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British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, Passes on at 96

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By Eric Elezuo

The Queen of England, Elizabeth II has died according to a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

The short announcement revealed that the 96 years old queen, who been ruler of England at 25, passed away peacefully at Balmoral on Thursday afternoon.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” the statement read.

She will be likely succeeded by her eldest son, Prince Charles, who is 73 years.

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Africa

Guinean Military Junta Dissolves Government, Seals Country’s Borders

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Guinea’s military junta, which took power through a coup in September 2021, has officially dissolved the government, as announced via a presidential decree read on state TV by the presidency’s Secretary General, Brig Gen Amara Camara.

The announcement was not followed by details regarding the rationale of this dissolution, or the timeline for establishing a new government.

As part of the dissolution, ministers in the now-dissolved government have been instructed to surrender their passports and official vehicles, and also given directives for their bank accounts to be frozen.

The junta has also directed security agencies to “seal” all of Guinea’s borders until the complete handover of government ministries to the junta.

According to Camara, during the interim period until a new government is appointed, lower-level officials will manage state ministries.

The dissolved government, led by Prime Minister Bernard Goumou, was appointed by coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, who led Guinea’s armed forces in overthrowing elected President Alpha Condé in September 2021. The coup came after a series of protests against Condé’s controversial bid for a third term.

Guinea, as well as several other countries in West and central Africa, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Gabon, have experienced coups in recent years. These coups have faced strong condemnation from West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS, the African Union, and the UN.

The junta and ECOWAS had earlier set a 24-month transition period, and Guinea is expected to hold elections to restore democratic rule within 10 months, as the transition period comes to an end.

Arise News

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UK Economy Slips into ‘Technical’ Recession

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The United Kingdom slipped into a technical recession in the second half of last year after its economy registered two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, official figures have shown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced through a statement on Thursday that Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.3 percent in the last three months of 2023, after contracting 0.1 percent in the third quarter.

It meant that the economy entered a technical recession, as defined by two or more quarters in a row of falling GDP.

It marked the first time the UK had entered recession since the first half of 2020 when the initial COVID-19 lockdown sent the country’s economy plunging into reverse.

The figures dealt a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who had promised to grow the economy as one of his five priorities.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said inflation and high-interest rates were behind the output fall but insisted the economy was turning a corner.

He said: “While interest rates are high so the Bank of England can bring inflation down low growth is not a surprise.

“But there are signs the British economy is turning a corner; forecasters agree that growth will strengthen over the next few years.

“Wages are rising faster than prices; mortgage rates are down and unemployment remains low.

“Although times are still tough for many families, we must stick to the plan of cutting taxes on work and business to build a stronger economy.”

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the Prime Minister’s promise to grow the economy was in tatters.

“The Prime Minister can no longer claim credibly that his plan is working or that he has turned the corner on more than 14 years of economic decline under the Conservatives that has left Britain worse off.

“This is Rishi Sunak’s recession and the news will be deeply worrying for families and businesses across Britain,’’ he said.

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King Charles Diagnosed with Cancer, Says Buckingham Palace

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The King of England, Charles III, has been diagnosed with, a Buckingham Palace source has said.

It is not prostate cancer, but was discovered during his recent treatment for an enlarged prostate.

The type of cancer has not been revealed, but the palace said the King began “regular treatments” on Monday.

Buckingham Palace says the King “remains wholly positive about his treatment”. He will postpone his public engagements, with senior royals expected to stand in for him.

The King “looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible”, the palace said.

No further details are being shared on the stage of cancer or a prognosis.

The King informed both his sons personally about his diagnosis and Prince William was said to be in regular contact with his father.

Prince Harry, who lives in the United States, spoke to his father and will be travelling to the UK to see him in the coming days.

The King, 75, returned to London from Sandringham in Norfolk on Monday morning and the palace says he has commenced treatment as an outpatient.

Although he will pause his public events, the King will continue with his constitutional role as head of state, including paperwork and private meetings.

There is a constitutional mechanism for when the head of state is unable to carry out official duties – in that circumstance “counsellors of state” can be appointed to stand in for the monarch.

At present that includes Queen Camilla, Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, with Prince Harry and Prince Andrew no longer to be called on as non-working royals.

Prince William had also temporarily withdrawn from public engagements while he helped his wife Catherine, the Princess of Wales, as she recovered from “abdominal surgery”.

But it was announced earlier on Monday he would return to public duties later this week.

The King was seen at a church service in Sandringham on Sunday, where he waved to crowds.

He had a prostate procedure at a private London hospital more than a week ago.

The King had chosen to go public about his prostate treatment, with the aim of encouraging more men to get prostate checks, the palace said at the time.

He was said to have been delighted to have raised awareness about the issue, with the NHS website reporting a surge in issues about prostate conditions.

For many types of cancer, the chance of getting it increases with age. UK figures suggest, on average each year, more than a third (36%) of new cancer cases were in people aged 75 and over.

​Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wished the King a “full and speedy recovery”, alongside Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lyndsay Hoyle.

Palace statement in full

Source: BBC

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