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Former Russian spy released from British hospital after poisoning

Sergei Skripal, the ex-Russian spy who was poisoned with a nerve agent in the United Kingdom in March, was released from a hospital on Friday, the BBC reported.

>> Read more trending news

Skripal was found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury on March 4 along with his daughter, Yulia Skripal, after being exposed to Novichok, a nerve agent, CNN reported.

>> Daughter of ex-Russian spy released from hospital

Yulia Skripal, 33, was released from the hospital on April 9, the BBC reported.

A police officer was also exposed to Novichok and hospitalized, although officials with Salisbury District Hospital said he was released March 22.

Russian officials have denied playing any role in the attack.

Director of nursing Lorna Wilkinson told the BBC that "This is an important stage in (Sergei Skripal’s) recovery, which will now take place away from the hospital."

In 2006, Skripal, a former colonel, was jailed in Russia for 13 years for revealing the identities of Russian spies in Europe to British intelligence officers. In 2010 he was part of a prisoner swap between Moscow and the United States, the BBC reported.

Meghan Markle to walk alone down aisle, except for short stroll with Prince Charles

In a break with tradition, Meghan Markle will walk unescorted for part of her trip down the aisle when she marries Prince Harry on Saturday, CNN reported Friday.

>> Read more trending news

Markle will enter St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and walk with her bridesmaids until she meets Prince Charles at the Quire, where the royal family sits, CNN reported. The Prince -- Harry’s father -- will walk Markle to the foot of the altar but will not give her away. 

Prince Charles will then stand back as Markle approaches Prince Harry. CNN reported.

Earlier, Kensington Palace wrote in a tweet Friday that Charles would walk Markle down the aisle.

“Ms. Meghan Markle has asked His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to accompany her down the aisle,” the palace wrote in its tweet.

Charles will take the place of Markle’s father, who was unable to attend Saturday’s ceremony.  Thomas Markle originally was supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle, but underwent heart surgery on Wednesday.

>> Meghan Markle’s father has heart surgery

Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, landed in England on Wednesday and met with several members of the royal family. She is scheduled to have tea Friday with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Daily Mail reported.

Ragland, 61, was introduced to Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on Wednesday, as she was invited for tea at their London home, People reported. Ragland also met Prince William; Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Windsor; and their three children.

Who was Dee Dee Warwick? Singer accused of sexually abusing Whitney Houston

An upcoming documentary about the life of Whitney Houston is revealing new details about her upbringing. The star was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and the abuser was her cousin Dee Dee Warwick, another notable singer, according to filmmakers. 

» RELATED: Documentary: Whitney Houston was sexually abused by cousin Dee Dee Warwick

The movie entitled “Whitney,” which hits theaters in July, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Wednesday, and in a recent IndieWire interview, the director Kevin Macdonald talked about the sexual abuse allegations. 

“Gary the brother told me he was abused by Dee Dee,” he said. “So it’s not allegations. He’s saying I was abused by this person and told me, ‘I think she abused Whitney.’”

Want to know more Dee Dee Warwick? Here are five things you should know. 

She was born into a family of singers.

Born Delia Juanita Warrick, the singer was raised in Newark, New Jersey. She is the younger sister of Grammy-award winning singer Dionne Warwick, whose hits include “Walk On By” and “Say A Little Prayer.” 

In her teens, she began singing with her sister and their aunt Cissy, Whitney Houston’s mother, in church. They eventually became a gospel trio called Gospelaires and were recruited by a record producer after a performance at the Apollo Theater in New York. 

Warwick sang backup for Aretha Franklin and others.

As a teen, she sang for stars including Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and even her sister Dionne. She also sang solo. After leaving the gospel group, she recorded a version of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” which was later covered by Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Temptations and peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100. 

» RELATED: Rare footage shows Whitney Houston rehearsing 'I'm Your Baby Tonight'

She launched a solo career in her late teens. 

By the 1960s, she officially began to pursue solo endeavors. Her first recordings included songs such as “You’re No Good” and “I (Who Have Nothing).” In 1965, she signed a deal with Mercury Records and found success with the tunes “We’re Doing Fine,” “Foolish Fool” and “She Didn’t Know (She Kept on Talking).”

She also made some TV appearances. The starlet sang alongside her sister on NBC’s Hullabaloo and as a solo act on the TV show Shivaree. 

She was reportedly one of the first openly gay women in the music industry.

The Telegraph reported she was open about her sexuality. 

“Dee Dee was openly lesbian in the music industry,” one anonymous source close to the Warwick family told the publication. “Not necessarily in public, but I don’t think that was a secret within the music industry. And that was a detriment to her development also, because she didn’t hide it within the music industry. She didn’t.”

The singer battled with substance abuse. 

She battled drug addiction for much of her life, and in 2008, she died in a New Jersey nursing home at the age of 63. Her sister was reportedly by her side. 

» RELATED: Photos: Dionne Warwick through the years 

Royal wedding: How did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet?

American actress Meghan Markle and Britain’s Prince Harry are set to wed Saturday, almost two years after a mutual friend set them up on a blind date in London.

>> Read more trending news

Prince Harry told BBC News in November that he had never watched the show Markle is best known for, USA’s “Suits,” before he met the California-born actress in July 2016.

“I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her and there she was sitting there,” Prince Harry said. “I thought, I am really going to have to up my game here.”

>> Royal Wedding: Everything to know before Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle

Markle told BBC News that, as an American, she knew little about the prince before their first date.

“You know, because I’m from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family,” Markle said. “While I now understand very clearly there is a global interest there, I didn’t know much about him.”

She told the news network that she had only one question for the friend who set them up.

>> 5 American women who married royalty

“I said, ‘Well, is he nice?’ Because if he wasn’t kind, then it didn’t seem like it would make sense,” she said.

The prince told BBC News he convinced Markle to join him in Botswana a few weeks after their first meeting. For five days, the couple camped out under the stars.

"We were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other," Prince Harry told BBC News.

>> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: A relationship timeline

A whirlwind romance followed.

“The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was sort of confirmation to me that all the stars were aligned, everything was just perfect,” Prince Harry said. “It was this beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life.”

>> How to watch and stream the royal wedding (plus everything else on TV about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle)

Markle and the prince will marry Saturday in St. George’s Chapel at England’s Windsor Castle. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. EDT.

Royal wedding: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle announce bridal party

Prince George and Princess Charlotte are among the six bridesmaids and four pageboys who will accompany Meghan Markle and Prince Harry as they walk down the aisle Saturday in England, the royal family announced Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

Kensington Palace officials named the 10-person bridal party, made up entirely of children, who will attend the royal nuptials at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel.

The bridesmaids include 3-year-old Princess Charlotte, the daughter of Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton. The princess served as a flower girl last year when Kate’s sister, Pippa, got married.

>> Royal wedding: Who will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle?

Two of Prince Harry’s goddaughters were also announced as bridesmaids: 3-year-old Florence van Cutsem and 2-year-old Zalie Warren. Two of Markle’s goddaughters also made the list: 6-year-old Remi Litt and her sister, 7-year-old Rylan Litt, daughters of Benita and Darren Litt. Markle has previously called the girls her “fairy god-daughters,” Vanity Fair reported.

>> Royal Wedding: Everything to know before Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle

Ivy Mulroney, the 4-year-old daughter of Markle’s best friend, Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, and her husband, Ben, will also accompany the bride down the aisle. The Mulroney’s two sons, 7-year-old twins Brian and John, will serve as pageboys for Saturday’s festivities.

Prince George, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s eldest child, will also be a pageboy Saturday. He held the same role last year during Pippa Middleton’s wedding. Prince Harry’s godson, 6-year-old Jasper Dyer, was also named as a page boy.

>> Meghan Markle won't have a maid of honor at royal wedding

A spokesman for the royal family said earlier this month that Markle decided against having a maid of honor for her big day because she was wary of choosing favorites amongst her close-knit friend group, People reported.

>> Prince Harry asks Prince William to be best man at royal wedding to Meghan Markle

Prince Harry last month asked his brother to serve as his best man, seven years after he served as best man during Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton. Prince William accepted.

Royal wedding: Who will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle?

Spectators are asking who will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle Saturday after reports surfaced that her father, Thomas Markle, plans to skip the royal wedding amid a paparazzi photo scandal and health issues.

>> Read more trending news

Meghan Markle is set to marry Prince Harry on Saturday at St. George’s Chapel at England’s Windsor Castle. Kensington Palace officials previously announced that Thomas Markle would walk his daughter down the aisle, but his role in the wedding appeared to be in jeopardy after he admitted to celebrity news site TMZ that he was caught staging paparazzi photos. He told TMZ on Tuesday that he would not be able to attend the wedding due to scheduled surgery.

>> Meghan Markle's dad to have heart surgery, won't attend royal wedding after all, report says

If Thomas Markle skips the wedding, Meghan will most likely be walked down the aisle by her mother, Doria Ragland, The Telegraph reported, noting “who else could it be?” Kensington Palace officials previously announced that Ragland would accompany her daughter in the bridal car.

Ragland and Meghan Markle have a close relationship, with the younger woman naming her mother as one of the 10 women who changed her life in an article last year for Glamour magazine.

>> Meghan Markle in 'difficult situation,' palace says after report father will skip royal wedding

“My mom's a yoga instructor, but she does social work, as well, and she works specifically with the geriatric community. For me to watch this level of life-long sensitivity to nurturing and caregiving, but at the same time my mom has always been a free spirit,” Meghan Markle wrote. “We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I'll still find so much solace in her support. That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend.”

>>  Royal Wedding: Everything to know before Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle

Ragland isn’t the only one rumored to be in consideration to take Thomas Markle’s place Saturday. CNN reported that Meghan Markle’s future father-in-law, Prince Charles, and her future brother-in-law, Prince William, were also

in the running. People magazine noted that her future grandfather-in-law, Prince Philip, could also fill the role.

>> Who are Meghan Markle’s family members, Prince Harry’s future in-laws?

Thomas Markle told TMZ on Monday that he recently suffered a heart attack but that checked himself out of a hospital to attend the royal wedding. He said that after reports surfaced about his posing for paparazzi photos, he changed his mind about attending to keep from embarrassing either his daughter or the royal family. TMZ reported that text messages from his daughter prompted another change of heart.

"I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle," Thomas Markle told TMZ. "Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history."

>> Royal wedding: What is a fascinator and where can I get one?

He was hospitalized again Tuesday after suffering from severe chest pain and scheduled to undergo heart surgery Wednesday, according to TMZ.

Officials have not confirmed that Thomas Markle will not be St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. In a statement released Monday, Kensington Palace officials asked for privacy for the Markle family. 

Meghan Markle in 'difficult situation,' palace says after report father will skip royal wedding

Following reports that Thomas Markle won’t attend daughter Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday, royal reps have issued a statement.

>> Royal Wedding: Everything to know before Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle

While not outright confirming the reports, it asked for “understanding,” especially for the American bride-to-be and her father.

>> On AJC.com: TMZ: Meghan Markle’s dad won’t be at the royal wedding on Saturday

“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” a Kensington Palace spokesman said Monday. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”

>> See the statement here

>> How to watch and stream the royal wedding (plus everything else on TV about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle)

The statement comes on the heels of a TMZ report earlier Monday that Thomas Markle would skip the wedding due to his involvement in posing for photos that were sold for large sums of money. Markle, 73, told TMZ that he’d “meant no harm to Meghan or the royal family.”

>> Read more trending news 

Read more here.

Paris knife attack: Chechnya president identifies assailant, friend of suspect detained

Update 3:15 p.m EDT Sunday: A jihadist monitoring group says a video released by the Islamic State’s Amaq news agency appears to show the suspected Paris knife attacker pledging allegiance to the group’s leader, according to The Associated Press. The person in the video has their nose and mouth covered. It is not clear if the 2-and-a-half minute video is in fact the attacker.

Earlier, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov identified the alleged attacker as Khazmat Azimov. Azimov was born in the Russian republic of Chechnya, but was a French citizen.

“I consider it necessary to state that all responsibility for the fact that Khazmat Azimov went on the road of crime lies completely with the authorities of France,” Kadyrov said. “He was only born in Chechnya, and his growing up, the formation of his personality, his views and persuasions occurred in French society.”

The suspect killed one person and injured four others. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the four injured people are out of life-threatening danger, The AP reported.

According to a French judicial official not authorized to speak publicly about the incident told The AP the suspect was on a police watchlist for radicalism.

Update 10:45 a.m. EDT Sunday: The Associated Press reported that the parents of the suspected attacker who killed one person and injured four others are still being questioned, according to a French judicial official. A friend of the assailant has also been taken in for questioning.

The alleged 20 year old attacker was identified by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as as Khasan Azimov, according to The AP.

Kadyrov said he had been informed the attacker had French citizenship and had a Russian passport until he was 14. 

Interior Ministry spokesman Frederic de Lanouvelle told The Associated Press the alleged attacker had no history of criminal activity or arrests and did not know the victims.

Update 2:49 a.m. EDT Sunday: The attacker who killed a 29-year-old man and hurt four others Saturday in Paris was born in Chechnya but “had French nationality,” The Associated Press reported early Sunday, citing an unnamed judicial official.

The official said the suspect, who was killed by police who responded to the knife attack, was born in 1997, according to the AP.

His parents have been detained for questioning, the official said.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

ORIGINAL STORY: Police responded Saturday evening to reports of a man stabbing people near the Paris Opera.

One person was killed and four others injured in the melee, French authorities said. The suspect targeted the five people, killing one, seriously injuring two and leaving the other two with minor injuries. 

The attacker, who has not been identified, died, officials said. The reason for the attack is still unknown. 

The Islamic State group’s news agency said the suspect was a “soldier” and has taken claim for the attack. 

“France is once again paying the price of blood, but will not cede an inch to enemies of freedom,” President Emmanuel Macron said in response to the terror group’s claim.

The area has been contained and the situation is under control, according to Paris police.

Eyewitnesses shared their account of the incident on social media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Man donates blood weekly for 60 years, saves lives of 2.4 million babies

An Australian man who has spent most of his life donating blood is retiring.

James Harrison has donated blood nearly every week for 60 years. He’s made 1,100 donations, saving the lives of more than 2.4 million Australian babies, according to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

Known as the “man with the golden arm,” the 81-year-old’s blood is special. It has disease-fighting antibodies that have been used to develop the Anti-D injection, which helps combat Rhesus D Haemolytic Disease, or HDN.

>> Read more trending news 

The illness occurs when a pregnant woman’s blood begins attacking her unborn baby’s blood cells, causing brain damage or death for the baby.

It develops when the mom has rhesus-negative blood and the infant has rhesus-positive blood, inherited from the father. The different antigens cause the mother’s body to harm the baby. 

Although doctors are unsure why Harrison’s blood contains the rare antibody that fights the disease, they believe it’s likely due to a major chest surgery he had that required a blood transfusion when he was 14. 

Harrison became a blood donor after he recovered from the surgery. Once doctors discovered his blood was one-of-a-kind, he began offering blood plasma donations to help more people. 

Now, it’s time for him to retire. Australia doesn’t allow citizens to donate blood past age 81. 

“I hope it’s a record that somebody breaks, because it will mean they are dedicated to the cause,” Harrison said of his feat. He has received numerous awards for his generosity.

Harrison will continue to help health experts by donating his DNA samples for future research.

“Australia owes a big thank you to James Harrison, Australia became the first country in the world to be self-sufficient in the supply of Anti-D, and cases of HDN are rare,” Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokesperson Jemma Falkenmire said. “We encourage the partners and friends of all new mothers to think about donating blood, just one donation helps ensure someone has the chance to be a mother.”

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