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LONDON: Cheers greeted Prince Harry and his wife Meghan outside St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday as they made their first public appearance in Britain for two years.
But opinions were split among the throng of fans waiting at the London landmark to catch a glimpse of the royals, reflecting a generational divide.

The couple’s return for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations was always going to be watched closely as a test of their popularity. They stood down as working royals in 2020 and settled in California, and their very public criticisms since have outraged fans of the monarchy.

“They got a really big cheer,” said Ana, a 23-year-old from Mexico studying in the UK, who was watching with a friend.
On Thursday, the couple kept a low profile at the Trooping the Colour parade, which began festivities to mark the queen’s record-breaking 70-year reign.
But Ana said the “backseat” role was “unfair”. “They should all be treated the same,” she said.

‘Old-fashioned’
Harry’s grandmother restricted appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Thursday to “working royals” only. The St Paul’s service was the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s only official participation in the four days of celebrations.

“They are part of the royal family,” said Amy Thomas, 17, who travelled to London from northern England with her mother for the event.
“They should be able to do a bit of a different concept of what the royal family is now. I just think the presentation of the royal family is old-fashioned. They’re just kind of stuck in their ways. Harry and stuff and all that went on. I think you can tell it needs to be dealt with differently.”

These opinions stood at odds with a YouGov poll published this week that suggested nearly two-thirds of Britons (63 per cent) viewed both Harry and Meghan negatively.

But there is a generational gap. Among those aged 18 to 24, the couple are largely seen positively. Among the over-65s, more than 60pc hold a negative view. Gwyneth Cookson, 65, from Motherwell, near Glasgow in Scotland, said proudly she had shaken hands with Meghan at Edinburgh Castle. “I’m a fan,” said Cookson, wearing a sparkly Union Jack badge. She was there with her daughter and grandson holding a toy corgi. “Hopefully there will be a wee reconciliation.”

‘Not welcome’
Other older royal watchers were noticeably chillier.
“I’m not really interested anymore,” said Ruth Horsfield, from Lancashire in northwest England, who came to London on a pensioners’ coach tour.
“Nothing against them but they’ve got their own lives now. They don’t feel part of it any more. They’ve divested themselves of it really. I don’t think they should make any money out of it,” she said.

“I think they’re just gradually being forgotten about,” added her friend Glynis Morgan from Yorkshire. “As long as they don’t rake muck and do too much damage to the queen.”

Wearing a purple jubilee T-shirt and matching cap and a Swatch watch featuring the queen and a corgi, Coleen, from the Canadian city of Toronto where Meghan once lived, was clearly not a fan. “I don’t think she did anyone any favours,” she said quietly. “I think he picked the wrong wife.”

Sitting beside her, Lorraine Frame from Northern Ireland cut in: “They have their own agenda. “They’re coming back because they’re scared of missing something and they are not welcome. I certainly booed them.”

Wearing a Union Jack t-shirt and reading a newspaper royal supplement, she said she also came especially for the jubilee. “I don’t think they can be trusted because of their dealings with Netflix, what they may or may not say, and I think shame on them.”


India has sent a team of foreign ministry officials to Afghanistan's capital of Kabul for talks with senior members of the ruling Taliban, the ministry said on Thursday, the first such meeting since the chaotic US withdrawal last year.

Poverty and hunger have rocketed in the strife-torn nation since the Islamist militants took power last year after the United States withdrew.
“The Indian team will meet the senior members of the Taliban, and hold discussions on India's humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan,” the ministry said in a statement.
The officials would oversee delivery of humanitarian assistance and visit areas targeted by Indian-backed programmes or projects, it added.
India has donated about 20,000 tonnes of wheat, 13 tonnes of medicines, 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and winter clothing, with more medicine and foodgrain on the way, it said.
The South Asian nation pulled its officials out of Afghanistan last August and closed its embassy, although New Delhi is keen to retain ties with the country.
Last month the ministry said it had no information on when the embassy would re-open.


Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 24, 2022. —Reuters COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s cash-strapped government on Tuesday announced a taxation overhaul to boost revenue amid the country’s crippling economic crisis, hiking value added taxes and corporate income tax, and slashing the relief given to individual taxpayers.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took office this month and plans to present an interim budget within weeks, said measures were necessary as the current state of government finances was unsustainable.

“The implementation of a strong fiscal consolidation plan is imperative through revenue enhancement as well as expenditure rationalization measures in 2022,” Wickremesinghe’s office said in a statement.

Sri Lanka’s inflation rose to 39.1pc in May, its statistics office said on Tuesday — a record level, compared to the previous high of 29.8pc set in April.

An increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) to 12pc from 8pc with immediate effect is among the key tax increases announced on Tuesday, which is expected to boost government revenues by 65 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($180.56 million).
Other measures, including increasing corporate income tax to 30pc from 24pc from October, will earn an additional 52 billion rupees for the exchequer.

Withholding tax on employment income has been made mandatory and exemptions for individual taxpayers have been reduced, the statement said.
The island nation of 22 million people has been battered by its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, with a severe shortage of foreign currency stalling imports of essentials, including food, fuel and medicines.
The roots of the crisis lie in tax cuts enacted by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in late 2019, which came months before the Covid-19 pandemic that battered the country’s lucrative tourism industry and led to a drop in foreign workers remittances.
The tax cuts caused annual public revenue losses of about 800 billion rupees, the prime minister’s office said in its statement.

The new tax regime and Covid-19’s impact, together with the pandemic relief measures, widened the budget deficit significantly to 12.2pc of GDP in 2021 from 9.6pc of GDP two years earlier.

In an interview this month, Wickremesinghe — who also holds the finance ministry portfolio — said he would cut expenditures down “to the bone” in the upcoming interim budget and re-route funds into a two-year relief program.

The tax hikes are aimed at putting public revenues back at pre-pandemic levels and focused on fiscal consolidation as the country seeks a loan package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said Lakshini Fernando, a macroeconomist at investment firm Asia Securities.


TAFTAN: Iranian authorities handed over 107 illegal Pakistani immigrants to Lev­ies Force on Tuesday via Rah­dari Gate in Taftan, a border town in Chagai district.
According to official sour­ces, these people had been arrested in different parts of Iran for illegally crossing into that country and not having valid travel documents.
Most of the illegal immigrants were aiming to travel to Turkey and Euro­pean countries via Iran in search of jobs, sources said.

A Levies official told Dawn all the detained people, including nine women and 12 children, were han­ded over to the Federal Inves­tigation Agency for investigation and prosecution.
He said the illegal immigrants included 74 people from Punjab, 24 from Sindh, four from Balochistan, four from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one from Azad Jammu and Kashmir.


NEW DELHI: India and China on Tuesday agreed to hold the next round of the senior commanders meeting at an early date to achieve complete disengagement from all friction points in eastern Ladakh to create conditions for the restoration of normalcy in bilateral ties.

According to The Hindu, the two sides reviewed the situation in eastern Ladakh at a meeting held under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs.

"The two sides exchanged views on the current situation along the LAC in the Western Sector in Eastern Ladakh,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
They agreed that as instructed by the two Foreign Ministers, both sides should continue the discussions through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC at the earliest to create conditions for the restoration of normalcy in bilateral relations,” the MEA said.

It said the two sides “agreed to hold the next (16th) round of the senior commanders meeting at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols.”

The eastern Ladakh is officially referred to as Western Sector.


Nepal's army said on Monday it had located the crash site of a plane that went missing with 22 people on board during cloudy weather on Sunday.
“Search and rescue troops have physically located the plane crash site,” army spokesperson Narayan Silwal said on Twitter, posting a picture of the wreckage with the plane's tail number clearly visible and parts of the aircraft shown scattered on the edge of a mountain.

Rescue workers in Nepal have so far recovered 14 bodies from the crash site, an airport official said.

“The search for others is continuing,” said Tek Raj Sitaula, a spokesman for the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
Four Indians, two Germans and 16 Nepalis were on board the plane, a De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter operated by privately owned Tara Air, according to the airline and government officials.

The aircraft was on a 20-minute flight before losing contact with the control tower.
It had taken off from the tourist town of Pokhara, 125 kilometres west of the capital, Kathmandu, and was bound for Jomsom, about 80 km northwest of Pokhara, a popular tourist and pilgrimage site.
Flight-tracking website Flightradar24 said the aircraft, with registration number 9N-AET, made its first flight in April 1979.
Deo Chandra Lal Karna, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said five helicopters were ready to help with the rescue process.

Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record of air accidents. Its weather can change suddenly and airstrips are typically located in mountainous areas that are hard to reach.
In early 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu crashed on landing and caught fire, killing 51 of the 71 people on board.


IRBIL: Three militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS) were killed in a clash in Kirkuk city, some 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, on Thursday As a result of the clash, the counterterrorism service managed to foil an attack on a military unit in southern Kirkuk, according to a statement from Iraq Security Media Cell of the Iraqi Military Command.
One of the slain militants, who put on an explosive belt, was shot dead on the spot and the other two were pursued and killed, according to the statement. IS attacks in different areas in Kirkuk claimed more than 13 civilians and injured dozens of others in the recent days.(KUNA)

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