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iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New findings on the cause of the deadly AirAsia crash in December 2014 that killed all 162 people on board point to both problematic crew actions, as well as an issue with the plane.

The Indonesian government's National Transportation Safety Committee released its findings Tuesday based on an analysis of the data recorder from Flight 8501.

What Happened?

The cause of the Dec. 28 crash in Malaysia had long baffled experts, with some suggesting at the time there may have been an on-board explosion that caused a fire or other problem on board, leading to the crash.

Now, it is clear that there was a problem with the plane's rudder, though it could have been fixable if the crew members had taken the correct action in response. The new report concluded that they did not.

What Role Did the Crew's Actions Play?

According to aviation expert Steve Ganyard's analysis of the new report, there were a series of human errors that came in response to dealing with what he describes as a minor computer problem on board.

The rudder control system on board the Airbus plane reportedly sent repeated alerts to the pilots during the flight, but those warnings and the problem they were reporting would not have caused the plane to crash by themselves, said Ganyard, a former Marine Corps fighter pilot and ABC News consultant.

"The crew's inappropriate actions of pulling of circuit breakers, which put the flight controls into a less stable mode with many protections removed," Ganyard said. "The crew's improper control inputs led to a loss of control which this crew were not capable of recovering from."

"They were trying to deal with a failure of a computer component that seems like it had failed many times but hadn't been properly fixed," Ganyard said.

That problem should have been fixed by the airline, Ganyard noted, and was not the fault of Airbus, which originally manufactured the plane.

What the Airline Said About the Findings?

AirAsia CEO Tony Frenandes released a statement acknowledging the report and promising change though suggesting that it was not just the airline's fault.

"There is much to be learned here for AirAsia, the manufacturer and the aviation industry. We will not leave any stone unturned to make sure the industry learns from this tragic incident," Fernandes posted on Twitter.

Could This Happen in the U.S.?

A similar crash, or more specifically, a similar reaction to such an alert by a U.S. crew is "very unlikely," Ganyard said, citing "better training, better pilots, better maintenance, better procedures."

Ganyard said "poor decision making by the crew, improper actions by the crew, inability of the crew to recover from a stall" were the deadly factors, "all pointing to poor training, procedures and skill."

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Lintao Zhang/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping is breathing easier these days, as he has escaped smog-enveloped Beijing to attend this week’s climate change summit in France.

Xi has left behind empty playgrounds, for instance, as residents young and old are urged to stay inside amid Beijing’s worst air pollution this year.

This week’s summit in France has brought together about 150 world leaders with a mission to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and stem the devastating risks of global warming.

“Never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, since what is at stake is the future of the planet, the future of life,” French President François Hollande told a packed United Nations session at a convention center north of Paris.

In Beijing, residents and visitors face the issue first-hand, struggling through the city's dense air wearing face masks to protect themselves from the pollution. Buildings and structures, including the iconic Tiananmen Square, disappear in the thick cloud. Things as close as one block away are erased in the gray atmosphere.

Chinese officials on Sunday declared an “orange” alert, the second highest level after red, and the highest so far this year, as heavy smog has descended on the city, darkening it all, for most of November.

The alert came as readings of the tiny poisonous PM2.5 particles reached into the high 600 micrograms per cubic meter around the city. The World Health Organization's safe level of this particle is 25.

The alert requires all industrial plants to reduce or shut down production altogether. It also bans heavy-duty trucks from city roads and orders construction sites to stop operations.

The smog covers more than 200,000 square miles around Beijing, neighboring Tianjing and the surrounding province of Hebei, all in the country's northeast. Earlier this year, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection said the most polluted cities in the country were in Hebei.

Only eight cities in all of China meet air quality standards, according to the country's environmental ministry. Beijing is among the worst, the ministry said earlier this year.

Different city and country officials can't seem to agree on what's causing the high levels of pollution in the Chinese capital right now. While city environmental monitors blame an increase in coal burning for the high levels of pollution, the country's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development puts blame on car exhaust.

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NASA(NEW YORK) -- An out-of-this-world mystery has apparently been solved 43 years after the Apollo 16 mission to the moon.

Using high-resolution images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Jeff Plescia, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, was able to locate the lunar impact crater left by Apollo 16's rocket booster.

The rocket booster had been crashed into the moon after the astronauts had left its surface. The intent was to take seismic measurements to learn more about the interior of the moon, however the booster's position was reportedly unknown until now.

"I did finally find the Apollo 16 SIVB crater," Plescia said, according to Inside Outer Space. "It looks like the others, but its position was much more poorly defined since the tracking was lost prior to impact."

Launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 16, 1972, Apollo 16 was the fifth lunar landing and included three moon walks.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers examining the lives of more than 70 terrorism suspects collared by the FBI over the past year found no typical profile among these Americans beyond the allure of the spectacular savagery of the "Islamic State," according to a report released on Tuesday.

The average age of those arrested and several killed in violent confrontations with law enforcement was 26 -- but some who became radicalized and enamored by ISIS were in their teens and some were pushing retirement age, the study by Program on Extremism found.

"It is apparent that the U.S. is home to a small but active cadre of individuals infatuated with ISIS's ideology, some of whom have decided to mobilize in its furtherance," the report said.

The pool of Americans supporting ISIS is not only unprecedented in the number of terrorism arrests since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, but includes women, who account for 14 percent of the arrests in a startling new trend largely unseen in U.S. counter-terrorism.

Also over represented among those picked up by agents for plotting or moving toward acts of violence in the U.S. or abroad are Muslim converts, who made up 40 percent of the cases studied.

The study, "ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa," was a painstaking undertaking by a team from the program at George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, who examined arrests in 21 states.

"The profiles of individuals involved in ISIS-related activities in the U.S. differ widely in race, age, social class, education and family background. Their motivations are equally diverse and defy easy analysis," the report said.

As has been well documented, social media plays a central role as bait to those Muslims who are lured in by the appeal of the so-called "caliphate" declared in June 2014 by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria and Iraq.

The Program on Extremism identified at least 300 active Twitter supporters of ISIS who appear to be inside the U.S. But with over 900 active investigations in all 50 states, researchers said there are almost certainly more than 300 Americans enamored by ISIS and radicalized toward supporting the violence that defines the foreign terrorist group.

ISIS operatives in Syria often identify sympathetic voices on Twitter and actively engage them publicly through tweets and then privately via direct messages, before switching to encrypted smartphone apps for often lengthy efforts to turn subjects toward joining ISIS overseas or committing acts of violence here in the homeland, the report says, echoing previous comments to ABC News from U.S. officials.

Disclaimer: This story's reporter, James Gordon Meek, is a senior fellow at GW's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, which released the study.

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The White House(PARIS) — A week after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syria border, President Obama continued his effort to refocus the battle against the Islamic State, while deescalating tensions between Russia and Turkey.

Speaking at a news conference in Paris Tuesday, Obama said he is “confident” the United States and its allies will “continue building momentum” to defeat ISIS.

“I am confident that we can continue building momentum and adding resources to our effort to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” the president said, using the government’s acronym for ISIS, or the Islamic State.

The United States and its allies are also working to disrupt terror plots and to promote a political solution in Syria, he added.

The president lauded the French people for hosting a major international climate conference this week, calling it a “remarkable display of resolve” two weeks after the terror attacks that rocked Paris and left 130 people dead.

“The first place I visited when I arrived on Sunday night was the Bataclan so that I could pay my respects on behalf of the American people who share the French people’s resolve,” he said of the theater that terrorists attacked Nov. 13. “It was a powerful reminder of the awful human toll of those attacks.”

Leaders from around the globe set upon Paris for the highly publicized summit. But while they may have preferred to discuss carbon emissions, global terrorism dominated the headlines coming from Paris.

Obama held a bilateral meeting earlier Tuesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging the Turkish leader to "deescalate tensions" between Turkey and Russia.

“I want to be very clear: Turkey is a NATO ally. Along with our allies, the United States supports Turkey's right to defend itself, and its airspace and its territory, and we're very much committed to Turkey's security and its sovereignty,” Obama said after the meeting.

“We all have a common enemy and that is ISIL and I want to make sure that we focus on that threat and I want to make sure that we remain focused on the need to bring about some sort of political resolution in Syria."

Erdogan said Turkey is “willing to resort to diplomatic language” to resolve the tension between his country and Russia.

“We don’t want to invest in tensions. We want to avoid the tensions. We don’t want to get hurt and we don’t want no one to get hurt,” Erdogan said. “We want peace to prevail at all times and we want the peace which will prevail.”

The meeting came one day after Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Obama said "it is possible" Putin could shift Russia’s Syria strategy in the next few months — but predicted he won’t make a 180-degree turn on their strategy over the next several weeks, particularly until Russia recognizes the threat that ISIL poses to its country.

“They have invested for years now in keeping Assad in power," Obama said. "Their presence there is predicated on propping him up and so that’s going to take some time for them to change how they think about the issue.”

Observing that the Russians have been involved in Syria for “several weeks, over a month,” the president said the situation on the ground there "hasn’t changed significantly.”

The president repeated his belief that “there is not going to be a military resolution to the situation in Syria" and predicted Putin is not looking for an outcome in Syria where he would “simply get bogged down in an inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict.”

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Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department said Monday that the United States believes that a Russian jet that was shot down had violated Turkish air space.

"The available information, including evidence from Turkey and our own sources, indicates the Russian aircraft violated Turkish airspace," State Department Spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said Monday. "We also know that the Turks warned the Russian pilots multiple times before the airspace violation to which the Turks received no response."

That statement marked the first time the U.S. has directly acknowledged the Russian jet had crossed into Turkish territory.

But while the U.S. has acknowledged that Turkey has the right to defend itself, Trudeau called on both sides to "de-escalate." She was also careful in her language, refusing to directly answer questions about whether Turkey was justified in its actions or if it had used proportional force.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded angrily to the attack, which left one pilot and a member of the rescue team dead. He has called for sanctions on Turkey, and on Monday Russia instituted a ban on food imports.

Turkey is a member of the NATO alliance, meaning the U.S. has an obligation to defend it in a military conflict.

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Nasief Manie/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images(CAPE TOWN, South Africa) — Britain's Prince Harry told a group of young kids at a correction center in South Africa that he always wanted to be the "bad boy."

Harry, who has been touring Lesotho and South Africa on behalf of the Queen, toured the Ottery Youth Center in Cape Town and told students he didn't like school and would have preferred a more down-to-earth school than Eton, the posh private school that educates princes and prime ministers, the best and brightest and the most privileged in British society.

"I didn't enjoy school at all," said Harry. "I would have liked to have come to a place like this. When I was at school, I wanted to be a bad boy."

Harry, the fifth-in-line to the British throne, visited the center, behind barbed wire, which counsels teenagers with troubled backgrounds referred by the courts. Many of the youths have been exposed to gang culture and had no idea who their visitor was.

When Harry asked if any of them knew who he was, many stared at the prince with blank faces, according to ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy who is traveling with Harry in Cape Town.

"My name is Prince Harry, the Queen of England's grandson, Princess Diana's son," he told the crowd. "I came all the way from England. I want to hear all your stories."

The 31-year-old encouraged the kids to turn away from the lure of gang culture and spoke of the importance of trusting role models.

And without missing a beat, he told the crowd, "If you've got an older brother that's not into gangs, that's a huge positive. Older brothers are supposedly the cool ones."

Prince Harry then used the opportunity to joke about his relationship with Prince William.

"I'm a younger brother but I'm much cooler than my older brother," Harry said.

The head of the program laughed at Harry's remark, promising Harry they wouldn't tell Prince William. Harry joked right back, saying it was okay because, "He knows it."

Harry also visited a woodwork shop at the center where he was presented with a wooden frame showing a photo of Princess Diana hugging Harry as a young child.

Prince Harry, who is often compared to his late mother for his uncanny ability to connect with people from all walks of society, also took time out to see one of the poorest townships in Cape Town.

Harry went to Khayelitsha, where most of the residents still live in shacks. It is the second poorest area of South Africa, with crime averaging one murder per day and gave Harry an opportunity to see how many Capetonians still live.

One four-year-old girl was so taken by the prince she cried her eyes out when he left.

Harry also paid a visit to South African Nobel Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The 83-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has been battling prostate cancer, was presented by Prince Harry with the Order of the Companion of Honour on behalf of the Queen The medal is presented to individuals who distinguish themselves in service to arts culture and religion.

The Archbishop Emeritus told Harry of his "deep thanks to Her Majesty" and thanked Harry for his work in Lesotho with his charity Sentabale

"I am very touched by your commitment to Lesotho. I taught at the university there and became Bishop of Lesotho," Archbishop Tutu said. "It has always had a very soft spot in our hearts, just wonderful that you and the English are helping. Thank you very much"
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Maritime and Coastguard Agency(LONDON) -- The rocket debris that washed up near the British coast last week comes from one of SpaceX's launches, the company confirmed on Monday.

Initial speculation pointed to the debris possibly being from the company's failed launch to the International Space Station in June.

Elon Musk's company is putting the mystery to rest though, telling ABC News on Monday the debris has actually been at sea much longer and comes from the successful CRS-4 mission that launched 14 months ago from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Covered in barnacles and measuring 32 feet by 14 feet, the metal structure has an American flag painted on it. The rocket debris was found bear the Isles of Scilly, which are more than 4,000 miles away from the launch site.

The debris were spotted on the sea's surface and recovered with the help of local boatmen, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency said in a statement.

"It was pretty shocking to scrape the barnacles off and then find out it was a rocket ship," said Joe Thomas, a skipper for Tresco Boat Services who said he came across the metal 100 meters off the shore.

The structure was towed to the beach of the island of Tresco, where it was kept under guard after its discovery.

"It’s not every day a bit of a rocket floats up at home," Thomas said.

It was not immediately clear what fate awaits the rocket debris now that the mystery has been solved.

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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) — President Obama extended his condolences to the people of France Monday and reaffirmed the United States’ solidarity with the country in the wake of the deadly terror attacks that ravaged Paris two weeks ago.

“We have come to Paris to show our resolve,” President Obama said in his first public remarks at the United Nation’s summit on climate change. “We offer our condolences to the people of France for the barbaric attacks on this beautiful city. We stand united in solidarity not only to deliver justice to the terrorist network responsible for those attacks but to protect our people and uphold the enduring values that keep us strong and keep us free.”

The president, in his first visit to France since the Paris massacre, reflected on the collection of heads of state for the climate conference, asking “what greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it?”

At nearly 1 a.m., within an hour of landing in Paris, Obama made an impromptu stop at the Bataclan theater, one of the sites targeted by terrorists in the deadly attacks earlier this month. He was accompanied by French Francois President Hollande and Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Obama laid a single white flower, bowed his head and stood in silence at a card-and-candle laden memorial outside the theater, the deadliest site of the Nov. 13 attack that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Obama is joining Hollande and other world leaders in launching Mission Innovation, a new clean energy initiative built on commitments from 19 countries, including India and China, to double investments in clean energy research and development over five years.

In addition to the multi-government worldwide project, a group of billionaires, led by Bill Gates and including Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and Jack Ma, will commit to providing money to jumpstart some of these projects.

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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) — The world’s biggest conference on climate change started Monday in Paris, with the pressure on leaders from over 150 countries to stem the most destructive effects of global warming.

The COP21 conference, through Dec. 11, has a goal to hold the increase in temperature by the end of the century to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.

President Obama arrived in Paris Sunday night with negotiators and participants who had been working to deliver a comprehensive agreement for months. The White House wants to be seen as taking a lead in containing greenhouse gas emissions, observers say.

"I think the U.S. wants to make a credible case that the administration is doing everything in its power to reduce greenhouse gases,” Adele Morris, a policy director at the Brookings Institution and lead negotiator during 2000 international climate change talks, told ABC News. “The U.S. wants to put forward that we’re going to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels.”


Morris said negotiations are not really centered around one deal like carbon taxes but, instead, many of the countries participating will put forward their individual contributions. “I think the Paris agreement is going to be a job of stapling these agreements together,” Morris said.

One major sticking point is who will pay for the “loss and damage” caused by the effects of climate change, such as intense storms and hurricanes that have ravaged whole towns and economies. Developing countries want the European Union and United States to bear more of the cost.

At home, Obama faces Republicans who want to prevent the administration from instating rules on decreasing carbon pollution from power plants. Twenty-four states have filed lawsuits against the measures. They hope to send a clear message to the international community attempting to negotiate the agreement in Paris: The president does not have the support of the U.S. Congress. They’ve even tried forcing the president to acquire Senate approval before signing any deal.

The United States, Canada and nine European countries today pledged nearly $250 million to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to rising seas, droughts and other effects of climate change.


Since the terrorist attacks in the host city two weeks ago, some negotiators and observers believe there is more will to produce an agreement by the end of the conference. By tackling climate change, the international community could address the struggle over resources that helps breed terrorism.

"I believe that it will make a deal more likely, because what I feel from the parties is that they are very eager to move," Amjad Abdulla of the Maldives, who chairs the Alliance of Small Island States in the negotiations, told the BBC.

In 2009, the Copenhagen talks ended in no deal and were seen as a failure. As 45,000 journalists, non-governmental organization participants and negotiators pour into Paris for COP21 and the city ramps up security, the world hopes for something different in Paris.

French President Francois Hollande, hosting the talks, said "no conference has ever gathered so many leaders from so many countries ... but never before have the international stakes been so high."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Alan Kurdi became a symbol for the dangers refugees heading to Europe face when his little body washed up on a Turkish beach. Now, part of the boy's remaining family is a step closer to a "new life," Alan's aunt, Tima Kurdi, told ABC News from her home in Canada.

Alan was not even 3 years old when he drowned alongside his 5-year-old brother, Ghalib, and their mother after falling off an overcrowded boat. They were on their way to the Greek island of Kos, reportedly headed to Canada from Kobani, Syria. Abdullah Kurdi, the boys' father, had decided to make the journey after allegedly being denied asylum in Canada, where his sister lives.

Back in September, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada noted they had no record of receiving Abdullah Kurdi's application. The agency said they had received an application for his brother, Mohammad Kurdi, and Mohammad Kurdi's family, which was returned because "it was incomplete as it did not meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition," the agency said at the time.

A heartbroken Abdullah buried his sons and wife in their homeland as photos of Alan's body in Turkey caused outrage around the world. Nearly three months later, Canada has approved the asylum applications of Alan's uncle and six other family members, Tima Kurdi said.

"So far it's nothing confirmed yet. They're still going through the process," Kurdi told ABC News on Monday. She received an email from Immigration Canada saying the applications were approved, but the family is now waiting for medical and security checks to be processed in Turkey and Germany, where the family members are now, she said. "The final decision will be from overseas."

Those slated to come include several children, including a 5-month-old baby, and Abdullah's brother and sister, Kurdi said. They have already gone through the medical checks, and will soon go through security, she added.

Alan's father, however, is not moving to Canada, she said.

"Abdullah is still not thinking to leave anywhere," Kurdi said of her brother, adding that he now lives in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where he works with refugees.

"He says 'The poor is my family now, that's what is going to keep me alive'," she said.

But for Tima Kurdi, the news are bittersweet.

"It's a beautiful feeling to see seven family members, but at the same time we are heartbroken," she said. "I'm happy to give seven people a new life, a new beginning, specially for the kids to go to school after three years of not going, but at the same time there's always a part missing because of these nephews we couldn't save."

Kurdi now hopes to have her family with her by Christmas; she hopes they are included in the 10,000 refugees the Canadian government said the country would receive this year.

From Canada, Kurdi asks the world not to send refugees away.

"Don't be afraid of the Syrian refugees," she said. "Refugees are in desperate need. Don't close the door on their faces, open your heart, and open the doors for them. They know no one wants them, they can feel it."

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THIBAULT CAMUS/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) — At the opening ceremonies for the UN Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget Monday morning, nearly 150 world leaders participated in a moment of silence for the victims of the Paris terror attacks.  

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called for the moment of silence at the start of the conference as French President Francois Hollande sat nearby him on the stage.
Hollande has previously said the climate conference will be the largest-ever gathering of world leaders in Paris.

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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) — President Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Paris Monday morning for the U.N. conference on climate change. But while they discussed ways their countries are cooperating to cut global carbon emissions, the global threat of terrorism was the dominate subject.
Without directly mentioning the Paris attacks launched by the Islamic State earlier this month, President Obama expressed his condolences to President Xi for the killing of a Chinese hostage at the hands of ISIS.
“This is a threat to all of our countries,” Obama told reporters. He added his belief that when China is invested in solving global problems, the entire global community, including the United States, benefits.
Seated at the end of a long table, the duo also reflected on Xi’s state visit to Washington in September, and reiterated their “fruitful” cooperation on climate issues.
Obama said the leader’s cooperation on a range of issues will demonstrate to the world that “there is far more that the United States and China have in common than separates us, and when we work together good things happen.”
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Guang Niu/Getty Images(BEIJING) — The highest smog warning this year has been issued in Beijing, China, reports the BBC.

The alert is an "orange level," the pollution-choked city's second highest. That color designation requires factories to begin cutting production.

Other guidelines include bans on heavy-lift trucks from city roads and the halting of transport of construction materials.

Relief is expected by Wednesday as a cold front is expected to move in.

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HRH The Duchess of Cambridge via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Kensington Palace released two new photos of 6-month-old Princess Charlotte on Sunday. The photos were taken in early November by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge at their country home Anmer Hall in Norfolk, the palace said.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to be able to share two new photographs of Princess Charlotte," the palace said in a statement. "The Duke and Duchess continue to receive warm messages about Princess Charlotte from all around the world and they hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as they do."

Now third-in-line to the throne, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana has inherited her grandmother and namesake Princess Diana's blue eyes, which she shares with her father, but has brown hair like her mother.

The new Princess of Hearts, Charlotte was born on May 2 in the same hospital where her older brother Prince George was born.

Charlotte was last seen by the public at her christening in July on Her Majesty The Queens' estate at Sandringham. William and Kate released several photos of the family at the time.

William recently described his daughter as a "little joy of heaven" and "ladylike" while Kate acknowledged that Charlotte was getting used to "her noisy big brother."

William and Kate wanted to share the photos as a thanks for allowing their children to grow up with some semblance of privacy.

Absent from the photos is Prince George. The Palace last released photos of him over the summer around his second birthday.

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