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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Wales, Scotland, 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 93,628 square miles (242,500 km2), with an estimated 2020 population of more than 67 million people.

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 1952. 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 United Kingdom has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the eighth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 13th in the world. It also performs well in international rankings of education, healthcare, life expectancy and human development. It remains a great power in global affairs. The UK became the world's first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the UK remains one of the world's great powers, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence internationally. 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, 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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Our Friends in the North is a British television drama. A serial produced by the BBC and originally screened in nine episodes on BBC2 in early 1996, Our Friends tells the story of four friends from the city of Newcastle in North East England over 31 years from 1964 to 1995. The storyline includes real political and social events both specific to the north-east and from Britain as a whole during the era portrayed. The show is commonly regarded as having been one of the most successful BBC television dramas of the 1990s. It was also a controversial production in some respects, as the issues and occurrences upon which its fiction were based involved real politicians and political events. It took several years before the production–adapted from a play originally performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company–finally made it to the screen, due in part to the BBC's fear that it might become involved in legal action. (Full article...)

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Woodes Rogers is presented with plans for the port of Nassau

Woodes Rogers (c. 1679 – 1732) was an English sea captain, privateer and later the first Royal Governor of the Bahamas. He is known as the captain of the vessel that rescued the marooned Alexander Selkirk, who was fictionalized by Daniel Defoe as Robinson Crusoe. Rogers came from an affluent seafaring family, grew up in Poole and Bristol, and served a marine apprenticeship to a Bristol sea captain. His father, who held shares in many ships, died when Rogers was in his mid-twenties, leaving Rogers in control of the family shipping business. In 1707, Rogers was approached by Captain William Dampier, who sought support for a privateering voyage against the Spanish, with whom the British were at war. Rogers led the expedition, which consisted of two well-armed ships, the Duke and the Duchess, and was the captain of the Duke. In three years, Rogers and his men went around the world, capturing several ships in the Pacific Ocean. En route, the expedition rescued Selkirk, finding him on Juan Fernandez Island on 1 February 1709. (Full article...)

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22 June 2022 – 2021–2022 inflation surge
Inflation in the United Kingdom reaches 9.1%, a 40-year record, as food and fuel prices continue to increase. (AP)
21 June 2022 – 2021–2022 inflation surge
2022 United Kingdom national rail strike
Railway transport workers go on a nationwide general strike in the United Kingdom after talks on a 7% pay increase for workers collapses. The RMT says that industry executives have only offered a 2% increase in pay, which is well below rising inflation levels. (BBC News)
17 June 2022 – Eurovision Song Contest 2023
The United Kingdom is asked to host next year's Eurovision Song Contest after its organisers concluded that Ukraine is not capable of hosting the competition. (The Guardian)
15 June 2022 – United Kingdom–European Union relations
The European Union launches legal action against the United Kingdom, alleging a breach of post-Brexit agreements regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol. (CNN)
13 June 2022 – Brexit and the Irish border
The British government confirms that it will go ahead with plans to terminate the Northern Ireland Protocol in order to make it easier for goods to flow between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The European Union accuses the UK of breaking international law by reneging on the agreement made during Brexit negotiations. (BBC News)

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