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Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) -- The renovations undertaken by Prince Harry and Meghan to turn Frogmore Cottage into their family home came at a price of 2.4 million pounds, or about $3 million, for British taxpayers, according to new figures released by the Royal Household.

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, moved into the home on the grounds of Windsor Castle estate earlier this year, ahead of the birth in May of their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Frogmore Cottage was given to the couple by Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, last year as their official residence. The 18th century home was previously five separate residences used by royal staff and had not been fully inhabited in for several years.

The complete overhaul of Frogmore Cottage to become the Sussex's family home included installing new ceiling beams and floor joists, total internal rewiring, the establishment of new gas and water mains and the installation of a new environmentally-friendly heating system.

The total cost of the renovation project could be even more than the $3 million bill footed by taxpayers. Anything done inside the house, like furniture and decorations, would have been paid for by Harry and Meghan.

The couple relied on the expertise of interior designers Vicky Charles and Julia Corden, a guest at Harry and Meghan's wedding, who own their own firm, Charles & Co., headquartered in New York City, according to ABC News royal contributor Omid Scobie.

The public renovation costs for Frogmore Cottage were detailed in the Sovereign Grant Report, the annual financial statement published by the Royal Household. The report, released Tuesday, covers the financial year 2018-2019.

Here are the biggest takeaways:

How much does the British royal family cost?

The queen is funded, in part, by the British public through a sum of money allocated annually by the British government known as the Sovereign Grant.

Each British tax payer is paying £1.24, or $1.58, to keep the queen in the style to which she has become accustomed, according to this year's Sovereign Grant Report. That means that the British government handed over £82.2 million ($104 million) to the Royal Household.

What is the Sovereign Grant and what is it used for?

The Sovereign Grant supports Queen Elizabeth as she carries out her official duties as the Head of State and the Head of the Nation.

This money is used by the Royal Household to cover the costs of their communications teams (now including the newly-formed Sussex team), official travel for the royal family and the maintenance of occupied royal palaces like Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Clarence House, Marlborough House Mews, the residential and office areas of Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle and the buildings in the Home and Great Parks at Windsor, and Hampton Court Mews and Paddocks.

It is managed by the financial secretary to the queen, also known as the Keeper of the Privy Purse, who is currently Sir Michael Stevens.

What are the big spends?

The Sovereign Grants for 2018-2019 and 2017-2018 are substantially higher than previous years as they contain a contribution for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace -- £32.9 million, nearly $42 million, has been set aside for this year.

A government-sponsored report from 2016 found that “the Palace's electrical cabling, plumbing and heating have not been updated since the 1950s. The building's infrastructure is in urgent need of a complete overhaul to prevent long-term damage to the building and its contents.”

Therefore, a certain amount of money has been allocated to these much-needed renovations that will take at least a decade to complete. This re-servicing is being done in phases with certain areas of the palace off limits while the repairs are taking place. This was apparently why President Donald Trump and his family couldn’t stay in Buckingham Palace during their recent state visit.

Another figure in the Sovereign Grant Report that may cause some controversy is the cost of the royal train, £109,684, or approximately $140,000, for five journeys inside the United Kingdom.

Advisers to the royal family justify the expense, saying the train also acts as a secure form of accommodation for members of the royal family when they’re travelling.

Where else does the queen’s money come from?

The Sovereign Grant only pays for a portion of maintaining the monarch. The queen has two other sources of revenue: the Duchy of Lancaster and her own personal income.

"The Duchy of Lancaster is a portfolio of land, property and assets held in trust for the Sovereign in his/her role as Sovereign," according to the royal family's website. "Its main purpose is to provide an independent source of income, and is used mainly to pay for official expenditure not met by the Sovereign Grant (primarily to meet expenses incurred by other members of the Royal Family).”

The queen also personally owns the Balmoral and Sandringham Estates, which were both inherited from her father. Any revenue coming from them will be used for personal expenses.

Similarly, she has a personal investment portfolio that she can use as she sees fit.

Queen Elizabeth has a net worth of £370 million, roughly $470 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, which ranks the fortunes of Britain’s wealthy.

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JeanUrsula/iStock(BEIRUT) -- In June 2018, the future seemed a little brighter for Saudi Arabian women. Home to one of the most repressive societies on earth, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was finally taking steps to lift the ban that had prevented women from driving. At last, women would be free from the need to rely on males for their basic ability to move around.

A staunchly conservative and religiously orthodox country, Saudi Arabia embraces and enforces a strict, all-encompassing version of Islam called Wahhabism. The laws of the religion are one and the same as the laws of the state. Gender segregation rules are strictly observed and the idea of a woman behind the wheel, driving herself wherever she chooses with no man accompanying her, was seen by many as scandalous, even sacrilegious.

Eliminating gender-based driving restrictions was an earth-shattering change that gave hope to millions of Saudi women.

The lifting of the driving ban was presented in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (commonly referred to by his nickname, MBS) as part of a sweeping initiative to modernize and diversify the economy away from a heavy reliance on oil. In order to attract foreign investment, the idea was to align some part of Saudi society with the rest of the world. It was hailed by Saudi rulers and much of the rest of the world as a great feminist leap forward.

In just the first seven months after the ban was lifted, as many as 40,000 women were issued driving licenses, according to Saudi Arabia's traffic department.

But apart from driving, what else has changed for Saudi women?

"There are two stories here, two narratives," Madawi Al-Rasheed told ABC News. She is a Saudi Arabian scholar and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

"The first one is that MBS is the greatest thing that has ever happened to Saudi Arabia, especially to women," she said.

Some of the laws governing segregation have been loosened, so now it is possible to see women and men attending sporting events and concerts together. Women are also allowed a voice in public discussion and can be found speaking at press conferences and addressing symposiums.

"Yet, there is another story," Al-Rasheed said. "It is one that says his reforms are being planned by the privileged classes only to serve the privileged classes. There is a greater opening of the public sphere for women but the changes don't come with legitimate rights."

Saudi Arabia's restrictive guardianship system ensures that men still have ultimate control over most aspects of women's lives. Part legal requirement, part custom, Saudi women are dependent upon their male guardians, whether they are fathers, husbands, brothers or even sons. These men have the power to make a range of critical decisions on her behalf for her entire life.

"Women still need permission from their male guardians in two main areas," Al-Rasheed said. "When they want to marry or when they want to get a passport to leave the country."

A few countries in the Middle East still retain some elements of the male guardianship system, although nowhere is as far reaching and restrictive in terms of laws and regulations as Saudi Arabia's.

"The Saudi state essentially treats women as permanent legal minors. Saudi Arabia has done very little to end the system, which remains the most significant impediment to women's rights in the country," as detailed in a report by Human Rights Watch.

According to Dana Ahmed, a Middle East and Gulf researcher for Amnesty International, the inherent control of male family members over almost all aspects of women's lives makes it incredibly difficult for females to seek protection or obtain legal redress if they become victims in their own homes.

"Women in Saudi Arabia remain inadequately protected against domestic violence and abuse and more generally are discriminated against in large part as a result of the male guardianship system," Ahmed told ABC News. "Women who attempt to flee an abusive spouse or family can be arrested and returned to their families."

The situation for Saudi Arabia's civil society and human rights community, including women's rights activists, has deteriorated markedly this past year, including "the torture and sexual abuse of human rights defenders" who have been detained by authorities, she said.

"Today, several women activists are being tried for their human rights work on bogus charges and risk lengthy prison sentences," she noted.

While state reforms have been welcomed by most Saudis, two-thirds of whom are under the age of 30, human rights activists are concerned that even these small nods to a liberal lifestyle could be easily curtailed again at a moment's notice.

"There is no political change happening in Saudi Arabia that will benefit all members of society," Al-Rahseed said. "Execution, even crucifixion, takes place all the time and can be decided at the whim of a judge. There is no independent judiciary, no separation of powers. The judges are appointed by the king."

Indeed, just weeks before lifting the law, the Saudi government initiated a crackdown against women's rights campaigners and arrested more than a dozen activists, including some of the very women who led the petition for the right to drive.

"Authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia's bravest women activists, instead of including them in the country's reforms agenda," Ahmed told ABC News. "By targeting them, they are signaling to their entire people that there will be zero tolerance of any form of criticism, let alone questioning, of the state's authoritarian practices."

As recently as March 11, prominent female activists, including Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan, and Aziza al-Yousef were brought to trial before the Criminal Court in Riyadh. Ahmed said the court session was closed and diplomats and journalists were banned from attending. Several women activists have been charged with the crimes of contacting foreign media and reaching out to other activists and international organizations including Amnesty International.

Following the court session, Ahmed said, several of the jailed women were temporarily and provisionally released. However, they continue to face trial and remain at risk of being sentenced to prison terms.

"Releasing these women from detention is not enough," Ahmed said. "Saudi authorities must drop all charges against them."

This past spring, a planned "public decency" law seeking to uphold "values and principles" was approved by the Saudi cabinet, although it has not yet been announced when it will go into effect. Aspects of the new measures are intended to curb behaviors such as dressing disrespectfully, including men wearing shorts, avoiding taking photos or using phrases that might offend.

"The main problem in Saudi Arabia is that both men and women are not represented in government, they are denied basic human rights," Al-Rasheed said. "They can be detained and thrown in prison for no reason at all. Emancipation in a dictatorship is impossible."

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Monday announced new "hard-hitting" sanctions on Iran, including on the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump signed an executive order imposing additional sanctions on Iran late Monday morning, as he promised to do on Friday after pulling back on a military strike against Iran for the shooting down of a U.S. military drone.

The president said the order, which also targets other senior leaders of Iran's regime, was prompted by a series of "aggressive behaviors" by the regime in recent weeks, including the drone shootdown.

 The president said the U.S. "does not seek conflict with Iran," but added that the sanctions "will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader's office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key resources and support."

"They've done many other things aside from the individual drone. You saw the tankers and we know of other things that were done also which were not good and not appropriate," Trump said. "The supreme leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime. He is respected within his country. His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments."

Last July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Khamenei has "his own personal, off-the-books hedge fund called the Setad, worth $95 billion, with a B."

"That wealth is untaxed, it is ill-gotten, and it is used as a slush fund for the IRGC," Pompeo said last summer. "The ayatollah fills his coffers by devouring whatever he wants."

"The assets of Ayatollah (Khamenei) and his office will not be spared by the sanctions," Trump said Monday. "We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous pursuits, including nuclear weapons, enrichment of uranium, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts against the United States and its allies."

 Trump once again called the Iran nuclear agreement "a disaster," complaining that it was "so short term" that within years Iran would be able to make nuclear weapons.

"That's unacceptable. Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon," he said.

The sanctions also target eight senior commanders of Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, known as the IRGC, which is suspected of carrying out multiple attacks in the Strait of Hormuz this month.

"I look forward to the day when sanctions can be finally lifted and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous and productive nation," Trump said. "I can only tell you we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon."

Trump signed the order in the Oval Office flanked by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence.

"I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us but that doesn’t mean we’re going to show it in the future," Trump said.

After signing the executive order, Trump said he would "love" to negotiate a deal with Iran "if they want to" but said if Iran does not want to, "that’s fine, too."

Asked whether the sanctions are in direct response to Iran shooting down the U.S. drone last week, Trump said "probably," adding, "this is basically something that was going to happen anyway."

"My only message is that he has the potential to have a great country and quickly, very quickly. And I think they should do that rather than going along this very destructive path," Trump said. "We can't let them have a nuclear weapon. He said he doesn't want nuclear weapons. A great thing to say but a lot of things have been said over the years and turns out not to be so."

After Trump spoke, Mnuchin appeared in the White House briefing room and said the sanctions would also hit the commander of Iran's air force, who he said is responsible for the shooting down of the unmanned, U.S. surveillance aircraft last week. He said the sanctions would affect multiple other top officials in Iran's "chain of command" and would lock up billions more in Iranian assets.

He defended sanctions against Iran as "highly effective" and said that while sanctions were already in the works, additional measures were added after recent attacks by Tehran. He signaled that Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif would also face additional sanctions later this week.

Mnuchin was asked if the new sanctions indicate that the Iranian strike of a U.S. military drone was, in fact, intentional.

"I wouldn't read anything into that," Mnuchin replied. "The executive order that the president signed was in the works previously. These actions are people who have either made threats or specific things and again I don't think you should interpret this anywhere otherwise other than we are designating people who we believe were responsible for the chain of command, whether they knew it or not."

The secretary defended the sanctions against criticism that they are largely symbolic and do not have any real teeth, especially after Iran's recent attacks on a U.S. drone and oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

"There is no question, these sanctions have been very effective in cutting off funds," Mnuchin said. "When we do sanctions, we do intelligence. We follow the money and it's highly effective."

"We have sanctions against bad behavior and there is no question that locking this money up worked last time, and there is no question locking the money works now," he said.

Trump tweeted earlier Monday that the United States is not being fairly compensated for protecting shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz and questioned the United States' role in providing security in the important maritime region.

 The Strait of Hormuz is one of the most important waterways in the world, as it is responsible for being the shipping gateway for 21 percent of global oil and petroleum products. But it has also been a hot spot for tensions between the United States and Iran. Last month, the Trump administration blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and then last week, Iranians shot down an American drone outside the narrow passageway in the Gulf of Oman.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Saudi Arabia on Monday and tweeted following a meeting with the Saudi King that they discussed "heightened tensions in the region and the need to promote maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz."

"The Supreme Leader’s Office has enriched itself at the expense of the Iranian people," Pompeo wrote in a statement shortly after Trump signed the executive order imposing the sanctions. "It sits atop a vast network of tyranny and corruption that deprives the Iranian people of the freedom and opportunity they deserve. Today’s action denies Iran’s leadership the financial resources to spread terror and oppress the Iranian people."

Pompeo noted that "the only path forward" is for Iran "to negotiate a comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of its destabilizing behaviors."

"Until it does, our campaign of diplomatic isolation and maximum economic pressure will continue," Pompeo pledged. "When the Iranian regime decides to forgo violence and meet our diplomacy with diplomacy, it knows how to reach us."

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Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The murder of Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi did not come up in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's meeting with the Saudi king on Monday, according to a senior State Department official.

It's the latest sign that the Trump administration has dropped the issue and tried to move past the brutal killing for the sake of what it says is a critical economic and security partnership.

President Donald Trump was dismissive on Friday of Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident who resided in Virginia, when he said that he did not raise a new United Nations report on the murder in his conversation with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Friday.

"I think it's been heavily investigated. ... By everybody," Trump told NBC News in an interview.

U.N. special investigator Agnes Callamard released a report on Wednesday that found Khashoggi's killing was perpetrated at the highest levels of the Saudi Arabian power structure and requires further investigation of Saudi leadership, including the crown prince.

Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last October -- an act that the Saudi government at first denied, then called a mistake and finally blamed on a rogue operation. The hit team has been on trial in Saudi Arabia, although Callamard's report criticized that judicial process as lacking transparency.

Pompeo met both the crown prince and his father King Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Monday. In a brief 15-minute meeting, Khashoggi's killing and other human rights abuses in the country did not come up, according to the senior official, who said they did not know whether it was raised in Pompeo's one-on-one meeting with the crown prince, who is sometimes referred to by his initials "MBS." A readout of both meetings by the State Department spokesperson also made no mention of Khashoggi or broader human rights abuses.

Those abuses were well documented in two State Department reports released last week -- one on human trafficking and child soldiers and the other on international religious freedom. Both reports labeled Saudi Arabia as among the worst offenders on these issues.

Pompeo, who has consistently defended the Saudi leadership and said that the U.S. has to continue to investigate Khashoggi's killing, was traveling to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Monday to bolster both partners against the threat from Iran.

Both he and Trump have made clear that the Saudis are critical strategic partners against Iranian activity in the region, including as a customer of U.S. arms.

"Saudi Arabia is a big buyer of America product. That means something to me. It's a big producer of jobs," Trump said.

He denied giving the Saudis a pass on "bad behavior," but argued it was nothing out of the ordinary.

"This is a vicious, hostile place. If you're going to look at Saudi Arabia, look at Iran, look at other countries," he said.

The only difference, he suggested, was that they purchase U.S. weapons: "I only say they spend $400 to $450 billion over a period of time -- all money, all jobs, buying equipment ... Take their money."

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Jetlinerimages/iStock(TORONTO) -- A sleeping passenger was left on board an Air Canada flight earlier this month hours after the plane had landed and the crew disembarked.

Tiffani O'Brien, of Ontario, Canada, said she fell asleep in an empty row of seats on her short flight home from Quebec City to Toronto. She awoke hours later around midnight still strapped to her seat and all alone on a cold, dark plane.

"It was completely pitch black," O'Brien said in an interview Monday with CTV News. "I thought, 'This is a nightmare, this is not happening!'"

O'Brien said she texted her friend, Deanna Dale, who drove her to the airport in Quebec City earlier that day. Dale told CTV News she called customer service at Toronto Pearson International Airport to tell them her friend was trapped on the plane.

But then O'Brien's phone lost battery power and a "sheer sense of hopelessness" came over her, she told CTV News.

As panic began to set in, O'Brien said she entered the cockpit to search for something, anything that might help. She found a flashlight and turned it on, directing the light out of the windows of the plane in hopes someone would see it.

She then used the flashlight to find the main door of the plane and managed to get it open, but the drop to the tarmac below was too steep.

So she sat in the opening with her legs dangling out and flashed the light on the side of the plane to create a reflection, hoping it would catch someone's attention in the distance.

Eventually, a grounds crewman driving a luggage cart spotted her and helped her down.

O'Brien recounted the incident in a June 19 post shared by Dale on Air Canada's official Facebook page.

"I haven’t got much sleep since the reoccurring night terrors and waking up anxious and afraid I’m alone locked up someplace dark," O'Brien wrote.

An Air Canada spokesperson confirmed the incident to ABC News and said the airline is investigating.

"This customer was left on our aircraft after the flight," the spokesperson said in a statement Sunday. "We are still reviewing this matter so I have no additional details to share, but we have followed up with the customer and remain in contact with her."

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deeltijdgod/iStock(NEW DELHI) — The bodies of seven climbers who went missing in the Himalayas within India last month have been recovered, officials said.

A search team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police retrieved the bodies on Sunday at an altitude of 5,800 meters (about 19,000 feet) to the base camp, according to Vijay Jogdande, an administrator of northern India's Uttarakhand state. It will take two to three days to return them to base camp.

The bodies have not yet been identified, but Jogdande told ABC News that a woman and an Indian man were among them.

The search for the missing eighth climber continues, Jogdande added.

The eight-member group, led by British mountaineer Martin Moran, set out on May 13 to attempt to summit a previously unclimbed, unnamed eastern peak on Nanda Devi, the second-highest mountain in India, part of the Garhwal Himalayas.

Moran's Scotland-based company, Moran Mountain, said its last communication with the team was on May 24. They were supposed to return to base camp two days later, but never did. There had been avalanches in the region.

The group was composed of four Britons, two Americans, an Australian and a man from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, a national body, according to Pithoragarh Additional District Magistrate R.D. Paliwal.

An official with the U.S. Department of State said they are "aware of reports of a recovery option underway" for the two Americans and the other climbers, but referred ABC News to local authorities for further questions.

Local authorities weren't alerted of the party's absence until May 31. A search team in helicopters spotted five bodies and several empty red tents June 3.

It has been a particularly deadly season for climbers in the Himalayas this year, especially on the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest, where short windows of safe climbing weather on the Nepal side paired with crowds and inexperienced adventurers have contributed to numerous deaths.

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Christopher Furlong/Getty Images(LONDON) -- There is a peculiarly British phrase for all those things that split opinions to the extent that no one, no matter how indifferent, has to pick a side.

Named after a particularly divisive condiment to spread on your breakfast toast, the saying goes: “It’s like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it.”

Boris Johnson, the Conservative lawmaker who is the overwhelming favorite to replace Theresa May as United Kingdom's prime minister, is without a doubt the “Marmite” candidate in the current leadership race.

Johnson has only one more candidate to beat, the comparatively less colorful lawmaker Jeremy Hunt, when around 160,000 Conservative members vote for the next leader some time at the end of July.

Here’s everything you need to know about Johnson, who, if the latest polling is to be believed, should beat his only rival left standing Jeremy Hunt, to walk into Number 10 Downing Street after the vote.


After being educated at the elite boarding school Eton College and the University of Oxford, where he was a contemporary of former prime minister David Cameron, Boris de Pfeffel Johnson became a political journalist after graduating in the late 1980s.

He became a prominent political journalist in the 1990s, mainly for his work at the Times of London and Daily Telegraph newspapers. While at the Telegraph he served as a Brussels correspondent between 1989 and 1994, where he is credited for creating an atmosphere of the skepticism toward the European Union (EU) in British public life.

This phenomenon simmered beneath British politics for the next two decades, coming to the boil when the U.K. voted to leave the EU in 2016.

But it was in the late 1990s that Johnson burst into the public eye when he appeared on the satirical panel TV show "Have I Got News For You."

His floppy blonde hair, sense of humor and bumbling persona made him an instantly recognizable public figure.

Yet controversy have followed Johnson wherever he has gone, mainly because he's been accused of having trouble telling the truth.

In 2001, he was elected as a member of Parliament for the Conservative Party. But three years later, he was sacked from as the Shadow Arts Minister for lying to the party leader about an extramarital affair.

Johnson returned to the front line of politics when he was elected mayor of London in 2008. During his first term as mayor, Johnson oversaw the capital’s responses to such key events as the 2011 London riots and the 2012 Olympics.

He was re-elected for a second term in office, proving himself as a charismatic and popular campaigner.

Johnson then led Vote Leave, the official campaign to leave the EU, during the 2016 Brexit referendum in one of the most divisive campaigns in U.K. political history. After the event, where Leave won by the margin of 52% to 48%, the campaign was later found guilty of breaching spending laws.


It is that controversy that makes him such a divisive political figure – loved by some, loathed by others. British newspapers are equally divided on whether to endorse his leadership of the country at such a crucial moment in history.

The Evening Standard has backed him as "the prime minister to turn Britain around,” while the Telegraph, which employed Johnson as a columnist, says he has “infectious optimism that his supporters hope will overwhelm the questions concerning character.”

The Times of London, meanwhile, recently described him as a “philanderer,” albeit one with “remarkable resilience.” It highlighted criticism leveled at Johnson over his personal life and allegedly racist comments in newspaper columns.

The newspaper also pointed to a major mistake during his time as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs over his handling of the case of a British-Iranian woman detained over spying charges in Iran. The woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, whom Johnson said was there to “teach journalism," remains in prison to date.

Abroad, his reputation is equally checkered. His time as a young journalist and his Brexit stance has won him few friends among EU leaders, whom he will have to engage with extensively if he became prime minister. However, he has received the endorsement of Donald Trump – crucial in the eyes of many in the Brexit camp, who see an improvement in US-UK ties as a key opportunity once it leaves the EU.

What to expect

Throughout his campaign to become leader of the Conservative Party, Johnson has maintained a hard line stance on Brexit. His position is unequivocal: the U.K. will leave the EU with or without a deal on the October 31, the new deadline for leaving after May failed to pass her Brexit deal through Parliament.

Yet, with most lawmakers intensely fearful of the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit, and his ability to turn his back on previous promises, it is impossible to predict what a Johnson premiership will truly look like.

But one thing’s for sure when it comes to Britain’s “Marmite” candidate: love him or hate him, he appears to be the candidate to beat.

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iStock(SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic) -- Dominican Republic Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia pushed back on reports of a pattern of suspicious deaths of American citizens Friday, as the U.S. State Department hiked the official number of Americans who have died there in the last year to 10.

The tourism minister said the number of Americans who have died in the Dominican Republic has actually decreased this year, and that over the last three years there was a 56% reduction in the number of U.S. tourist deaths in the DR.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department confirmed the death of Mark Hurlbut in the Dominican Republic in June 2018.

State Department officials also recently announced that Thomas Jerome "Jerry" Curran of Bedford, Ohio, died on Jan. 26, 2019, while traveling in the Dominican Republic with his wife, Janet.

Curran, a retired police officer, and Hurlbut join a list of eight other people who have died in the Dominican Republic in the last year, including Yvette Monique Sport, who died in June 2018; David Harrison, who died in July 2018; and Robert Wallace, Miranda Schaupp-Werner, Cynthia Day, Nathaniel Holmes and Joseph Allen, who all died this year.

“To say that an exaggerated number of Americans have died in the Dominican Republic, what some media have characterized as an avalanche of deaths, does not correspond with the reality that we are seeing today in the Dominican Republic,” Garcia said.

No link between the deaths has been established, and U.S. State Department officials say there has been no "uptick" in American deaths in the Caribbean country.

The attorney for Holmes and Day, the couple who was found dead in their Dominican Republic hotel room in May, responded to Garcia's press conference, saying, “We will let the facts and medical reports tell the story. The family continues to mourn the death of their love ones."

Dominican authorities have asked for the FBI's help in conducting toxicology analyses in the investigation into the deaths of Schaupp-Werner, Day and Holmes. Garcia did not release any new information about the cases, including toxicology reports that might shed light on the tourists' cause of death.

FBI officials have informed Dominican authorities that getting the results of the toxicology analyses could take up to 30 days, and it could be an additional two weeks until the results are released. Garcia said the reports so far have not been shared due to privacy concerns.

Speaking specifically about the case of Holmes and Day, Garcia said that because the Dominican Republic has "nothing to hide,” they asked the FBI to participate and to conduct an additional toxicity report.

Garcia said the Dominican Republic's tourism industry has been a “model” for the world because of its standards.

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Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- Thousands of protesters besieged police headquarters in Hong Kong Friday to demand the release of fellow protesters still in custody after last week's violent skirmish.

Protesters, many of them students from local universities, decided to escalate the protests after saying the government ignored their deadline on Thursday to respond to their demands.

The day began with a peaceful student sit-in at the Hong Kong government complex but soon escalated as thousands of masked protesters swelled the ranks.

They initially occupied roads then shifted their tactics by disrupting government offices in two districts before converging on the Hong Kong police headquarters, where they blocked and barricaded most of the entrances.

The protesters are frustrated with the government response to the much-reviled extradition bill that threatened to allow Hong Kong residents to be legally extradited to Mainland China.

The bill has precipitated one of the most serious political crises in the semi-autonomous region since it was returned to China in 1997.

The Hong Kong government indefinitely halted work on the bill last weekend and members of the government, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, have issued apologies. Still, protesters have called for her resignation.

They called for Lam to scrap the bill entirely and demanded to speak with police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-Chung to have him answer for what they believe was an excessive use of force by the police when they cleared protesters with

On Friday, some protesters pelted the exterior of wall of the police headquarters with eggs throughout the day. Despite the size of the crowd, there has been a light police presence for much of the day except for a few attempts by police negotiators to ask those demonstrating to disperse.

Police said on Twitter post that by 5:30 p.m. local, officers had been unable to respond to 43 neighborhood emergency calls because of the protests.

As at 1730 hours, a total of 43 '999' calls in Wanchai Division could not be immediately handled as the Police Headquarters was surrounded by protestors with roads obstructed in the vicinity.

— Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) June 21, 2019

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jessicaphoto/iStock(LONDON) — The conservation charity English Heritage has set up a virtual live stream from inside the monument of Stonehenge to mark the start of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

An estimated 10,000 people gathered to check out the sunrise from Stonehenge, according to police.

The Stonehenge Skyscape project allows viewers inside the stone circle to track the position of the sun from the break of day all the way through the night. After dark, the photographic depiction of the sky will be replaced by a computer-generated model, allowing viewers to see the exact location of the stars and planets in the night sky.

"Stonehenge was built to align with the sun, and to Neolithic people, the skies were arguably as important as the surrounding landscape," Susan Greaney, English heritage senior historian, said in a statement. "At solstice we remember the changing daylight hours, but the changing seasons, cycles of the Moon and movements of the sun are likely to have underpinned many practical and spiritual aspects of Neolithic life."

She added, "Stonehenge’s connection with the skies is a crucial part of understanding the monument today and we are really excited to share this view online with people all over the world."

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Richard Stonehouse - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Happy birthday Prince William!

The royal dad of three and second-in-line to the British throne is celebrating his 37th birthday Friday.

William is celebrating his birthday privately but his royal family members sent birthday wishes publicly in a series of Instagram posts.

Clarence House, home to William's dad, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, shared an adorable throwback photo.

The pic shows William and Charles playing in the garden of Kensington Palace where William lives today with Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

Kensington Palace shared a more recent photo of William with a caption thanking fans for the birthday wishes.

Sussex Royal, the Instagram account for William's brother, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, commented on the post, saying, "Happy Birthday to The Duke of Cambridge!"

The main royal family Instagram account -- which represents William's grandparents Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip -- also celebrated with a slideshow of photos of William.

William's birthday celebration comes just one week after he posed with his family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Colour, the official celebration of Queen Elizabeth's birthday.

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AlexeyPetrov/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has prohibited "all U.S. carriers and commercial operators" from flying over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, near Iran, in the wake of the country shooting down an unmanned drone early Thursday.

The FAA announced the decision, called a notice-to-airman, or NOTAM, alert, late Thursday.

"All flight operations in the overwater area of the Tehran Flight Information Region (FIR) (OIIX) above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman only are prohibited until further notice due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations and potential for miscalculation or mis-identification," the FAA said in a press release.

#FAA issued #NOTAM warning pilots that flights are not permitted in the overwater area of the Tehran Flight Information Region until further notice, due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions.

— The FAA (@FAANews) June 21, 2019

The NOTAM applies to all U.S. air carriers and commercial operators, but does not apply to U.S.-registered planes for foreign carriers.

Sources told ABC News President Donald Trump ordered a military strike on Iran late Thursday, but then reversed course after a plan was already underway.

Trump’s reason for changing course was unclear, but the reversal was against the advice of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Tensions were elevated to a new level on Thursday morning when Iran shot down an unarmed RQ-4A Global Hawk drone that the U.S. said was flying in international airspace over the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has taken issue with that categorization, saying the drone was flying over its airspace when it was downed.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- More people than ever knew the hardship of being displaced from their homes on this year's World Refugee Day, which took place Thursday.

According to a new report released by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, by the end of 2018 there were 70.8 million people forcibly displaced from their homes.

That figure represents more people than the population of Thailand, the 20th most populous country, according to U.N. figures from 2017.

It marks a dramatic increase in the number of forcibly displaced people over the past decade, jumping from 43.3 million in 2009 to 70.8 million in 2018.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres posted on Instagram that "my thoughts are with the more than 70 million women, children and men - refugees and internally displaced persons - who have been forced to flee war, conflict and persecution."

"Their courage and resilience is an example to us all. I want to recognize the humanity of countries that host refugees even as they struggle with their own economic challenges and security concerns. It is regrettable that their example is not followed by all," Guterres wrote in his post.

The U.N. report, published Wednesday, attributes "most of this increase" to the Syrian conflict, but said that other conflicts in Iraq, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Myanmar were also factors.

The historically high number of displaced people in 2018 includes 13.6 million who were newly displaced as a result of conflict or persecution in 2018, the U.N.'s Global Trends report states.

All told, the estimated figures break down to 37,000 new displacements every day in 2018, or 25 people forced to flee every minute, the report states.

"What we are seeing in these figures is further confirmation of a longer-term rising trend in the number of people needing safety from war, conflict and persecution," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi is quoted as saying in the report.

The regions with the largest number of fleeing refugees unsurprisingly correspond closely with ongoing conflicts. Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia are the five home countries with the highest number of refugees in 2018. Collectively, those countries represent 67 percent of all global refugees, the U.N.'s report states.

As a result of those fleeing refugees, neighboring countries -- like Turkey, Pakistan, Sudan and Uganda -- were among the top receivers of refugees in 2018. Germany was the lone member of the top five countries receiving large numbers of refugees that does not share a border with a country where people were displaced.

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U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said Thursday that the Iranian shootdown of an American drone may have not have been intentional, but a "mistake" by someone "stupid."

Trump spoke following a morning meeting with his top national security advisers after Iran, in what appeared to have been a major provocation, shot down what the U.S. military said was an unarmed and unmanned U.S. RQ-4A Global Hawk drone flying in international airspace over the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz.

Shortly before, Trump had tweeted that "Iran made a very big mistake" after a top Iranian commander warned Iran was "ready for war."

 When asked early afternoon whether the U.S. would strike back during an Oval Office meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said: "You'll soon find out."

But at the same time, he said, "I find it hard to believe it was intentional if you want to know the truth."

"It could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it," he said.

"I would imagine it was a general or somebody who made a mistake in shooting the drone down," Trump said. "Fortunately, that drone was unarmed. It was not -- there was no man in it, it was in international waters but we didn't have a man or woman in the drone, we had nobody in the drone. Would have made a big, big difference."

"I have a feeling -- and I may be wrong and I may be right but I'm right a lot -- that it was a mistake made by somebody that shouldn't have been doing what they do," he said. "I think they made a mistake and I'm not just talking about the country made a mistake somebody under the command of the country made a mistake."

"It was a very foolish move," he said. Nevertheless, he said, "This country will not stand for it."

Iran continued to maintain that the American drone indeed violated its airspace and made no mention of Trump's suggestion the shootdown was a mistake.

Earlier, the president did not respond when ABC News asked him for a comment as he walked into the West Wing late Thursday morning. A White House official confirmed he was headed into a meeting with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Top congressional leaders were invited to an afternoon briefing in the White House Situation Room, a source said. Trump was expected to attend.

A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News that the U.S. Navy was working to recover the drone in a debris field the official said was located in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz. At a short, mid-day Pentagon briefing, a U.S. military official speaking from the region reiterated that the drone was shot down in international airspace.

The commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, said the American drone was flying over the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz on a surveillance mission near previous tanker attacks when it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired from a location in the vicinity of Goruk, Iran.

The Pentagon released a grainy video it said showed the shootdown.

Calling the strike an "unprovoked attack," Guastella said it was "an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of commerce." He said the drone was operating "at high-altitude approximately 34 kilometers from the nearest point of land on the Iranian coast" when it was shot down, falling into international waters.

The incident was sure to trigger serious discussions within the Trump administration about how to respond to a direct attack on a U.S. military asset that goes beyond recent attacks in the Middle East that the U.S. has blamed on Iran.

Mid-morning Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that President Trump has "been kept up to date" and was briefed both Thursday morning and Wednesday night. She said the White House would “keep in touch with members on the Hill.”

Top congressional leaders from both parties and chairs and ranking members of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees received a closed-door classified intelligence briefing from Trump administration officials at the Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that at least 20 of the top lawmakers on Capitol Hill were invited to attend the exclusive briefing.

“I think it's a dangerous situation,” Pelosi said. “We have to be strong and strategic about how we protect our interests. We also cannot be reckless in what we do. So, it would be interesting to see what they have to say, whether the - I don't think the President wants to go to war. there's no appetite for going to war in our country.”

A close ally of the president, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., when asked how the U.S. should respond, answered, "With firmness, and resolve. The only way Iran changes its behavior is that if they believe Americans will put options on the table that will create pain for the regime."

Graham said he had spoken with the president.

"I talked to him last night. He had a meeting last night. He believes that we're going into a we're getting into a bad space, that his options are running out, that he's not going to be intimidated to redo a nuclear deal. That was terrible. He's not going to relieve sanctions because the Iranians are worse than they been. The Iranian deal was to get them to change their behavior, the nuclear deal. They did everything but change their behavior," Graham told reporters.

"I think what President Trump believes is that this regime is spoiling for a fight but they understand how a conflict would end, it would end badly for them. He does want to try and get a better deal but not this way," he said.

There was a National Security Council meeting at the White House earlier Thursday morning to discuss Iran, an administration official said, which Shanahan and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford attended. Another NSC meeting was to take place Thursday afternoon, which U.S. officials said Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva and Pompeo would attend, officials said.

Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, offered a strongly worded threat to the U.S. after the drone was downed.

"Shooting down the American spy drone had a clear, decisive, firm and accurate message," he said, translated from Farsi. "The message is that the guardians of the borders of Islamic Iran will decisively respond to the violation of any stranger to this land. The only solution for the enemies is to respect the territorial integrity and national interests of Iran."

"We do not intend to engage in war with any country, but we are completely ready for the war. Today’s incident is a clear sign of this accurate message," Salami added.

Earlier, Iranian state media had quoted Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as saying it had downed the drone when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district north of the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted, "The US wages #EconomicTerrorism on Iran, has conducted covert action against us & now encroaches on our territory. We don't seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters. We'll take this new aggression to #UN & show that the US is lying about international waters."

After Trump spoke, Zarif tweeted specific information about Iran's claims.

"Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false," said CENTCOM spokesperson Navy Capt. Bill Urban in a statement on Thursday morning, before Zarif's most recent tweet. "This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace."

Urban said the RQ-4A Global Hawk, which "provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions," was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19.

The incident is not the first time in recent days that Iran has targeted an American drone off its coast.

Last Thursday, Iran attempted to shoot down an MQ-9 Reaper that was surveilling the attack on one of two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The United States has blamed Iran for being responsible for the attacks on the two tankers -- a claim Iran has denied.

"According to our assessment, a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile attempted to shoot down a U.S. MQ-9, at 6:45 a.m. local time, June 13, over the Gulf of Oman, to disrupt surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous," CENTCOM spokesperson Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement to ABC News on Saturday.

"Subsequent analysis indicates that this was a likely attempt to shoot down or otherwise disrupt the MQ-9 surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous," Brown said.

In early May, the Pentagon rushed the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a B-52 bomber task force to the Middle East to deter possible attacks by Iran or Iranian-backed groups on U.S. forces and U.S. interests in the region.

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Adam Berry/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Amid increased tensions between Iran and the U.S., Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the U.S. that a military conflict with Iran would be “catastrophe” and said that Iran was observing its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal.

Speaking during his annual phone-in event, Putin said that he was concerned by the shooting down of an American drone by Iran this week and worried that the U.S. had no ruled out using military force against Tehran in the ongoing crisis between the two countries.

“I will say it straight, it would be a catastrophe, at a minimum for the region,” Putin said, adding it could lead to a new mass exodus of refugees.

The Russian leader also said that he believed Iran was still complying with its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal agreed with the U.S. under the Obama administration. In the past week, Iran has threatened to increase its enriched uranium stockpile beyond limits set by the deal, in a bid to force European countries to help it manage sanctions re-imposed after the the U.S. withdrew from the agreement.

Russia is also a party to the deal and, like the other European countries, supports its continuation, provided Iran remains compliant.

The comments came as Putin answered dozens of questions during the “Direct Line” show, a marathon telethon where the he takes questions from ordinary people and that has become an annual fixture of Putin’s rule. This year, state television said it had received 1.5 million questions from Russians. The event went on for more than 4 hours.

In previous years, Russians have asked Putin to help with fixing pot-holed roads, getting pension back-payments to choosing a new puppy. A response from the president on television can cause regional officials, worried about embarrassing the president, to leap into action.

This year, the questions -- and Putin’s prepped answers -- focused on everyday difficulties, with the president signalling he understood Russia’s economy was struggling and that increasing growth ought to be the country’s top priority.

Putin blamed some of the problems on Western sanctions, saying they had cost Russia $50 billion and claimed that the country’s economy was beginning to grow again.

Putin said his focus was putting the economy “on new rails” and wanted to use large national projects to achieve that.

The heavily choreographed show is the embodiment of the system and the image Putin has sought to cultivate in his two decades in power: one founded on the idea that only he is capable of solving Russians’ problems, big or small.

It also plays on a much older Russian tradition, of ordinary people petitioning the tsar to solve their problems.

One such demonstration this year came when Putin announced that two orca and six beluga whales had been released from a so-called “whale jail” in Russia’s far east. Dozens of whales were being held in unsanitary conditions in tanks by poachers who intended to illegally sell them. The case has attracted global attention but had also been notable for authorities’ seeming inability to solve it, even after the Kremlin signalled the animals should be released.

Putin also seemed to make a careful acknowledgment of the existence of popular anger that has sparked up in recently in a series of largely local issue protests that have captured wide attention on the Russian internet. Last month, there have been unusual protests in several towns near Moscow over plans to divert the city’s garbage there and in June authorities were forced to make a rare reversal in dropping charges against a prominent investigative journalist, who police had tried to crudely frame by planting drugs on him.

Putin made reference to both and other high profile incidents, acknowledging the problem but downplayed them, saying of the garbage that it was a long-time problem, and noting it was partly because Russia was now a “consumer society.”

In a carefully calibrated moment, Putin was asked what was he ashamed of. He replied by telling a story from his travels in the early years of his presidency when he met an elderly woman, who he said had fallen to her knees in front of him and handed him a paper petition.

Putin said he had given the paper to an aide, but it had later been lost. “I will never forget it, and I am ashamed about it now,” Putin said, his voice shaking. He said he tried to resolve any problems that Russians asked him.

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