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Putin signs law that could keep him in Kremlin until 2036

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(Last Updated On: April 6, 2021)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that could keep him in office in the Kremlin until 2036, the government said on Monday, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters the legislation allows him to run for two more six-year terms once his current stint ends in 2024. It follows changes to the constitution last year.

Those changes were backed in a public vote last summer and could allow Putin, 68, to potentially remain in power until the age of 83. He is currently serving his second consecutive term as president and his fourth in total.

The reform, which critics cast as a constitutional coup, was packaged with an array of other amendments that were expected to garner popular support, such as one bolstering pension protections.

The law signed by Putin limits any future president to two terms in office, but resets his term count. It prevents anyone who has held foreign citizenship from running for the Kremlin.

The legislation was passed in the lower and upper houses of parliament last month.

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Iran’s Zarif blames Israel for Natanz incident, vows revenge

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(Last Updated On: April 12, 2021)

Iran blames its regional arch-foe Israel for Sunday’s incident at the Natanz nuclear site and will take its revenge, state TV quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on Monday.

Iranian authorities described the incident – an apparent cyber-attack – a day earlier as an act of “nuclear terrorism” and said Tehran reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators, Reuters reported.

“The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions … they have publicly said that they will not allow this. But we will take our revenge from the Zionists,” Zarif was quoted as saying.

Multiple Israeli media outlets have quoted unnamed intelligence sources as saying that the country’s Mossad spy service carried out a successful sabotage operation at the Natanz site, potentially setting back enrichment work there by months. Israel has not formally commented on the incident, Reuters reported.

The Natanz uranium-enrichment site, much of which is underground, is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Israel’s army chief has appeared to hint at possible Israeli involvement in an incident at the Natanz nuclear site in Iran — an event labeled a “terrorist action” by the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency.

CNN meanwhile reported that a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvand said: “Fortunately, the incident did not cause any human injuries or leaks.”

“The causes of the accident are under investigation and further information will be announced later.”

AEOI condemned the incident, calling it a “terrorist action,” according to the Iranian telegram channel of the Revolution Guard Corps, or IRGC, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces.

CNN reported that just hours after Iranian officials reported the incident, Israel’s army chief Aviv Kochavi said the country’s “operations throughout the Middle East are not hidden from the eyes of the enemies.”

“They are watching us, seeing the capabilities and carefully considering their steps,” he said.

Israel’s Prime Minister’s office offered no comment on the reports, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Iran Sunday at a toast to mark the anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.

“The struggle against Iran and its proxies and the Iranian armament efforts is a huge mission,” he said.

“The situation that exists today will not necessarily be the situation that will exist tomorrow.”

Netanyahu is due to meet Monday with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who is on a visit to the country, CNN reported.

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Gun salutes planned across UK to mark the death of Prince Phillip

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(Last Updated On: April 10, 2021)

Gun salutes to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh are due to take place on Saturday across the UK, in Gibraltar and from warships at sea, the BBC reported.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband of 73 years, died on Friday at the age of 99.

BBC reported that saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds at one round every minute from 12:00 noon UK time in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, the Ministry of Defence said.

Royal Navy ships at sea, including HMS Diamond and HMS Montrose, will also fire the salute in honour of the duke, who served as a naval officer during World War Two and held the office of Lord High Admiral.

Announcing the duke’s death on Friday, Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

Reflecting on Prince Philip’s life for a BBC programme, the Prince of Wales described his father’s life as an “astonishing achievement”.

Similar salutes were fired to mark the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and Winston Churchill in 1965.

BBC reported that final details of the duke’s funeral are also expected to be released this weekend.

The funeral will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, but the arrangements have been amended in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the College of Arms said in a statement.

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Britain’s Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, dies aged 99

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(Last Updated On: April 9, 2021)

Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth and a leading figure in the British royal family for almost seven decades, has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.

The Duke of Edinburgh, as he was officially known, had been by his wife’s side throughout her 69-year reign, the longest in British history. During that time he earned a reputation for a tough, no-nonsense attitude and a propensity for occasional gaffes.

“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the palace said in a statement.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

A Greek prince, Philip married Elizabeth in 1947. He went on to play a key role in modernising the monarchy in the post-World War Two period, and behind the walls of Buckingham Palace was the one key figure the queen could turn to and trust.

“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,” Elizabeth said in a rare personal tribute to Philip, made in a speech marking their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.

Philip spent four weeks in hospital earlier this year for treatment for an infection to have a heart procedure, but returned to Windsor in early March.

His charm and disinclination to tolerate those he regarded as foolish or sycophantic earned him a position of respect among some Britons. But to others, his sometimes brusque demeanor made appear him rude and aloof. He was a delight to newspaper editors keen to pick up on any stray remark at official events.

The former naval officer admitted he found it hard to give up the military career he loved and to take on the job as the monarch’s consort for which there was no clear-cut constitutional role.

“Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

HEAD OF THE FAMILY

In private, the prince was regarded as the unquestioned head of his family, but protocol obliged the man dubbed “the second handshake” to spend his public life literally one step behind his wife.

“There was no precedent. If I asked somebody ‘what do you expect me to do?’, they all looked blank – they had no idea, nobody had much idea,” he said in an interview to mark his 90th birthday.

After completing more than 22,000 solo appearances, Philip retired from public life in August 2017, although after that he occasionally appeared at official engagements.

His last appearance was last July at a military ceremony at Windsor Castle, the royal palace to the west of London where he and the monarch have resided during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The queen, who is 94, came to the throne in 1952, and the couple, who were third cousins, married at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947.

They had four children, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward.

They celebrated their 72nd anniversary on the same day that Andrew stepped down from public duties over the controversy surrounding his association with the disgraced late U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, one of a number of recent crises the family have faced.

The death of the queen’s husband and closest confidant will raise questions over whether she might consider abdication, but royal commentators say there is little or no chance than this will happen.

In recent years, the queen has cut the number of official engagements she carries out and has passed many royal duties and patronages onto Prince Charles, his son William and other senior royals. But she still carries out the most symbolic of the monarchy’s state duties, such as the opening of parliament.

While he officially played second fiddle to his wife, Prince Philip regarded as the private head of the family.

Some royal watchers have said that his absence from this role in recent years with declining health has played a role in some of the monarchy’s recent travails, such as the crisis of Charles’ younger son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, and the decision that saw them give up their royal roles.

“The main lesson that we have learned is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage,” Philip said in a speech in 1997.

“It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when things get difficult. You can take it from me that the queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”

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