Monday, June 30, 2014
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Sunday, June 29, 2014
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Events are being held to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.
The 1314 battle, fought on 23 and 24 June, saw Robert the Bruce defeat the forces of Edward II.
Events including a wreath-laying, an exhibition and guided walks around the battlefield, will lead up to a full-scale re-enactment of the conflict at Bannockburn Live at the weekend.
Clans are to travel from across Scotland and the UK to mark the event.
The battle in 1314 formed a key moment in the Scottish wars of independence, when Edward II marched north in a bid to lift a siege of Stirling Castle.
Despite being heavily outnumbered, Robert's forces triumphed in the two-day battle and forced Edward's armies to retreat with heavy losses.
The victory sealed Scotland's political independence and confirmed Robert's kingship, although it would take another 14 years of fighting and negotiation before the English throne recognised Robert as the rightful king of an independent Scotland.
In one of the first events to mark the anniversary, a group of children laid a wreath at the restored Rotunda at the site of the battle.
The children, representing Stirling, the Highlands and Isles, Turnberry, Yorkshire and Wales, share the heritage of those from across the UK who formed the armies at Bannockburn.
Led by a local young drummer, they walked from the new Bannockburn Visitor Centre to the Borestone marker, where Robert the Bruce is said to have planted his standard the night before the battle.'Brutally realistic'
A genealogy exhibition in partnership with the University of Strathclyde and a fine art exhibition by Iona Leishman is also running through the day at the new visitor centre, which was built as part of a £9m project by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.
The biggest celebration of the battle's anniversary takes places over the weekend at Bannockburn Live, a two-day festival featuring musicians, artists and comedians as well as historic displays and re-enactments.
More than 300 warriors and camp followers will recreate the battle three times a day, in a "brutally realistic" display choreographed by Clanranald, who have worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as Gladiator, Robin Hood and Thor 2.
Visitors will be able to explore a war camp complete with a kitchen, blacksmith and a hospital, as well as see weaponry including 12ft spears used to fend off cavalry charges up-close.
The anniversary is also being marked in Glasgow, where the Hunterian Museum is presenting the first complete digital 3D model of the long-lost tomb of Robert the Bruce, reuniting fragments from the tomb for the first time since their discovery 200 years ago
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Thursday, June 26, 2014
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Thousands parade across country after powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr calls on supporters to turn out in force.
Last updated: 21 Jun 2014 11:14
Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is believed to have command over more than 10,000 fighters [AFP]
|Thousands of Shia Muslims are taking part in rallies across Iraq vowing to protect their religious sites in a show of power that had been called for by influential Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr.|
Sadr is believed to have command of more than 10,000 fighters, most of whom have volunteered to fight alongside Iraqi security forces against Sunni rebels led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said Sadr was keen to emphasise that his fighters would only serve as a defensive force to protect Baghdad, but there are fears of a reestablishment of the Mahdi Army, which was disbanded in 2008.
The reemergence of the Mahdi Army, which was accused of involvement in Iraq's sectarian conflict between 2006 and 2008, would heighten fears of a broader war between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
Both the Iraqi government and Shia religious authorities have called on Iraqis to volunteer to fight a Sunni rebellion that has taken over big chunks of the country, including the cities of Mosul and Tikrit.
On Saturday, rebels led by ISIL seized a border crossing with Syria near the town of Qaim about 320km from Baghdad, leaving about 30 Iraqi soldiers dead, the AP news agency reported.
AP also reported that the town of Rawah in Anbar province had been captured by ISIL fighters later the same day, citing the town's mayor. He added that local army and police forces had pulled out when the fighters took control.
Pressure on Maliki
Many Sunni Muslims in western Iraq have supported the rebellion led by the fiercely anti-Shia ISIL, because of perceived anti-Sunni policies by Iraq's Shia-dominated government.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has faced pressure from inside and outside the country to form an inclusive government, to prevent Sunni Muslims from joining forces with ISIL.
In a thinly veiled rebuke of Maliki, the country's highest Shia authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called for a "broad" government that would "avoid past mistakes."
Such criticism from Iraq's most revered religious leader could force Maliki to step aside.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama all but called on Maliki to resign, saying only a leader with an "inclusive agenda" could end the crisis.
Maliki, whose State of Law electoral slate won most seats in April's election, has yet to form a majority coalition in the new 328-seat legislature, which must meet by June 30.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Ethiopian community congregates in Valletta to express protest at home governance
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