Thursday morning news briefing: Are there cracks in royal dream?

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Problems have to be tackled, says Duke of Cambridge

His comments will be seen as a subtle reference to the Royal family’s own ongoing difficulties. The Duke of Cambridge has spoken of the importance of tackling challenges head-on to avoid “paralysis” and “move forward”. He said it was essential to acknowledge problems in order to deal with them, rather than “pretend they don’t happen, which is no good”. It came amid days of high-level negotiations in the Royal family about the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are seeking a “financially independent” future. It has emerged that the Vancouver women’s shelter that hosted Meghan in her first public appearance since stepping back as a senior royal had just one day’s notice before her visit – and starstruck staff were not even told who their special guest would be. And Bethan Holt explains how Jessica Mulroney became Meghan’s trusted confidante, protector and fashion secret-weapon.

Prince Harry is due to host the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace today in what could prove to be his last royal engagement as a fully-fledged member of the “Firm”. But with Harry seemingly beginning to “regret” how the Queen felt blindsided by his desire to “step back”, and after a crunch meeting that did not actually include his American wife, Camilla Tominey asks: are cracks already beginning to appear in the Sussexes’ North American dream?

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Police forces attacked for going soft on cannabis

Police have been accused of decriminalising cannabis by the back door as up to two thirds of users are let off with informal “community resolutions”. Between 50 and 70 per cent of people caught with the drug in parts of Britain are being dealt with by police through such agreements – which do not result in a criminal record – to avoid drawing them into the justice system, according to analysis of official data. Compare how your local force handles cannabis possession. As Charles Hymas reports, it raises questions over whether the police are in effect decriminalising cannabis by shifting from punishment to treatment.

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‘Extinct’ white rhino may be brought back to life

They may look like meaningless blobs. But tiny sacs of cells pictured here hold the embryo of a northern white rhino… and the future of an entire sub-species. The creature could be brought back to life by 2022 – four years after the last male died in Kenya. Only two females survive from a population that numbered 2,000 in the Sixties, effectively making the subspecies extinct. As Sarah Knapton reports, scientists hope to reverse its fortunes after creating three viable embryos which they hope to implant into a surrogate southern white rhino later this year.

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