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Sultan of Brunei becomes longest-serving living monarch following Queen’s death

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The Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah became the world’s longest serving monarch with the passing of Britain’s Queen’s Elizabeth II, the media reported.

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Bolkiah, who took the throne in 1967, has reigned for 54 years and 339 days (as of Friday) — more than four years longer than Margrethe II of Denmark, now the second-longest reigning monarch, the Daily Mail reported.

Before her death, Her Majesty was far-and-away the longest serving monarch in the world, marking the 70th anniversary of her coronation earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported.

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But while The Queen — who came to the throne aged just 25 in 1952 in the aftermath of World War II — has ensured that she has kept her distance from politics in the UK, the opposite can be said of Bolkiah in his home country.

In addition to being the country’s Sultan and absolute monarch, 76-year-old Hassanal Bolkiah ibni Omar Ali Saifuddien III has also been the Prime Minister of Brunei since the country gained independence from the UK in 1984.

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His reign has also been mired in controversy. He has faced criticism of his country’s human rights record, and questions have been raised over business dealings, the Daily Mail reported.

Unlike the UK’s head of state, Bolkiah enjoys absolute power in Brunei. Under the country’s 1959 Constitution, the head has full executive authority – including emergency powers.

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In 2006, he was reported to have amended the country’s constitution to make himself infallible under the law, Daily Mail reported.

As Prime Minister, he is also the head of government – and currently holds the positions of Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance. He also controls the country’s police force.

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To top it all off, he is also Head of Religion, and Islam is the official religion of the country.

In 2014, he advocated for the adoption of Islamic sharia penalties — that includes death by stoning, the severing of limbs and flogging for some crimes. Such crimes include abortions, adultery and same-sex sexual acts, Daily Mail reported.

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Putin calls on Ukraine to agree to ceasefire and negotiations

Media, Putin
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Ukraine’s government needs to agree to a ceasefire and return to the negotiating table, says Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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“We are ready for this,” Putin said as he declared the parts of Ukraine occupied by Moscow’s forces to be part of Russia.

Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions are to be incorporated through “treaties” signed with the states, which Moscow has recognised as independent.

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Putin stressed that the people in these regions are now “our citizens forever.” He stressed that there would be no negotiations with Ukraine concerning the annexed territories, citing referendums conducted in the areas.

Putin invoked the “right of self-determination” of the people living in the four areas, despite reports of Ukrainian residents in the occupied territories having been forced to vote.

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University Teachers In UK Embark On Strike Over Pay + VIDEO

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Since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35 per cent and the pay gap between school and college teachers stands at around £9,000.

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Some staff of the Lewisham College in the United Kingdom on Monday protested and shut down the college to express their displeasure over the poor pay in the sector.

This was seen in a viral video obtained by SaharaReporters, where the teachers were complaining that their salaries could no longer pay their bills and this has been affecting their emotional and mental health.

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Lewisham College is a further education college in the London Borough of Lewisham, south-east London.

It was established in 1990, having previously been known as SELTEC (South East London College of Technology since the early 1970s, which was run by the Inner London Education Authority.

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The college has two campuses, its main one on Lewisham Way in Brockley, and another one in Church Street.

Since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35 per cent and the pay gap between school and college teachers stands at around £9,000.

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Peter Bicknell, a librarian at the College, said he was going on strike because wages had been frozen for too long and his finances were worsening.

He said, “Going into my overdraft is frequent for me now. The energy price increases and cost of food has made it so difficult.

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“Enough is enough. We’ve seen [pay] freeze after freeze after freeze. It’s been building for months, some of my colleagues are in a much worse position than me. Hopefully this will have an impact.

UCU has said unqualified college teachers earn as little as £21,000 whilst qualified teachers earn as little as £26,000.

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In June, employer representative, the Association of Colleges made a pay recommendation of 2.5 per cent, while RPI inflation is now at 12.3 per cent.

Staff and Lewisham College are employed by the education organisation NCG.

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One of the teachers, Georgi Bochevski, said, “When you can’t pay the rent, your transport, you have to find the solution to start doing any extra work.

And if you don’t have time for extra work then you can take credit cards or overdrafts. And when you can’t meet these basic needs, you start to struggle mentally.”

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Another teacher, Portia Tertullian, said it is worrying her because she doesn’t know how long the situation would be without resolution.

The students were also seen backing their teachers during the protest. For Instance, one of the students, Millicent Zwane said, “I support it 100% because it is not fair on the teachers.

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Because I came this morning to study and I found out there is a strike because they are not being paid enough.”

See video below:

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My husband has PhD in coup d’etats – Sierra Leone First Lady

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Sierra Leone’s First Lady, Fatima Bio, has controversially stated that her husband holds a PhD degree in staging coups.

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Her comment was to buttress the point that nobody can overthrow Julius Maada Bio, who will be seeking a second and final term in office during upcoming general elections.

According to reports, she made the comment last weekend at a fundraising event in the US.

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“Maada Bio has a PhD in coup d’état, can you remove him?” The man has a PhD in [staging] coups, how can you remove someone who teaches people how to stage a coup?,” the First Lady stressed in a video shared on Facebook.

Violent protests took place in opposition strongholds last month leading to death of 31 people including six police officers.

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Maada Bio in an address to the nation, blamed the incidents on opponents despite reports indicating that it was over high cost of living. He subsequently changed the security chiefs.

The president is known to have been involved in two coup d’etats in the West African nation’s history.

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First, he came to power in April 1992 as part of a group of young military officers who overthrew the civilian government of Joseph Saidu Momoh of the All People’s Congress, APC.

Four years on, in January 1996 he staged a palace coup and succeeded Captain Valentine Strasser as head of state. Two months later he held elections and handed over to a civilian rule.

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Maada Bio came to power in 2018 on the ticket of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). He beat the then candidate of the ruling APC, which had Ernest Bai Koroma as outgoing president.

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