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Kate Middleton's Dress Came from a Romanian Sweatshop

© unknown
Kate Middleton, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as she is now known, speaks to Michelle Obama wearing a Reoss dress stitched by women earning a little over $1 an hour.

  • Outfit costs $270 but made for less than $23
  • Seamstresses earn just $1.54 per hour
  • Dress now advertised on eBay for $926
Costing £175 ($270) on the high street, it helped Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, outshine America's First Lady.

But the Reiss dress (left) that made such an impression when the pair met last week was produced by women paid only 99p an hour in a poor suburb of the Romanian capital, Bucharest.

The camel-coloured "Shola" design was made for less than $23 by seamstresses earning $1.54 an hour less than the average salary for textile workers in the eastern European nation.

British fashion chain Reiss is one of the Duchess's favourite brands. After she wore the dress to meet Barack and Michelle Obama, demand for it surged, causing the company's website to crash and the dress to sell out within 24 hours.

It has been advertised for $926 on eBay. Yesterday, Reiss said it would re-release the dress in five to six weeks.


Thailand Arrests American for Alleged King Insult

© Apichart Weerawong
In this Dec. 5, 2010 file photo, Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej is assisted while leaving Siriraj Hospital as he makes his way to the Grand Palace to attend a ceremony celebrating his 83rd birthday in Bangkok. Thai authorities said Friday, May 27, 2011, they arrested an American citizen on charges he insulted the country's monarchy by posting a link on his blog four years ago to a banned book about the Southeast Asian nation's ailing king.
Thai authorities said Friday they arrested an American citizen on charges he insulted the country's monarchy, in part by posting a link on his blog four years ago to a banned book about the Southeast Asian nation's ailing king.

The man is also suspected of translating, from English into Thai, portions of The King Never Smiles - an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej - and posting them online along with articles he wrote that allegedly defame the royal family, said Tharit Pengdith, who heads the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand's equivalent of the FBI.

The American has denied the charges, according to the Thai-language prachatai.com news website, which tracks cases of lese majeste, as the crime of insulting the monarchy is known.

The 54-year-old Thai-born man lived in the U.S. state of Colorado for around 30 years before returning recently to Thailand for treatment for high blood pressure and gout, the website said. If the allegations are true, the infractions would have been committed while he lived in America - where they are legal - raising concern about the reach of Thai law and how it is applied to Thai nationals and foreign visitors.

Tharit said the man's Thai name was Lerpong Wichaikhammat. Walter M. Braunohler, the U.S. Embassy spokesman in Bangkok, identified the American as Joe Gordon and said a consular officer visited him on Friday morning. He declined comment further, saying only that officials were following the case "very closely."


US: Grieving Mothers Adopt Life-like Dolls

© Agence France-Presse
'Reborn babies', dolls which are made to look just like real babies, are displayed at the reborn babies fair in Brentwood, east of London, in February 2011. Weighing five kilos, with perfectly combed hair and her eyes closed in sleep, Abby looks like a baby girl. But she is a doll, adopted by a grieving mother to help come to terms with the loss of a child
Weighing five kilos (11 pounds), with perfectly combed hair and eyes closed in sleep, Abby looks like a baby girl. But she is a doll, adopted by a grieving mother to help come to terms with the loss of a child.

"She reminds me of my daughter as an infant," said Eve Hasty, a 57-year-old American who bought Abby from a British company for 300 dollars (210 euros).

The retired driver who lives in Oklahoma lost her daughter to leukaemia when she only seven.

She has a surviving son in his 30s who has provided her with an eight-year-old granddaughter, but she finds the doll -- which she acquired in 2009, three decades after losing her daughter -- comforting.

"I just get a type of serenity about me when I hold her, I change her clothes," she told AFP.

Hasty has bought Abby a wardrobe full of outfits, including a tiny pair of Nike trainers that she could never have afforded to give her children.


Canada: 3 Men Shot in Kensington Market

© Google Street View
Police set up a command post at this building on Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market after a shooting nearby early Sunday morning.
Three men were shot early Sunday morning outside an after-hours club in Toronto's Kensington Market, police said.

Emergency personnel were dispatched to an area on Augusta Avenue near Denison Square around 4:30 a.m.

Paramedics said they took one person to hospital with a minor gunshot wound, but police later said three people had been shot and injured, all minor.

Patrons at the club were held on a transit bus for questioning but were subsequently let go, according to reports.

Police have made no arrests so far.

Augusta Avenue was closed from College Street south to Dundas Street as officers investigated. It was scheduled to be closed anyway for all of Sunday afternoon for the monthly Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington event.


Canada Post Union Readies Members for Possible Strike

© The Canadian Press
The postal union says several issues, including excessive workload, have not been addressed in seven months of negotiations.
The union representing Canada Post workers has told its members to prepare for a strike amid stalled negotiations with the Crown corporation.

However, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUP-W) says it did not plan to submit a 72-hour strike notice Sunday and said there will be no strike action on Wednesday.

The union's national committee said in a message on its website that it was meeting Sunday to "evaluate the situation" and to plan its next move.


Army Chief Highlights Suicide Risk

© msnbc.msn.com
Marking Memorial Day on Sunday, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli discussed the effect that 10 years of conflict in the Middle East has had on veterans of the armed forces, including the increased prevalence of suicide and post-conflict mental health disorders.

"We've been fighting for a decade, and I don't think we as a nation know the total effect of a decade of war," Chiarelli said on CNN's "State of the Union." "And I think that's what we're seeing."

Chiarelli said that the Army has seen 162 suicides in the last year out of a force of nearly three quarters of a million, but he declined to call it an "epidemic."

Comment: 'The total effect of a decade of war' has increased suicide among the armed forces, read the following articles for more information:

More U.S. Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010
Record High Army Suicides Prompt Action
Female Soldiers Face Sharp Suicide Risk
Suicide Syndrome: Are VA Protocols Behind Iraq Soldier Suicides?
Army To Report Rise In National Guard, Reserve Suicides
Soldier Suicides - Tragedy strikes at home
US Soldier's Tragic Suicide Just One of Dozens
Fort Hood, Army suicides hit record mark
Veterans Affairs chief labels vet suicide 'chronic problem'
Marine suicide rate up, prompting more prevention training

Life Preserver

Hundreds of Palestinians cross reopened Gaza-Egypt border

© Amr Nabil/AP
A Palestinian boy holds his father's passport at Egypt's Rafah crossing yesterday
Post-revolution move is hailed as 'first step towards breaking the siege', but Israel voices concerns

Egypt has opened its border with Gaza, letting Palestinians leave the blockaded territory, in a move seen as indicating a more supportive policy since February's revolution.

Hundreds of people laden with luggage gathered at the Rafah crossing in the south of Gaza before the border opened at 9am. Around 300 crossed in the first hours and officials said they expected up to 1,000 to leave Gaza by the end of the day. Women, children and men over the age of 40 will be permitted free travel from Gaza to Egypt, but men under 40 will be required to apply for and be granted a visa. A large proportion of Gaza's 1.5 million population is aged between 18 and 40.

The crossing will open for eight hours a day, six days a week. In the four years since Hamas took control of Gaza, 18 months after winning elections, and Israel imposed a stringent blockade, the Rafah border has opened intermittently and only students, businessmen and people needing medical treatment have been allowed through.


US: Unpublished Monroe Pics Found in Garage Sale

© Agence France-Presse
Marilyn Monroe
Never seen before photos of screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, found in a weekend garage sale about 30 years ago, have surfaced days before what would have been her 85th birthday.

Photographer Anton Fury found an envelope containing negatives of snaps of a young Monroe, while searching a weekend garage sale in Parsippany, New Jersey, in 1980.

They apparently were taken during a photo session sometime in 1950, before the Some Like It Hot star shot to fame, reported CNN. "I found an envelope of negatives, didn't know what they were, but I realized they were old," Fury said.

He paid USD 2 for the folder, which contained two envelopes of black-and-white negatives. "I took it home, put them on the lightboard with a loupe and, needless to say, these are Marilyn.


Belarus on the verge of default: Belorussians find creative ways to survive

© Reuters
Belarusian authorities have devaluated the Belarusian ruble by 55 percent. Some sources point to a panic in the capital city, with people frantically buying all kinds of goods. Negative political consequences are also possible.

I'm using my laptop, typing these lines while waiting in line in front of a filling station. Just about 300 meters to go, not much compared to what is happening elsewhere. Before midnight, unlike in the Cinderella story, our gas will turn not into pumpkin but into gold, as the filling prices will increase by 25 percent. In 90 minutes the dollar exchange rate will go up by 60 percent, and this considering that Petr Prokopovich, head of the National Bank of Belarus, swore on March 17 that there would be no devaluation for as long as he had his post.

My friends in Ukraine ask me how the Belarusians are feeling about Lukashenko's decision to trade Beltransgaz for a loan from Russia. I tell them there is no feeling, simply because the whole affair isn't public knowledge, save for a carefully edited news bulletin on Belarus' first government-run channel. We learned about the deal from Kudrin and Lazarev, with the hostess, sporting a pink blouse, happily announcing that Belarus would now receive a loan from Russia, that the end of the world had been postponed. The lady seemed to forget to inform that the privatization of Belarusian businesses, with Beltransgaz in the first place, cost three billion dollars. Now the only golden-egg-laying goose Belarus has is its potash company, along with less important businesses like refrigerator production, steelworks and a toy factory that specializes in orange crocodiles and pink elephants.


Canada: Man apologizes for killing daughter's boyfriend; victim's brother won't forgive

© Karl Kopan / The Canadian Press
Kim Walker is lead from court by RCMP officers in Yorkton, Sask. on Jan. 19, 2007.
A Saskatchewan man who said he wanted to save his daughter from a life of drugs apologized Friday for shooting her boyfriend, but the victim's family didn't accept Kim Walker's regrets.

"You will never fully understand what you have done and I will never forgive you for it," James Hayward's brother Dan said in a victim impact statement released outside court.

Portions of the statement were read at Walker's sentencing hearing. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ellen Gunn said she would decide his fate July 13.

Dan Hayward said his brother wasn't a monster or a saint.

"He was a 24-year-old man with problems, someone that made mistakes, just as many other people do in life," he said. "He never got the chance to straighten his life out because Kim Walker stole that chance from him."

Walker was convicted of manslaughter Thursday after being tried for a second time in Hayward's death. The 24-year-old was shot several times in his home in Yorkton, Sask., in March 2003.