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Meghan Markle in 'difficult situation,' palace says after report father will skip royal wedding

Following reports that Thomas Markle won’t attend daughter Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday, royal reps have issued a statement.

>> Royal Wedding: Everything to know before Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle

While not outright confirming the reports, it asked for “understanding,” especially for the American bride-to-be and her father.

>> On AJC.com: TMZ: Meghan Markle’s dad won’t be at the royal wedding on Saturday

“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” a Kensington Palace spokesman said Monday. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”

>> See the statement here

>> How to watch and stream the royal wedding (plus everything else on TV about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle)

The statement comes on the heels of a TMZ report earlier Monday that Thomas Markle would skip the wedding due to his involvement in posing for photos that were sold for large sums of money. Markle, 73, told TMZ that he’d “meant no harm to Meghan or the royal family.”

>> Read more trending news 

Read more here.

Major depression diagnoses on the rise in the U.S., study finds

Over the past five years, diagnoses of major depression in the United States have risen by at least 33 percent.

>> On AJC.com: People with depression are more likely to use certain words — here’s how they express themselves

That’s according to a new report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, for which analysts assessed the BCBS Health Index built from billions of claims for more than 41 million commercially insured Americans annually.

>> Read more trending news 

The index, which quantifies how more than 200 diseases and conditions affect quality of life, showed that major depression is the second most significant condition on overall health in America. The first is hypertension, or high blood pressure.

According to the report, those diagnosed with major depression are nearly 30 percent less healthy on average than those without the condition. Such a decrease in overall health may mean a loss of nearly 10 years of healthy life for both men and women.

>> On AJC.com: Why are Americans so lonely? Massive study finds nearly half of US feels alone, young adults most of all

More than 9 million commercially insured Americans in the index are affected by major depression. The rate of diagnosis in the country is 4.4 percent. But while diagnoses are up 33 percent since 2013 overall, the rate is even higher among teens and young adults − 47 percent. For teen girls, specifically, the rate has risen by 65 percent.

"The high rates for adolescents and millennials could have a substantial health impact for decades to come," Trent Haywood, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSA, said in a statement. "Further education and research is needed to identify methods for both physicians and patients to effectively treat major depression and begin a path to recovery and better overall health." 

Analysts also found that overall, women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with major depression (6 percent compared to 2.8 percent, respectively).

>> On AJC.com: Depressed? Reduce your symptoms with this type of exercise

Geographically, 49 of the 50 states saw rising diagnosis rates between 2013 and 2016. Hawaii was the only state that experienced a slight decline (a rate of less than 2 percent). Communities in New England, the Pacific Northwest and areas throughout the South and Midwest had higher rates of major depression compared to the rest of the country.

Rhode Island had the highest diagnosis rate with 6 percent. However, the authors noted that differences in efforts to screen for major depression can result in varying diagnoses rates across states.

“While major depression is the second most impactful health condition for the nation, it is complicated by an increased likelihood of overlapping diagnoses of other chronic, behavioral health and pain-related conditions,” authors of the report wrote.

In fact, of the 9 million Americans diagnosed with major depression in 2016, only 15 percent were diagnosed with depression alone. Eighty-five percent, according to the analysis, were diagnosed with an additional health condition.

>> On AJC.com: 5 signs you should ask your doctor about depression

In addition to a lower quality of life, those diagnosed with major depression are more likely to use more healthcare services, resulting in more than twice the spending.

It’s important to note that the report’s findings, based on people with BCBS commercial health insurance, are likely an underestimate. Most Americans are covered by a commercial health plan, but many who report symptoms of depression say they have not been diagnosed or received treatment for the condition.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide.

>> On AJC.com: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame? 

Additionally, approximately 800,000 people die of suicide each year; that’s one person every 40 seconds. In the U.S., between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate rose by 24 percent. And, according to recent data released from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high.

Read the full Blue Cross Blue Shield report at bcbs.com.

WATCH: Fiona the hippo gives mom hugs and kisses at Cincinnati Zoo

Fiona — the Cincinnati Zoo’s celebrity hippo — was recently spotted giving her mom hugs and kisses.

>> Hippo photo bombs engagement proposal

Videos from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden show Fiona interacting with her mom, Bibi.

>> Click here to watch

Fiona was born premature in January 2017 and received around-the-clock care. She weighed 29 pounds, which zoo officials said is well below a baby hippo’s typical weight. Hippos can grow to be 3,000 pounds.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

When Fiona became dehydrated, specialists from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center helped give her an IV.

>> Read more trending news 

Henry, Fiona’s father, was euthanized in October. Henry had been struggling for several months with health issues and had lost hundreds of pounds, the zoo said.

Child behind daycare attack that sent baby to hospital, prosecutor says; no charges filed

Prosecutors say they will not file criminal charges after authorities determined that a young child attacked a baby boy at an Indiana daycare, reportedly sending him to the hospital last month.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Boy, 1, hospitalized after alleged beating at day care; mom says worker blamed 2-year-old girl

According to The Associated Press, a medical professional said 1-year-old Jesse Griffin's injuries – a bloody, cut face and swollen eyes – were caused by another child at Kiddiegarden in Indianapolis, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a statement Thursday.

Jesse "was reportedly placed in a safe sleeping environment in the same room as an age-appropriate child and checked on ... periodically" by a day care employee, the statement said.

The findings echoed workers' previous claims that a 2-year-old girl had attacked the boy.

The news comes after a photo showing the boy's injuries went viral, sparking debate over whether a toddler – and not an adult – could have caused so much harm. 

WXIN-TV reported earlier this month that when the boy's mother, Tiffany Griffin, saw her son's injuries, she punched the day care worker, who claimed that the toddler girl had attacked Jesse.

At the time, Griffin said there was "no way" that the girl caused Jesse's injuries.

"She didn't look like she was the violent type, and her mom said she wasn't the violent type," Griffin told WXIN

The boy was examined at a nearby hospital. 

Immediately after the incident, Kiddiegarden issued a statement saying it was "deeply saddened about what took place," WXIN reported.

"This was truly a sad, shocking and unfortunate event," the statement read, in part. "We have been diligently working with law enforcement, child protective services, as well as state agencies on this matter. We have been fully cooperative and transparent with law enforcement to complete their investigation."

>> Read more trending news 

The licensed day care "has never had any accusations of abuse or maltreatment from any of our children or parents," the statement also said.

The worker reportedly was fired, WXIN reported.

On Thursday, Jesse's father, Jesse Harris, condemned officials' findings in a statement of his own.

"Welcome to America, where a 1-year-old baby can be beat, and no one is held accountable," he said.

Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

LOOK: Dogs smile for the camera in viral daycare 'selfie'

When the human's away, the dogs will play.

>> Read more trending news 

According to ABC News, some photogenic pups at an Ohio doggy daycare recently gained online fame after their adorable "selfie" went viral on Facebook.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The playful pic, posted March 30 by Go Fetch Dog Daycare and Boarding in Cincinnati, shows dozens of pups posing for the camera. Although an employee took the photo, many commenters joked that one smiling pooch in the foreground appeared to be snapping a selfie.

>> See the image here

The image has been shared more than 7,000 times.

Read more here.

LOOK: John Stamos' baby boy meets 'Full House' stars Bob Saget, Lori Loughlin

Whoa, baby!

"Full House" star John Stamos' 1-month-old son, Billy, recently met two members of his dad's TV family – and the sweet moment was caught on camera.

>> See the photo here

"The Tin Man, Dorothy and The Scarecrow say hi to the cutest of Munchkins. #BillyandtheRippers," Stamos captioned an Instagram photo that showed Billy, clad in a Jesse and the Rippers onesie, with actors Bob Saget and Lori Loughlin. 

>> Read more trending news 

Billy, born April 10, is the first son of Stamos and wife Caitlin McHugh, People reported.

Read more here.

'Melania' rises in popularity as name for baby girls

Could Melania someday join the likes of Emma and Olivia as one of the top 10 baby names for girls in the U.S.?

>> PHOTOS: Melania Trump through the years

According to the Social Security Administration, Melania saw a dramatic increase in popularity last year, rising from the 1,650th most popular girls' name in 2016 to 930th in 2017. The 720-spot rise in rank was the fifth-largest increase among girls' names last year, falling behind Ensley, Oaklynn, Dream and Oaklyn.

The Associated Press said the surge is "likely influenced by first lady Melania Trump."

>> Read more trending news 

The top 10 baby girls' names in 2017 were Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Mia, Charlotte, Amelia, Evelyn and Abigail, the SSA reported. Meanwhile, Liam topped the list for baby boys, followed by Noah, William, James, Logan, Benjamin, Mason, Elijah, Oliver and Jacob.

Read more here and here.

Kitten abandoned in shelter mailbox looks for new home

A kitten that was abandoned in the mailbox of a Hawthorne, California, animal shelter is now up for adoption.

KABC reported that Brett, a black-and-white domestic short hair kitten, was found in the mailbox March 28 when a staffer heard meowing.

>> Read more trending news 

Brett was 2 weeks old when he was found in the mailbox. According to a Facebook post from the shelter, his condition was touch and go after being in the heat.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“Abandoning an animal is a crime and very cruel,” spcaLA president Madeline Bernstein told KABC. “The kitten could have easily died inside the mailbox.”

Veterinary staff at the shelter jumped into action to get Brett well. He was put into foster care where he was bottle-fed until he could eat on his own. 

Now 2 months old, Brett is ready for adoption. He was socialized through the shelter’s HEAL Program.

Adoptions at scpaLA are on a first come, first served basis. More information is available at the spcaLA website.

Delta plane evacuated in Denver after smoke fills cabin

Passengers were evacuated from a Delta Air Lines plane Tuesday night after smoke was reported in the cabin.

>> RELATED STORY: Southwest Airlines plane, pickup truck collide at Baltimore's BWI Airport

According to KDVR, 146 passengers were on board the MD-90, which was traveling from Detroit to Denver, the Atlanta-based airline said. The evacuations occurred after the MD-90 landed at Denver International Airport just after 8 p.m. local time, the airline said.

>> RELATED STORY: Passenger killed in Southwest Airlines emergency landing identified

"After arrival in Denver and during taxi to the gate, Delta Flight 1854 from Detroit to Denver stopped on a taxiway where customers deplaned via slides and over-wing exits due to an observance of smoke in the cabin," Delta said in a statement, KDVR reported. "Airport response vehicles met the aircraft out of an abundance of caution and customers were transported to the terminal via buses. The safety of Delta's customers and crew is our top priority and we apologize for the concern this situation has caused."

>> Read more trending news 

At least one person was injured and taken to the hospital, officials told KUSA.

Read more here or here.

WATCH: Pollen cloud springs from tree in sneeze-worthy viral video

Look away, allergy sufferers: This viral video from New Jersey might bring you to tears.

On Monday, Facebook user Jennifer Henderson shared a clip of a backhoe tapping a tree in Millville – and the enormous pollen cloud that followed.

>> See the video here

>> Read more trending news 

"When my husband said the pollen's bad, I probably should've taken his word for it. Crazy!" Henderson wrote

As of Wednesday morning, the post had been viewed nearly 3 million times with 93,000 shares.

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