British Queen celebrates


Britain's Conservative Party plans to introduce mandatory national service for 18-year-olds if it wins the national election on July 4, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Sunday.

The proposed program would require young adults to choose between volunteering one weekend a month for a year or joining the armed forces for a year, with 30,000 slots available for military service.

This announcement follows Labour Party leader Keir Starmer's Saturday statement in favor of allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote. Currently, Sunak's Conservatives are trailing Labour significantly in the polls, with little change in their standing since Sunak's unexpected election call last Wednesday.

"Britain today faces a future that is more dangerous and more divided. There's no doubt that our democratic values are under threat. That is why we will introduce a bold new model of national service for 18-year-olds," Sunak stated.

The Conservative Party claims the proposal will be funded by cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion and redirecting money from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which aims to reduce regional economic inequality.

Labour politicians criticized the announcement. "The national service we need from our young people is to vote for change on 4th July," said Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester.

Interior Minister James Cleverly told broadcasters there would be no criminal penalties for skipping the mandatory service, but did not provide further details on enforcement. When questioned by the BBC about whether mandating volunteer service contradicts the Conservative Party's liberal values, Cleverly responded, "We force people to do things all the time," citing compulsory education and training for teenagers until age 18 as an example.

Italy recently resumed funding for the United Nations Palestinian Relief Organisation (UNRWA), becoming the latest country to do so. Photo by Gertrud Zach, Wikimedia commons.