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It’s final: Harry and Meghan won’t back as working royals

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It’s final: Harry and Meghan won’t back as working royals

 

Buckingham Palace announced Friday that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, will not be returning to royal duties, and Harry will give up his honorary military titles — a move that makes formal, and final, the couple’s separation from the royal family.

When Harry and Meghan stepped away from full-time royal life in March 2020, upset at media attention and the strictures of their positions, it was decided the situation would be reviewed after a year.

Now it has, and the palace said in a statement that the pair, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have verified “they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family. “

It said Queen Elizabeth II had spoken to 36-year-old Harry and agreed “that in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family, it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”

The palace said Harry’s appointment as captain general of the Royal Marines and titles with other military groups will return to the queen before being allocated to other members of the family.

Harry served in the British army for a decade, including on the front line in Afghanistan, and maintains a strong relationship with the military. He created the Invictus Games competition for wounded soldiers, which first was held in 2014 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium.

The Invictus Games Foundation said Harry will remain its patron. But he is relinquishing roles as patron of the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League and the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Meghan, 39, will be deprived of her position as patron of Britain’s National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

“While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the palace statement said.

American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married the queen’s grandson Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born a year later.

In early 2020, Meghan and Harry revealed they were leaving royal duties and heading to North America, citing what they said were the intolerable intrusions and biassed attitudes of the British media against the duchess, who identifies as biracial.

The pair decided to no longer use the title “royal highness” or accept public funds for their work, although it was uncertain at the time whether those decisions would stand.

They maintain their titles of duke and duchess, and Harry is now sixth in line to the British throne. Harry and Meghan now live in Santa Barbara, California and are expecting their second child. The couple recently revealed they would talk to Oprah Winfrey for a TV special to be broadcast next month.

Angela Levin, who has written a biography of Prince Harry, said the queen’s concern over what the Winfrey interview would reveal might have caused the royal family to announce the split with Harry and Meghan earlier than expected.

“They’re out on their own,” she said. “They’ve got the freedom that they longed for.”

They continue to have a strained relationship with parts of the British media. Earlier this month, Meghan secured a legal win in a case against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, after a British judge ruled the newspaper violated her privacy by publishing part of a letter she sent to her estranged father.

News of their split with the palace comes as Harry’s grandfather, 99-year-old Prince Philip, is in a London hospital, where he was admitted on Tuesday after feeling unwell.

A spokeswoman for the couple hit back at reports that Meghan and Harry were not committed to service.

“As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have given their continued support to the organisations they have served regardless of official role,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”

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In anticipation of 1,000, here’s a look at the most memorable home runs at Target Field

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In anticipation of 1,000, here’s a look at the most memorable home runs at Target Field

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s been walk-offs and inside-the-parkers. There have been balls that have just barely cleared the wall, and ones that have traveled nearly 500 feet.

Since Target Field opened, the Twins have hit 999 home runs at the park, starting with Jason Kubel on Opening Day 2010. No one has hit more there than Brian Dozier (81), though Miguel Sanó is not far behind and could eclipse that record.

When the Twins return home to take on the Detroit Tigers this week, they’re likely to hit the 1,000 milestone. Before they do, here’s a look back at 10 of the most memorable longballs since the stadium opened.

April 12, 2010: Jason Kubel

Former Twins outfielder Jason Kubel holds an important distinction: His Opening Day home run, which he deposited into the seats in right field, was the first in Target Field’s history.

The Twins, of course, wanted to procure the baseball, and the fan who caught it had a very specific request.

“The fan wanted a Joe Mauer autographed bat, which I always thought was odd,” longtime television announcer Dick Bremer said. “I thought if Kubel hit it, the exchange should be an autographed bat of Jason Kubel, not Joe Mauer, but I understand. I understand the fan’s standpoint absolutely.”

Aug. 17, 2010: Jim Thome

It took until mid-August for the Twins to collect their first walk-off hit at Target Field, and it was a home run from who else but future Hall of Famer Jim Thome.

Against his former team, the White Sox, and his former teammate, Matt Thornton, Thome clobbered the second pitch he saw, sending the Twins to a 7-6 win. For Bremer, that was “without question,” the most memorable home run in the ballpark’s history to him.

“It turned a loss into a win for the Twins and did just the opposite for the White Sox,” Bremer said. “I think it turned out to be a pivot point in the whole season for both teams.”

Sept. 6, 2010: Jim Thome

Another entry from Thome came later that year when the lefty absolutely demolished a pitch for a majestic home run that he took out to right field. The ball wound up hitting off the top of the flagpole that holds the American flag on the right field concourse.

“Oh my goodness gracious,” Bremer said on the call.

Estimates had the ball traveling 480 feet, which would have been the longest home run at the ballpark at the time. It has since been eclipsed.

May 6, 2015: Eddie Rosario

Reliever Tyler Duffey, one of the longest tenured Twins, has seen his fair share of Target Field home runs.

But one of the ones at the forefront of Duffey’s mind is Eddie Rosario’s first, in which the outfielder took the first pitch he saw as a major leaguer out to left field, an opposite-field blast that eventually earned him the silent treatment from his teammates in the dugout.

“That was probably the coolest that I can think of just because like, first day, first at-bat, first pitch of his career, hits a home run,” Duffey said. “It was just so stereotypically Rosie, like just right on brand for him.”

July 10, 2015: Brian Dozier

After missing out on an all-star nomination, Dozier showed why he belonged.

The Twins entered the ninth inning trailing the Tigers 6-1. They charged all the way back, with Dozier’s three-run blast off Joakim Soria capping an improbable victory. To this day, that home run stands out as radio announcer Cory Provus’s favorite.

“The team wasn’t very good and you’re looking for bright spots,” Provus said. “Brian Dozier became one of the most feared right-handed batters in baseball that season, and I just remember that home run being significant because it was also the beginning of the end of the Tigers’ run.”

June 12, 2016: Max Kepler

How’s this for a first career home run?

Tied 4-4 with a pair of runners in scoring position and just one out, Max Kepler remembers the Red Sox bringing an extra infielder in. His plan, he said, was to just hit a sacrifice fly. He did one better, instead taking an 0-2 pitch from Matt Barnes and depositing it into center field for a walk-off.

“That was a really cool one because that was like a really big moment to homer and it kind (of was) like Kepler’s like coming out, ‘Like, alright, I’m here,’” Duffey said. “I think it was like a theater like 98. … He just whacked it.”

May 5, 2017: Joe Mauer

Barnes was also on the mound during another memorable Twins’ moment: Mauer’s first — and only — walk-off home run.

With the Twins and Red Sox tied 3-3 in the ninth, Mauer took a pitch out to the bullpen in center field, tipping his helmet to the crowd before he met a group of his exuberant teammates at the plate.

“I saved it for the right moment, right?” Mauer said shortly after hitting the blast.

Aug. 5, 2019: Miguel Sanó

Braves center fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. didn’t even bother racing back to track the baseball. He knew, as did everyone in the park, that Sanó had gotten all of it.

The two-run blast broke open a 3-3 game in the ninth inning and ignited a celebration that still sticks with many to this day.

“It was mammoth of a homer against a good team that year, which was (a) very much-needed win, and yeah just how we celebrated it and how he came in as like a gorilla, like patting the ground, that was something that’s (been) imprinted in my mind for a while,” Kepler said.

Sept. 17, 2019: Miguel Sanó

Not only did Sanó’s blast off White Sox reliever Ross Detwiler travel 496-feet, a Target Field record that stands to this day, it was also his 30th of the season.

With that, the Twins became the first team in history to have five players reach that milestone in a season. Sanó joined Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario in doing so.

When he connected, Sanó dropped his bat after his follow through and Detwiler turned around, watched it travel and then put his hands on his thighs and hung his head down.

“He’s physically capable of doing things that really very few people in baseball are capable of doing,” manager Rocco Baldelli said that day.

Sept. 22, 2019: Nelson Cruz

The first home run of Nelson Cruz’s decorated career came in July 2006 in Minnesota against the Twins. The 400th came in Minnesota for the Twins.

Cruz had been sitting on No. 399, awaiting the milestone for a couple days by the time he connected with a Gabe Speier pitch and sent it into the second deck in right-center field. In addition to it being the 400th of his career, it was his 40th that season, marking the fourth time he had reached that number.

“Very special,” Cruz said that day. “It’s definitely a good one. It’s nice to do it in front of the fans. I think they deserve it.”

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MN Legislature running out of time — or is it?

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MN Legislature running out of time — or is it?

Facing a looming midnight deadline, the Minnesota Legislature sputtered on Sunday, leaving unclear whether a major series of tax breaks and long-sought spending plans — or anything of widespread significance — would get done.

Senior lawmakers’ opinions were all over the map Sunday afternoon, when asked to predict what was the most likely — or best — course of action. Finger-pointing and frustration broke out in some quarters, while guarded optimism persevered in others, and a spectrum of election-year political calculations hung in the air of the state Capitol in St. Paul.

Minnesota is one of two legislatures in the nation with control split among Republicans and Democrats, and lawmakers’ primary task was how to address a record budget surplus of more than $9 billion.

On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, announced a grand bargain for how it all should work, but hammering out many of the details has proven problematic.

Perhaps the biggest question: Would a bipartisan $4 billion package of major tax breaks agreed to Saturday actually get done, or would it become legislative roadkill splattered by disagreements over unrelated spending plans?

Another question: Would a separate aspect of the grand bargain — $1.5 billion in public works projects — ultimately be approved, or would it fall by the wayside as well?

By afternoon Sunday, a few things had become relatively clear:

  • Not everything generally agreed to by the state’s top leaders last week in the grand bargain could get done. There simply wasn’t enough time for several large bills — hundred of pages of legal language — to be processed by the constitutional deadline at midnight.
  • Among the most likely casualty: a health and human services spending plan that had held the prospect of a range of initiatives, from increasing pay for caregivers and funding other programs to help keep nursing homes and long-term care centers afloat to approving millions of dollars for Ramsey County to stave off a feared burst in homelessness.
  • Vast swaths of the $4 billion in spending envisioned in the grand bargain had been agreed to. However, tens or hundreds of millions in sticking points threatened to upend it all.
  • Nothing has to happen. The state is operating under a two-year, $52 billion budget approved last year, so there’s no risk of parts of the government shutting down if no additional legislation passes this year.
  • There appeared to be a growing sense that the limited appetite for a special session — a legislative overtime of sorts — was fading. Only Walz, a Democrat, can call a special session. He has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to. Even if he changed his mind, he would most likely require buy-in from leaders of the House and Senate before doing so, and Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate didn’t appear enthusiastic about the idea. It wasn’t clear where the Democratic-Farmer-Labor-controlled House stood.

Among the issues that remained in dispute:

  • Lawmakers struggled to agree on how to spend some $450 million in public safety, which could include recruiting hiring police officers, as well as funding community-based crime prevention strategies.
  • Negotiators appeared at loggerheads over how to spend $1 billion on schools, as demands for special education and mental health needs dominated discussions.
  • A years-long disagreement on transportation funding emerged as a potentially intractable sticking point: whether all proceeds from sales taxes on auto parts should go into the state’s dedicated trust fund for state highways. Currently, half of those funds do, while the other half goes into the state’s general fund.

Here’s a summary of many of the issues lawmakers were grappling with Saturday.

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Joey Gallo, Kyle Higashioka test positive for COVID-19

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Joey Gallo, Kyle Higashioka test positive for COVID-19

Before their Sunday doubleheader against the White Sox, the Yankees announced that Joey Gallo and Kyle Higashioka tested positive for COVID-19. Both players were placed on the COVID-19 injured list.

Both players are vaccinated, as they were able to travel to and play in the team’s series in Toronto.

Aaron Boone said in his pregame press conference on Sunday that Gallo had been feeling under the weather and was going to get the first day of the doubleheader off, with Boone saying that he’d probably get the start in the second game.

That is now out of the question.

Right-handed reliever David McKay was called up from Triple-A to take a spot on the active roster.

The Yankees also signed catcher Rob Brantly to a Major League contract and selected him to the 26-man roster.

Continuing the flurry of roster moves, catcher Ben Rortvedt was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

Rortvedt, who has only played in two minor league games this season, recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He is expected to return to game action in six to eight weeks.

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