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In brief: Royal invitations to 1,900 in mail

Sun., Feb. 20, 2011

London – Keep an eye on the mailbox – Britain’s Prince William and bride-to-be Kate Middleton have posted out invites to their hotly anticipated royal wedding to about 1,900 guests, officials said today.

St. James’s Palace said military personnel and charity workers will mingle with European royalty, diplomats and the family and friends of the couple at the Westminster Abbey ceremony on April 29.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh will lead a group of 50 members of the British royal family at the wedding, while around 40 representatives of foreign royal families – likely to include dignitaries from Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Greece – will also attend.

It isn’t yet known whether celebrities including singer Elton John – a friend of William’s mother Diana, the Princess of Wales – or Kanye West, a favorite of the prince who performed at a 2007 tribute concert for his mother, are among those who’ll receive a prized invite.

Royal officials declined to confirm reports that William’s aunt, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, won’t be invited.

Payday attack leaves eight dead

Kabul, Afghanistan – Gunmen wearing explosives vests stormed a bank in eastern Afghanistan Saturday as government employees were waiting to be paid, killing at least eight people and wounding scores of others in a standoff punctuated by deadly explosions.

At least 48 people were being treated in the main hospital in Jalalabad, the site of the attack, hours after the midday siege of the Kabul Bank branch, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary. Others had already been discharged. He said seven of the dead were Afghan police officers. Three others were also killed, he said, but investigators were trying to determine if two of them were the suicide attackers.

In sign of change, Islamic party OK’d

Cairo, Egypt – A moderate Islamic party outlawed for 15 years was granted official recognition Saturday by an Egyptian court in a sign of increasing political openness after the fall of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

Al-Wasat Al-Jadid, or the New Center, was founded in 1996 by activists who split off from the conservative Muslim Brotherhood and sought to create a political movement promoting a tolerant version of Islam with liberal tendencies. Its attempts to register as an official party were rejected four times since then, most recently in 2009.

The founder of the newly recognized party, Abu al-Ila Madi, said Saturday’s ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court was “a positive fruit of the Jan. 25 revolution of the freedom generation.”


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