On Wednesday Britain reported 563 daily coronavirus deaths, the first time the national toll has exceeded 500, bringing the total fatalities to 2,352, according to official figures.
The health ministry said “As of 5pm (1600 GMT) on 31 March, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,352 have sadly died. Some 29,474 people have now tested positive, an increase of 4,324 over the previous day”.
Britain locked down last week in an attempt to combat the virus, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself has tested positive, warned that it would “get worse before it gets better”.
The virus has also hit the royal family, with Prince Charles only coming out of isolation on Tuesday after displaying mild symptoms of the disease.
He said “On Wednesday he released a video message praising the “remarkable” state-run National Health Service. “None of us can say when this will end, but end it will .Until it does, let us all try and live with hope and, with faith in ourselves and each other, look forward to better times to come.”
A 13-year-old boy in London is thought to be the UK’s youngest known victim of the novel coronavirus.
King’s College Hospital in Camberwell, south London, said in a statement Tuesday that the teenager, who tested positive for Covid-19, had died. It said that its “thoughts and condolences” were with the boy’s family.
“Sadly, a 13-year old boy who tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away, and our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time,” the statement read. “The death has been referred to the Coroner and no further comment will be made.”
According to a breakdown of victims of COVID-10 published by Britain’s office of National Statistics, the boy is thought to be the youngest known victim of the novel Coronavirus in the UK.
Scotland Is Walking Small Steps Towards Independence
Scotland’s First Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that Scotland is taking steps towards holding a referendum on independence stating that it is a matter of time more than whether the country is separating from rest of Britain or not. During a news conference in Brussels, she said that that they need to confirm on the process with the UK government for the referendum which would be given a clear mandate by the Scottish people.
She even adds that Scotland is taking all necessary steps to make sure that a legal and legitimate referendum could be held which would be accepted and agreed both internally and internationally. One such step would be testing the potential question to ask the voters.
Sturgeon also mentions the fact that during the British election in December, where her party the Scottish National Party won 80 per cent of seats in Scotland. They fought the whole election on a stance that was anti-Brexit and pro-independence which means that the Scottish people did not see a future as part of Britain. and if they see an increase in support for independence rise or demand of choice grow, at the end no one can stop a clear democratic decision.
But she clearly mentions that Scotland first needs a referendum before they declare independence. Even the latest opinion poll supported independence just over 50 per cent mark. In 2014 a similar referendum saw 55 per cent Scots voting to stay a part of the United Kingdom. But many supporters of independence believe that Britain leaving the EU has changed the situation as the Scots voted against the 2016 Brexit referendum.
But the First Prime Minister did not seem sure if Scotland would be allowed to hold this referendum without the British government acceptance who currently refuse another independence vote. UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson pre-Brexit promises included that Britain could control their waters and still have access to the EU market. But this is one of the thorny issues faced by British EU negotiators. But, according to Sturgeon, Scottish salmon fishers would face a burden of 8.7 million pounds($11.3 million) providing export certificated for sales to the EU.
Scotland is not the only region asking freedom fro a larger country. In October 2017, the Catalonian region in Spain declared themselves independent based on a referendum. But later this referendum was found to be illegal by courts which further led to Spain’s biggest political crisis in several years.
Two Women Ties The Knot Of The First Same-Sex Marriage In Northern Ireland
On Tuesday, the first same-sex wedding happens in Nothern Ireland after two women tie a knot making this region of the United Kingdom’s last region to legalize gay marriages. Robyn Peoples, 26 who is a care worker and Sharni Edwards 27, who is a waitress got married in a ceremony in Carrickfergus which is near Belfast.
The couple said that they did not plan to marry each other but they seized the opportunity to make their love become the symbol of change in Northern Ireland. Robyn mentions in her statement that they fought for this opportunity for so long and now that they are here it is amazing. The negotiation signified that they were equal to a man and a woman and that their love is just the same not different. Both of them took their married name to be Edwards-Peoples.
The Northern Ireland legislature decided not to allow same-sex marriage passed by the British and Scottish parliaments in 2014. This legislation faced the most opposition from the conservative Democratic Unionist Party which is the biggest group in the Northern Ireland Assembly. But after several campaigns by groups that support equal rights, British Parliament planned to step in and make the legislation the same for the whole country.
This magnificent change took effect on 13th January and the weddings were allowed to begin four weeks later. Lawmakers from the UK took the opportunity and acted quickly when Northern Ireland’s regional assembly got suspended because of the problems between main Irish nationalist and British unionist power-sharing parties. This power-sharing administration finally got restored last month after a three-year-long break.
Even if Northern Ireland wants, they cannot just change the law that was made by the London parliament. Not only same-sex marriages, but British lawmakers also voted for access to abortion in Northern Ireland as it is highly restricted.
Among the few people who campaigned for the cause was Sara Canning who partnered with Lyra McKee, a journalist who got killed during gunfire by Irish Republican Army dissidents as she was reporting anti-police riots in April 2019. No one has been charged with the killing but according to the police statement, four men were arrested from Derry. Canning believes that the first same-sex marriage is indeed a wonderful moment in Irish history.
Hundreds Turn-Up At World War II Veteran’s Funeral Who Had No Surviving Relatives
Jim Auton who was a World War II veteran died at the age of 95 in January. Hundreds of people turn-up for his funeral as he was awarded 20 medals by six different countries. He was even declared friend of Poland. Unfortunately, he had no surviving relatives who might have attended his funeral.
He is claimed to have been the last British member of Warsaw Air Bridge where supplies were dropped to help Polish resistance fighters. Several veteran groups also put out an appeal to be able to attend his service in Newark. On Thursday, hundreds of people answered the call and came to the funeral to pay respects including fellow veterans.
his coffin was covered in a Union Jack and carried by a guard into the St. Mary Magdalene. He was later buried in Newark Cemetry which was close to Warsaw Air Bridge Memorial which he campaigned for and helped to plan in 1989.
During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, Mr Auton flew 37 missions with 178 Squadron. He even dropped vital weapons to then Britain’s Polish allies. This mission which lasts 63 days was an unsuccessful attempt to help liberate Polish capital from the Nazis. During this operation killed more than 150,000 civilians lives and destroyed huge parts of the city.
After the war was over, Auton was awarded several honours which included the Polish Presidential Gold Order of Merit and the Soviet Union War Veterans’ Medal. Later in 2000, he was made an MBE. In words of Mr Auton’s caretaker Paul Trickett, Mr Auton was a remarkable man and had many stories to tell about what he and his comrades did for the people of Warsaw which he was immensely proud of.
According to Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki, Mr Auton was a brave and determined man who risked his life to aid Polish resistance by not only being a part of airdrops during the uprising but also working tirelessly to commemorate all of those people who died trying to liberate the country. Rzegocki even said that the Polish people are grateful forever to his efforts calling Auton an example for future generations.
The Most Prolific Rapist In British Legal History Jailed
Reynhard Sinaga, 36, a PhD. a student from Indonesia has been labelled as Britain’s most prolific rapist with 159 sex offences to be jailed.
He was found guilty of luring around 48 men outside from clubs in Manchester and bringing them to his flat. Here, he drugged them and assaulted them and even filmed the whole attack. He has said to have targetted at least 190 victims in total.
He was already serving life of 20 years for his other offences which he got convicted of in two previous trials held in summer of 2018 and last spring of 2019. After four separate trials, this Indonesian was found guilty of 136 rapes, eight rape attempts, 14 sexual assaults, one assault by penetration against his victims of 48 total men.
According to Judge Suzanne Goddard QC, Sinaga was an evil sexual predator who preyed upon young men. She even considers him not to be safe to be released. In her statement on Monday, she said that he used a rape drug similar to GHB to make sure his victims were knocked off before he assaulted them. With so many victims out there she claims that it was right to label him a monster.
Sinaga would wait for men outside nightclubs and bars. Then when he got the right victim he used to lure them with the ruse of offering a place to have a drink or offering to call for a taxi. He later brought them to his flat which was in Monatan House, Princess Street. Then he would drug his victims and when they get unconscious he used to assault them. The victims later woke up to no memory of what had happened.
This Indonesian national was a PhD student at the University of Leeds and is said to have been carrying out attacks for several years. He was caught in June 2017 when one of his victims suddenly regained his consciousness while the assault happened and fought his way out to escape and call the police.
When the police officers seized Sinaga’s phone, they found hundreds of hours of footage of all his attacks which he collected as trophies. After this discovery, police led a rape enquiry which was considered to be the largest rape inquiry in British history.
Sinaga’s trials went on for 18 months at Manchester Crown Court. Detectives were unable to identify around 70 victims and have appealed for anyone who believes they were abused by Sinaga to come forward. Sinaga has been convicted of crimes committed from January 2015 to June 2017 but officers believed that this has been going on for a longer period of time.
On the other hand, Sinaga denied all charges claiming that everything he did was consensual and each man he assaulted had agreed to get filmed while they acted like they were asleep.
Iraq Parliament Passes Resolution, Says No To Foreign Troops
On Sunday, Iraq’s Parliament passes a resolution asking the government to remove foreign troops in the country after the US airstrike kills one of the top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. The resolution calls Iraq’s government to cancel the previous request made for assistance from the US-led coalition operating in the country to fight ISIS.
The resolution read that the government will revoke the assistance from international coalition that is trying to fight ISIS as there is an end of military operation along with victory. It also said the government must prohibit foreign troops from using the country’s land, airspace and water for any reason.
Abdul Mahdi told the parliament that though the country might face some difficulties, whether internal or external, this option is the most practical option for Iraq. Iraq’s parliament held an extraordinary session so that the lawmakers would use to vote on the resolution to end the presence of foreign troops. He also claims the deaths of Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis as political assassinations.
The request for the resolution was put forward on Sunday by Fatah which is that largest bloc in the legislature. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislatures were absent from the session as they oppose the resolution and the removal of foreign coalition troops. Hence, 180 legislatures of the 329 members were present in the parliament.
This coalition of foreign troops included troops from the USA, the UK and others. Around 6,000 US troops and 400 UK troops are based in Iraq with the only objective to fight ISIS. This resolution has led to a seize in their operations.
After the Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani died in a US airstrike, many of the Shiite militias were enraged. Baghdad government has further accused Washington of violating Iraq’s sovereignty.
On the other side, the Pentagon seemed to be shocked about Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani as they thought the “President was not serious about it.” As the attack was launched without consultation with US allies, many of them including the UK are abandoning Trump on the issue.
Desi Hindi campaign song for British PM goes viral ahead of UK polls- ‘Boris ko jitana hai’
Sounding Like a 90s jingle of indian ads “Boris ko hamein jitana hai, Is desh ko aj bachana hai…,” With these lyrics, a 1.40-minute video is going viral ahead of the United Kingdom elections scheduled on 12 December.
Ok who made this Hindi video to vote for #BorisJohnson ???
I wanna buy you a drink pic.twitter.com/wskQed0Zpd
— atul kasbekar (@atulkasbekar) December 8, 2019
Being It’s one of a kind this viral video is way too interesting as Indians in the United Kingdom are promoting Prime Minister Boris Johnson through a video released in support of him.
This song sung in Hindi saying says Johnson will solve all the issues plaguing Britain, including Brexit while calling opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn a “liar” is being widely shared on social media. The video also features Johnson holding hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also Ruchi Ghanashyam, India’s High Commissioner to the UK, multiple times.
Although it is not yet known who created the video sensation stating “Johnson will promote industry, education and ensure the security of the country while saving the NHS (National Health Service),” which goes the lyrics of the song.
Previously attempts of making such promotional videos have been made by Indians already in 2017 featuring Theresa May. This Hindi song specially composed for the General Election 2017 to promote connectivity with the 1.6 million British Indians to support Theresa May who will provide strong and stable leadership for Britain and the growth of the British economy. The song was written, composed and produced by Pandit Dinesh.
The UK will be holding its first December election in almost a century, which is aimed at breaking the deadlock over Brexit. The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 31 January 2020. Johnson, who came to power in July this year overthrowing Theresa May.
It will be very interesting to watch what results come out after the elections and simultaneously what effect of this video sensation will be.
MONEY IN SWISS BANKS: UK remains on top spot, India slips to 74th place
As per data released by the central banking authority of the Alpine nation, India has moved down one place to 74th rank in respect of money parked by its citizens and enterprises with Swiss banks, while the UK has remained on the top spot.
According to the analysis of the latest annual banking statistics released by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), shows that India remains ranked very low, accounting for just about 0.07% of the aggregate funds parked by all foreign clients of banks of Switzerland. On the other hand, the top-ranked UK accounted for more than 26% of the total foreign funds parked with Swiss banks.
- America is also included in among the top 5 countries that hold money in Swiss banks. After that, the West Indies, France and Hong Kong are number one. The share of these five countries is more than 50% of the total deposits.
- Talking about the top 10 countries, the share of their deposits is two-thirds and the share of the top 15 countries is 75% which includes Bahamas, Germany, Luxembourg, Cayman Islands and Singapore.
- India and neighbouring countries are far behind in depositing money in Swiss banks. Pakistan 82, Bangladesh 89, Nepal 109, Sri Lanka 141, Myanmar 187 and Bhutan 193 are a number.
Among the five-nation BRICS bloc of emerging economies, Brazil is at 65th place, Russia is ranked the highest at 20th place, followed by China at 22nd, India is at 74th, and South Africa at 60th place.
India was ranked highest at 37th place in the year 2004. And, it used to be among the top-50 countries in terms of holdings in Swiss banks till 2007. But due to changes in India framework, its rank started declining after that — 55th in 2008. It ranked 59th in 2009 and 2010 each, and then 55th again in 2011. But it reduced to 71st in 2012 and then to 58th in 2013. India’s rank was 75 in 2015.
UK continues to account for the largest chunk at about CHF 372 billion and remains on the second position despite a dip to about CHF 144 billion (from CHF 166 billion a year ago).
Due to global clampdown against the erstwhile banking secrecy walls in the Alpine nation, the number of other major countries also saw their funds falling in Swiss banks.
Additionally, due to automatic information exchange framework with India, Switzerland and other countries, the famed secrecy walls of Swiss banks have crumbled. India has already been getting information on accounts where proof of illicit funds can be furnished.
One million pro-EU protesters march to stop unavoidable ‘Brexit’
After years of humiliating Brexit debate, it is stil unclear if, when and how Britain would formally exit European Union. More contested question is whether UK would leave EU with a deal or no-deal, both poised to put it in jeopardy for years to come.
With hundreds of thousands of Britishers hitting the street in March, second only to gathering for 2003 Iraq war, makes it the strongest ever and most severe Brexit protest ever highlighting the discontent and unease among people.
People from across the UK gathered at central London to demand one more public vote or ‘referendum’ on whether Brexit should take place or no.
“The country will be divided whatever happens and it is worse to be divided on a lie”, a protestor told Reuters News Agency.
In center of controversy is the British Prime Minister Theresa May and a nightmare referendum surrounding her. Prime Minister, atleast till last week, was able to hold her Conservative party MP’s together somehow, which broke away last week following deep frustrations in her Brexit deal and a increasingly hurry and hasty procedure to leave European Union.
Several reports surfaced in British media over top ruling party members urging PM Theresa May to resign over her weakened political position and inability to get support on the procured deal. Downing Street has so far shown no sign to act on these party requests.
“Give Brits your sympathy. The British government, not so much”, said CNN’s Nic Robinson in his op-ed. The headline pretty much sums up the two end receptors of the deal, one advocating ambitious political goals and other facing future uncertainty.
While Britain and its politicians are separated on Brexit, both agree that it is the most crucial, strategic and equally fragile step in British history since World War II.
Brexit would actually cost UK to pay about £39bn to EU to formally end the decades old partnership with EU.
But implications go beyond this mere sum.
The new updated deadline for Brexit now is 12th April unless a deal is rejected or any other arrangements made.
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