Portal:United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) 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 93,628 square miles (242,500 km2).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 1952. The capital and largest city 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. Other than England, the constituent countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.

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, annexed in 1542) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 formed 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 that name in 1927.

The nearby Isle of Man, Guernsey and 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 a third of the world's population, and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and the legal 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 tenth-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. The UK became the world's first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the UK remains one of the world's great powers, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked sixth globally in military expenditure. 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 Group of Ten, the G20, the United Nations, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was a member state of the European Communities (EC) and its successor, the European Union (EU), from its accession in 1973 until its withdrawal in 2020 following a referendum held in 2016. (Full article...)

Featured article

Pink Floyd playing Dark Side of the Moon at Earls Court, 1973

The Dark Side of the Moon is the sixth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd. Released in March 1973, the concept built on the ideas that the band had explored in their live shows and previous recordings, but it lacks the extended instrumental excursions that characterised their work following the departure in 1968 of founding member, principal composer and lyricist, Syd Barrett. The album's themes include conflict, greed, ageing, and mental illness, the latter partly inspired by Barrett's deteriorating mental state. The album was developed as part of a forthcoming tour of live performances, and premièred several months before studio recording began. The new material was further refined during the tour, and was recorded in two sessions in 1972 and 1973 at Abbey Road Studios in London. Pink Floyd used some of the most advanced recording techniques of the time, including multitrack recording and tape loops. Analogue synthesisers were given prominence in several tracks, and a series of recorded interviews with staff and band personnel provided the source material for a range of philosophical quotations used throughout. Engineer Alan Parsons was directly responsible for some of the most notable sonic aspects of the album, including the non-lexical performance of Clare Torry. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Lennon rehearsing in 1969

John Lennon (1940–1980) was an English musician and singer-songwriter who achieved worldwide fame as a founding member of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Born and raised in Liverpool, Lennon had a rebellious nature and acerbic wit. At the age of 16, he formed a skiffle group which would evolve into The Beatles in 1960. With bandmate Paul McCartney, he established the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership, which provided the bulk of the Beatles' catalogue until the band dissolved at the end of the decade. Lennon then embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. He became controversial through his work as a peace activist; his iconic songs, "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine", were adopted as anthems of the anti-war movement. In 1971, with his wife and muse Yoko Ono, he moved to New York City, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon's administration to deport him. He took a sabbatical from the music business in 1975 to devote time to his family, re-emerging in 1980 with a new album, Double Fantasy, but was murdered on 8 December, three weeks after its release. (Full article...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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Wikinews UK

23 September 2021 – France–United States relations
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian tells U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that it will take "time and actions" in order to restore confidence and good relations between France and the United States after France condemned the security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced last week. (Reuters)
22 September 2021 – 2021 United Kingdom gas crisis
Two more energy companies have entered bankruptcy and ceased trading, bringing the total since the gas crisis began to seven with dozens more still at risk. More than one million customers have now been affected by the collapse of energy companies in the United Kingdom this month. (BBC)
22 September 2021 – France–United States relations
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden agree to meet in Europe soon to repair the strained relations following the security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. France also agrees to send back its ambassador to the United States. (Al Jazeera)
20 September 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
COVID-19 pandemic in England, COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland, COVID-19 vaccination in the United Kingdom
17 September 2021 – AUKUS
France recalls its ambassadors from the United States and Australia in protest of the security pact, which also includes the United Kingdom. The French Foreign Ministry says that the "exceptional decision" was justified by the seriousness of the pact, which has replaced its own security agreement with Australia. (BBC)

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