Portal:United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Portal

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Map of the United Kingdom in the British Isles.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK or U.K.), or Britain, is a sovereign country in north-western Europe, off the north-­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands within the British Isles. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,000 square miles (240,000 km2).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952. The United Kingdom's capital is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers. Other major cities include Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester.

The union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, followed by the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK's name was adopted in 1927 to reflect the change.

The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. There are also 14 British Overseas Territories, the last remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies.

The United Kingdom has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the ninth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 13th in the world. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.

The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was a member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), from 1 January 1973 until withdrawing on 31 January 2020. (Full article...)

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Ian Tomlinson remonstrates with police after being pushed to the ground, minutes before he died.

Ian Tomlinson (1962–2009) was an English newspaper vendor who collapsed and died in the City of London on his way home from work during the G-20 summit protests. A first postmortem examination suggested he had suffered a heart attack and had died of natural causes, but his death became controversial a week later when The Guardian obtained footage of his last moments, filmed by an American investment fund manager who was visiting London. The video shows Tomlinson being struck on the leg from behind by a police officer wielding an expandable baton, then pushed to the ground by the same officer. It appears to show no provocation on Tomlinson's part—he was not a protester, and at the time he was struck, the footage shows him walking along with his hands in his pockets. He walked away from the incident but died moments later. After the newspaper published the video, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) began a criminal inquiry from which the police were removed, and ordered a second postmortem, this one indicating that Tomlinson had died from an abdominal haemorrhage, the cause of which remains unknown. The IPCC completed its investigation in August 2009 and passed its file to the Crown Prosecution Service. A police officer has been interviewed on suspicion of manslaughter but has not been named or charged. The incident sparked an intense debate in the UK about what appeared to be a deteriorating relationship between the police and the public, the degree to which the IPCC is independent of the police, and the role of citizens in monitoring police and government activity—so-called sousveillance. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Thomas of Bayeux was Archbishop of York from 1070 until 1100. A native of Bayeux, he was educated at Liège and became a royal chaplain to Duke William of Normandy, later King William I of England. After the Norman Conquest, the King nominated Thomas to succeed Ealdred as Archbishop of York. After Thomas' election, Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, demanded an oath from Thomas to obey him and any future Archbishops of Canterbury; this was part of Lanfranc's claim that Canterbury was the primary bishopric, and its holder the head of the English Church. Thomas countered that York had never made such an oath, which resulted in Lanfranc's refusal to consecrate him. The King eventually persuaded Thomas to submit, but Thomas and Lanfranc continued to clash over ecclesiastical and various other issues. After William I's death, Thomas served his successor William II, and helped to put down a rebellion led by Thomas' old mentor Odo of Bayeux. During William II's reign, Thomas again became involved in the dispute with Canterbury over the primacy when he refused to consecrate the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm, if Anselm was named the Primate of England in the consecration service. After William II's sudden death in 1100, Thomas arrived too late to crown King Henry I, and died soon after the coronation. (Full article...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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Wikinews UK

4 March 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
Ukraine reports their first cases of the Lineage B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom in two people from Ivano-Frankivsk. (UNIAN)
4 March 2021 – The Troubles, Brexit and the Irish border
The Loyalist Communities Council and other loyalist groups in Northern Ireland inform Prime Minister Boris Johnson that they are withdrawing support for the Good Friday Agreement in opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol. (DW)
3 March 2021 – 2021 United Kingdom budget
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivers the 2021 Spring budget to the House of Commons, announcing the government's tax and spending plans for the year ahead, as well as further COVID-19 support measures, including extending the furlough until the end of September and increasing the minimum wage beginning in April. (BBC)
2 March 2021 – Anti-Irish sentiment
The Equality and Human Rights Commission says that it has investigated Britannia Hotels-owned holiday park operator Pontins after a whistleblower revealed that Pontins had a blacklist of common Irish surnames to prevent Roma and Irish Travellers from booking at its parks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that the discrimination is "completely unacceptable". (BBC)
2 March 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
Indonesia reports their first two cases of the Lineage B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom. (Liputan6.com)
Tunisia reports their first case of the Lineage B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom. (Reuters)

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