Prince Charles’s visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth was cancelled at the last minute by the Ministry of Defence – scuppering what was meant to be a highlight of the final day of the royals’ Middle East tour.
The trip was pulled after one of the ship’s F35 stealth planes crashed on Wednesday.
Hours before he was due on board, Clarence House said: “For operational reasons, the visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth has been cancelled.”
One of the UK jets crashed in the Med a few days ago
Despite that disappointment, the prince was met with a loud round of applause at the Greek campus in the middle of Cairo on Friday.
Groups of business figures and young entrepreneurs jostled for a few moments of face time, the prince keen to tell anyone he could about his sustainable markets initiative, his big push to get businesses and governments working closer together to tackle the climate crisis.
In Egypt, the crowds have certainly come out to see them, partly I suspect because so many roads in Cairo and Alexandria were closed, the convoy and security set up considerable.
But the first major overseas tour since the pandemic started was always going to attract more attention than other visits, and Prince Charles and Camilla have ticked all the boxes that Number 10 and the Foreign Office would have expected.
The royals in front of the iconic Sphinx
It is after all the government who requested that they visit Egypt and Jordan. There has been plenty of discussion about shared interests, close working ties and friendship.
There have been the big picture moments at the site on the banks of the River Jordan where it’s believed Jesus Christ was baptised, and the pyramids and Sphinx in Giza.
The tour also took in Jordan on Wednesday. Pic: AP
The prince has been able to speak at length about his primary passions of how we tackle the climate crisis and encouraging interfaith dialogue; whether he raised the matter of human rights with Egypt’s controversial President Sisi is less clear.
Producing fewer column inches, the Duchess of Cornwall has also done her fair share of quiet diplomatic work and again focused on championing women and children’s rights, including visiting projects run by the British Council.
It was quite something to see Camilla walk up around six narrow flights of stairs in a run-down apartment block in the middle of one of Cairo’s biggest slums and meet women on the roof who are being helped to find employment.
As hard as the palace plan these tours, there are of course always things that don’t quite turn out as expected.
The royal couple visited the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on Friday
The Queen being unwell has also brought an added focus to the trip and her heir – although he told me this week that she was “alright”. And back home there have also been headlines referencing the prince’s charitable foundation. Another story that has already overshadowed other engagements back home.
Prince Charles and Camilla continue to smile their way through it.
They were swamped by crowds and cameras as they left the famous bibliotheca in Alexandria. Over the years the prince has developed very thick skin, and one thing is never in doubt, he’s always known what is expected and what the future holds.
Original Source: news.sky.com
WHO Estimates 15m People Have Died Directly or Indirectly From COVID – More Than Double Official Death Toll
The World Health Organisation estimates that 15 million people worldwide have now died of coronavirus – or as a result of its impact on health services.
WHO data shows the number of excess COVID mortalities to be somewhere between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. This is more than double the official death toll of around six million.
Excess mortality refers to the number of people who have died of the virus either directly or indirectly by being unable to access health services for other conditions.
The figures were compiled using country-reported data and statistical modelling, the WHO said.
There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday.
Most excess COVID deaths (86%) happened in Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to the figures.
Middle-income countries accounted for 81% of deaths, with 28% occurring in upper-middle-income countries and 4% in low-income ones.
Some 68% of all excess deaths worldwide happened in just 10 countries.
There was a higher rate for men (57%) than there was for women (43%), with more excess deaths among the elderly than younger generations.
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WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented: “These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.
“WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”
Original Source: news.sky.com
Pope Francis Seen Using Wheelchair for the First Time for Mobility Reasons
The Pope has been pictured using a wheelchair – the first time he’s used one in public due to the knee pain that’s made it hard for him to walk and stand.
Francis, 85, was wheeled on stage and helped into a seat during an audience with a group of nuns and religious superiors from around the world at the Vatican.
He appears to be having a flare-up of sciatica, a nerve condition he suffers with that he’s called his “troublesome guest”.
The Pope has had to cancel or cut short activities several times in the last month because of pain in his right knee.
He was pictured in a wheelchair last July after major intestinal surgery, but this is believed to be the first time he’s used one in public due to his mobility problems.
Before Thursday’s event, he was able to walk the roughly 10 metres or so from the side entrance of the stage to his seat with some help.
He recently received some injections to try to relieve the pain but has continued to struggle.
His impaired movement was apparent over Easter when he attended but did not take charge of masses at St Peter’s Basilica, instead delegating a cardinal or archbishop to preside.
During a trip to Malta in April he was also pictured using an elevator platform to get on and off the plane.
Original Article: news.sky.com
Woman Pulled Alive From Rubble Six Days After Building Collapsed
A woman has been found alive in the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, Chinese state media has said.
The unidentified woman has become the 10th survivor and was rescued shortly after midnight today, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-storey building suddenly caved in, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported.
The woman was conscious and told rescuers how to pull her out without causing further injury, Xinhua added.
Teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life detectors in the search.
All the survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in a hospital and it is thought intermittent rain showers over the last few days may have helped their chances of survival without food or water.
At least nine people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of what Xinhua has described as a “self-built building”.
This includes its owner, on suspicion of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.
Three people in charge of design and construction were also held, along with five others who allegedly gave a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.
The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.
An aerial photo shows the site of the collapsed residential building in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province
There has been increase in the number of collapses of self-built buildings in recent years.
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.
Following the building collapse at the weekend, he urged for more victims to be found in the rubble “at all costs”.
Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for similar disasters.
China also suffers from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that has led to explosions and collapses.
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