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Over 4bn People Bid Queen Elizabeth II Farewell

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Over 4bn People Bid Queen Elizabeth II Farewell

About four billion people on Monday, September 19, 2022, viewed the televised proceedings of the state funeral held for Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Elizabeth Alexandra Windsor, officially known as Queen Elizabeth II, who died on September 8, 2022, at age 96.

The event had been projected to smash other TV records, one of which was the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, which had one of boxing’s greatest heavyweights, Muhammad Ali, given the honour of lighting the Olympic flame.

The sporting event was viewed by 3.6 billion people. Others were the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981 (One billion viewers), Live Aid in 1985 (1.9 billion viewers), the funeral service held for the late Princess Diana in 1997 (2.5 billion viewers), and the Live8 concerts in 2005 (Two billion viewers). Most television stations like the BBC, ITV, and CNN dedicated time to airing the Queen’s funeral with a large sum of the four billion viewers accessing through the internet.

The crowd, according to Sky News, which gathered around the royal palaces and in central London to pay their last tribute to Queen Elizabeth II was about a million.

Viewing centres were filled up with tens of thousands hoping to experience the historic moment. Numerous mourners who had planned to see the Queen’s state funeral and procession were left stranded at London’s Paddington station, as there were no trains running in or out of the region.

Daily Mail reported that about two million people lined the streets to watch the Queen’s coffin make its final journey.

Behind the coffin were the Queen’s children, King Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. Behind them were Prince William, Prince Harry, and Peter Phillips, and other members of her family.

About 2,000 people, including royalty, world leaders, politicians, and members of the royal household attended the funeral at Windsor Castle. The list was reduced to 800 guests during the committal ceremony held at St George’s Chapel.

The world leaders who graced the event included members of the Commonwealth, Heads of State, Governors-General, Prime Ministers, and foreign royal families.

BBC News reported that no fewer than 100 presidents and heads of government across the globe were reported present at the funeral, including United States President Joe Biden and wife, Jill Biden; Polish President Andrzej Duda and wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda; French President Emmanuel Macron and wife, Brigitte; UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and husband, Hugh O’Leary; German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier; Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and Irish President Michael D. Higgins. Others were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The United Kingdom’s seven surviving prime ministers attended Westminster Abbey to bid farewell to the Queen.

Current Prime Minister Truss was joined by Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Sir Tony Blair, and Sir John Major.

All seven were pictured seated alongside one another at the funeral with their spouses.

The Queen’s reign spanned the tenure of 15 prime ministers in total, the first of which was Sir Winston Churchill.

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Covid: Protests In China Widen Against Strict Lockdown Measures

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Protests in China have increased in response to the government’s tough Covid regulations, with some citizens publicly venting their rage at Communist Party leaders.

Thousands of demonstrators came to Shanghai’s streets, and protesters were seen being bundled into police cars.

Students have also demonstrated at Beijing and Nanjing universities.

The current upheaval followed a protest in the isolated northwestern city of Urumqi, where lockdown measures were blamed after a tower block fire killed ten people.

While Chinese authorities denied that Covid restrictions were to blame for the deaths, officials in Urumqi issued an extraordinary apology late Friday, promising to “establish order” by gradually removing restrictions.

Some protesters were seen lighting candles and putting flowers for the deaths in Shanghai, China’s largest metropolis and a worldwide financial powerhouse in the country’s east.

Others could be heard yelling slogans like “Xi Jinping, step down” and “Communist Party, step down.” Some people also carried blank white banners.

Such demands are exceptional in China, where any open criticism of the government or the president can result in severe punishment.

One protester said he was “shocked and a little excited” to see so many people out on the streets, and that it was the first time he’d seen such widespread dissent in China.

He claimed that lockdowns had made him feel “sad, angry, and helpless,” and that he had been unable to see his ailing mother, who was undergoing cancer treatment.

According to a female protester, when police officers were asked how they felt about the protests, the response was “the same as you.” “They wear their uniforms, therefore they’re performing their job,” she explained.

Others reported violence, with one demonstrator telling the Associated Press that one of his friends was beaten by police on the scene, while two others were pepper sprayed.

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Equatorial Guinea President to Continue 43-year-rule

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In Equatorial Guinea, the world’s longest-serving president was re-elected to continue reigning over his dictatorial rule.

Officials stated six days after the poll that Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 80, received over 95% of the ballots cast.

“The results confirm us right again,” the president’s son, Vice-President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, stated. “We’re still a wonderful party.”

Although some opposition candidates ran, none were anticipated to win.

President Obiang holds sway over the oil-rich Central African nation, with family members holding important government positions.

He took control after a military takeover in 1979 and has survived multiple coup attempts.

When he took over from his predecessor and uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, he instituted minor changes but maintained Nguema’s total power over the country.

Political opposition is hardly tolerated and greatly hampered by a lack of a free press, as the government owns or controls all broadcast media.

President Obiang, who has repeatedly refuted allegations of human rights violations and election cheating, is said to plan to utilize his sixth term to improve his worldwide reputation.

The administration abolished the death sentence in September, which was applauded by the United Nations.

Equatorial Guinea has a history of falsified election outcomes, according to critics.

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France vote for right to abortion in constitution

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The National Assembly of France has endorsed a proposal to codify the right to abortion in the country’s constitution, motivated partly by rising restrictions abroad.

A strong majority of lawmakers voted to include a clause guaranteeing “the effectiveness and equal access to the right to stop pregnancy freely.”

The measure, according to left-wing MP Mathilde Panot, is intended to protect against the “backsliding” observed in the United States and Poland.

However, the bill’s passage will be difficult.

The Senate, which rejected a similar plan last month, is deemed unlikely to support the latest amendment. The Senate is dominated by right-wing parties, which maintain that abortion rights are not under threat in France.

A constitutional amendment would also require a referendum, however polls show that more than 80% of French citizens support it.

Ms Panot’s amendment was approved with the support of MPs from Emmanuel Macron’s ruling Renaissance party, but a reference to the right to contraception was removed.

Aurore Bergé, a Macron MP, was scheduled to offer her own abortion proposal next week but withdrew it after telling MPs how her mother had experienced an abortion without anaesthesia before it became legal in 1974.

“The issue of abortion access and protection is not a whim; it should not be politicized; it is not a matter of party politics,” she stated.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti also supported the amendment and complimented the “historic” vote.

Similar to neighboring Spain, the French parliament agreed in February to expand the legal term for abortion from 12 to 14 weeks. It is lower in Sweden, the Netherlands, England, Wales, and Scotland than in the rest of Europe.

Ms Panot dedicated the vote on Thursday to women in the United States, Poland, and Hungary. Her push to change the constitution was sparked by a vote in the United States Supreme Court to end the national guarantee of abortion access, effectively overturning the landmark Roe v Wade decision in 1973.

Thirteen US states have since begun to enforce abortion bans, and voters in states such as California supported proposals this month to enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions.

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