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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 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, the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea and the Irish Sea. The total area of the United Kingdom is 242,495 square kilometres (93,628 sq mi), with an estimated 2020 population of more than 67 million people.

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with a metropolitan area population of over 14 million. Other major cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland 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 UK became the world's first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 21st century, the UK retains considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence.

The United Kingdom has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the eighth-largest by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and a very high Human Development Index rating, ranking 18th in the world. It also performs well in international rankings of education, healthcare, life expectancy and human development. It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked fourth 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, Five Eyes, the United Nations, NATO, AUKUS, 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...)

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Prince Albert Victor of Wales

Jack the Ripper conspiracy theories seek to explain a series of murders in the East End of London in 1888 that were blamed on an unidentified assailant known as "Jack the Ripper". Since then, the identity of the killer has been hotly debated. Over a hundred suspects have been proposed, including Prince Albert Victor, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales and the grandson of Queen Victoria. The theory that Albert Victor was the Ripper was brought to public attention in 1970 by elderly British physician Dr. T. E. A. Stowell, who argued that Albert Victor committed the murders after being driven mad by syphilis. Subsequently, conspiracy theorists have elaborated on the supposed involvement of Albert Victor in the murders. Rather than implicate Albert Victor directly, they claim that he secretly married and had a daughter with a Catholic shop assistant, and that Queen Victoria, British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, his freemason friends, and the London Metropolitan Police conspired to murder anyone aware of Albert Victor's supposed child. Many facts contradict this theory, and its originator, Joseph Gorman (also known as Joseph Sickert), later retracted the story and admitted to the press that it was a hoax. (Full article...)

Featured biography

John Dee. Sixteenth century portrait, artist unknown.

John Dee was a noted British mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer and consultant to Elizabeth I. He also devoted much of his life to alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy. Dee straddled the worlds of science and magic. One of the most learned men of his time, he was lecturing to crowded halls at the University of Paris in his early twenties. He was an ardent promoter of mathematics, a respected astronomer and a leading expert in navigation, training many of those who would conduct England's voyages of discovery. At the same time, he immersed himself deeply in Christian angel-magic and Hermetic philosophy, and devoted the last third of his life almost exclusively to these pursuits. For Dee, as for many of his contemporaries, these activities were not contradictory, but aspects of a consistent world-view. (Full article...)

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24 November 2022 – Modern immigration to the United Kingdom
Net migration to the United Kingdom reaches a record of 504,000 in 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics. The record increase is primarily due to non-EU migration, the resumption of post-pandemic travel, the arrival of Afghan and Ukrainian refugees, and immigration from Hong Kong. (BBC News)
24 November 2022 – China–United Kingdom relations
The Government of the United Kingdom orders its departments to remove and refrain from installing closed-circuit television systems manufactured by companies that are under China's national intelligence law at "sensitive" buildings, citing security concerns. (CNBC)
23 November 2022 – Russo-Ukrainian War
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announces that the United Kingdom will send three Sea King helicopters to the Ukrainian Air Force as part of a new £50 million support package to Ukraine. (The Telegraph)
23 November 2022 – Proposed second Scottish independence referendum
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom unanimously denies the Scottish government the right to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom without approval from the British government. (The Guardian)
20 November 2022 –
Two people are killed and two others are seriously injured after a car hit a group of people in Oldbury, West Midlands, United Kingdom. A suspect has been arrested by West Midlands Police. (BBC News)
17 November 2022 – 2021–2022 inflation surge
November 2022 United Kingdom autumn statement

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