Portal:United Kingdom

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Flag of the United Kingdom
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Coat of Arms for the United Kingdom
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 Britain, is a country in Northwestern Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and most of the 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, the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea and the Irish Sea. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,060 square miles (243,610 km2), with an estimated 2022 population of nearly 67 million people.

The United Kingdom has evolved from a series of annexations, unions and separations of constituent countries over several hundred years. The Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 resulted in their unification to become the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its union in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Most of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which formally adopted its name in 1927. The nearby Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown Dependencies, but the British government is responsible for their defence and international representation.

The UK became the first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power for the majority of the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly during the "Pax Britannica" between 1815 and 1914. The British Empire, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and population, and was the largest empire in history; however, its involvement in the First World War and the Second World War damaged Britain's economic power and a global wave of decolonisation led to the independence of most British colonies. British influence can be observed in the legal and political systems of many of its former colonies, and the UK's culture remains globally influential, particularly in literature, language, music and sport. English is the world's most widely spoken language and the third-most spoken native language.

The UK has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked fourth globally in military expenditure. The UK has been a permanent member of the UN Security Council since its first session in 1946. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the OECD, NATO, the Five Eyes, AUKUS and the CPTPP. (Full article...)

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C–47 transport aircraft drop hundreds of paratroopers as part of Operation Varsity

Operation Varsity was a joint American–British airborne operation that took place in March 1945, towards the end of World War II. It was planned to aid the British 21st Army Group, under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, in securing a foothold across the River Rhine in western Germany by landing two airborne divisions on the eastern bank of the Rhine near the towns of Hamminkeln and Wesel. The operation involved two airborne divisions from US XVIII Airborne Corps: the British 6th Airborne Division and the US 17th Airborne Division. Despite some errors by the airborne forces, the operation was an overall success, with both divisions landing and capturing a number of bridges across the Rhine and securing several towns which could have been used by the enemy to delay the advance of the British ground forces. The two divisions incurred more than 2,000 casualties, but captured approximately 3,000 German soldiers in the process. The operation was the last large-scale Allied airborne operation of World War II, and was the largest single airborne drop in history. (Full article...)

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Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of royal supremacy in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm. He was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the Church of England, and succeeded in publishing the first officially authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany. When Edward came to power, Cranmer was able to promote major reforms. He wrote and compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer, a complete liturgy for the English Church. He developed new doctrinal standards in areas such as the eucharist, clerical celibacy, the role of images in places of worship, and the veneration of saints. Cranmer was tried for treason and heresy when Mary I came to the throne. Imprisoned for over two years and under pressure from the Church authorities, he made several recantations and reconciled himself with the Catholic faith. However, on the day of his execution, he dramatically withdrew his recantations and died as a Protestant martyr. His legacy lives on within the Church of England through the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles, an Anglican statement of faith derived from his work. (Full article...)

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Wikinews UK

23 November 2023 – Modern immigration to the United Kingdom
The Office for National Statistics reports that net migration to the United Kingdom reached a record of 745,000 in 2022, with the vast majority of arrivals being from non-EU countries. (Sky News)
21 November 2023 –
The bodies of four missing teenagers are found in an overturned car near Tremadog, Gwynedd, Wales, United Kingdom. (BBC News)
20 November 2023 – UK Covid-19 Inquiry
Chief Scientific Adviser to the British government during the COVID-19 pandemic, Patrick Vallance, says that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, then finance minister, said "just let people die" during a discussion on a potential second lockdown in late 2020. (Reuters)
17 November 2023 – Rohingya genocide case
Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom formally join the genocide case at the International Court of Justice against Myanmar, accusing Myanmar's military junta of committing genocide against the Rohingya people. (Al Jazeera)
15 November 2023 – International reactions to the 2023 Israel–Hamas war
The UN Security Council passes a resolution calling for humanitarian pauses in the conflict, the establishment of humanitarian corridors, and for the unconditional release of hostages taken by Hamas. Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States abstained. (Al Jazeera)
15 November 2023 –
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom rules that the British government's Rwanda asylum plan, where illegal immigrants would be relocated to Rwanda for processing and resettlement, is unlawful. (BBC News)


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