NEWS IN BRIEF: September 20, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II was buried yesterday

The royal family, friends and the nation were united in their loss as they paid a loving farewell to the Queen yesterday, who was laid to rest after 70 years of service.

Hundreds of thousands lined the Queen’s funeral procession – from where she lay in Westminster Hall to the funeral service at Windsor Castle. Her grieving family walked behind her coffin all day and the emotion was clearly visible on the faces of King Charles and other family members.

Fulfilling her promise to serve the nation and the Commonwealth, the Queen earned the respect of everyone from world leaders to the public. Her state funeral took place in Westminster Abbey.

There were emotional touches throughout the day for the woman who was never meant to be sovereign – from Charles asking for the floral tribute of foliage and blooms from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove, to her beloved corgi Muick and Sandy waiting for her at Windsor.

RIP: Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is carried by the Bearer Party into the Committal Service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, Berkshire (Image: Victoria Jones/PA)


Truss meets with Biden and Macron in the US

Liz Truss is set to meet Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron in New York amid Brexit tensions and whether she views the French leader as “friend or foe”.

On her first foreign trip as Prime Minister, Ms. Truss flew overnight to the United Nations (Unga) Annual General Assembly in the States.

The visit includes a series of meetings, including with the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen, and a speech to world leaders. It comes as political action resumes after the period of national mourning for the Queen.

Ms Truss hopes the focus will be mainly on energy security and fighting Russia’s war in Ukraine, but clashes over the Northern Ireland Protocol are bound to erupt.

Mr Biden, the US President with a proud Irish heritage, has raised concerns about Brexit’s threat to the peace process and downplayed the chances of a free trade deal.

His French counterpart, Mr Macron, has long been a critic of Brexit and has urged the UK to honor commitments on Northern Ireland and fishing rights.

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Ms Truss sparked a diplomatic row during the Tory leadership contest when she refused to give a straight answer when asked if the allied nation’s president was a “friend or foe”. Instead, the then foreign secretary said last month that the “jury had fallen.”

Ahead of the visit, the Prime Minister’s spokesman described France as a “long-standing ally” and stressed that relations between London and Paris and with the EU were “good”.

Asked if meeting Mr Macron would be uncomfortable, the spokesman said: “No, the Prime Minister wants to develop a constructive relationship with President Macron.”

However, the spokesman maintained his position on the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Act, which the EU and others say will break international law.

Ms. Truss will meet Mr. Macron today before meeting Mr. Biden tomorrow.

She was due to speak with the US President in the UK over the weekend when he was arriving for the Queen’s funeral, but the meeting has been postponed.

She is not to receive the White House visit that Boris Johnson was treated to during his visit to Unga last year. Meetings are also expected with the leaders of Turkey, Spain and Israel, and Ms Truss will warn that now is not the time to “take your foot off the gas” to oppose Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine .

“We will remain committed to restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty and self-determination because this is not only Ukraine’s struggle, the whole world suffers when a regime like Putin’s is allowed to harass and blackmail its neighbors,” he said her speaker.

She will try to use the visit to “inspire further international action to end energy dependency on Russia and ensure the world never gets into this situation again.”

Before Ms Truss leaves the States tomorrow night, she will say in her summit speech that under her leadership the UK will be “an active defender of our democratic values” and stand with allies against authoritarianism.

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Hurricane Fiona hits the Dominican Republic

EXTENSIVE DAMAGE: An unidentified man exits the flooded Turabo River in Caguas, Puerto Rico yesterday (Photo: Jose Jimenez/Getty)

Hurricane Fiona slammed into the Dominican Republic on Monday after shutting off power across Puerto Rico, causing damage the governor described as “catastrophic.”

No deaths were reported, but authorities in the US territory said it was too early to estimate the damage from a storm that was expected to bring torrential rains over Puerto Rico yesterday.

Up to 76 centimeters have been forecast for the southern region of Puerto Rico. Up to 15 inches has been projected for the eastern Dominican Republic.

“It’s important for people to understand that this isn’t over,” said Ernesto Morales, a weather forecaster with the San Juan National Weather Service.

The Baltic States close the borders to the Russians

ENGINEERS PREPARE: Russia’s Soyuz 2.1 launch vehicle with Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft (Image: AP/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania closed their borders to most Russian citizens yesterday in response to broad domestic Russian support for the war in Ukraine.

Under the coordinated travel ban, Russians wishing to travel to the Baltic countries or Poland as tourists or for business, sporting or cultural purposes are not allowed to enter the country, even with valid visas for the Schengen area of ​​the European Union.

The prime ministers of the three Baltic states and Poland agreed earlier this month to stop taking in Russian citizens, saying it would protect the security of the European Union’s neighboring states.

“Russia is an unpredictable and aggressive state. Three quarters of the citizens support the war. It is unacceptable that people who support the war can travel freely around the world, to Lithuania, to the EU,” said Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite.


Attackers charged by police

A man charged with attempted murder has been remanded in custody by a district judge after two police officers were stabbed to death in central London.

Mohammed Rahman is accused of trying to kill a male police officer, identified in court as PC Gerrard, who was stabbed in the neck and chest in Leicester Square at 6am on Friday.

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The 24-year-old is also threatened with a case of dangerous bodily harm.

mother found dead

A man has been charged after the death of a mother in Aberdeen.

The body of Jill Barclay, 47, was found near an address on Stoneywood Road in the Dyce area around 3.30am on Saturday.

Police said a 22-year-old man was arrested and charged in connection with the death.

In a statement issued by police, Ms Barclay’s family said: “Jill was a deeply beloved life partner, mother and daughter.”

Allen does not retire

NOT RETIRED: Woody Allen and his wife Soon-Yi Previn (Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Filmmaker Woody Allen currently “has no intention” of retiring and is not writing another novel, his rep said.

The American director, 86, is currently filming a new movie in Paris that will be his 50th and has revealed it will be his last.

Around the world

“Liberated in Taliban Swap”

An American contractor held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan for more than two years has been released in exchange for a convicted Taliban drug lord jailed in the United States, according to the man’s family and US officials.

Mark Frerichs, a Navy veteran who had spent more than a decade in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor, was kidnapped in January 2020 and has since been reported to have been held by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network.

Russian cosmonaut dies

Valery Polyakov, the Soviet cosmonaut who set the record for the longest single time spent in space, has died at the age of 80, the Russian Space Agency announced yesterday.

Polyakov’s record 437 days in space began on January 8, 1994, when he and two others took off on a two-day flight to the Soviet Mir space station. Aboard the Mir, it orbited the Earth more than 7,000 times before returning on March 22, 1995.


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