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Duchess Kate Debuts New Look Upon Return from Maternity Leave

Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) — The Duchess of Cambridge is preparing for a return to the public spotlight after a maternity leave following the birth of her second child — and it appears she will be doing it with a new look.

Kate, 33, who gave birth to Princess Charlotte in May, was spotted Sunday on a car ride with her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, sporting new bangs.

Kate had her hair pulled half-way back, with the long bangs swept to each side, and was wearing a dark turtleneck and earrings.

The mother-of-two last sported bangs in 2012, before she was pregnant with older child, Prince George. Her new look at that time included a darker look from her signature brunette locks and new layers around her face, including the slight bangs.

The public will get a better glimpse at Kate’s new look on Thursday, when she is scheduled to make her first appearance of the fall in London at the Anna Freud Center, a charity that helps vulnerable children with mental health support using holistic methods education and therapeutic support.

The appearance will mark Kate’s return to a limited program of public engagements that will also include attending the opening of the Rugby World Cup the following night, Sept. 18, also in London. Kate will attend the latter event with her husband, Prince William, and brother-in-law, Prince Harry.

Kate has spent the bulk of the summer with her children and Prince William at their country home in Norfolk since giving birth to Charlotte, the fourth-in-line to the British throne, on May 2.

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Pope Francis Opens Up About Feeling ‘Used’ by Fake Friends

Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Ahead of his highly anticipated first visit to the U.S., Pope Francis opened up about a more personal issue during a radio interview, saying he has felt “used” by the “quote-unquote friends” he has made since he was named pontiff.

While speaking with Argentine radio station Milenium, the pope discussed his disappointment in those who disregard the sanctity of friendship and claim to be his friend for selfish reasons.

“Friendship is something sacred. The Bible says to have one or two friends,” he said in the telephone interview that was broadcast Sunday. The interview was conducted by Argentine journalist Marcelo Gallardo, a personal friend who has known the pope since his days as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, before his papacy began in March 2013.

“Friendship in the utilitarian sense — let’s see what advantage I can gain by getting close to this person and becoming friends — that pains me,” he told the radio station.

“I have felt used by people who presented themselves as my friends and whom I hadn’t seen more than once or twice in my life. They have used that to their own benefit. But it’s an experience we all go through,” he said.

Besides the abuse of friendship, Francis denounced mankind’s “abuse of creation,” referring to God’s creations, and underlined the dangers of disrespecting the environment. This echoes his encyclical issued in June, calling for people to take better care of the planet.

“We’re not friends of creation. Sometimes we treat it like our worst enemy. Think of deforestation, misuse of water, methods of extracting minerals with elements like arsenic and cyanide that end up making people sick,” he said.

Francis also spoke of religious fundamentalists, whose goal, he said, is to “destroy in the name of an idea, not a reality. … They kill, attack, destroy, malign in the name of an ideological god.”

This interview comes just before the pope is scheduled to visit the U.S. for the first time on Sept. 24.

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Dirty FBI Agent Gets 5 Years for International Bribery Scheme

Ruskpp/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) — The FBI Special Agent’s “master plan” was simple: Mine FBI computers for dirt on a prominent foreign politician, then sell that information to the rival political party for a handsome sum of money. “No one knows… No one gets hurt.” Easy.

If all went according to plan, the corrupt agent and his co-conspirator would be “having lunch in our oceanfront restaurant” in no time, as the co-conspirator put it.

Instead, former Special Agent Robert Lustyik and his co-conspirator, Johannes Thaler, will be eating their next few hundred meals behind bars, after Lustyik was sentenced Monday to five years in prison — in addition to a 10-year sentence imposed by a Utah court in a second, unrelated bribery case in March.

Thaler previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

In the case for which he was sentenced Monday, Lustyik had pleaded guilty to soliciting and accepting bribes from a Bangladeshi man in the U.S. in exchange for providing that man with confidential information on a rival politician — information pilfered from FBI computers. Lustyik worked through Thaler, who played the role of middle man.

The first exchange back in December 2011 went well, according to court documents. Thaler met the buyer, identified as Rizve Ahmed, at a food court in Danbury, Conn., where he gave Ahmed an “FBI memo” and a Suspicious Activity Report on the rival politician, and received $1,000 in return.

Lustyik, a who had been at the Bureau for more than 20 years and at the time worked in counter-intelligence, didn’t bother with code words when asking his partner about the meeting, except for an apparent alias for Ahmed.

“Hey did you see cezar [Ahmed]? Did he pay you?” Lustyik texted Thaler after the meet, according to court documents.

“Yeah. I got some for you. We need to talk about Bangladesh,” Thaler responded.

“Ok. He give you a grand? And r they ready to play?” Lustyik wrote.

“Yes on both,” Thaler said.

The pair tried to escalate the deal quickly, hoping for a $40,000 “retainer” and then a $30,000 monthly salary. But things went south when Ahmed didn’t hold up his end.

“I want to kill C… F—king C. Let’s kick his ass. Show them. I hung my ass out the window n we got nothing?” Lustyik reportedly texted Thaler later, before indicating he could turn on his buyer by speaking directly with the target of the spying, the Bangladeshi politician.

It appeared Lustyik and his partner were able to mend fences with Ahmed, but only a few weeks before Lustyik was arrested for a separate bribery case prosecuted out of Utah.

That case, involving a former Green Beret and international security contracts and in which Lustyik also pleaded guilty, may shed some light on why Lustyik, the veteran FBI Special Agent, would sell out the U.S. government in two overlapping bribery schemes.

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Charities Accuse White House of ‘Failure of Moral Leadership’ over Refugees

Oleg Albinsky/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Ahead of the UN General Assembly later this month, representatives of some of America’s biggest aid organizations have accused the Obama Administration of failing Syria’s refugees.

On a conference call with journalists, Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) warned the White House that the refugee crisis is fast becoming “a legacy issue” for the Administration. Oxfam says the 10,000-refugee target the U.S. has agreed to take in is “not close to what the U.S. should be committing to.”

The organization added that if the U.S. was Lebanon (where 25 percent of the population are refugees from Syria) the U.S. could take Syria’s entire population three times over.

Save the Children accuses the White House of a “failure of moral leadership.” The children’s rights organzation’s President and Chief Executive Carolyn Miles says the U.S. has done it before, taking 100,000 refugees from Southeast Asia in 1979 and 200,000 in 1980 and another 124,000 from Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boatlift.

“It’s part of who we are,” Miles said.

Mercy Corps says the likelihood of any infiltration by Islamist sympathizers is minimal. The process for being verified by the U.S. is extremely rigorous and takes between 18 months and two years.

As of now, says Mercy Corps, Syria is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe not seen in decades, and warns that “for every one refugee being helped, scores are getting nothing.”

“Imagine what the crisis will look like next year if we don’t end it now,” Mercy Corps said.

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Refugee Arrests Soar as Hungary Clamps Down on Border Controls

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images(ROSZKE, Hungary) — The first string of refugees have been arrested on the Hungarian border since new protection orders were put in place to attempt to stem the flow of refugees.

Three men appeared to be the first arrested in Roszke, southern Hungary, in the early hours of Tuesday after they were seen illegally crossing from Serbia.

The identities of the men have not been released but they are believed to be Syrian.

The arrests come as a state of emergency was declared in two counties in Hungary, meaning that the government will deploy military forces to support the police in the counties that share a border with Serbia.

Under such a declaration, soldiers are authorized to use rubber bullets, tear gas and dogs to apprehend refugees who are attempting to enter illegally. They are also permitted to use deadly force if they feel their lives are threatened.

Additional fences were put up Monday afternoon leading up to the midnight implementation of the new rules. Razor wire lined the tops of the fences and lines of police officers were present to allow the construction to occur uninterrupted.

There are still legal crossings, and people can apply once they reach Hungary but even if they make it across to be processed, they still face deportation to Serbia because Hungarian officials view Serbia as a safe country. Serbia, however, has warned they may not accept them either.

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Live Updates: On the Front Lines of the Refugee Crisis

Nikola Gligic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The borders are tightening around European countries but that hasn’t stopped desperate refugees and migrants from making the trek in the hopes of finding a safe place to re-start their lives.

New fences lined with barbed wire have been added around Hungary’s borders and arrests are being made for anyone seen attempting an illegal border crossing.

ABC News’ team is on the ground across the region, bringing live updates on the crisis as it unfolds — and telling the stories of some of the thousands of people on their journeys to safety and struggles to get settled in a new home.

You can follow the live updates here and on a mobile device here.

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Vladimir Putin Reached Out to Elton John to Discuss LGBT Equality

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Elton John has proven that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Two days after he told the BBC that he’d like to discuss gay rights with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president himself evidently picked up the phone and gave the singer a call.

“Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today,” he wrote on Instagram. “I look forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia.”

In 2014, when John, 68, played in St. Petersburg, Russia, he told the fans that he was upset about the country’s anti-propaganda laws, which ban the “promotion of homosexuality to minors.”

“If I’m not honest about who I am, I couldn’t write this music,” he explained. “It’s not gay propaganda. It’s how I express life. If we start punishing people for that, the world will lose its humanity.”

On Saturday, John, who was in Ukraine, told the BBC that Putin’s attitude towards gay people was “isolating and prejudiced” and “ridiculous.”

“I would like to meet [Putin],” he said. “It’s probably pie in the sky… He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can think I have the conscience to say I tried.”

While in Ukraine, John met with that country’s president, and called upon him to support the LGBT community; he also met with business leaders and urged them not to refuse to hire LGBT employees.

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Kuwait Sentences 7 to Death Over Mosque Bombing

Pontuse/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Seven people have been sentenced to death in Kuwait over the suicide bombing of a mosque in June, according to the BBC.

The bombing occurred at the Imam Sadiq Mosque, just east of Kuwait City and killed at least 27 people and wounded more than 200.

BBC News reports that eight other suspects were sentenced to between two and 15 years in jail.

A group affiliated with ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

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EU Fails to Agree on Major Step to Resolve Migrant Crisis

PaulGrecaud/iStock/ThinkStock(ROME, Italy) — Europe has failed to agree on a major step to ease the refugee crisis.

At Italy’s urging, the European Union tried to get its member states to agree to redistribute 120,000 of the refugees that have arrived on its shores.

But, individual countries refused the plan. So far, the EU has only managed to get most of its member countries to agree to the allocation of 40,000 refugees in Greece and in Italy.

That is a tiny percentage of the 850,000 refugees expected this year and next to make it to Europe.

Over in Hungary, the border between Hungary and Serbia has been sealed off.

Hungary has delcared a state of emergency in its latest attempt to curb the flow of refugees streaming in.

According to the BBC, police arrested 60 people who are accused of trying to enter the country through a fence.

The state of emergency in Hungary will designate more powers to police.

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Adorable Beagle Breaks World Record for Most Balls Caught With Two Front Paws

Guinness Book of World Records (SAKURA, Japan) — A beagle named Purin has officially achieved the new record for the most balls caught by a dog with the front paws in one minute, surpassing her own previous record from 2014.

The furry goalie achieved the new record after saving 14 mini soccer balls by standing on her back legs and gracefully catching them one at a time.

“The most balls caught by a dog with the paws in one minute is 14 and was achieved by 9-year-old Purin and her owner Makoto Kumagai in Sakura, Chiba, Japan, on March 22, 2015,” Guinness confirmed. “The beagle from Tokyo can also skateboard, walk on two legs, rope skipping and has many other impressive skills.”

Kumagai, who’s owned Purin since she was just a puppy, told Guinness that she is calm, happy and always eager to play.

Kumagai added that the two practice together for 15 minutes daily.

Purin was named the first record holder in this category after she caught 11 balls in one minute on October 13, 2014, according to Guinness.

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