Queen Elizabeth cancels birthday plans as coronavirus hits Britain

Queen Elizabeth cancels birthday plans as coronavirus hits Britain
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her birthday discreetly next week, without the traditional salutes of honour. (File/AFP)
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Updated 18 April 2020

Queen Elizabeth cancels birthday plans as coronavirus hits Britain

Queen Elizabeth cancels birthday plans as coronavirus hits Britain
  • According to a reporter it would be the first such request had been made in her 68-year reign

LONDON: Britain's Queen Elizabeth will not celebrate her 94th birthday in any special way and has asked that there be no gun salutes to mark the occasion because it would not be appropriate while the country battles a deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Britain is at or near the peak of an outbreak in which more than 14,000 people have already died - the fifth highest national death toll of a pandemic linked to at least 150,000 deaths worldwide.
Ceremonial gun salutes, in which blank rounds are fired from various location across London, are typically used by the royal family to mark special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays. The Queen's birthday is on April 21.
The Queen was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances, a royal source said.
It is believed to be the first such request in the Queen's 68-year reign, the source said.
"'We will not be marking Her Majesty’s birthday in any special way' this year due to the #coronavirus crisis," ITV reporter Chris Ship, who first reported the queen's request, tweeted citing a source.
Britain is in its fourth week of a national lockdown, with businesses forced to close and citizens ordered to stay at home. Earlier this month, the country's longest-serving monarch made an exceptional address to the nation, promising "Better days will return."
Buckingham Palace last month said a parade to celebrate the Queen's official birthday, which is celebrated in June, would not go ahead in its traditional form in light of restrictions on social gatherings.
There are no alternative plans to replace the parade, the source said on Saturday. 


150 migrants storm border with Spain’s Melilla enclave

150 migrants storm border with Spain’s Melilla enclave
Updated 19 January 2021

150 migrants storm border with Spain’s Melilla enclave

150 migrants storm border with Spain’s Melilla enclave
  • 90 migrants managing to cross from Morocco into Melilla at a point where the border fence crosses the Nano river
  • Melilla and Ceuta, another Spanish territory in North Africa, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa

MADRID: Around 150 migrants stormed the border fence separating the Spanish enclave Melilla from Morocco early on Tuesday with nearly 90 managing to cross, officials said.
The incident took place just before dawn where the fence crosses the Nano river, a spokesman for the Spanish government’s local delegation said, indicating “87 of them” got across despite efforts to stop them by the Moroccan and Spanish security forces.
It was the biggest mass attempt to cross the border fence since August 20 when some 300 people stormed the fence, although only around 30 managed to get across and one died during the attempt.
During Tuesday’s incident, nine migrants were hurt while trying to get into the tiny Spanish territory, while the rest were being registered at the migrant reception center, he said.
Interior ministry figures show that in the first two weeks of the year, 60 migrants managed to illegally cross the fence into Melilla while another 70 managed to cross into Ceuta, Spain’s other North African enclave.
Melilla and Ceuta, another Spanish territory in North Africa, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.
They are favored entry points for African migrants seeking a better life in Europe, who get there by either climbing over the border fence or by swimming along the coast.
The border crossings between Morocco and both enclaves have been closed since the start of the pandemic last March.