What next for the royal baby boy?: The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy. For the first time in British history, it made no difference if the royal child was a boy or a girl – the baby would be third in line to the throne regardless. But the new law, which was changed especially for this baby, will not be put to the test.
23 July 2013
It was a pregnancy in the public eye. There was no hiding away from the cameras. And royal duties continued for the Duchess of Cambridge until the final weeks. Wherever she went, the gifts, the questions, the chat, had been of the baby. She gave little away.
With his great-grandmother in her 61st year on the throne, and his grandfather and father ahead of him in the line of succession, it will be some time before the Duke and Duchess’s son is King.
Suzannah Lipscomb, Historian:
It is in the nature of these next few years, in his upbringing, in his childhood, in the character and values that are instilled in him at this stage, that will determine how the British people view their monarch.
In the past, there was a formality to the royal birth announcements. Much has changed. After Prince William was born at St. Mary’s hospital, his father spoke to the media.
Reporter: How is Lady Di?
Prince Charles: She’s very well, marvellous.
Reporter: Was it a very painful experience?
Prince Charles: Have you ever had a baby?
Reporter: No I haven’t.
Prince Charles: I should wait and see!
And from the moment the new Prince appeared on the hospital steps, it was clear his upbringing would be different, less formal. William will now be fiercely protective of his wife and child, but controlling the level of interest from the public and the media is increasingly problematic.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s childhood memories are of a strong family unit in rural Berkshire. Royal life appears not to have diminished that bond. And there is speculation that after the birth the Duchess will return home to mum for a few weeks.
William’s childhood broke with tradition. By royal standards there was greater freedom. It was more normal, there was less restraint. He is likely to want the same for his son, a little boy who one day will be King.
Congo deforestation in surprise fall: Scientists say that the cutting down of trees in one of the world’s largest rainforests has dramatically decreased. A new study shows that deforestation in central Africa’s Congo Basin has fallen by about a third since 2000. The study is published in the Royal Society’s journal.
22 July 2013
Sprawling across the heart of Africa, the Congo Basin rainforest is second only to the Amazon in size. And this latest study reveals that it’s in far better health than expected.
Using images taken from satellites, researchers tracked how the dense swathes of foliage changed over time. They found that during the 1990s, nearly 3,000 sq km of forest were being felled each year.
But in the decade to 2010 the rate of deforestation slowed. Fewer than 2,000 sq km were lost – an overall decrease of a third.
The scientists believe this is partly down to improved conservation measures. But they also note that the region’s economic priorities have changed.
Elsewhere around the world, rainforests are being cleared to make way for agriculture, but in central Africa, a focus on mining and oil has left the Congo Basin more intact.
The scientists say that the Congo Basin plays a key role in storing carbon – and losing areas of it would have a large impact on climate change.
Detroit goes bankrupt: Detroit has become the largest US city ever to file for bankruptcy, with debts of at least $15bn. Once the heart of the US car industry, Detroit’s population has fallen from two million in the 1950s to 713,000 today.
19 July 2013
The birthplace of mass production, ‘Motor City’, has thrown in the towel.
Decades of decline led up to this moment. Spiralling crime and the departure of the car factories that gave Detroit its nickname saw the destruction of its tax base. Years of incompetent and corrupt management left the city insolvent.
The emergency manager appointed by the state governor spent months going through the city’s books. His conclusion: the city’s debts are too great to be sustained.
Now the courts will have to work out who gets paid what, and the city’s fall is complete.
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