Lines Stretch for Miles as Queen Elizabeth Lies in State



News Desk, Barta24.com
Lines Stretch for Miles as Queen Elizabeth Lies in State

Lines Stretch for Miles as Queen Elizabeth Lies in State

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Borne on a gun carriage and accompanied by the boom of artillery cannons and the tolling of Big Ben’s bell, the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II was transported on Wednesday (August 14) from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, where the queen’s body will lie in state until her funeral on Monday.

The first members of the public were admitted to Westminster Hall at 5 p.m local time (12 p.m. Eastern) to pay their respects. Many had waited for hours in a line that was stretching for miles around London.

Earlier, at 2:22 p.m. (9:22 a.m. Eastern), the coffin, draped in the imperial standard and bearing the imperial state crown on a velvet pillow, rolled slowly out of the front gate of Buckingham Palace. That precise time was chosen because it allowed the procession to reach the doors of Westminster Hall 3 p.m., when it was met by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

King Charles III, in full dress uniform and carrying a field marshal’s baton, walked behind the coffin, joined by his sister, Princess Anne, and their two brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. His elder son and heir, Prince William, newly named as the Prince of Wales, walked behind him, next to his brother, Prince Harry.

The procession, one of the most solemn of the public rituals marking the death of the British monarch, was meant to have less fanfare than other ceremonies. Even the skies above the route were cleared of commercial aircraft, with Heathrow Airport disrupting the schedules of flights to eliminate the distant roar of planes.

The cortege passed by the most familiar symbols of royal London, from Buckingham Palace to the wide, tree-lined vista of the Mall, then past government institutions on Whitehall and Downing Street, before arriving at Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Parliamentary estate.

With the queen departing the palace for the last time, her 38-minute journey symbolized the transfer of responsibility for the sovereign’s body from the royal family, which has been mourning a beloved matriarch, to the British nation, which will now mourn a revered head of state.

There were familiar emblems of the queen’s military status: Her gun carriage was guarded by the Household Mounted Cavalry Regiment, followed by bands of Grenadiers and Scots guards. Members of the queen’s household, including her private secretary and keeper of the privy purse, walked in front of the coffin.

In walking behind the coffin, the members of the royal family took up the same positions they had during a procession on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on Monday. Their choice of dress reflected their sometimes turbulent personal circumstances.

Prince Andrew, who served in the Royal Navy during the Falklands War, wore a morning suit rather than a uniform, reflecting his banishment from royal duties because of his association with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sexual predator.

Prince Harry, who withdrew from his royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020 with his American-born wife, Meghan, also wore a morning suit. Andrew will wear his uniform for a final salute to his mother later in the week. A spokesman for Harry said he was content to wear civilian dress.

The other female members of the family — Queen Camilla; Catherine, the Princess of Wales; and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex — rode to Westminster Hall in advance.

Once inside the centuries-old hall, the coffin was placed on a catafalque, and Archbishop Welby and other clerics conducted a brief service. The hall was then readied for round-the-clock public viewing, a ritual that was expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people. The police estimate that the wait could last for hours and that the line could eventually stretch for up to 10 miles.

Westminster Hall, which sits in the shadow of Big Ben, is one of the most hallowed places in British public life. Erected by King William II in 1097, it is where King Richard I had his coronation banquet in 1189, Thomas More was tried for treason in 1535 and Winston Churchill’s body lay in state in 1965.

Protests in China over Covid restrictions



News Desk, Barta24.com
Protests in China over Covid restrictions

Protests in China over Covid restrictions

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Police in Shanghai on Sunday (November 27) dragged and detained demonstrators who were protesting strict coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Protesters were seen singing the national anthem as they gathered in the streets of Shanghai.

China has been marred by rare protests against Covid measures that are part of the nation's strict zero-Covid policy. Police face the unusual task of maintaining law and order as people express anger over recent restrictions.

Amid the protests, demonstrators were seen clashing with the police in Shanghai on Sunday as the protests continued for a third day, further spreading to several cities. This comes after the deadly apartment fire in the country's far west.

On Thursday, a fire at a residential high-rise building in the city of Urumqi, reportedly led to the death of at least 10 people. Urumqi is the capital of the Xinjiang region.

China has implemented stringent policies, including lockdowns, mass testing, etc. in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus, which was first reported in China in late 2019.

Now, nearly three years into the pandemic, the authorities in China are still imposing the zero-Covid policy that has caused frustration among people.

Besides Shanghai, protesters also took to the streets in the cities of Wuhan and Chengdu on Sunday. Peaceful vigils were held in Beijing. Meanwhile, the students on several university campuses around China demonstrated over the weekend.

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President signs off on top military appointments; Lt Gen Asim Munir to be next army chief



News Desk, Barta24.com
President signs off on top military appointments; Lt Gen Asim Munir to be next army chief

President signs off on top military appointments; Lt Gen Asim Munir to be next army chief

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President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday formally approved Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s nominations for the next army chief and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), hours after receiving a summary in this regard.

Lt Gen Asim Munir has been named as the chief of army staff and Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza has been named as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The confirmation of the president’s approval was given by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, putting an end to weeks’ long speculation. However, an official handout from the President’s office is still awaited.

Talking to media persons in Islamabad, Asif said that the advisory sent to President Alvi by the government has been approved. “The president has signed [the summary],” he said, calling it a “good omen”.

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Anwar Ibrahim sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister



News Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister on Thursday, ending a 24-year wait to lead the country.

In a black baju melayu, with gold sampin, Mr Anwar wore a wide smile as he was called upon to take his oath of office and secrecy.

Datuk Seri Anwar, 75, was appointed after the king, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, made the decision following a conference with other rulers in a special meeting of the nation’s nine state monarchs.

“After going through the views of the Malay rulers, His Majesty has consented to appointing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister,” said Royal Comptroller Fadli Shamsuddin on Thursday afternoon.

The ceremony was attended by top officials such as the chief secretary to the government, the chief justice, attorney-general, speakers of both houses of Parliament and leaders from both his PH and Barisan Nasional (BN).

Mr Anwar was seated next to his wife and former deputy premier Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, with their six children including former MP Nurul Izzah Anwar in attendance.

“After going through the views of the Malay rulers, His Majesty has consented to appointing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister,” said Royal Comptroller Fadli Shamsuddin on Thursday afternoon.

The ceremony was attended by top officials such as the chief secretary to the government, the chief justice, attorney-general, speakers of both houses of Parliament and leaders from both his PH and Barisan Nasional (BN).

Mr Anwar was seated next to his wife and former deputy premier Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, with their six children including former MP Nurul Izzah Anwar in attendance.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar and his rival Perikatan Nasional (PN) chief Muhyiddin Yassin, also 75, had been deadlocked and unable to gather the 112 MPs needed for a simple majority in the legislature.

After Umno confirmed early on Thursday that it would join a unity government, departing from the BN coalition’s earlier stance of remaining in opposition, other parties across the country followed suit.

Even PN said on Thursday that it would consider unity government discussions with like-minded parties.

Markets surged upon the end of the political deadlock. The ringgit currency posted its best day in two weeks and equities rose 3 per cent, hitting a 15-month high.

The Straits Times has learnt that a deal struck between PH and BN – which found itself in the role of kingmaker with 30 MPs despite the Umno-led coalition being humiliated at Saturday’s vote – will see Umno gaining several senior portfolios, with the party’s No. 2 Mohamad Hasan set to be installed as deputy premier.

Mr Anwar’s ascension to the top office, having been sacked as deputy premier in 1998 amid controversial allegations of sodomy and abuse of power, marks a remarkable triumph following a journey that included two stints in prison.

He was appointed deputy prime minister under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Umno-led government in 1993, but his prospects dimmed after he was jailed for corruption in 1999. His imprisonment sparked street protests and the birth of his PKR, which now leads PH.

Mr Anwar was again imprisoned in 2015 for sodomy, but was given a royal pardon and released in May 2018 after PH won the general election that year. Dr Mahathir, who had left Umno and joined hands with Mr Anwar to secure PH’s victory, became the prime minister.

The PKR chief was then widely expected to ascend to power as part of an agreement within PH for him to take over as prime minister in two years from Dr Mahathir. But his progress was again thwarted when the PH government collapsed in February 2020 following defections.

Mr Anwar and Tan Sri Muhyiddin both staked their claim after their respective coalitions won 81 and 73 seats, respectively, in Saturday’s general election, which also saw Dr Mahathir fall from grace in a thumping defeat.

Sultan Abdullah stepped in on Tuesday to surface the idea of a unity government.

Mr Muhyiddin’s decision to reject the proposal, claiming he had a simple majority with backing from other parties, proved fatal to his hopes.

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Malaysia's King Names Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister



Newsdesk, barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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After last week's election, the country risked ending up with a political impasse, since no bloc or alliance could secure a majority of votes in the parliament.

Malaysian King Abdullah of Pahang named Anwar Ibrahim, the chairman of the Pakatan Harapan (the Alliance of Hope) the country's new prime minister on Thursday, resolving an ongoing cabinet crisis.

After taking into the consideration the views of Their Royal Highnesses the Malay Rulers, His Majesty has given consent to appoint Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia," an official statement said.

During a general election on Saturday, Ibrahim's alliance managed to secure 82 seats in the 222-member parliament. Ex-PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s Malay-based Perikatan Nasional (PN) got 73 seats, and the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition only managed to attract 30 votes. The blocs were not able to form any coalition over the past days, with the cabinet, headed by Barisan Nasional stating they would go into opposition.

Source: Sputnik

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