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Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace announces

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The Queen has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace has announced.

“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,” Buckingham Palace said.

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-reigning monarch in British history and the world’s oldest head of state.

On her death, the Queen’s eldest son and heir, Charles, the former Prince of Wales, has become King of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms.

In a statement, he said: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother.

“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”

No official details have been released about what will happen over the coming days, but it is anticipated that the Queen will be given a full state funeral, as is traditional to mark the death of a monarch.

It is also expected that her body will lie in state to allow the public to pay tribute.

The King will sign off the final plans in the coming days.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, where she invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative party to become Prime Minister and form a new government. Picture date: Tuesday September 6, 2022.

The Queen was last seen on Tuesday welcoming her 15th prime minister

A life of service

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London on 21 April 1926.

At the time, no one expected her to be Queen as she was third in line to the throne behind her uncle and father.

During her record-breaking reign, she dedicated her life to serving her country and Commonwealth.

In a radio address in 1947 on her 21st birthday, she said: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952 at the age of 25, when her father, King George VI, died.

Her coronation took place 16 months later at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen held a number of other titles, which will now automatically pass to her son and heir.

The royal couple with their four children in Windsor in 1968

The royal couple with their four children in Windsor in 1968

She was head of the Commonwealth, commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, and supreme governor of the Church of England. She was also patron of more than 600 charities and organisations.

Wife, mother, grandmother

Away from her official duties, she was a devoted wife and mother to four children, and dedicated grandmother to eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

In 1947, she married her wartime sweetheart Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey, with a relatively simple ceremony as the country was still recovering from the war.

King George VI wrote to her about his feelings about giving her away: “I was so proud of you and thrilled at having you so close to me on our long walk in Westminster Abbey, but when I handed your hand to the Archbishop I felt that I had lost something very precious.”

The Queen gave birth to Prince Charles in 1948 and to Princess Anne two years later. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – who were born in 1960 and 1964 respectively – were the first children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had her family.

Until his death in 2021, the Duke of Edinburgh, “her beloved husband”, was always by the Queen’s side.

She described the Duke as her “constant strength and stay” and in 2017 the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, the only royal couple to ever reach their platinum anniversary.

The Queen and Prince Philip after her coronation in June 1953

The Queen and Prince Philip after her coronation in June 1953

A record-breaking reign

The Queen’s reign saw 15 different prime ministers, from Sir Winston Churchill to Liz Truss.

She was more widely travelled than any other international leader and the world’s oldest head of state, always using her own distinctive form of quiet diplomacy to represent the United Kingdom around the world.

In 2015, she also became the longest-serving British monarch in history, passing the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

As head of state and head of nation, Queen Elizabeth II was widely regarded as a symbol of stability, working tirelessly to make sure the monarchy remained relevant during a period of immense social, technological, and economic change.

She was a monarch without equal who will now be mourned across the globe.

The Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, and the Duchess of Cambridge appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Picture date: Sunday June 5, 2022.

The Queen with her family during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations

What happens now

Upon the Queen’s death, Prince Charles has immediately become the new monarch.

A period of national mourning has begun and is set to last until the funeral, which is expected to take place in 10 days time.

Her body will be moved to Buckingham Palace, where it will likely remain for five days.

The government is not expected to announce any other business, unless urgent, to allow focus to fall completely on the Queen.

Major sporting events, including football and cricket matches, could now be postponed as a mark of respect.

Source: Sky

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Indonesia Passes New Law To Criminalize Sex Outside Of Marriage

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GETTY There were protests against the new code on Monday

Indonesian lawmakers passed a sweeping new criminal code on Tuesday that criminalizes sex outside marriage, as part of a tranche of changes that critics say threaten human rights and freedoms in the Southeast Asian country.

The new code, which also applies to foreign residents and tourists, bans cohabitation before marriage, apostasy, and provides punishments for insulting the president or expressing views counter to the national ideology.

“All have agreed to ratify the (draft changes) into law,” said lawmaker Bambang Wuryanto, who led the parliamentary commission in charge of revising the colonial-era code. “The old code belongs to Dutch heritage … and is no longer relevant.”

The world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia has seen a rise in religious conservatism in recent years. Strict Islamic laws are already enforced in parts of the country, including the semi-autonomous Aceh province, where alcohol and gambling are banned. Public floggings also take place in the region for a range of offences including homosexuality and adultery.

A previous draft of the code was set to be passed in 2019 but was postponed after nationwide protests prompted Indonesian President Joko Widodo to intervene. In a televised address at the time, Widodo said he decided to delay the vote after “seriously considering feedback from different parties who feel objections on some substantial content of the criminal code.”

In the lead-up to Tuesday’s vote, rights groups and critics warned that the new code would “disproportionately impact women” and further curtail human rights and freedoms in the country of more than 270 million people.

Human Rights Watch Indonesia Researcher Andreas Harsono said the laws are “a setback for already declining religious freedom in Indonesia,” warning that “non-believers could be prosecuted and jailed.”

“The danger of oppressive laws is not that they’ll be broadly applied, it’s that they provide an avenue for selective enforcement,” he said.

Under the laws, sex outside marriage carries a potential one-year prison term, and the crime of blasphemy, already on Indonesia’s books, could now lead to a five-year prison sentence.

Rahmat Purnama, from the University of Indonesia’s law faculty, said the laws would be implemented after a transitional period of three years.

Source: CNN

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Elon Musk Hopes to Test a Brain Implant in Humans Next Year

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In this still image from the Neuralink presentation video on YouTube, a presenter, lower left, described how a monkey used a wireless transmitter to “type” characters on a keyboard.Credit...Neuralink

Neuralink, the startup Elon Musk founded to link our brains directly to computers, showed progress Wednesday in two medical areas: helping blind people to see and helping people with spinal cord injuries to walk or use their hands.

The company, one of five that Musk leads, is working on technology to drop thousands of electrodes thinner than a hair into the outer surface of human brains. Each electrode is a tiny wire connected to a battery-powered, remotely recharged, quarter-sized chip package that’s embedded into a spot that once held a circle of skull. The chip, called the N1, communicates wirelessly with the outside world.

The technology is still far from the initial medical uses, much less Musk’s ultimate vision of using Neuralink to hang out with superintelligent AIs. But the company is making significant progress, including applying with the Food and Drug Administration to begin human trials it hopes to start within six months, the company said at a “show and tell” event lasting more than two hours.

“Our goal will be to turn the lights on for someone who’s spent decades living in the dark,” said Neuralink researcher Dan Adams, who’s working on the effort to repackage camera data into a brain-compatible format and pipe it directly to the visual cortex.

Musk has some cred when it comes to revolutionary tech. His electric-vehicle company Tesla is profoundly changing cars and his SpaceX outfit is transforming space access with reusable rockets. His reputation as a tech genius has taken a beating, though, with the chaos at Twitter after his $44 billion acquisition. Musk’s Boring Company, which aims to revamp auto transportation with tunnels, also hasn’t lived up to its promises yet.

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US President Joe Biden turns 80 Today: New Generation’ of Democratic Leaders Takes Control in Congress

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President Joe Biden will celebrate his 80th birthday on Sunday, marking the first time a sitting president has reached that milestone while in office and fueling speculation about how his advancing age will affect his political future.

Biden — who was the oldest person to assume the presidency in January 2021, just 61 days after his 78th birthday — has said he intends to make another White House bid, even as his age-adjacent peers, including 82-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have made the decision to step away from leadership in order to make way for a younger generation.

“My intention is that I will run again. But I’m a great respecter of fate and this is ultimately a family decision. I think everybody wants me to run but we’re going to have discussions about it. And I don’t feel any hurry one way or the other to make that judgment.” he said last week, after helming what many say is the most successful midterm election for a sitting president’s party in decades, though noting that those results would not have an impact on his decision to run again.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden greets guests before speaking at an event at the White House complex, Nov. 18, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Biden is the oldest person to serve as commander in chief in the nation’s history. Should he seek reelection in 2024 and win, the president would be 86 by the end of his second term. He has said he’ll talk over his future with his wife and the rest of his family over the holidays.

Biden has said he is hoping that he and his wife “get a little time to actually sneak away for a week around between Christmas and Thanksgiving” and that his decision to run for reelection will likely “be early next year we make that judgment.”

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