebration involves ascetics draped in marigold flowers and carrying tridents—a principal symbol in Hinduism—leading hordes of ash-covered followers to the riverbanks. Crammed together, the festivalgoers sing, dance, and hug each other after taking dips in the water.Despite the obvious public health hazards, Modi has allowed the festivities to continue uninterrupted. Appearing more concerned with bettering his party’s election odds, the prime minister has even promoted potential superspreader events of his own. With five Indian states heading to the polls through April, his de facto deputy—the home minister of India—has been jumping from one venue to another, addressing thousands of people in election rallies and leading grand road shows.Meanwhile, all across the country, patients are laying outside hospitals and gasping for breath before dying unattended. This month, India’s largest crematoriums ran out of firewood as land space fell short in cemeteries. On Wednesday alone, 200,000 Indians tested positive for the coronavirus. Adding to this, India, long celebrated as the “world’s pharmacy,” is running out of vaccines for its own people. Several states have complained of stock shortage while the country's top vaccine manufacturers, Covishield and Covaxin, have decried a lack of resources.Experts fear the current infection rate triggered by the festival is only the tip of the iceberg. After the festival ends, millions will be returning to different parts of the country, where they risk infecting others. 1232270216 XAVIER GALIANA Dr. SK Jha, the chief medical officer of Haridwar province—home to one of the festival’s riverbank sites—told The Daily Beast that “the cases are rising here every day and we are expecting more infections in coming days at Kumbh Mela. The devotees have come from many parts of India where already cases are surging.”The government had earlier promised several layers of screening to curb the spread as ash-smeared ascetics took over the town, but health authorities eventually pulled back the COVID-19 testing crew, fearing a stampede-like situation.Two months ago, Modi had declared an early pandemic victory: “At the beginning of this pandemic, the whole world was worried about India's situation,” announced Modi in a chest-thumping virtual address. “But today, India's fight against [coronavirus] is inspiring the entire world.”That is clearly no longer the case. Last month, a newly detected variant was searingly downplayed by the government. As cases began to rise again, the government refused to budge on the Kumbh festival, apparently fearing backlash from religious leaders in the Hindu-majority country and securing his Hindu vote bank.Modi’s handling of the superspreader festival has also raised concerns about his government fueling religious fanaticism and Islamophobia. Last year, India’s Muslim community was vilified after 4,300 positive cases were linked to a religious gathering. Members of the community were jailed, tried in the courts, and subjected to a smear campaign run by the pro-government national media.Critics have compared the media coverage of the Muslim event with the Kumbh festival, condemning the government’s apparent double standards and wilful ignorance when it comes to the Hindu festival.Responding to the criticism, the chief minister of Uttarakhand—the state hosting the festival—said: “They [Markaz attendees] were all inside a building and here it is out in the open, near the Ganges. The flow and blessings of Ma Ganga (Mother Ganga) will ensure that coronavirus does not spread. The question does not arise of a comparison… The devotees attending Kumbh are not from outside but our own people.” 1231641382 PRAKASH SINGH Though the current pandemic crisis is focused on the handling of the Kumbh festival celebrations, Modi’s planning and policy implementation has fallen on its face before. Last year, when India had around 525 cases, Modi announced an abrupt total lockdown overnight. The unplanned lockdown sparked an exodus of millions of laborers working in metropolitan cities, returning to their homes in the countryside on foot and spreading the virus that was then only limited to the cities.Still, Modi has managed to champion the game of optics and sell his failures as essential steps and successes to the electorate. Modi’s party has relied on his public messaging to appeal to voters—a tactic focused on political leg-pulling and the flaunting of his largely unmasked “massive” rallies. He is unwavering in his celebration of the crowds that flock to him, and dares not dampen the mood by asking voters to adhere to safety precautions.As other politicians follow suit, the Hindu nationalist leadership appears collectively hell-bent on showcasing an illusion of normalcy and preserving its religious sentiments. Meanwhile, the death count continues to soar as India’s historic health crisis spirals out of control.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Daily Beast
Chris Jackson/GettyThe queen has a brooch for every occasion—even the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip. The queen’s mourning clothes, though a stark contrast to her usual pastel ensembles, came accented with a special accessory that paid homage to her partner of 73 years.According to Express, the queen wore her Richmond Brooch on Saturday. It’s one of the largest in her collection, the paper reported, and was a wedding present for her grandmother Queen Mary’s nuptials in 1893. Usually the Queen wears the pin, made of diamonds, with a hanging pear-shaped pearl drop. But that feature was removed for the funeral.The sparkling accessory lit up the queen’s all-black look, and matched her face mask—also black, with white trim around the edges. The monarch sat alone through the funeral, which was pared-down due to the pandemic, like so many others.Prince Harry and Prince William Reunite After Prince Philip’s Funeral, Where the Queen Sat AloneBut the queen was not solitary in her statement jewelry. Kate Middleton also brought her own. Actually, it came from the queen: the Duchess wore a four-strand pearl necklace borrowed from Elizabeth’s collection.Today reports that it was made with pearls gifted from the Japanese government. Princess Diana wore the choker to a dinner in 1982.Kate’s matching pearl-drop earrings, which peeked out from underneath her netted black fascinator, were also from the Queen’s jewelry box. For the somber affair, the Duchess was able to sneak in a dash of glamour with her veil and Roland Mouret dress.One photographer caught Kate right before she exited her vehicle, and she stared straight into the camera’s lens. Such determined, direct eye contact isn’t something the Duchess is known for, but her look set the tone for a dignified, if very different, type of royal funeral.As had been previously reported, the royals did not wear military dress. Following their father and grandfather’s coffin, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William, and Prince Harry were all seen wearing medals, a compromise reached after an internal debate in the royal family about the appropriate dress for Harry and Andrew.Camilla Parker Bowles wore pearls and a brooch that also dripped with significance. As Hello noted, she showed up in the so-called Bugle brooch, which honored Philip’s tenure as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles, an infantry regiment of the British Army.For his final public engagement last year, the Duke of Edinburgh passed on his position to Camilla, who is his daughter-in-law. So it’s a significant and symbolic jewelry choice for the day.Princess Eugenie, a new mother who named her infant son after Philip, wore a netted veil to the ceremony. It was similar to Kate’s, though Eugenie paired hers with an oversized black headband.Unlike the other women, Eugenie did not wear much jewelry, save for a simple pair of earrings. She did, however, wear a rather trendy Gabriela Hearst trench coat, per the Daily Mail.Penny Brabourne, Countess Mountbatten, a close friend of Philip’s and fellow equestrian, was one of the 30 guests who was not a direct family member. (She is married to Philip’s godson, Norton Knatchbull.) She wore a black pillbox hat and fitted suit, along with a crystal fern brooch.Of course Meghan Markle, who is pregnant, was unable to travel from Los Angeles with Prince Harry. She might not have been there in person—the former Duchess reportedly watched from home—but Meghan ensured a part of her was present. Per The Daily Mail, Meghan left a handwritten note on a wreath left at the chapel. The royal family did not speak at the event. Emotions were expressed in other ways. Some of it was literal, like when Sophie, the Countess of Wessex wiped away tears in the chapel. Some of it was more symbolic, like the queen sitting alone while bidding goodbye to her husband. Or William and Harry chatting after the ceremony, two estranged brothers brought together through grief. And much of it was through fashion: small nods to history, and hand-me-downs representing the continuation of longstanding royal tradition. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Business Insider
Elon Musk says Starlink should be 'fully mobile' by the end of 2021, allowing customers to use it at any address or in moving vehicles
Elon Musk said Friday that Starlink users should be able to move their satellite internet hardware between addresses by the end of the year.
- The Telegraph
The Duke of Edinburgh was the "glue" that held his wider family together, his German great niece said on Saturday. Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg said the Duke's longevity meant he was the one common link to the past for foreign-based branches of the family, for whom he was an "idol". Her brother, Prince Philipp, is one of three German relatives of the Duke given the honour of being among the 30 mourners at St George’s Chapel. The Duke's four sisters all married into the German aristocracy but were not invited to his wedding in 1947 because of sensitivities around the Second World War. However Prince Philip, who outlived all his sisters by decades, remained close to their descendants and often visited them in Germany. Speaking from Munich, Princess Xenia said: "He's been like a glue for the family, because sadly a lot of our grandmothers passed away much too early. "But he was always there, he was the link, so he brought all of us cousins, even though we were in Germany – a lot of us but not all of us – he brought us all together on a lot of family occasions, the last one having been his 90th birthday celebrations 10 years ago at Windsor. We were all there, there was a huge bunch of us, and it was lovely."
- The Independent
YouTube star’s Rolls Royce flipped three times after reportedly hitting black ice
- Business Insider
Elon Musk's brother Kimbal Musk, typically a Democrat donor, gave $2,800 to each GOP lawmaker who voted to impeach Trump
Kimbal Musk previously donated to the presidential campaigns of Democrats Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.
- Associated Press
The U.S. Justice Department made a “wrong and dangerous” argument in seeking to defend former President Donald Trump against a former advice columnist’s claim that he defamed her when he denied her allegation of rape, her lawyers have told a court. During Trump's presidency, the Justice Department sought to make the United States, not him personally, the defendant in E. Jean Carroll's lawsuit — a move that would put U.S. taxpayers on the hook if she got a payout in the case. The Justice Department has argued that the statements he made about Carroll, including that she was “totally lying” to sell a memoir and that “she's not my type," fell within the scope of his job as president.