British Queen celebrates

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Brexit has created uncertainty for both Spanish businesses and citizens, King Felipe VI of Spain said Thursday during his state visit to Britain, calling for a swift resolution.

In a reception in the City of London business district before holding talks with Prime Minister Theresa May, the monarch also said there was a need to "minimise future obstacles.

"We cannot deny that the scenario created by Britain's decision to leave the EU has created uncertainty and doubts for our major companies, and especially for our small and medium enterprises," King Felipe said.

"We must ensure that the negotiations reduce such uncertainty to the minimum. It is vital that the framework of our future relations create the conditions for a closer trading relationship by trying to minimise future obstacles," the monarch said.

Britain is the top destination for Spanish investment in Europe. In sectors such as banking, Spain is the second-biggest investor in Britain behind the United States.


The British government on Thursday (July 13) begins the mammoth task of overhauling its legal system in time for Brexit, also revealing its stance on matters such as nuclear safety after the split.

The "Great Repeal Bill" will pave the way for Britain to adopt, amend or repeal thousands of European Union laws incorporated during its membership of the bloc.

Brexit Minister David Davis said the Bill will ensure Britain will have a "fully functioning legal system" on leaving the EU.

"This Bill means that we will be able to exit the European Union with maximum certainty, continuity and control," he said in a statement.

Seventy firefighters battled a large fire in a building in London's popular Camden Lock Market in the early hours of Monday, the London Fire Brigade said.

The emergency service said it had also sent 10 fire engines to the scene, near a nightclub and a covered market.

There were no reports of any casualties.

"The first, second and third floors, plus the roof, of a building within the market are alight," the London Fire Brigade said on Twitter.

"The Brigade's 999 Control Officers have taken multiple calls to the highly visible blaze and people are asked to avoid the area," it said on Facebook.



The parents of a terminally-ill British baby boy on Sunday delivered a petition of over 350,000 signatures demanding they be allowed to take him to the United States from treatment.

Supporters joined 11-month-old Charlie's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard outside London's Great Ormond Street hospital (GOSH), calling for him to be released so he can travel to the US for experimental treatment.

The hospital said on Friday it would let the courts re-examine claims that he could be treated, citing "fresh evidence" after US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis drew international attention to the case.



British Prime Minister Theresa May called for plans to put up a statue of "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher outside the British parliament to go ahead despite concerns it could be targeted by vandals.

"I understand there are a number of issues that have been raised around the statue," the Conservative leader told the BBC on Friday (July 7).

"There should be no suggestion that the threat of vandalism should stop a statue of Margaret Thatcher from being put up," said May, who has dismissed parallels with her fearsome predecessor.

The plan is to put up the £300,000 (S$537,000) bronze statue on Parliament Square next to political greats such as wartime prime minister Winston Churchill and Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi.


Foreign funding for Islamist extremism in Britain mostly originates from Saudi Arabia, a think-tank report said on Wednesday in claims that were branded as "categorically false" by the Saudi embassy.

"While entities from across the Gulf and Iran have been guilty of advancing extremism, those in Saudi Arabia are undoubtedly at the top of the list," Tom Wilson, a fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, said in a statement.

According to the hawkish London-based foreign policy think-tank, Saudi Arabia has since the 1960s "sponsored a multimillion dollar effort to export Wahhabi Islam across the Islamic world, including Muslim communities in the West".

The ultra-conservative kingdom is the cradle of the austere Sunni doctrine of Wahhabism and is home to Islam's holiest site in Mecca.

Funding from Saudi Arabia has primarily taken the form of endowments to mosques, the report said, which have in turn "played host to extremist preachers and the distribution of extremist literature".


Worshipers leaving a London mosque just after midnight on Monday were helping an unwell elderly man when the driver of a van deliberately targeted them, eyewitnesses said, and the attacker shouted: “I want to kill all Muslims.” One person was left dead and eight people were injured in the attack, at least two of them seriously.The van swerved toward the people outside the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London just as they began to assist the man, who had collapsed.

“He turned left into the alleyway, and he just drove at people,” eyewitness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP.

“Some of them he took a few meters. A man was inside in the van, I saw with my eye, and the old man was also on the ground, and I see some people were also injured. Some of them were very bad.”


Britain's new and only aircraft carrier -- the largest and most powerful ship ever built for the Royal Navy -- set off for its first sea trial in Scotland on Monday.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, a 280-metre (919-foot), 65,000-tonne vessel, left the dock at the port of Rosyth on the Firth of Forth estuary near Edinburgh.

The ship cost £3.0 billion (3.4 billion euros, $3.8 billion) to build in a project employing 10,000 people and will be the country's future flagship.

It can operate with a crew of 1,000 and 40 aircraft.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth "leaves Rosyth for the first time," the Royal Navy said on Twitter.

Britain has been without any carrier strike capability since the government scrapped previous vessels in 2010 as part of austerity measures to curb a huge deficit.

The giant ship left the dock at high tide but will have to wait for low tide to be able to pass under the road and rail bridges across the Firth of Forth.

"I think there are very few capabilities, by any country, that are as symbolic as a carrier strike capability," commanding officer Captain Jerry Kyd told reporters.

"These are visible symbols of power and power projection," he said.

Sea trials in the North Sea will continue through the summer and the ship will eventually be taken to the Royal Navy base in Portsmouth at the end of the year.




The world is watching Hong Kong as a "test case" of whether Chinese promises mean anything, Britain's last governor said ahead of the 20th anniversary of his tearful departure from the city.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong to mark the anniversary of its handover from British rule on July 1, and Chris Patten said Xi should reaffirm Beijing's respect for the city's unique brand of autonomy dubbed "one country, two systems".

By and large, he said, China had respected its treaty obligations to Hong Kong and Britain in the years after the 1997 handover.

But more recently, under Xi, Patten said: "I think there's been more and more indication of Beijing tightening its grip on Hong Kong and on Hong Kong's windpipe."

Building up to Xi's visit, Hong Kong has seen multiple protests by pro-democracy activists as concerns rise that Beijing is trampling over the handover agreement by interfering in a range of areas, from politics to the judiciary, education and media.

Xi's visit will be his first since becoming president in 2013 and will culminate with the inauguration of Hong Kong's new leader, Carrie Lam, on Saturday.

"It'll be interesting to see how well that's received or how well he's protected from a dialogue with people in Hong Kong," Patten told reporters in London.



Britain's parliament shut down external access to e-mail accounts on Saturday following a cyberattack.

Parliamentary authorities described the attack as "sustained and determined", in an email sent to lawmakers and published by the Daily Telegraph.

"Earlier this morning we discovered unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyberattack on our computer network," it read.

"Closer investigation by our team confirmed that hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts.

"We have been working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre to identify the method of the attack and have made changes to prevent the attackers gaining access."