Archive for May, 2019

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Dell joins Microsoft-Nortel VoIP Team
May 21, 2019

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dell Inc. announced on Tuesday that it will partner up with the Microsoft-Nortel Innovative communications alliance (ICA) team to sell Unified Communications and VoIP products.

The announcement on Tuesday the 16th of October 2007 includes Dell selling VoIP, data and wireless networking products from Nortel and the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and other unified communications products.

The partnership with both manufacturers should allow Dell to provide a pre-integrated solution.

In March 2007, competitors IBM and Cisco announced they would join in the competition for developing unified communications applications and the development of open technologies around the unified communications and collaboration (UC2) client platform an application programming interfaces (APIs) offered by IBM as a subset of Lotus Sametime.

“We want to make it simple for our customers to deploy unified communications so their end users can get access to all their messages in one place – whether its e-mail, phone or mobile device. This will pave the way for more business-ready productivity tools,” said vice president of solutions, Dell Product Group, Rick Becker.

  • Customers have four options:
    • Core Office Communication Server 2007 – provides instant messaging and on-premise Microsoft Live Meeting.
    • Office Communication Server: Telephony – enables call routing tracking and management, VoIP gateway and public branch exchange (PBX) integration.
    • Audio and Video Conferencing – allows point-to-point conference, video conference and VoIP audio conference.
    • Exchange Unified Messaging – provides voicemail, e-mail and fax in Microsoft Outlook, and anywhere access of Microsoft Outlook Inbox and Calendar.
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Thousands of trapped miners rescued in South Africa
May 21, 2019

Thursday, October 4, 2007

As many as 3,200 mine workers became trapped in the in Elandsrand mine, a gold mine in South Africa about 50 miles (80 km) west of Johannesburg in Carletonville, Gauteng, after an incident on October 3. All miners have been rescued, and none of them were injured. The mine is owned by Harmony Gold Mining Corporation.

The mining company says that a lift electrical cable broke on a basket that was carrying miners, trapping thousands at least 2,200 meters (1.3 miles) below the earth’s surface. Reports from MSNBC and the Guardian Unlimited say that the shaft may have collapsed when a water or air pipe burst. The rescue operation went well with no complications, with the rescue taking just under 24 hours to complete.

“They were underground when the accident happened and they were not able to surface because an electric feeder cable that is connected to the mine lift was severed,” said a spokeswoman for the mining company, Amelia Soares. The snap was caused by a “fatigued” air pipe which burst and fell down the shaft damaging the “steelwork and electrical feeder cords,” added Soares. “They are all in good condition.”

“They are all safe. There have been no injuries or deaths,” said CEO of Harmony mining, Graham Briggs who also said that the miners were previously contacted and were given “food and water.”

Earlier reports had stated that Lesiba Seshoka, a spokesman with the National Union of Mineworkers, said that the miners have not been heard from for hours and that they could have been enduring temperatures as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).

“This is a terrible situation. The only exit is blocked, probably by a fall of ground,” said Seshoka.

Rescue workers used a mine shaft that is next to the damaged one in an attempt to reach the trapped miners, and lifted them out, 75 at a time. There was no emergency exit in the shaft which is reported to have “not been maintained for ages,” added Seshoka.

“An escape route is the most important thing and they have failed miserably. They need to ensure that the shaft is maintained. This is why we have this disaster. Our main worry is for more than 3,000 people who are underground,” said National Union of Mineworkers for S. Africa chairman, Deon Boqwana.

Current reports say that “negligence” was the initial cause for the pipe burst and that there has been a history of negligence from the mine. “We suspect negligence. Because of continuous operations there is no time to make adequate checks,” said the President of the Miners union, Senzeni Zokwana to reporters during a news conference.

The Elsrand mine is currently under development and has been since February 2001 when Harmony bought the mine. Officials state that the mine will remain closed for a minimum of six weeks, while an investigation is performed, and the mine is deemed safe for miners to continue working in it.

The mine is located in the Witwatersrand Basin of South Africa, which is said to be the location of the largest area of raw gold on the planet.

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Annan invites Iraqis to exercise democratic rights
May 19, 2019

Saturday, January 29, 2005With just days to go before Sunday’s historic poll to choose a new government in Iraq, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has invited the people of Iraq to exercise their democratic rights.

The poll, the first free elections in a generation, faces disruption from insurgents who are totally opposed to democracy. Annan warned them not to interfere and promised continuing help from the UN for the country in the future.

Annan made his appeal in a pre-recorded message, broadcast on TV inside Iraq. “Elections are the best way to determine any country’s future; please exercise your democratic rights on Sunday,” he said. “Whatever your feelings about how the country reached this point, this election offers an opportunity to move away from violence and uncertainty toward peace and representative government.”

The UN has been providing advice and technical help to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), as well as $100m funding for the poll and co-ordination of international assistance. A team of 40 experts has overseen the delivery of three million tonnes of election materials and helped the IECI and Iraqi officials prepare and maintain the voters register.

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Hurricane-force winds kill 15 people as storm hits Europe

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Hurricane-force winds kill 15 people as storm hits Europe
May 11, 2019

Sunday, January 25, 2009

As a storm swept across parts of France and Spain on Saturday and Sunday, it left 15 people dead. Its winds were recorded up to 190km/h (118 mph), which are hurricane-force winds.

The storm made landfall near to Bordeaux, France at 5:00 am Central European Time on Saturday the 24th January. It traveled south-eastwards towards the south-east coast of France throughout Saturday morning, finally reaching there at 1:00 pm. It is expected to head north-eastwards over Italy and the Adriatic Sea, but without causing damage. Low pressure systems are fairly common in Europe at this time of year. Some reports have called it the storm of the decade; BBC meteorologist Alex Deakin said “Saturday’s storm is being described as the most damaging since that of December 1999 which killed 88 people.”

Four children aged between 9 and 12 died at a sports hall in Sant Boi de Llobregat, near Barcelona. The children intended on playing baseball, but sought shelter inside a covered area made of concrete with a corrugated iron roof. The structure collapsed, as a result of the wind. Local people and fire-fighters were at the scene in aiding children to escape the rubble. Three children died at the scene, a fourth died in hospital and 16 have been treated for injuries.

Other fatalities include a woman, who died after a wall collapsed and a man struck by a falling tree in the Barcelona area. In Landes, south-west France, a falling tree struck a driver; a 78-year-old man was hit by debris and another man, aged 75, was crushed by a tree. A wall crushed a man in Aigues de Busot in the south-east of Spain. A policeman was struck by a falling tree as he directed traffic in Burela and a sailor from a cargo ship died when the vessel got into trouble off the coast of Galicia. In Burgos, Spain, a woman was crushed by a door.

Approximately 1.7 million homes in France and tens of thousands of homes in Spain experienced power cuts. A woman, aged 73, died in France after a power-outage stopped her breathing machine. Road and rail links were blocked and airports closed. Airports in Bordeaux, Biarritz, Pau and Toulouse were shut, as well as train services, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded overnight.

Michèle Alliot-Marie, the French interior minister, stated that in addition to the 300 civil security agents located in the Landes region of France, another 715 agents would be deployed. She also expressed her intent to fly there today, after the high winds have decreased. French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters he would travel to the affected area tomorrow. In Bordeaux’s Gironde region, 19 residents of a retirement home were evacuated by rescuers following its rooftop being blown away. Authorities have also evacuated campers from the pine forests in Landes.

Thousands were evacuated from nearby housing estates in La Nucía, north of Benidorm in Alicante, as the Spanish Army helped to fight a forest fire, which was started by a felled electricity pylon. There were also forest fires in the region of Catalonia, while Spain put emergency services on high alert. Waves over 20 metres high were registered off the northern coast of Spain and dolphins were stranded on beaches in the region as a result of high winds.

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New Beta Version of MSN Search Service from Microsoft released

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New Beta Version of MSN Search Service from Microsoft released
May 11, 2019

Thursday, November 11, 2004

REDMOND, WashingtonMicrosoft has released the new MSN Search service. According to Microsoft press release, the new MSN Search offers the largest, up to date selection of information and a new class of search tools, reducing time and effort required by users to find information.

Some major characteristics of the new MSN Search service include: up to date information, direct answers, direct actions, content specific searching, Search Near Me feature (results tailored geographically), Search Builder (the user can customize search results by defining search criteria).

The global beta version of MSN Search is available here.

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Teachers at Australian school shocked at no warning over redundancies, can apply before ‘externals’

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Teachers at Australian school shocked at no warning over redundancies, can apply before ‘externals’
May 10, 2019
This article’s primary contributor, Patrick Gillett, is an alumnus of Sunshine Coast Grammar School.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A deal between Sunshine Coast Grammar School headmaster Nigel Fairbairn and the Independent Education Union of Australia has ended a week of uncertainty for 22 of the Queensland, Australia school’s staff.

Last week Wikinews obtained a list of 22 middle management teaching staff allegedly made redundant, or laid off due to restructuring. The restructuring is, apparently, designed to get teachers back into the classroom.

During the week, staff, students, alumni and parents had accused the headmaster of being dishonest and not “tak[ing] a single question” on the issue.

“At 10am there were 21 teachers with big question marks over their employment but by 1pm they had the assurance they would be able to apply for new positions before external applicants,” union secretary Terry Burke said. “Mr Fairbairn said it was clearly the school’s preference to continue the employment of existing staff. It is our view the existing staff are more than capable of taking on the new positions.”

Sunshine Coast Grammar is a private Christian school approximately 95 km (60 miles) north of the state capital, Brisbane.

Teachers at Sunshine Coast Grammar school have told the Sunshine Coast Daily that they received no warning of any pending redundancies. Independent Education Union of Australia representative and school careers counselor Maria Campanini said “teacher morale is very low and people are very disappointed and disillusioned”.

Ms Campanini said that staff were saddened by the handling of the situation by headmaster Nigel Fairbairn. “We got an email announcing a meeting and I thought it would just provide some feedback about the review,” Ms Campanini said. “But the 21 teachers whose jobs were directly affected were herded into a room, Mr Fairbairn read out a prepared statement, turned on his heel and left. He didn’t take a single question. We were just left sitting there in shock.”

An anonymous staff member told the Sunshine Coast Daily that, “Some teachers, who rely on the income and whose positions were abolished, were very distraught and they had to go to class. It appears we’re not valued in the school community, not to be even asked our opinion as to what might be the best outcome, to try and make it work.”

According to Ms Campanini, one of the teachers being made redundant is 30 weeks pregnant with another returning to work after maternity leave. “It’s really stressful for all the people involved,” Ms Campanini said. “People can understand the need for restructure when it’s explained, but we’re none the wiser.”

“When it all happened on Friday, it was morning tea time and a lot of us had to go back in the classroom and teach all afternoon,” the anonymous staff member said.

Parents have accused Fairbairn of constantly changing his version of events, with one telling the Sunshine Coast Daily that, “The school board does not have independent parents on the board, which makes no sense at all. From what I have gathered, Mr Fairbairn is not interested in having parents involved in the decision-making processes.”

Mr Fairbairn is trying to go into damage control and his story keeps changing. He’s told parents this restructure was not financially motivated but has told teachers the complete opposite thing. This is it. The gloves are off.

“Mr Fairbairn is trying to go into damage control and his story keeps changing,” said Julie Hopkins, another Grammar parent. “He’s told parents this restructure was not financially motivated but has told teachers the complete opposite thing. This is it. The gloves are off.”

Wikinews obtained a list of middle management staff allegedly made redundant, or laid off due to restructuring, by the Queensland, Australia school. Sources say that those staff have been told that they can apply for new positions that have opened up.

The list, published on the SCGS alumni Facebook page, contains the names of twenty-two staff members. Seventeen positions are reportedly being opened up, eight of which seem to significantly overlap the old ones.

Mr. Fairbairn “replaced the open and welcoming culture … with the tyrannical and oppressive one.”

The changes are, apparently, designed to get teachers back into the classroom. “We are not cutting subject choices and extracurricular activities, but retaining a student-driven curriculum that integrates with the new Australian Curriculum, in keeping with our commitment to teaching and learning opportunities,” said headmaster Nigel Fairbairn.

Wikinews understands that Fairbairn attracted criticism when he was a head teacher in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a former student claimed that Fairbairn “replaced the open and welcoming culture … with the tyrannical and oppressive one.” Fairbairn refused to comment on the criticism.

People are angry and shocked. I am aware of at least 10 families who have said they will pull their children out of the school – it’s that bad.

Fairbairn’s statement came under attack from 2009 graduates who, in a open letter posted on Facebook, said, “It is also hugely hypocritical to attack these teachers for not spending enough time in the classroom, when from firsthand experience the only time Mr. Nigel Fairbairn was ever sighted was during assembly (which he mysteriously stopped attending), never mind in the classroom, therefore, it is honestly astounding that he could make such unjust and incorrect statements.”

They also expressed embarrassment “to be associated with the name ‘Sunshine Coast Grammar School’ while you are at the head of the great community which Grammar once was.”

Four of the affected teachers “were the backbone of the school when [controversy surrounded founding headmaster John Burgess] happened,” a former prefect (student leader) said. “They got it through that crisis and this is the thanks they get.”

“People are angry and shocked,” they continued. “I am aware of at least 10 families who have said they will pull their children out of the school – it’s that bad.”

The student body has not ruled out protesting the schools plans. “It’s getting to that stage,” the former prefect said. “People are trying to look at it in an intelligent way but there is so much anger out there.”

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Exclusive: David Anderson talks about the Stardust@home project

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Exclusive: David Anderson talks about the Stardust@home project
May 10, 2019

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Following the return of the Stardust space capsule from its encounter with the Comet Wild 2, NASA scientists have come up with a novel approach to dealing with the samples of “interstellar dust” that have been collected; they want help from the public.

The Stardust spacecraft carried an aerogel-based dust collector, which was exposed to space in varying orientations during different phases of the mission.

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Stardust@home

Only one side of the collector was exposed towards the stream of particles coming off the Comet Wild 2 during the encounter in 2004, while the other side was used to collect interstellar dust at an earlier point in the spacecraft’s journey.

Although scientists have seen the particles captured from comet Wild 2 when they examined the aerogel, they have not examined any of the particles expected on the other side of the collector due to their smallness. They will be examined after they are found with the help of Stardust@home. It is believed that on the order of 50 interstellar dust particles impacted the aerogel, each now resting inside a tiny crater.

Stardust traveled nearly three billion miles and its mission lasted seven years. At times it was traveling at 8 miles a second. Thats fast enough to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles in one minute.

Stardust set a new all-time record for being the fastest spacecraft to return to Earth, breaking the previous record set in May of 1969 during the return of the Apollo X(10) command module. Don Brownlee of the University of Washington, Seattle said “our spacecraft has traveled further than anything from Earth ever has – and came back. We went half-way to Jupiter to meet the comet and collect samples from it. But the comet actually came in from the outer edge of the solar system, out beyond the orbit of Neptune, out by Pluto.”

In a move similar to some distributed computing projects, the analysis work for the project will be spread among volunteers on the Internet, who are being asked to participate in this scientific undertaking.

Wikinews reporter Jason Safoutin investigated the Stardust@home project, and discussed its goals with one of its founders. Via email, he interviewed David P. Anderson, a founder of the SETI@home project, and one of the creators of the Virtual Microscope which will be used to search for captured particles from interstellar space.

I was wondering If I could get some questions answered or if you could give me some “insider” info for the project. I am aware that you are taking place in the development of the VM (Virtual Microscope)…Could I know more about that?The ‘virtual microscope’ lets you scan through a set of images as if you were turning the focus knob on a microscope. The images are fairly large (about 100 KB each) so it’s important to pre-load the images. While you’re looking through one set of images, the VM is busy downloading the JPEG files for the next set.

At first we thought we’d have to do this with a Java applet or Flash program – something tricky and complicated. My contribution was to point out that it could be done fairly easily using Javascript, and I wrote a prototype of this.

Will this project use the BOINC Platform/Program?

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

SETI@home

No. We thought about using some parts of BOINC (like the database and web pages for creating “accounts”) but it was easier just to do this from scratch.

How long will the project take?

It depends how many volunteers participate, and how fast they look at the ‘focus movies’. It will probably be just a month or two.

Anyone can join but they have to take a test before they can participate. What will the test include?

Looking at some focus movies and deciding whether they contain a dust particle. Participants see a lot of training examples before they take the test. It’s easy, not like a test in school.

How many will be allowed to participate?

No limit as of now.

When will the project start?

I think in about 2 months. It will take that long to transport the aerogel to the laboratory, and photograph it with the microscope. The software is ready to go.

Will the VM project analyze any of the particles or just look for them?

Stardust@home will only locate the particles. When they are located, they will be cut out of the aerogel and physically analyzed.

Thank you for your time David. And great work on the upcoming project and SETI@home.

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United States to expand ‘information operations’ against terror

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United States to expand ‘information operations’ against terror
May 9, 2019

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that U.S. public diplomacy efforts need to do more in the media to communicate a message friendly to democracy.

“We’ll need to do all we can to attract supporters to our efforts and to correct the lies that are being told, which so damage our country, and which are repeated and repeated and repeated,” Rumsfeld said in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York city on Friday. He said that insurgent groups have learned to use media and its new satellite and Internet technologies, and are working 24/7, to manipulate public opinion.

Rumsfeld called for the need to implement a “strategic communications framework” to present news information in Afghanistan and Iran. He warned, ” …the [news] vacuum will be filled by the enemy and by news informers that most assuredly will not paint an accurate picture of what is actually taking place.” He said there was a need for communications training of military public affairs officials. The Department of Defense would begin with an emphasis on using out-sourced media expertise found in the private-sector, as was done with the controversial use of Lincoln Group who placed pro-democracy stories in Iraqi media in a business arrangement with the U.S. military.

Rumsfeld was critical of the U.S. media for its sharp response to that program at his address in New York, which he said had the effect of stopping that military effort. In an appearance on the The Charlie Rose Show, a televised program taped earlier and then aired by PBS last Friday, the same day as his New York address, Rumsfeld said “When we heard about it, we said, ‘Gee, that’s not what we ought to be doing.’ … They stopped doing that.” But in a Los Angeles Times report, a Lincoln Group insider and a U.S. commander in Iraq, General George W. Casey, said the program was still in existence.

The White House has signaled a shift towards the use of media in the “War against Terror”. The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Senate testimony on Wednesday last week that $10 million is already appropriated to support political dissidents, labor union leaders and human rights activists in Iran. The Bush administration will be asking for an additional $75 million in funding for the 2006 fiscal year to expand the program.

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More bodies recovered from capsized boat in Kerala, India

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More bodies recovered from capsized boat in Kerala, India
May 8, 2019

Saturday, October 3, 2009

At least 44 bodies have been recovered from a lake in India lake after a boat carrying tourists capsized in the water. The accident occurred in Periyar National Park located in the city of Kerala. The bodies of a mother, her child and one other individual were among the latest victims pulled from the water.

On Wednesday, a boat carrying 75 people, mainly women and children, was returning from a fair that marked the end of the Durga Puja, an annual Hindu festival celebrating the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. Fifteen people, including the boat driver and two staff members, were able to swim to safety after the boat capsized, but officials believe there are no other survivors. Reports say the person driving the boat turned sharply to one side before it capsized.

Wikinews obtained exclusive pictures of the boat before and after the accident. Images show the boat significantly leaning to one side shortly before the accident occurred. A later image shows the boat almost entirely submerged as rescue workers frantically work to rescue the trapped passengers.

According to the Indian Express, the boat was being operated by workers who were not trained in rescue tactics had the boat been suddenly damaged. The paper also claims that of the two person crew, a driver and a lascar named Victor Samuel, neither were assigned direct control of the boat. The paper also says the boat was not licensed to operate in the area it was traveling. The paper cites a 1921 law, which says the driver must watch over the engine while another crew member, a ‘srank’, drives the vessel, but no one in that position was aboard the vessel when it capsized. Samuel said that he only obtained his lascar license one year ago, contradicting earlier reports that suggested he had more than 15 years of experience driving similar boats.

Officials are continuing to investigate the incident. So far, no criminal charges have been filed. The boat was made of mostly fiberglass, had two decks and was owned an operated by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, a government-owned company. According to reports, Samuel was only licensed to operate wooden boats and had no experience driving ones made of fiberglass. Samuel and the two staff members have been suspended pending the results of the investigation.

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend
May 8, 2019

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

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