William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth post-independence president at a pomp-filled ceremony on Tuesday, after his narrow victory in a bitterly-fought but largely peaceful election.
Tens of thousands of people joined regional heads of state at a packed stadium in Nairobi to watch him take the oath of office, with many spectators clad in the bright yellow of Ruto’s party, cheering and waving Kenyan flags.
“I William Samoei Ruto, in full realisation of the high calling I assume as president of Kenya, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the public of Kenya, that I will obey, preserve and protect this constitution of Kenya,” he said.
Several people were injured earlier as crowds tried to force their way into the site. Television footage showed dozens of people falling on top of each other in a crush at one entrance gate.
Police urged Kenyans to watch proceedings from home after the 60,000-seat stadium was filled before sunrise.
“Dawn of Ruto era,” trumpeted the frontpage headline in The Standard newspaper, while the Star said: “Time for Ruto.”
A notoriously ambitious politician who has been deputy president since 2013, Ruto beat his rival Raila Odinga — who had been backed by outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta — by less than two percentage points in the August 9 poll.
The 55-year-old rags-to-riches businessman, who once sold chickens on the roadside, now faces a daunting task to steer a polarised country gripped by a cost-of-living crisis and punishing drought.
His rise to State House has been closely watched by the international community, which looks to Kenya as a reliable and stable democracy in a turbulent region.
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US Will Respond Decisively If Russia Uses Nuclear Weapons, Biden Warns Putin
The United States has said it would respond decisively to any Russian use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine.
US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan made this known while speaking to NBC on Sunday.
Sullivan said the United States has spelled out to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it would face.
The warning comes after Vladimir Putin made a nuclear threat in a speech last Wednesday.
Sullivan stated that “if Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. United States will respond decisively.”
Although, he did not describe the nature of the planned U.S. response, he said the United States has privately spelled out in greater detail exactly what that would mean.
According to him, the United States has been in frequent, direct contact with Russia, including during the last few days to discuss the situation in Ukraine and Putin’s actions and threats.
U.S. President Joe Biden had in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, accused Putin of making “overt nuclear threats against Europe” in reckless disregard for nuclear nonproliferation responsibilities.
Russia also was staging a referendum in four eastern Ukrainian regions to annex territory that Russian forces had taken during their invasion of Ukraine launched in February.
Ukraine and its allies have called the referendums a sham designed to justify an escalation of the war and Putin’s mobilization drive after recent battlefield losses.
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World Stands Still, King Charles Fights Back Tears As World Leaders Bid Queen Elizabeth Farewell In Funeral Grandeur
…Queen Buried Close To Husband, Prince Philip At Windsor Castle
Britain said farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday at a state funeral attended by world leaders, before a historic last ceremonial journey through the streets of London packed with sorrowful mourners.
Huge crowds gathered in near silence to watch as the queen’s flag-draped coffin, topped with the Imperial State Crown, her orb and sceptre, was carried slowly to a gun carriage from parliament’s Westminster Hall where it had lain in state since Wednesday.
To the tune of pipes and drums, the gun carriage — used at every state funeral since Queen Victoria’s in 1901 — was then drawn by 142 junior enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy to Westminster Abbey.
The thousand-year-old church’s tenor bell tolled 96 times at one-minute intervals — one for every year of her life — stopping a minute before the service began at 11:00 am (1000 GMT).
In his funeral sermon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the queen’s life of duty and service to the UK and Commonwealth.
“People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer,” he told the 2,000 guests, who included US President Joe Biden and Japan’s reclusive Emperor Naruhito.
“But in all cases, those who serve will be loved and remembered,” the Anglican leader added, before the coffin was borne on another procession towards her final resting place in Windsor Castle, west of London.
The longest-serving monarch in British history died at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland retreat, on September 8 after a year of declining health.
Her eldest son and successor, King Charles III, dressed in ceremonial military uniform, followed the solemn processions, alongside his three siblings.
‘She was my boss’
Charles’s eldest son Prince William accompanied them alongside William’s estranged brother, Prince Harry, and other senior royals.
William’s two eldest children, George and Charlotte, who are next in line to the throne, also walked behind the coffin inside the abbey.
Late Sunday, Charles, 73, and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, said they had been “deeply touched” by the public’s flood of messages.
“As we all prepare to say our last farewell, I wanted simply to take this opportunity to say thank you,” he said.
Britain, a country much changed since the queen’s coronation in the same abbey in 1953, has dug deep into its centuries of tradition to honour the only monarch that most of its people have ever known.
“It’s once in a lifetime,” said student Naomi Thompson, 22, camped out in the crowds at London’s Hyde Park.
“It’s a moment of history… She’s everyone’s granny,” added engineer Alice Garret, 28.
Others unable to be in London gathered in cinemas and churches around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to watch the service and procession on big screens.
Auto engineer Jamie Page, a 41-year-old former soldier, stood on Whitehall to observe the funeral procession, wearing his military medals from service in the Iraq war.
“Sixteen years old, I swore an oath of allegiance to the queen. She’s been my boss. She means everything, she was like a gift from God,” he said.
Two minutes of silence
But on Charles, the oldest person yet to ascend the British throne, Page added: “Who knows, time will tell.”
The funeral lasted just under an hour, brought to an end by a bugler playing “The Last Post”, before two minutes of silence and the reworded national anthem, “God Save the King”.
After an hour-long procession that was to go past Buckingham Palace, the coffin was to be taken west by road to Windsor Castle, where thousands had lined the route since early morning.
Some 6,000 military personnel have been drafted in to take part in proceedings in what Britain’s highest-ranking military officer has called “our last duty for Her Majesty the Queen”.
The queen will be buried alongside her father king George VI, her mother queen Elizabeth and sister princess Margaret, reuniting in death the family who once called themselves “us four”.
The coffin of her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99, will also be transferred to lie alongside her.
Elizabeth’s funeral could not be more different from Philip’s at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in April 2021.
Coronavirus restrictions limited mourners to just 30, led by the queen, a solitary figure in mourning black and a matching facemask.
The contrast was profound on Monday, the abbey packed with dignitaries and some ordinary Britons who were honoured for their military or community service, especially during the Covid pandemic.
“You were fortunate to have had her for 70 years; we all were,” Biden said on Sunday after signing a book of condolence. “The world is better for her.”
In the abbey pews was Liz Truss, whom the queen appointed as the 15th British prime minister of her reign just two days before her death, in her last major ceremonial duty.
All of Truss’s living predecessors were there plus her counterparts and representatives from the 14 Commonwealth countries outside Britain where Charles is also head of state.
Whether they remain constitutional monarchies or become republics is likely to be the defining feature of Charles’s reign.
The queen’s death has prompted deep reflection about the Britain she reigned over, the legacy of its past, its present state and what the future might hold, as well as the values of lifelong service and duty she came to represent during her 70-year reign.
Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have queued, sometimes for up to 25 hours and overnight, to file past the queen’s coffin as it lay in state.
Chrissy Heerey, a serving member of the Royal Air Force who joined the marathon queue twice, was the last person through the doors and described the experience as “amazing”.
“When they came to me and said, ‘right, you’re the last person’, I said, really?!” she told AFP, before heading off to join the crowds for the coffin’s procession through London.
Big Ben tolls
Throughout the procession after the funeral, Big Ben, the giant bell atop the Elizabeth Tower at one end of the Houses of Parliament, tolled and military guns fired at one-minute intervals.
At Windsor, the Sebastopol Bell — captured in Crimea in 1856 — and the Curfew Tower Bell also sounded.
A vast television audience was expected to watch the funeral worldwide and live online, in a sign of the enduring fascination with the woman once described as “the last global monarch”.
Those lining the streets of London — already jammed at sunrise on Monday — said they had to bear witness.
“I will talk about this moment to my children,” said Jack Davies, 14, camped out for the procession with his parents at Hyde Park Corner, where the coffin will be transferred from the gun carriage for the drive to Windsor.
“I’ll say: ‘I was there!’”
At Windsor, the queen’s crown, orb and sceptre will be removed and placed on the altar.
The most senior officer of the royal household, the lord chamberlain, breaks his “wand of office” and places it on the coffin, symbolising the end of her reign.
The lead-lined oak casket, draped with the queen’s colours, will be lowered into the Royal Vault as a lone bagpiper plays a lament.
A private interment ceremony will take place at the adjoining King George VI Memorial Chapel at 1830 GMT.
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Crowds Gather As Queen’s Coffin To Go On Display In London
King Charles III leads a procession of the coffin of his mother Queen Elizabeth II through London on Wednesday before hundreds of thousands of people pay their final respects.
Six days after her death in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth’s body will be borne on a horse-drawn gun carriage from her Buckingham Palace home to Westminster Hall where she will remain for four days until her funeral Monday.
The king and other senior royals are expected to walk in silence behind the hearse as it winds through the capital’s streets and then hold a vigil upon its arrival at the cavernous 12th-century hall in the Westminster parliament complex.
The public will be let in from 5:00 pm (1600 GMT), with mourners already warned they will face an endurance test in round-the-clock queues.
“It’s going to be emotional and I don’t know how I’ll feel going in there as the first one,” said Vanessa Nanthakumaran, a 56-year-old administration assistant originally from Sri Lanka, who took her place at the head of the queue on Monday evening.
“It’s our duty to say thank you. It’s going to be prayers from the heart. It’s going to be very sombre, quiet and overwhelming.”
The government on Wednesday released the map of the full route for the queue, which could snake back up to five miles (eight kilometres) along the river Thames, terminating in Southwark Park.
Strict rules and airport-style security measures have been put in place, with “far more” people expected than the 200,000 who filed past the coffin of the queen’s mother when she died in 2002, according to Prime Minister Liz Truss’s spokesman.
The government has advised people to wear “suitable clothing” and to bring portable battery packs to keep their mobile phones charged — an indication that some people will need to wait overnight for a glimpse of the casket.
Hotel rooms in the capital are increasingly hard to find, with even budget rooms going for £300 ($350) per night, while transport bosses and police are under pressure to keep the city moving and safe in exceptional circumstances.
“It’s a massive challenge for the Metropolitan Police and for me personally, but we have been preparing for many, many years,” the newly appointed head of the London police force, Mark Rowley, told Sky News on Tuesday.
– UK tour –
The body of the late 96-year-old monarch, who died “peacefully” at her Balmoral estate in Scotland last Thursday, was flown to London aboard an RAF plane on Tuesday evening from the Scottish capital Edinburgh.
It was then driven to Buckingham Palace, with images of her coffin arriving for one last night at home splashed across Wednesday’s newspapers.
“Welcome Home Ma’am,” read the headline of The Sun, while the Times ran with the headline “Home to Rest” and the Daily Mail “Home to her Family”.
The procession on Wednesday will mirror a similar ceremony in Edinburgh on Monday when her casket was driven through the hushed streets of the city to St Giles’ Cathedral.
There, some 33,000 people filed past the coffin overnight to Tuesday afternoon, the Scottish government said.
“Scotland has now bid our Queen of Scots a sad, but fond farewell. We will not see her like again,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
After Scotland and England, Charles continued his tour of the four nations of the United Kingdom on Tuesday by visiting Northern Ireland for the first time as king.
A trip to Wales is expected on Friday.
The 73-year-old new head of state has won wide praise in the British media for his dignified and often heartfelt reaction to his mother’s death, which has led to a rare moment of public unity in Britain.
He has seen his popularity recover since the death of his former wife Diana in a 1997 car crash — and his ratings have surged in recent days, according to a new survey on Tuesday.
The mourning has also obscured — albeit briefly — the broader country’s sharp political divisions and a severe cost-of-living crisis that is expected to cause a major increase in poverty over the winter.
– Big Ben –
The procession of the queen’s coffin will begin at precisely 2:22 pm (1322 GMT) and will be attended by all of the queen’s siblings.
Big Ben will toll and artillery guns will fire salutes in Hyde Park.
The ceremony will also mean another prominent role for the queen’s scandal-hit son Andrew, who settled a case in the US earlier this year in which he was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old.
Over the last week, he has made what is expected to be a brief return to the public eye during national mourning.
Not everyone shares the public mood of sadness and remembrance sparked by the queen’s death, with royal fatigue increasingly evident on social media in the face of blanket media coverage.
British police have also faced criticism from civil liberties groups over their treatment of anti-monarchy protesters who have publicly challenged Charles’ accession to the throne.
Video footage and witnesses have drawn attention to police arresting or intimidating people who shouted slogans against the monarchy or held up placards reading “Not My King”.
The queen’s funeral will take place in Westminster Abbey in front of 2,000 VIP guests, with the day declared a public holiday in Britain.
Hundreds of heads of state and government, as well as global royalty, are expected, but Russia, Belarus, Myanmar and North Korea have not been invited to send representatives.
US President Joe Biden has confirmed he will attend, as will French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
6,122 total views, 121 views today
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