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Where will the Queen go if Brexit turns ugly — and other updates from London

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Pope Francis arrives in the UAE to promote a dialogue for peace and tolerance between the two faiths. 

Queen Elizabeth and members of the royal family will reportedly be
evacuated and relocated if a civic unrest breaks out in the event of a disorderly exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail reported Sunday of revival cold-war emergency plans to relocate the royal family should riots break out on the streets of London.

The Sunday Times quoted a source from the government’s Cabinet Office as saying, “These emergency evacuation plans have been in existence since the cold war but have now been repurposed in the event of civil disorder following a no-deal Brexit.”

The Mail in its report said that a source in the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, the government department tasked with emergency planning, revealed of this plan and its increasing priority in case the UK were to leave the EU without any agreement that could spark violent protests leading shops to run out of essential items, including staple food.

According to the source, the royal family could become a target of the protesters.

However, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative MP and a vocal Brexiteer, ridiculed the evacuation plan as a “wartime fantasy.”

“The over-excited officials who have dreamt up this nonsense are clearly more students of fantasy than of history,” Rees-Mogg told the Mail.

Reports have said that the relocation plans were originally designed during the Cold War years over the threat of a possible nuclear

Queen Elizabeth, the monarch, who has been “traditionally silent” and “neutral” on political issues concerning the kingdom, recently called on Britons to “seek out the common ground” and not lose “sight of the bigger picture” in what was seen as a statement on the current ongoing debate over Brexit.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Sajid Javid told BBC Sunday that “the people would never forgive us” if general elections were held earlier than scheduled (in 2022) amid speculations that Downing Street officials have discussed 6 June as potential date for an early vote.

Javid also said people want the British Parliament “to deliver Brexit in an orderly way.”

Before the home secretary statements, UK Prime Minister Theresa May wrote in The Telegraph assuring that she will “battle for Britain” when she next visits Brussels to renegotiate terms of the withdrawal agreement — especially the Irish backstop — with the European Union which has consistently refused to sit at the bargaining table again over this matter.

In her article, May also said that she is “determined” to deliver Brexit as per the scheduled departure on 29 March. 

Further reading:

  1. BBC report Brexit: Talks on backstop ‘alternative arrangements’
  2. The Independent report Brexit: Theresa May accused of ‘wasting valuable time’ as she launches group to find Irish backstop alternatives
  3. The Economist report Theresa May’s temporary triumph

4. The Washington Post report The collective madness behind Britain’s latest Brexit plan

Pope Francis begins historic visit to UAE, says ‘we are brothers despite being different’

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Roman Catholic
Church to visit the Arabian Peninsula Sunday as he began his three-day visit to United Arab Emirates.

In a video addressing the people of UAE, the Pope earlier said, “I thank God for this opportunity to write, in your land, a new page in the history of the inter-religious dialogue, to confirm that we are brothers despite being different.

Before leaving for UAE, the pontiff tweeted, “I am visiting that Country as a brother, in order to write a page of dialogue together, and to travel paths of peace together. Pray for me!”

Amid pouring rain in Abu Dhabi, the Pope was greeted by crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon his arrival.

The Grand Imam Sheikh al-Tayyib, head of Al Azhar, one of the highest religious authorities in the Muslim world, also greeted the Pope on his arrival.

Pope Francis is in UAE to attend the Global Conference on Human Fraternity organised by the Muslim Council of Elders.

UAE has declared the year 2019 as the “Year of Tolerance,” a move scorned by many human rights activists with the involvement of the country in the Yemen war, dubbed the “worst humanitarian crisis.”

Before his visit to the UAE, the Pontiff made his weekly Sunday address from the balcony of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican calling for peace in Yemen.

He said, “The population is exhausted by the long conflict and many children are suffering from hunger, but are unable to access food supplies … I call on the parties involved and the international
community to urgently observe the agreements and assure the distribution of food and work for the good of the population.

During his visit, Pope Francis is expected to meet the Muslim leadership in private to promote a dialogue for peace and tolerance between the two faiths. UAE is home to nearly a million Christians.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted in support of the Pope’s move to promote peace and tolerance.

The Pope is expected to deliver a mass in Abu Dhabi Tuesday with about 135,000 worshipers in attendance.

Further reading:

  1. The Independent report The Pope’s visit to the UAE today is the first step in undoing the damage caused by his predecessor
  2. The Irish Times report Pope Francis in UAE to bolster Christian-Muslim relations
  3. Vatican News report Pope Francis arrives in UAE on 27th Apostolic Journey abroad

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