The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a sovereign state in northern Europe which includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is governed under a constitutional monarchy and a democratic parliamentary system made up of two houses; an elected House of Commons and an appointed House of Lords. It has a population of more than 62 million and has the world's seventh-largest economy by nominal GDP. It is predominantly a Christian country, although successive waves of migration have contributed to the growth of other faiths. It is a member of the European Union as well as the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, G7, G8, G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organization.

Britain plans HK$35,900 visa bonds for 'high-risk' Asians, Africans

Travellers queue to be processed by UK Border Agency immigration control officers at Heathrow Airport. Photo: Reuters

From November, visitors from countries including India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Ghana will be forced to hand over £3,000 (US$4,600)  for a six-month visit visa.

Sunday, 23 June, 2013, 12:10pm

Britain plugs loophole in Hong Kong drivers' licence agreement

Under an agreement between Hong Kong and Britain, a driver who holds a licence in one place can normally obtain a licence from the other without further examination.

More than 200 Hong Kong drivers have been barred from obtaining a British licence without taking a test, after Britain tightened requirements for a reciprocal arrangement that allows for direct exchange of licences.

17 Jun 2013 - 7:30am 4 comments

British warplanes scrambled to divert US-bound flight after fire threat

Police escort passengers off the EgyptAir Boeing 777 flight from Cairo that was forced to land at Glasgow Prestwick airport in Scotland. Photo: AFP

“At around 1420 hrs today (1320 GMT) an EgyptAir aircraft flying from Cairo to New York was diverted to Prestwick Airport after a suspicious note was discovered on the aircraft,” said a statement from Police Scotland.

16 Jun 2013 - 1:31pm

Britain clinches deal on tax havens

British PM David Cameron will push for an international agreement on tax havens at the G8 meeting. Photo: Reuters

Britain clinched a deal with its major offshore tax havens yesterday that will see 10 British overseas territories and crown dependencies sign up to international protocols on information sharing.

16 Jun 2013 - 6:51am 2 comments

Britain pushes India's nuclear ambitions

An Agni-IV missile is displayed during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. London, Washington, Paris and others argue nuclear-armed India should join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Photo: AFP

Britain has stepped up efforts to let India join an influential global body controlling nuclear exports, a move that would boost New Delhi's standing as an atomic power but which has faced resistance from China and other countries.

16 Jun 2013 - 8:12am

British lawmakers blast failure to monitor Huawei

Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei (right) meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London last year. Photo: AFP

British lawmakers have blasted the government for risking national security by failing to monitor the widespread use of Chinese equipment in Britain's phone and broadband networks.

7 Jun 2013 - 1:50am

UK politicians caught in lobbying scandal

Lord Cunningham

The three House of Lords peers caught out by undercover reporters from The Sunday Times newspaper are Jack Cunningham and Brian Mackenzie of the Labour Party and John Laird of the Ulster Unionist Party.

3 Jun 2013 - 3:51am

British National Party protest after soldier's killing drowned out by anti-fascists

BNP supporters gathered to protest the May 22 killing of British soldier Lee Rigby. Photo: AP

Police intervened to separate about 150 far-right protesters from a much larger anti-racism crowd in London yesterday to stop them from coming to blows over the killing of a British soldier on a busy street last week.

2 Jun 2013 - 7:58am

Ex-abattoir worker jailed for life over murder of 5-year-old

Mark Bridger was convicted of the abduction and murder of April Jones. Photo: AP

A former slaughterhouse worker was jailed for life yesterday for abducting and murdering five-year-old April Jones, whose disappearance in Wales last year sparked the biggest search in British history.

31 May 2013 - 4:01am

Tudor warship Mary Rose sails back to life with lost treasures

Conservators stand inside the hull of the Tudor warship, The Mary Rose, at the new Mary Rose Museum in southern England. Photo: AP

The remains of a Tudor warship that sank more than 400 years ago will go on display with thousands of its artefacts for the first time at a new British museum. Museum officials and historians say the £27 million (HK$316 million) museum, which opens today, allows visitors to view the wreck of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship, and also provides a snapshot of Tudor life onboard the vessel.


31 May 2013 - 4:00am

British man arrested under terror laws after TV interview about soldier's slaying

Abu Nusaybah

Michael Adebolajo, 28 and Michael Adebowale, 22, are under armed guard in hospital after being shot and arrested by police on Wednesday on suspicion of murdering 25-year-old Lee Rigby, a veteran of the Afghan war.

26 May 2013 - 6:51am

Fight terror calmly and with justice

Police officers stand guard behind a cordoned off area at a block of flats in Greenwich, a day after the murder of a soldier by two suspected Islamists in the nearby Woolwich district. Photo: AFP

The British security authorities have contained the threat of jihadist-inspired terrorism since the London bombings of July 2005 that killed more than 50 people.

25 May 2013 - 5:27am

Israeli minister ‘concerned’ by British relationship

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz. Photo: Xinhua.

 A senior Israeli minister described the “animosity” shown towards the state by British media, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academics, as “disguised anti-Semitism”, in an interview published in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph.

23 May 2013 - 2:43pm

Growing revolt by Tory MPs against British PM David Cameron

David Cameron

Downing Street will be warned by senior Conservatives that a sea change is under way in the parliamentary party as growing numbers of MPs decide that Prime Minister David Cameron is a liability, amid a revolt over the issue of gay marriage.

22 May 2013 - 3:57am

Litvinenko coroner refuses evidence about Kremlin role in his death

Marina Litvinenko. Photo: AFP

The inquest into the death in Britain of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko was close to collapse yesterday after the coroner ruled he could not hear evidence about the alleged role of the Kremlin in his poisoning.

19 May 2013 - 8:27am