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Queen Elizabeth embarks on solemn final journey

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Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin will travel by road through Scottish towns and villages as it begins its final journey from her beloved Scottish retreat of Balmoral.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II embarks on her final journey with thousands of her mourning subjects expected to line her coffin’s route from the Scottish retreat where she died.

The solemn departure of the queen’s oak casket on Sunday from Balmoral Castle for Edinburgh marks the start of an odyssey of national mourning culminating in her state funeral in London on September 19.

Her journey begins a day after her son Charles III was formally proclaimed king, and after her warring grandsons William and Harry, and their wives Kate and Meghan, briefly reunited for a walkabout.

A hearse carrying the coffin of Britain’s longest-serving monarch will make a six-hour journey through Scottish towns before arriving in Edinburgh, where it will rest for two days so people can pay tribute.

The king himself will then travel to Edinburgh on Monday for a prayer service, before the body of the queen, who died at Balmoral on Thursday aged 96, is flown to the capital on Tuesday.

She will then lie in state for four days in an event expected to draw at least a million people, ahead of a funeral set to be watched worldwide and draw numerous heads of state.

“We are living in history right now,” said Laura Burns, 49, who was planning to try to see the queen’s coffin passing in Edinburgh after coming to the city because her son is starting at university.

“It’s a very respectful atmosphere,” she told the AFP news agency.

READ MORE: The Queen is Dead: Is it high time for British monarchy to end with her?

READ MORE: ‘End of an era’: Reaction from world leaders to Queen Elizabeth’s death

Show of unity

While Charles’ accession has pushed Britain into what newspapers have called the new “Carolean” era, Britain and the royal family are still coming to terms with the end of the Elizabethan age.

Prince William broke his silence with an emotional tribute to his beloved “Grannie” on Saturday.

“She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life,” said William, who has now become the Prince of Wales.

But the queen’s death also brought a surprise show of unity from William, 40, and his younger brother Harry, 37, when they emerged with their wives to speak to well-wishers outside Windsor Castle, near London.

The sight of the two couples who have barely seen each other since 2020, together –– even if they separated to speak and shake hands with different sides of the cheering crowds –– will likely spark rumours of a reconciliation.

The picture of the four royals was splashed across the front of The Sun newspaper on Sunday with the headline “All 4 One”.

Senior royals including the queen’s children, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward and their families also inspected flowers outside Balmoral, where they have remained since the queen’s death.

The queen’s coffin, draped with a Scottish Royal Standard and floral wreath, has been kept in Balmoral’s ballroom and will be carried to her hearse by six estate gamekeepers.

READ MORE: In pictures: The life and times of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II

‘Many, many people’

The symbolism of the queen’s last journey will be heavy for a nation that has strong royal connections –– but where there is a strong Scottish independence movement intent on severing the centuries-old union with the United Kingdom.

The cortege will leave at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) then weave through Aberdeen and Dundee before reaching Edinburgh at 4:00 pm.

Dedicated viewing points are being set up along the route, although mourners will be asked not to throw flowers at the convoy as it passes.

“We anticipate many, many people will be keen to pay their respects,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

The queen’s coffin will be taken to the Holyroodhouse Palace, the monarch’s official residence in Scotland, where it will rest for a day.

King Charles and other royals will on Monday take part in a procession to convey her coffin along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral.

The following day the coffin will be flown by Royal Air Force jet to Northolt airfield near London, and driven to Buckingham Palace. Then, on Wednesday, it will be moved to Westminster Hall to lie in State.

King Charles will also visit Northern Ireland and Wales in a show of national unity, accompanied by British Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was only appointed by the late queen on Tuesday.

He has seen his popularity recover since Diana’s death in a 1997 car crash, but he takes the throne at a moment of deep anxiety in Britain over the spiralling cost of living and international instability caused by the war in Ukraine.

‘Inspiring example’

Charles vowed at the formal Accession Council at St James’s Palace on Saturday that he would “strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set” by his mother during her “lifetime of service”.

The centuries-old tradition was televised live for the first time, featuring a fanfare of trumpets and a court official wearing a feathered hat to declare him king from a palace balcony.

Thousands of people have gathered outside Buckingham Palace and other royal residences in recent days to lay flowers and messages of condolence, or simply to experience history in the making.

But officials expect far more people to pay their respects while the queen lies in state, before the televised funeral service at Westminster Abbey opposite.

The funeral for the queen –– who came to the throne aged just 25 in 1952 –– will be attended by national leaders including US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and possibly Japanese Emperor Naruhito.

Her record 70 years on the throne were a constant during a turbulent time for Britain, from a world of post-war deprivation and the loss of its empire, to more recent traumas like the coronavirus pandemic.

Charles’s coronation, an elaborate ritual steeped in tradition and history, will take place in the same historic surroundings of Westminster Abbey, as it has for centuries, on a date to be fixed.

READ MORE: Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, dies at 96

Source: TRT

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Maldives discusses strengthening cooperation with Bahrain

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa have discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The discussions took place during President Solih’s ongoing state visit to Bahrain.

Upon their arrival at the Al-Qudaibiya Palace, President Solih and First Lady Fazna were received by King Hamad. It was followed by a welcome ceremony that included the performance of the national anthems of both countries and the introduction of their respective delegations.

During the meeting, the two leaders discussed ways to strengthen the close bilateral cooperation and areas of mutual interest between the two countries, including increasing connectivity, and bilateral and developmental cooperation. They expressed hope that the visit would lay the groundwork for a new era in the Maldives-Bahrain relationship while also enhancing and broadening existing ties. During the discussion, King Hamad also commended the tourism model of the Maldives. In light of the range of areas in which the two countries collaborate, both leaders expressed their gratification that the state visit, the first such visit by a Maldivian president to Bahrain, had been fruitful, with both countries agreeing to cooperate in a variety of fields.

Furthermore, President Solih highlighted the warm hospitality that had been accorded to him, First Lady Fazna, and the Maldivian delegation throughout their stay and expressed his heartfelt gratitude. Following the discussion, the president and the king met one-on-one to further discuss matters of cooperation.

Source: psmnews

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Maldives and Bahrain exchange four key agreements

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The Maldives and Bahrain have exchanged four key agreements, demonstrating a pivotal point of progress in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa presided over the agreement signing ceremony at the Qudaibiya Palace in Bahrain. The agreements include the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Political Consultations exchanged between the ministries of foreign affairs of both countries and the MoU for Cooperation on Diplomatic Training and Exchange of Information and Documentation between the Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa Academy for Diplomatic Studies and the Foreign Service Institute of the Maldives (FOSIM).

The agreements also include the MoU on Cooperation in the Area of Youth and Sports Development between the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs of Bahrain and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment of the Maldives, and the MoU on Climate Change between Supreme Council for Environment of Bahrain and Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology the Government of the Maldives.

At the ceremony, two additional agreements were also announced. The first agreement concerns the Maldives as a sea-to-air partner which provides access to Bahrain’s global sea-to-air logistics hub, and the second agreement grants the Maldives sovereignty over the data of its beneficiaries in Bahrain-based data centres.

 

Source: psmnews

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New seaplane terminal at VIA inaugurated

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The new seaplane terminal at Velana International Airport (VIA0 was inaugurated on Thursday.

‘Noovilu Seaplane Terminal’ was inaugurated during a special ceremony on Thursday morning by Vice President Faisal Naseem, Maldives Airports Company Limited’s (MACL) Chairman Mohamed Umar Manik and the Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives Wang Lixin.

The ceremony was also attended by Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi and other senior government officials.

The new seaplane terminal is a USD 55 million worth project. While the terminal measures 28,000 square meters – its MRO Facility measures 8,836 square meters. The VVIP section measures 100 square meters.

Hailing as the largest seaplane terminal in the world – ‘Noovilu Seaplane Terminal’ has 42 lounges of which all except two have been leased to resorts. MACL’s ‘Vilu’ business lounge had 235 seats, whilst ‘Neeru’ lounge has 315 seats.

In addition to this new seaplane terminal, the newly developed Code F runway at VIA was also operationalized on Thursday morning with the landing of the inaugural flight. The Emirates’ aircraft had been inbound from Dubai, and upon landing was welcomed by a water salute.

Both these projects were incepted during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s administration under an initiative to further develop the airport. The work was carried out by China’s Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG).

The airport development project valued at USD 800 million (MVR 12.3 billion) saw the establishment of a new VIP terminal at VIA. A new passenger terminal and a fuel farm are also being developed under the project.

 

Source: Sun.Mv

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