JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William and Duchess Kate have taken legal action against a photographer who they say is “harassing” their 1-year-old son, Prince George, and his nanny.
The new “legal steps” were spurred by an incident in a London park last week, Buckingham Palace said Thursday in a prepared statement.
“The individual was spotted at a central London Park in the vicinity of Prince George, who was removed from the Park immediately,” the statement read. “There is reason to suspect that the individual may [have] been placing Prince George under surveillance and monitoring his daily routines for a period of time.”
The incident in the park “prompted Their Royal Highnesses to seek reasonable assurances from the individual about his behaviour,” according to the Palace.
George is the first child for William and Kate, both 32, and the first grandchild for William’s parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.
The young prince’s nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, was announced by the royal family in March. One month later, in April, she joined William, Kate and George on their trip to Australia and New Zealand, their first formal overseas trip as a family of three since George’s July 22 birth.
Borrallo was trained at Norland College, a nanny training college in Bath, England, known as one of the best in the world.
Duchess Kate, now pregnant with the couple’s second child, is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare but extreme form of morning sickness, that has forced her to cancel public events.
In announcing the legal move, the palace said it understands that Prince George is a public figure but asked for his privacy as a child.
“The Duke and Duchess understand the particular public role that Prince George will one day inherit but while he is young, he must be permitted to lead as ordinary a life as possible,” the Palace said. “No parent would tolerate the suspicion of someone pursuing and harassing their child and [caregiver] whilst their child is playing in a public park or going about their daily activities."
NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)(NEW YORK) -- Remember when Pluto was a planet, then relegated to a "dwarf planet" in 2006?
Last month, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics hosted a debate in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where three astronomers wrestled with the question, "What is a planet?" After the debaters discussed science and history, the audience then voted that Pluto was, indeed, a planet.
The vote has galvanized a movement to return Pluto to planet status, according to the center, and led to its top ranking as a search term.
But even if the public is behind "Team Planet Pluto," it would take the International Astronomical Union to make the call, as it did in 2006.
NASA/GSFC/JPL/Colorado School of Mines/MIT(BOSTON) -- A massive shape on the moon's surface was formed by ancient rift valleys, according to new research, revising an earlier theory that the expansive region was the result of an asteroid strike.
It was previously believed that the Ocean of Storms, a region on the moon's surface spanning 1,600 miles, was the result of an asteroid impact that left a significant basin on the lunar surface.
However, readings from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission have revealed that beneath the surface of the shape is a rectangular region that was created by cooling lava as the moon formed, visible in NASA's color-enhanced image as the blue area in the northern hemisphere.
Over time, the lava would cool and contract, creating fractures, much like dried mud, NASA said. It is believed the rift valleys may have at one time resembled similar zones found on Earth, Mars and Venus, proving the moon is even more dynamic than was previously believed.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A drone captured breathtaking footage of an Iceland volcano erupting, getting so close to the molten lava that a GoPro camera attached to the drone melted.
But the memory card survived, making the drone company DJI's trip to the Bardarbunga Volcano a success.
"The fact that you can take a $1,000 flying camera and put it in the middle of an erupting volcano to capture wide-angle views of this giant bowl of molten lava, which is exploding and throwing lava 150 meters or so into the air, is pretty amazing," drone pilot Eric Cheng says in a video about the project.
The Bardarbunga volcano has been erupting for about a month.
maryTR/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD, Iraq) -- U.S. Central Command confirmed eight more airstrikes conducted in Iraq and Syria by U.S. military forces and those of a partner nation.
According to a release, three strikes were conducted in Syria between Tuesday and Wednesday, using fighter jets and remotely piloted aircraft. These strikes took place near the city of Kobani and destroyed an armed vehicle, an artillery piece and a tank operated by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Five separate strikes were conducted in Irq, three of which took place near Mosul, one near the Haditha Dam and one northwest of Baghdad. The strikes in Iraq destroyed a total of five armed vehicles and a building occupied by ISIS militants, while also striking a pair of ISIS fighting positions.
The CENTCOM release notes that the United Kingdom participated in the strikes within Iraq.
Hope Milam/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD, Iraq) -- The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq released its monthly report on Wednesday, noting over 1,000 Iraqis were killed and nearly 2,000 more injured in acts of terrorism and violence in the last month.
The report for September 2014 found that 854 civilians and 265 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed last month. That figure also includes 79 civilian police. An additional 1,604 civilians and 342 members of the Iraqi security forces and other forces fighting alongside the ISF were injured.
The data released in the UNAMI's monthly reports do not include casualties in the Anbar region.
Michael Fitzsimmons/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MANAMA, Bahrain) -- U.S. forces are searching for a Marine who was missing on Wednesday after he bailed out of an aircraft that lost power during takeoff.
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps forces are involved in the search in the North Arabian Gulf. Two crewmen bailed out of the plane into the gulf at about 5:10 p.m. local time, but only one was recovered. The MV-22 Osprey they had been flying in had reportedly just taken off from the U.S.S. Malkin Island.
The pilot of the aircraft was able to regain control and land safely aboard the ship.
The incident is under investigation by the Navy and the Marine Corps.
iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- A popular high school exchange program between Russia and U.S. is coming to an end after Russia's Foreign Ministry pulled out of the deal as a result of conflicting student experiences.
Russian authorities cut off the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program, saying some students weren't protected and wanted to return them to their home country. Officials claimed that one teenager stayed in the U.S. and was "handed over" to a homosexual couple. The teen reportedly befriended the gay couple but had not been placed with the family, according to authorities.
Russia stated the incident violated their ban on adoptions to the U.S. and put the student in moral danger.
Still, experts disagree, citing the belief that the decision is the latest in the political standoff between the two nations.
The FLEX program started more than two decades ago following the Cold War, created in part as a means to build bridges between Americans and former Soviet countries. An estimated 8,000 Russians traveled to the U.S. for year-long homestays, living with an American family and studying at an area high school.
"These young Russians have served as cultural ambassadors, representing the best of Russia, to millions of Americans throughout all 50 states," U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft said in a statement. "...We deeply regret this decision by the Russian government to end a program that for 21 years has built deep and strong connections between the people of Russia and the United States."
Ida Astute/ABC News(ROME) -- The murder trial of Amanda Knox will reach Italy's highest court in March, almost eight years after she and her Italian ex-boyfriend were first found guilty of killing British student Meredith Kercher.
Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were first found guilty of the murder in 2007 and sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively. They were then acquitted on appeal in 2011 after four years behind bars.
Last January, another trial in Florence, Italy found them guilty.
Italy's high court could either uphold the Florence verdict or order yet another retrial.
If the verdict is upheld, Italy will likely attempt to extradite Knox, now 27, from the U.S. to carry out her prison sentence in Italy.
The latest trial will be heard in Rome starting on March 25.
Thomas Campean/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- Protesters in Hong Kong vowed to ramp up their efforts, possibly including the occupation of government buildings, if the territory’s leader doesn’t resign by the end of Thursday, protest leaders told ABC News.
Student leaders of the pro-democracy protests say they’re willing to speak with government officials, but not Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
Wednesday marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Hong Kong’s leader attended National Day celebrations, including a flag-raising ceremony. Protesters watched from behind police barricades, yelling at him to step down.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The Duchess of Cambridge was forced to cancel another event at a London primary school Wednesday morning as she continues to suffer from the effects of hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare but extreme form of morning sickness.
Kate’s pregnancy, her second with husband Prince William, was announced by the Palace last month after Kate was unable to travel to an event with William due to her condition.
Kate was scheduled Wednesday to attend the opening of a new location of The Art Room, a charity of which she is a Royal Patron.
"I am truly sorry that I cannot be with you all today as you celebrate this milestone. As Patron of The Art Room I feel great pride to see the work that the charity is doing,” Kate said in a statement released by the Palace.
The Palace did not provide on an update on Kate’s condition but said in the same statement, “The decision to undertake engagements is being kept under review on a case by case basis.”
Last weekend, Kate was forced to cancel a visit to Malta on behalf of Her Majesty, the Queen. It was to have been Kate’s first solo, foreign royal tour. Prince William went to Malta in her place and later traveled to Gloucestershire without his wife to attend the wedding of a longtime family friend.
The Duchess, who is being treated by doctors at Kensington Palace, has not been seen in public since her pregnancy was announced on Sept. 8.
News of Middleton’s first pregnancy, with son Prince George, broke in December 2012 when she was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London with hyperemesis gravidarum. She gave birth to George, now 1, the following July.
It is believed Kate is about 10-12 weeks along in her pregnancy.
It remains unclear when Kate may return to Royal duties.
J.P. Humbert Auctioneers(LONDON) -- A notoriously violent inmate serving a life prison sentence -- much of it in solitary confinement -- is now selling almost 200 pieces of his artwork, a collection that an auctioneer claims "displays sensitivity" and "kindness."
Charles Salvador, best-known under the name Charles Bronson, has been called “Britain’s most violent prisoner." Born Michael Peterson in 1952, Salvador has spent most of his adult life in prison, where he became famous for fighting both prison guards and fellow inmates, often attacking several men at a time.
Although he has never killed anyone, Salvador's repeated violent behavior over the years, including taking prison workers hostage, resulted in a life sentence. He first went to jail as a 22-year-old for robbing a post office of roughly $40.
Now, as the 61-year-old Salvador announces the adoption of a new, non-violent identity, he has asked his family to sell his old artwork and effects, including drawings, music, photographs,and even clippings of his beard.
Jonathan Humbert, the auctioneer dealing Salvador’s work, said that despite his violent reputation, Salvador’s art is surprisingly complex.
“His artwork displays sensitivity, empathy, kindness, and humor that you wouldn't associate with a man of his fearsome reputation,” Humbert told ABC News.
Salvador announced in a hand-written letter in August that he would cast off the persona of Charles Bronson, the name he’d been using since 1987, and renounce the violence for which he’d been known for so long.
“It’s non-violent all the way,” he wrote. “It’s a peaceful journey from here on."
As part of his new identity, he asked his family to sell all of the artwork associated with his old name, said Humbert. The collection is being offered by his mother Eira Peterson, 85, and other family members. An undisclosed portion of the proceeds will go to the UK-based Brain Tumour Charity and Keech Cottage Hospice in Luton, Salvador's childhood hometown.
“Despite spending some 38 years in jail, much of it in solitary confinement, his art is very intelligent,” Humbert said. “The human condition still shines through. He still retains a sense of humor.”
Three pieces of Salvador's art at a previous auction each sold for around £1,000 (approximately $1,600).
iStock/Thinkstock(HONG KONG) -- Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong continued Wednesday despite the Chinese government blocking social media websites, including Facebook and Instagram in mainland China and cell phone networks getting overloaded in the protest area, the central business district.
How do thousands of protesters communicate with the rest of China and the world if they can't use those websites or even get a cell phone or Wi-Fi signal?
"Using chats," said Ryan Ashton in Hong Kong reached by ABC News through the mobile app "FireChat," which has been gaining considerable traction in the past few days. On Sunday alone, 100,000 new sign-ups from Hong Kong were registered on the mobile app, which uses a "mesh network" in which each individual cell phone acts as a mini-transmitter using a Bluetooth signal.
It all started when Joshua Wong, a young protester with thousands of followers on social media, urged people to use the app. "Police will cut off [cellular] network[s]," he wrote in Chinese on Facebook. "Please go to the AppStore or PlayStore installation and download FireChat."
While protesters can still use Twitter and WhatsApp when they have a cell or Wi-Fi connection, many say FireChat works best because it requires only a Bluetooth connection.
"When you're right in the crowd the cell networks get overloaded so it's difficult to use," Ashton said. Joining the conversation with ABC News, another FireChat user based in Hong Kong called "UDI" said the tool was useful because it had a "nearby" function enabling communication with people in the same vicinity.
Chats are organized by theme and you can see everyone's location.
The app, launched in March, is owned by a San Francisco-based startup called Open Garden. The app recently gained popularity in Brazil, Spain, Taiwan and Iraq.
One problem with FireChat is that all messages are public. Staff at Open Garden have warned users about this and urged them to use pseudonyms.
"We hope FireChat will serve you well," Open Garden wrote in a Facebook post. "Please remember messages are not encrypted at this point. Please be cautious about what you say and do not use your real name."