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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 Northwestern Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and most of the 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 94,354 square miles (244,376 km2), with an estimated population of just over 67 million people in 2021.

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) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 resulted in their unification to become 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 its name in 1927. The nearby Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown Dependencies, but the British government is responsible for their defence and international representation.

The UK became the first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power for the majority of the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly during the "Pax Britannica" between 1815 and 1914. The British Empire, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and population, and was the largest empire in history; however, its involvement in the First World War and the Second World War damaged Britain's economic power and a global wave of decolonisation led to the independence of most British colonies. British influence can be observed in the legal and political systems of many of its former colonies, and the UK's culture remains globally influential, particularly in language, literature, music and sport. English is the world's most widely spoken language and the third-most spoken native language.

The UK has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked fourth globally in military expenditure. The UK has been a permanent member of the UN Security Council since its first session in 1946. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the OECD, NATO, the Five Eyes, AUKUS and the CPTPP. (Full article...)

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Richard III is a 1955 British film adaptation of William Shakespeare's historical play Richard III. The film also contains elements of Shakespeare's Henry VI, part 3. It was directed by Laurence Olivier, who also played Richard. The cast includes many noted Shakespearean actors of the time, including a quartet of acting knights. The film depicts Richard plotting and conspiring to grasp the throne from his brother, King Edward, played by Cedric Hardwicke. In the process, many are killed and betrayed, with Richard's evil leading to his own downfall. The prologue of the film states that history without its legends would be "a dry matter indeed", thus the film admits that it is not portraying the actual events of the time, but rather the legend. Many critics now consider Olivier's Richard III his best screen version of Shakespeare. As well, the British Film Institute has called Olivier's rendition of the play "definitive" and that it has done more to popularise Shakespeare than any other single piece of work. (Full article...)

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John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650–1722) was a prominent English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs throughout the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Churchill's role in defeating the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 helped secure James, the Duke of York on the throne, yet just three years later he abandoned his Catholic mentor for the Protestant Dutchman, William of Orange. Churchill served with distinction in the early years of the Nine Years' War, but persistent charges of Jacobitism brought about his fall from office and temporary imprisonment in the Tower. His marriage to Sarah Jennings – Queen Anne's friend – ensured Marlborough's rise to a dukedom. Becoming de facto leader of Allied forces during the War of the Spanish Succession, his victories in battles ensured his place in history as one of Europe's great generals. But his wife's stormy relationship with the Queen, and her subsequent dismissal from court, was central to his being forced from office and into self-imposed exile. He returned to England and to influence under the House of Hanover with the accession of George I to the British throne in 1714, but his health gradually deteriorated, and he died on 16 June 1722 (O.S). (Full article...)

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Wikinews UK

1 March 2024 –
In an address to the nation, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declares that "democracy is under threat" from Islamism and far-right extremism following the election of George Galloway in the 2024 Rochdale by-election, and threats made against members of parliament over the war in Gaza. (The Independent)
29 February 2024 – 2024 Rochdale by-election
Residents in Rochdale, England, vote to elect a new Member of Parliament in a controversial by-election overshadowed by the Israel–Hamas war. (The Guardian)
28 February 2024 – Megxit
In the United Kingdom, High Court of Justice Judge Peter Richard Lane rejects a legal challenge from Prince Harry against the government's decision to take away the prince's automatic right to police protection when he is in the country. (Sky News)
22 February 2024 – Israeli–Palestinian conflict
A Palau-flagged cargo ship en route to Egypt is set on fire after being hit by an anti-ship missile in the Gulf of Aden, according to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations. No casualties are reported. (AP)
18 February 2024 – Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Two-state solution
The Cabinet of Israel adopts a resolution opposing unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, following comments from France and the United Kingdom stating that they would consider unilateral recognition. (The Times of Israel) (Wall Street Journal)
15 February 2024 – 2021–present United Kingdom cost-of-living crisis
The United Kingdom enters a technical recession, as a report issued by the Office for National Statistics stated that the economy shrunk in two consecutive quarters amid a slowdown in consumer spending. (CNBC)


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