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News Summary: April 2016

The Queen is 90

The Prince of Wales paid a touching tribute to his mother at the beacon lighting ceremony, wishing her the “most special and happiest of birthdays”.

Prince Charles handed the torch to the Queen and invited her to light the principal beacon – a large brazier on a 20ft (6m) pole at the start of the Long Walk.

The beacon lit by the Queen, lighting up the sky in front of Windsor Castle, was the first in a chain of more than  1,000.

Across the country people have gathered outside for the lighting ceremonies to celebrate the monarch’s 90th birthday.

Nadiya Hussain, The Great British Bake Off champion had prepared a three-tier orange drizzle cake with a butter cream and marmalade filling for the occasion. The cake was slightly crooked and it is still unknown whether the Queen did feel let down by her cake, but bystanders certainly gave Nadiya a hard time on social media. However it received royal approval not for its taste but for how easy it was to slice, after the Queen had struggled to cut a cake at a Women’s Institute event last year.

She was dressed in a white silk headscarf for her last public engagement of the day before a private black tie dinner hosted by Prince Charles in the Waterloo Chamber of Windsor Castle. More than 30 royals were among more than 70 guests joining the Queen for the lavish affair.

Panama Papers Leaked

An anonymous source leaked the Panama Papers, the name that has been given to the largest leak of 11.5 million files from the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca revealing the scale of the exploitation of offshore tax havens including Vladimir Putin, Hosni Mubarak and David Cameron’s father.

The Panama based firm’s files were given to the German newspaper ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ which in turn shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Hillsborough Inquests  

Ninety-six football fans who died as a result of a crush in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed, the inquests have concluded.

The jury found match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield was “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence” due to a breach of his duty of care.

After a 27-year campaign by victims’ families, the Prime Minister said the inquests had provided “official confirmation” fans were “utterly blameless”.

When the conclusion of the unlawful killing was revealed, families were seen hugging each other in the public gallery and some punched the air.

Barack Obama Visit

Barack Obama urged the UK to stick with the EU, on his final trip to Britain as US president when having lunch with the Queen.

The president’s intervention in the UK’s forthcoming EU referendum on 23 June has been hotly debated and sparked claims of ‘hypocrisy’ from those who want to leave the EU as many claim that the US “would never contemplate anything like the EU for itself”.

In an article for the newspaper, President Obama acknowledged that ultimately the matter was for British voters to decide for themselves however in response, Mr Cameron tweeted: “The US is one of our closest allies. So it’s important to hear Barack Obama on why we should remain in the EU.”

Boris Johnson originally criticised Obama in an article in the Sun calling his view “hypocritical”, describing the EU system as “alien” to US traditions but has since been criticised for making comments about the president’s “part-Kenyan” ancestry.

Ecuador Earthquake

Ecuador’s worst earthquake in nearly seven decades injured around 12,500 and left 58 missing along the country’s ravaged Pacific coast.

With nearly 7,000 buildings destroyed and more than 26,000 people are living in shelters.

Several strong tremors and more than 700 aftershocks have continued to shake the country since the major quake, sparking momentary panic but little additional damage.

Scores of foreign aid workers and experts have arrived and 14,000 security personnel are keeping order and death tolls are continuously rising.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale had Relationship with Sex Worker

The culture secretary, John Whittingdale, faced calls to withdraw from his role in the regulation of the press following the disclosure that he had a relationship with a sex worker.

Whittingdale, who is divorced, was forced to explain his six-month relationship with a woman who he did not realise worked in a brothel.

Campaigners for tighter press regulation have claimed his position is compromised after it was reported that a number of newspapers had investigated the claims but decided not to run the story.

Malia Bouattia Elected NUS President

Malia Bouattia was elected the first black and Muslim woman president of the National Union of Students recently following one of the most high-profile and controversial elections there NUS has ever had.

However, her election was not without controversy. During her campaign, Bouattia was urged to respond to allegations of antisemitism and refusing to condemn Isis.

In reaction to claims of being anti-Semitic Bouattia has said: “I am deeply concerned that my faith and political views are being misconstrued and used as an opportunity to falsely accuse me of anti-Semitism, despite my work and dedication to liberation, equality and inclusion saying otherwise.”

Pope Francis Supports for Refugees on Lesbos

Pope Francis, who is the son of Italian migrants to Argentina, took 12 Syrians from three families – all of them Muslims – home with him to the Vatican in a hugely symbolic move seen as a lesson in solidarity for Europe.

“All refugees are children of God,” the 79-year-old pontiff said on the flight back to Rome, adding that though his gesture was “a drop in the ocean” he hoped “the ocean will never be the same again”.

Their arrival brings to about 20 the number of refugees living in the Vatican, which has fewer than 1,000 inhabitants. A similar intake across Europe would see 6 million people given asylum on the continent of 300 million.

Last year, the pope appealed to every Catholic in Europe to take in a refugee family, an appeal that fell on deaf ears across most parts of the continent.

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Naina Bhardwaj

Naina Bhardwaj

Naina Bhardwaj

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