September 10, 2022

King Charles proclaimed monarch, queen’s funeral on Sept. 19 - Financial Markets Worldwide

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World 8 hours ago (Sep 10, 2022 09:13PM ET)


King Charles proclaimed monarch, queen's funeral on Sept. 19© Reuters. King Charles III delivers his address to the nation and the Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace, London, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. Picture date: Friday September 9, 2022. Yui Mok/Pool via REUTERS


By Michael Holden and Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) -The state funeral for Queen Elizabeth will be held on Monday, Sept. 19, royal officials said on Saturday, as her son Charles was officially proclaimed Britain’s new king in a colourful ceremony laden with pageantry and dating back centuries.

The death of the 96-year-monarch has provoked tears, sadness and warm tributes, not just from the queen’s own close family and many Britons, but also from around the world – reflecting her presence on the world stage for 70 years.

“We all thought she was invincible,” said her grandson Prince William, now the heir to the throne.

“It’s been surreal,” he said during a walkabout outside Windsor Castle where he and his wife Kate appeared closely in public for the first time in two years with his younger brother Harry and his wife Meghan – a sign Elizabeth’s death might help heal a rift between Charles’ sons.

Elizabeth’s oak coffin, covered with the royal standard of Scotland and with a wreath of flowers on top, has been lying in the ballroom of Balmoral Castle, her summer home in Scotland where she died peacefully on Thursday.

On Sunday, it will be driven by hearse through remote highland villages to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, during a six-hour journey that will allow people to pay their respects.

The coffin will then be flown to London on Tuesday where it will remain at Buckingham Palace before being taken to Westminster Hall to lie in state until the funeral at Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m (1000 GMT) on Sept. 19.

The death of Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has prompted an outpouring of emotion around the globe. Buildings and landmarks in Europe, America and Africa have been lit up in the red, white and blue of the United Kingdom’s flag.

Charles, 73, immediately succeeded his mother but an Accession Council met at St James’s – the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom built for Henry VIII in the 1530s – to proclaim him as king on Saturday.

The council – formed of Privy Counsellors whose centuries-old role has been to advise the monarch – included his son and heir William, wife Camilla and Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, who signed the proclamation of his accession.

Six former prime ministers, senior bishops and a swathe of politicians cried out “God Save The King” as the announcement was approved.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of Sovereignty which have now passed to me,” Charles said. “I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set.”

Later, on the Proclamation Gallery, a balcony above Friary Court of St James’s Palace, the Garter King of Arms, David White, accompanied by others in gold and red heraldic outfits read out the Principal Proclamation, as trumpets sounded.

Soldiers in traditional scarlet uniforms shouted “hip, hip, hurrah” as White called for three cheers for the king.

Watching on were a few hundred people allowed into the court, including small children on parents’ shoulders, a woman clutching flowers and elderly people on mobility scooters.


Charles is the 41st monarch in a line that traces its origins to the Norman King William the Conqueror who captured the English throne in 1066. Saturday’s events reflected proclamations announcing new kings and queens that date back hundreds of years.

He became king and head of state not only of the United Kingdom but of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

It was the first proclamation of a monarch to be televised. And for most Britons, it was the first such event in their lifetime as Elizabeth was the only monarch they have ever known. Charles himself was just 3 when she became queen in 1952.

Britain has declared a period of mourning until the state funeral for Elizabeth, which will be a public holiday. Leaders from around the world are expected to attend, including U.S. President Joe Biden, who said he would be there.

Charles’ coronation will take place at a later date – and the timing for that is not yet clear. There was a 16-month gap between Elizabeth becoming queen and her coronation in 1953.

He has already made his eldest son William, 40, the new Prince of Wales, the title traditionally held by the heir to the throne, and William’s wife Kate becomes Princess of Wales, a role last held by the late Princess Diana.

The couple had a highly public falling out with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after they decided to exit royal duties and move to California in 2020.

Harry and Meghan coincidentally happened to be in Britain this past week to attend some charity events and had not even been expected to see William – until the death of their grandmother.

However, the foursome stood together and chatted briefly, although they looked rather awkward and did not spend much time together during the 40-minute walkabout in Windsor, which followed an invitation from William to his brother.

It was an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family, a royal source said.


Meanwhile at Balmoral, the queen’s three younger children – Anne, Andrew and Edward – and their own families also made a public appearance, visiting a nearby church before they inspected the messages among the flowers and thanked the crowd for their support.

Princess Eugenie, one of Prince Andrew’s daughters, was seen wiping away tears and hugging her father.

“It was a very emotional moment, it was very heartfelt,” said Ian Smith, a local businessman who was at the front of the barriers. “It was really special that they came to acknowledge us and we could show them our support.”

Elizabeth, who was the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, came to the throne following the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25.

Over the decades she witnessed a seismic change in the social, political and economic structure of her nation. She won praise for modernising the monarchy during her long reign, despite intense media scrutiny and the often highly public travails of her family.

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Russia gives up key northeast towns as Ukrainian forces advance


Russia gives up key northeast towns as Ukrainian forces advance© Reuters. A destroyed car is pictured in front of a damaged residential building, in Saltivka, one of the most damaged residential areas, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine September 6, 2022. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi


By Max Hunder and Vitalii Hnidyi

KYIV/HRAKOVE, Ukraine (Reuters) -Moscow abandoned its main bastion in northeastern Ukraine on Saturday, in a sudden collapse of one of the war’s principal front lines after Ukrainian forces made a rapid advance.

The swift fall of Izium in Kharkiv province was Moscow’s worst defeat since its troops were forced back from the capital Kyiv in March. Ukraine hailed it as a turning point in the 6-month-old war, with thousands of Russian soldiers leaving behind ammunition stockpiles and equipment as they fled.

Russian forces used Izium as the logistics base for one of their main campaigns – a months-long assault from the north on the adjacent Donbas region comprised of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The state-run TASS news agency quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying it had ordered troops to leave the vicinity and reinforce operations elsewhere in Donetsk.

The head of Russia’s administration in Kharkiv told residents to evacuate the province and flee to Russia to “save lives,” TASS reported. Witnesses described traffic jams of cars with people leaving Russian-held territory.

If the reported gains are held, it would be a serious blow for Russia, which Western intelligence services say has suffered huge casualties. It would also be a big boost for Ukraine, which is keen to show Western nations supplying it with weapons it deserves their continued support.

There is pressure on Kyiv to demonstrate progress before winter sets in, amid threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt all energy shipments to Europe if Brussels goes ahead with a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil exports.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in Kyiv that Ukrainian forces had demonstrated they were capable of defeating the Russian army with the weapons given to them.

“And so I reiterate: the more weapons we receive, the faster we will win, and the faster this war will end,” he said.

In his nightly video address on Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s armed forces had recovered around 2,000 square kilometres (770 square miles) of territory since its counter-offensive was launched earlier this month.

“The Russian army is claiming the title of fastest army in the world … keep running!” Andriy Yermak, Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, wrote on Twitter (NYSE:).

Ukrainian officials stopped short of confirming they had recaptured Izium, but Yermak earlier posted a photo of troops on its outskirts and tweeted an emoji of grapes. The city’s name means “raisin.”

The Russian withdrawal announcement came hours after Ukrainian troops captured the city of Kupiansk farther north, the sole railway hub supplying Russia’s entire front line across northeastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials posted photos early on Saturday of their troops raising the country’s blue-and-yellow flag in front of Kupiansk’s city hall.

That left thousands of Russian troops abruptly cut off from supplies along a front that has seen some of the most intense battles of the war.

Igor Girkin, a former commander of pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, called the Russian pullback “a major defeat” in remarks on Telegram.


Ukraine has for weeks been talking up a big counteroffensive in the south, which also is under way though details are sparse.

Russia still occupies extensive territory in the Donbas and in the south near the Crimean Peninsula it seized in 2014.

Days ago, Kyiv’s forces burst through the front line in the northeast and have since recaptured dozens of towns and villages in a swift mechanised assault, surging forward dozens of kilometres (miles) a day.

Ukraine’s deputy defence minister, Hanna Malyar, sounded a cautionary note, urging people not to report prematurely that towns have been “taken” just because Ukrainian troops were sighted. Troops entered Balakliia a few days ago, she said, but it was only on Saturday that Ukraine established control in the city.

In Hrakove, one of dozens of villages recaptured in the Ukrainian advance, Reuters saw burnt-out vehicles bearing the “Z” symbol of Russia’s invasion. Boxes of ammunition were scattered along with rubbish at positions the Russians had abandoned in evident haste.

“Hello everyone, we are from Russia,” was spray-painted on a wall. Three bodies lay in white body bags in a yard.

The regional chief of police, Volodymyr Tymoshenko, said Ukrainian police moved in the previous day, and checked the identities of local residents who had lived under Russian occupation since the invasion’s second day.

“The first function is to provide help that they need. The next job is to document the crimes committed by Russian invaders on the territories which they temporarily occupied,” he said.


A witness in Valuyki, a town in Russia’s Belgorod region near the border with Ukraine, told Reuters she saw families from Kupiansk eating and sleeping in their cars along roads.

“I was at the market today and saw a lot of people from Kupiansk. They say half of the city was taken by the Ukrainian army and Russia is retreating … the fighting is getting closer,” the witness said.

Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said officials were giving food and medical aid to people queuing at a crossing into Russia. Senator Andrey Turchak, from the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, reported more than 400 vehicles at the frontier.

Russian rocket fire hit Kharkiv city on Saturday evening, killing at least one person and damaging several homes, part of a surge in shelling since Kyiv’s counter-offensive, Ukrainian officials said.

Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield accounts.

“The advance is enormous. There are sporadic battles, but mostly the occupiers are fleeing,” Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian television on Saturday.

Ukraine negotiating $1.5 billion U.S. loan for gas -prime minister - Financial Markets Worldwide


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Commodities 5 hours ago (Sep 10, 2022 09:15AM ET)

Ukraine negotiating $1.5 billion U.S. loan for gas -prime minister© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal takes part in a news conference after an EU-Ukraine Association Council, in Brussels, Belgium, September 5, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine is negotiating for a $1.5 billion loan tranche from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to purchase natural gas, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Telegram on Saturday in a summary of a call with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Ukraine negotiating $1.5 billion U.S. loan for gas -prime minister

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Aer Lingus restores IT system after cancelling 51 flights

Stock Markets 12 hours ago (Sep 10, 2022 03:35PM ET)

Aer Lingus restores IT system after cancelling 51 flights© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Aer Lingus’ logo is pictured on a smartphone in this illustration taken, December 4, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

DUBLIN (Reuters) -Aer Lingus said it had resolved an IT problem that led it to cancel 51 flights between Dublin airport and other European destinations on Saturday as check-in and boarding was disrupted.

The Irish carrier, owned by London-listed IAG (LON:), said “a major incident with a network provider” meant it could not access its cloud-based systems, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded outside the country’s main airport.

“Aer Lingus sincerely apologises to customers for the severe disruption caused today,” it said in a statement, adding its operations for Sunday were planned to run as normal.

The airline said it operated all of its transatlantic services from Dublin with delays and reduced passenger numbers in some instances due to security restrictions as a result of the systems outage.

Dublin airport earlier flagged the IT issues facing Aer Lingus, saying other airlines were not impacted.

ECB governors see rising risk of rate hitting 2% to curb inflation – sources

ECB governors see rising risk of rate hitting 2% to curb inflation - sources© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The south facade of the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, December 30, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

By Francesco Canepa

PRAGUE (Reuters) – European Central Bank policymakers see a rising risk that they will have to raise their key interest rate to 2% or more to curb record-high inflation in the euro zone despite a likely recession, sources told Reuters.

With inflation hitting 9.1% in August and seen above the ECB’s 2% target for two years to come, the central bank has been raising its interest rates at record speed and urging governments to help bring down energy bills that have ballooned since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The ECB raised its deposit rate from zero to 0.75% on Thursday and President Christine Lagarde guided for another two or three hikes, saying rates were still far away from a level that will bring inflation back to 2%.

Five sources close to the matter said many policymakers saw a growing probability that they will need to take the rate into “restrictive territory”, jargon for a level of rates that causes the economy to slow, at 2% or above.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because policy deliberations are private, said this would most likely happen if the ECB’s first inflation projection for 2025, due to be published in December, is still above 2%.

An ECB spokesman declined to comment.

The ECB currently sees inflation at 2.3% in 2024, though one source said an internal forecast which was presented at Thursday’s meeting put it closer to 2% after taking into account the latest gas prices.

Dutch central bank governor Klaas Knot and Belgium’s Pierre Wunsch were the first to openly talk about going into restrictive territory late last month, at a time when most of their colleagues felt interest rates just needed to go back to between 1% and 2%.

The sources said policymakers were bracing for a recession this winter and weaker economic growth next year than the ECB’s official projection of 0.9%. But some took comfort from the strong labour market, which should cushion the impact of the higher rates, they added.

At Thursday’s meeting, policymakers also began a discussion about the tens of billions of euros that the ECB is liable to pay out to banks on their excess reserves now that the deposit rate is positive again, the sources said.

Policymakers judged that current proposals, including one for a “reverse tiering system” that caps remuneration on some reserves, needed more work, the sources said. One added a decision might still come before the ECB’s next policy meeting on Oct 27.

Porsche wants to be ready for IPO as early as possible, exec tells Il Sole 24 Ore

Stock Markets 2 hours ago (Sep 10, 2022 12:20PM ET)

Porsche wants to be ready for IPO as early as possible, exec tells Il Sole 24 Ore© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Employees of German car manufacturer Porsche install the windshield of a Porsche 911 at the Porsche factory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany, February 19, 2019. Picture taken February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) – Porsche AG wants to be ready for a planned stock market listing as early as possible, an executive at the luxury sportscar unit of Volkswagen (ETR:) was quoted as saying on Saturday, as investors showed huge interest in the initial public offering (IPO).

“We welcome a strong interest in our company and we are confident despite challenging market conditions”, Porsche finance chief Lutz Meschke told Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

“We want to be ready for the IPO at the end of September, early October,” Meschke added. “The earlier the better.”

Porsche published a so-called intention to float on Monday for a share sale to be launched in late September or early October and completed by year end, but added the listing and timing were “subject to further capital market developments”.

In total, shares amounting to about 12.5% of Porsche’s total capital will be listed. Investors estimate Porsche’s total value could be up to 85 billion euros.

Europeans doubt Iran’s intentions in nuclear talks sparking Tehran’s ire - Financial Markets Worldwide

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World 1 hour ago (Sep 10, 2022 03:00PM ET)

Europeans doubt Iran's intentions in nuclear talks sparking Tehran's ire© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Iranian flag is seen at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as Albania cuts ties with Iran and orders diplomats to leave over cyberattack, in Tirana, Albania, September 8, 2022. REUTERS/Florion Goga

By John Irish and Francois Murphy

PARIS/VIENNA (Reuters) -France, Britain and Germany on Saturday said they had “serious doubts” about Iran’s intentions to revive a nuclear deal, comments that were rejected by Tehran and called “very untimely” by Moscow.

Iran earlier this month sent its latest response to the European Union’s proposed text to restore the 2015 agreement under which Tehran had restrained its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from U.S., EU and U.N. economic sanctions.

Diplomats have said Iran’s response to the EU coordinator was a step backwards, with it seeking to link a revival of the deal with the closure of investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into uranium traces at three sites.

The IAEA’s Board of Governors meet on Monday, three months after adopting a resolution urging Iran to give credible answers to the watchdog on the issue. Ahead of that meeting the European parties to the deal vented their frustration.

“This latest demand raises serious doubts as to Iran’s intentions and commitment to a successful outcome on the JCPoA,” the three countries, known as the E3, said in a statement, referring to the deal’s full name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Iran’s position contradicts its legally binding obligations and jeopardises prospects of restoring the JCPoA.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said the statement was “unconstructive”, adding “the three European countries are advised to play a more active role in providing solutions to end the few disagreements that remain”, state media reported.

“If such an approach persists, they (E3) should also take responsibility for its consequences,” Kanaani said without elaborating.

The European statement also prompted Russia’s envoy to the talks to respond on Twitter (NYSE:) calling it “very untimely indeed”. He dismissed the perceived blockage as something that “was not a serious obstacle”.

Highlighting how entrenched positions are before next week, France’s negotiator, Philippe Errera, called out his Russian counterpart.

“There is no longer an active negotiation, since Iran’s last response – which you, unlike almost all your followers, have had access to,” he said on Twitter.

Ulyanov responded that at least they agreed that there was no active negotiation.

Then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and re-imposed U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to start breaching the deal’s nuclear curbs and reviving U.S., Arab and Israeli fears it may be seeking an atomic bomb. Iran denies having nuclear ambitions.

The IAEA said on Wednesday Iran’s stock of uranium enriched to up to 60%, close to weapons-grade, had grown to enough, if enriched further, for a nuclear bomb and that Tehran had still failed to explain the origin of the uranium particles.

“Given Iran’s failure to conclude the deal on the table, we will consult, alongside international partners, on how best to address Iran’s continued nuclear escalation and lack of cooperation with the IAEA regarding its NPT (non-proliferation treaty) safeguards agreement,” the E3 said.

It is unclear at this stage how the Western powers will respond, although diplomats said a new resolution at the IAEA was unlikely.

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Vietnam’s VinFast hands over first electric SUVs, eyes U.S. deliveries - Financial Markets Worldwide

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Stock Markets 10 hours ago (Sep 10, 2022 03:51PM ET)

Vietnam's VinFast hands over first electric SUVs, eyes U.S. deliveries© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Vietnam’s VinFast, a fledgling electric vehicle (EV) maker, is pictured in a sales location at a shopping mall in Santa Monica, California, U.S., May 23, 2022. REUTERS/David Swanson

HAIPHONG, Vietnam (Reuters) – Vietnamese carmaker VinFast on Saturday began handing its first batch of 100 all-electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to local customers, with U.S. deliveries of the vehicle due to begin as soon as December.

VinFast, which began operations in 2019, is gearing up to expand in the U.S. market, where it hopes to compete with legacy automakers and startups with its two all-electric SUVs, the VF8 and VF9, including battery leasing to reduce the purchase price.

“The first batch of 5,000 VF8 units will be for U.S. and North American markets. Mass production will start from next week,” VinFast’s global chief executive Le Thi Thu Thuy told Reuters on the sidelines of a delivery ceremony at its plant in Vietnam’s northern province of Haiphong.

VinFast, part of Vingroup JSC, will start shipping cars overseas in November and customers will have cars delivered as soon as December, Thuy said.

The company has registered almost 65,000 reservations globally, and it expects to sell 750,000 EVs per year by 2026, starting with the VF8 and VF9 all-electric SUVs.

In March, VinFast said it would build a production plant in North Carolina with an initial projected capacity of 150,000 EVs a year. It tapped banks in July to raise least $4 billion in funding for the project.

Nguyen Khac Chung was among the first local customers to have their cars delivered at Saturday’s event.

“I thought I had to wait until November to get my car delivered but I was surprised that the waiting time was cut short,” said Chung, who ordered his EV in January, just two months after the model was introduced.

“Battery leasing is an advantage for customers,” he added. “Why should we buy battery?”

The VF8 and VF9 vehicles will start at $42,200 and $57,500 respectively for U.S. customers, excluding the cost to lease the electric battery. From September, the company will also offer customers options that include batteries.

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Prince Harry, Meghan join William and Kate on Windsor walkabout - Financial Markets Worldwide

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World 7 hours ago (Sep 10, 2022 07:02PM ET)


Prince Harry, Meghan join William and Kate on Windsor walkabout© Reuters. Britain’s William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, walk outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in Windsor, Britain, September 10, 2022. REUTERS/R


By Kate Holton and Michael Holden

WINDSOR (Reuters) -Prince Harry and his wife Meghan joined William and wife Kate on a walkabout among crowds near Windsor Castle on Saturday following the death of their grandmother Queen Elizabeth, raising the prospect of a rapprochement between the brothers.

The two sons of King Charles, once so close after the death of their mother Diana in a Paris car crash in 1997, have fallen out in recent years after Harry and Meghan gave up their royal titles to move to the United States.

The couple had been in Britain on a brief visit when the queen, Britain’s longest reigning monarch, died on Thursday.

Like other senior members of the royal family, Harry rushed to be by the queen’s side as she deteriorated at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, and a spokesperson for the heir to the throne said an invitation for the Windsor walk had been extended by William.

A royal source described it as an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family. They emerged from the same car, all wearing black.

The two couples did not interact much during the 40 minute walkabout near one of the queen’s favourite English homes, as they stopped to read messages left among the flowers, and shake hands and chat with the thousands of people lining the Long Walk.

“I think that really just sort of draws a line under what’s happened historically, and it’s a really strong sense of unity I think for the royal family. It was really lovely to see,” said Raj Kaur, 41, who was in the crowd.

At one point Meghan was hugged by a woman in the crowd while others stretched to shake hands and talk to the four royals in the early evening. William spent some time bending down chatting to children, while Kate and Harry accepted flowers and messages of encouragement from those in the crowd.

Royal observers had been looking for signs of a detente amid the pomp and ceremony of a period of national mourning and Elizabeth’s state funeral.

On Friday Charles used his first address to the nation as king to express his “love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas”.

He also bestowed on William and daughter-in-law Kate the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales, which he and his late wife Diana previously held.

William was heard telling one well-wisher that the days following the queen’s death had been “so surreal”.

“We all thought she was invincible,” he said.

Asked by someone else in the crowd how his children, George, 9, Charlotte, 7, and Louis, 4, who all started at a new school on the day the queen died – were coping, he replied: “The kids are well, thank you. They are good. Not ideal to start new schools with everything happening.”

Under royal rules, the monarch’s grandchildren are automatically eligible to become princes or princesses of the realm, so now that Harry’s father Charles is king, his children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, can receive those titles. Lilibet was named after the queen’s childhood nickname.

It is not clear whether they will take the titles.

“At the moment we’re focused on the next 10 days. As and when we get information, we will update the (royal) website,” a spokesperson for Charles told reporters.

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Greek PM says pensions to rise for first time in more than a decade - Financial Markets Worldwide

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Economy 5 hours ago (Sep 10, 2022 04:11PM ET)

Greek PM says pensions to rise for first time in more than a decade© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses lawmakers during a parliamentary session on a wiretapping case, in Athens, Greece, August 26, 2022. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

By Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) -Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday the minimum wage would rise again next year and pensions would increase for the first time since the financial crisis erupted more than a decade ago.

The euro zone’s most indebted country received more than 260 billion euros of international loans between 2010 and 2015 in return for tough austerity, which included a series of pension and wage cuts.

After emerging from its third bailout in 2018, Greece exited its creditors’ so-called enhanced surveillance last month, giving it greater freedom in implementing economic policy.

“After many years, pensions will increase for 1.5 million pensioners,” Mitsotakis said during his annual economic policy speech from the northern city of Thessaloniki.

Mitsotakis, a conservative who faces a parliamentary election in 2023, said the rise in pensions will be indexed to GDP growth and inflation.

The minimum wage which, the government raised to 713 euros ($716) a month earlier this year, would go up again in May, he added, without giving a new figure.

His government will also abolish a so-called solidarity levy on private and public sector workers, a legacy of Greece’s multi-year debt crisis, he said.

Mitsotakis also promised further funding to cushion the impact of the energy crisis and soaring inflation on the nation’s households.

Greece has already spent about 8 billion euros ($8 billion) in power bill subsidies and other relief measures since last year.

Mitsotakis said the support will continue, with low-income earners getting a 250-euro handout each in December.

Some 1.3 million households will also be eligible for higher financial aid for heating over the winter, while those who opt for oil or other fuels for heating instead of gas or electricity will see that benefit doubled, he added.

All the measures he announced for this year and next will cost a total of 5.5 billion euros, he said.

Helped by strong growth thanks to better-than-expected tourism revenue this year, the government has decided to use any additional fiscal room to continue funding power bill subsidies.

Mitsotakis said Greek economy is seen growing by more than 5% this year, higher than a previous government forecast for a 3.1% GDP growth.

($1 = 0.9961 euros)

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