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Britain prepares for state funeral and final farewell to queen | Politics News

The 2,000 strong congregation will include world leaders, royalty, representatives from charity and those who made ‘extraordinary contributions’ in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Britain is preparing to bid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth in a grand state funeral, after King Charles III said he had been “moved beyond measure” by the outpouring of public sympathy following her death.

Dozens of world leaders and royalty from Europe to Lesotho and Japan will be among the 2,000 people attending Monday’s funeral at Westminster Abbey in central London.

United States President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan joined those paying respects to Britain’s longest-serving monarch during the last day of the official lying-in-state at the 900-year-old Westminster Hall.

Biden described her as “decent, honourable, and all about service”.

“You were fortunate to have had her for 70 years. We all were,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of people had queued for hours to file past the oak coffin, draped in the royal standard and with the Imperial Crown, orb and sceptre, lying on top, during the four days it lay in state. The estimated waiting time peaked at more than 25 hours early on Saturday, and was eventually closed to newcomers on Sunday. The public viewing will end at 6.30am (05:30 GMT).

King Charles said that he and his wife Queen Consort Camilla had been “so deeply touched” by messages of condolence and support from Britain and around the world.

The UK held a minute’s silence on Sunday night in honour of the queen who died on September 8 [Martin Meissner/AP Photo]

The country held a minute’s silence on Sunday in honour of Queen Elizabeth.

“We were moved beyond measure by everyone who took the trouble to come and pay their respects to the lifelong service of my dear mother, The late Queen,” he said in a statement.

The state funeral will begin shortly before 11am (10:00 GMT), when the queen’s coffin will be placed on a gun carriage and pulled by pulled by 142 Royal Navy sailors to the abbey, the finale of 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

The procession will be led by some 200 pipers and drummers. King Charles, his siblings and sons Princes William and Harry and other members of the royal family will walk behind the coffin.

Monday has been declared a public holiday and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to line the route of the procession. The funeral will be screened to crowds in parks and public spaces across the UK, as well as 200 countries across the world.

The tenor bell of the Abbey – the site of coronations, weddings and burials of English and then British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years – will toll 96 times to mark each year of her life.

“Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service,” David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster will say.

Japanese Emperor Naruhito bows deeply as he pays respects to Queen Elizabeth
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito (right) pays his respects at the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II inside Westminster Hall [John Sibley/Pool via AFP]
King Letsie III of Lesotho places his right hand on his heart and bows his head as he pays respects to Queen Elizabeth
King Letsie III of Lesotho pays his respects to the queen at Westminster Hall [Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool via AFP]

The congregation at the funeral, the first to be televised, will also include those awarded Britain’s highest military and civilian medals for gallantry, representatives from charities supported by the queen, and those who made “extraordinary contributions” to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Afterwards, the coffin will be taken through central London, past Buckingham Palace home to the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, with the monarch and the royal family following again on foot during the 2.4km (1.5 mile) procession.

From there, it will be placed on a hearse to be driven west to Windsor Castle where the queen will be buried in the royal vault as the Sovereign’s Piper plays a lament, slowly walking away until music in the chapel gradually fades.

Elizabeth died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after 70 years on the throne.

Her health had been in decline, and she had largely withdrawn from official engagements, although just two days before her death she had appointed Liz Truss her 15th and final prime minister.

Members of the public walking past the queen's coffin with soldiers in ceremonial dress and bearskin hats standing guard
Hundreds of thousands of people queued for hours for the chance to walk past the coffin and pay tribute to the queen, the only monarch most people in Britain have ever known [Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool via AP Photo]

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With 52% of Brazil votes tallied, far-right incumbent Bolsonaro has a slight lead over ex-President Lula da Silva

With 52% of Brazil votes tallied, far-right incumbent Bolsonaro has a slight lead over ex-President Lula da Silva

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Haiti reports cholera deaths for first time in 3 years

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti’s government on Sunday announced that at least eight people have died from cholera, raising concerns about another potentially catastrophic epidemic like the one that broke out a decade ago and killed nearly 10,000 people.

The cases – the first cholera deaths reported in three years – came in a community called Dekayet in southern Port-au-Prince and in the gang-controlled seaside slum of Cite de Soleil, where thousands of people live in cramped, unsanitary conditions.

“Cholera is something that can spread very, very quickly,” warned Laure Adrien, director general of Haiti’s health ministry.

Food or water contaminated with the cholera bacteria can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration that can be deadly.

The United Nations said in a statement that it is working with Haiti’s government to “mount an emergency response to this potential outbreak,” stressing that health teams need to be guaranteed safe access to areas where cases have been reported.

The deaths come as a lack of fuel and ongoing protests shut down the availability of basic services across Haiti, including medical care and clean water, which is key to helping fight cholera and keep patients alive.

Haiti’s most powerful gang continues to control the entrance to a main fuel terminal in the capital of Port-au-Prince, leading to a lack of fuel amid soaring prices that have unleashed widespread protests that have paralyzed the country for more than two weeks.

The absence of fuel and increasing number of roadblocks have prevented water trucks from visiting neighborhoods to provide potable water to those who can afford it. It also has prompted some companies to temporarily shut down operations.

On Sunday, Caribbean Bottling Company said it could no longer produce or distribute potable water because its diesel reserves were “completely depleted,” adding that the lack of such a vital resource would affect “all sectors of society.”

Adrien said health officials were trying to visit communities where cholera has been reported, but that his agency, too, has been affected by a lack of fuel as he called on people blocking the gas terminal and organizing protests to “have a conscience.”

“This is a real problem,” he said of how the country has virtually been paralyzed. “We’re hoping this will not spread.”

Adrien noted that all those who died were unable to reach a hospital in time.

Haiti Health Minister Alex Larsen said people have a right to protest but asked Haitians to allow potable water supplies into neighborhoods that have been cut off by roadblocks and protests.

“Water has not been in these areas for a long time, and people are not drinking treated water,” he said, adding that cholera cases could spike again. “We ask people who can afford it to add a little chlorine to the water.”

Haiti’s last cholera epidemic sickened more than 850,000 people in a country of more than 11 million, marking one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the preventable disease in recent history.

United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal were blamed for introducing cholera into Haiti’s largest river in October 2010 by sewage. The U.N. has since acknowledged it played a role in the epidemic and that is has not done enough to help fight it, but it has not specifically said it introduced the disease.

Haiti would have been declared cholera-free by the World Health Organization only after reaching three consecutive years with no new cases.

———

Associated Press writer Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico contributed.

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‘Dilemma for the Russians’ after surrendering key Ukraine city | Russia-Ukraine war News

The recapture of Lyman city in the east – in territory recently annexed by Moscow – raises questions about how Russia can hold surrounding areas with supply routes severed.

Questions about Russia’s faltering military operation in Ukraine continue to be raised as Kyiv announced it was in full control of the key eastern city of Lyman after Moscow’s troops pulled back.

It is Kyiv’s most significant battlefield gain in weeks, providing a potential staging post for increased attacks to the east while heaping further pressure on the Kremlin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Sunday that his forces had taken over Lyman after encircling it the day before.

“As of 12:30pm (09:30 GMT) Lyman is cleared fully. Thank you to our militaries, our warriors,” he said in a video address.

Russia’s military did not comment on Lyman on Sunday after announcing the previous day it was withdrawing its forces there to move to “more favourable positions”.

‘Sort of a dilemma’

The loss of Lyman is a significant blow to Russian forces, who have used the city for months as a crucial logistics and rail hub in the Donetsk region to move military equipment, troops, and other necessary supplies.

“Without those routes, it will be more difficult so it presents a sort of a dilemma for the Russians going forward,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

Lyman, which Ukraine recaptured by encircling Russian troops, is in the Donetsk region near the border with the Luhansk region. These are two of the four regions or oblasts that Russia annexed on Friday after people there voted in referendums, which Ukraine and the West called illegitimate.

The Institute for the Study of War, a United States-based think-tank, said the fall of Lyman suggested Russia was “deprioritizing defending Luhansk” to hold occupied territory in southern Ukraine. 

“Ukrainian and Russian sources consistently indicate that Russian forces continued to reinforce Russian positions in Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts, despite the recent collapse of the Kharkiv-Izyum front and even as the Russian positions around Lyman collapsed,” it said

‘Courage, bravery, skills’

In a daily intelligence briefing on Sunday, the United Kingdom’s military described the recapture of Lyman as a “significant political setback” for Moscow. Taking the city paves the way for Ukrainian troops to potentially push farther into Russian-occupied territory.

Ukraine’s capture of a city within territory of President Vladimir Putin’s declared annexation demonstrates that Ukrainians are able to push back Russian forces, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday.

“We have seen that they have been able to take a new town, Lyman, and that demonstrates that the Ukrainians are making progress, are able to push back the Russian forces because of the courage, because of their bravery, their skills, but of course also because of the advanced weapons that the United States and other allies are providing,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with American broadcaster NBC.

Ukrainian forces have retaken swaths of territory, notably in the northeast around Kharkiv, in a counteroffensive in recent weeks that has embarrassed the Kremlin and prompted rare domestic criticism of Putin’s war.

A pomp-filled Kremlin annexation ceremony on Friday has failed to stem a wave of criticism within Russia of how its “special military operation” is being handled.

Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s southern Chechnya region, on Saturday called for a change of strategy “right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons”.

Other hawkish Russian figures criticised Russian generals and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on social media for overseeing the setbacks, but stopped short of attacking Putin.

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