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Is now the time to start talking about a republic?

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King Charles III has become the head of state across 14 Commonwealth realms following his mother’s death

In the depths of the Caribbean lies an archipelago, which was born in 1981 after it received autonomy from Britain.

Since then, the nation known for its beaches and rainforests has become the home to nearly 100,000 people.

But the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda has announced his country will soon take its independence one step further, as it casts a vote on whether to become a republic within the next three years.

Gaston Browne made the announcement following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last week.

“This is not an act of hostility, or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy,” he said.

Instead, Mr Browne added it is “a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation”.

Queen Elizabeth II meets the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II visited the three islands, which make up Antigua and Barbuda on three separate occasions in 1966, 1977 and 1985.

The Queen’s state visits were guided by a group of nations known as the Commonwealth.

The political association, which groups 56 member states, are mainly former territories of the British Empire. It spans from Cyprus in Europe, to Tuvalu in the depths of the Pacific.

How many countries did the Queen rule?

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II visited at least 117 countries.

In 14 of these, the late monarch remained as their head of state. This includes Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Solomon Islands.

But her death is stirring the motion towards independence, or a republic for some of these states.

In Australia, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his country will not vote on a republic in this current term of government, which expires in 2025.

“Now is the time for commemorating and recognising the life and service of Queen Elizabeth and also for welcoming our new head of state in King Charles III.”

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA

The Prime Minister believes constitutional change is “very difficult to occur in this country”, and has instead focussed his attention towards an Indigenous voice to Parliament.

Australia voted on whether to part ways with the monarchy in 1999, when nearly 61 per cent chose to not alter the constitution.

Jacinda Ardern is the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who said her country will become a republic at some stage in her lifetime.

But she has stopped short of putting forward a timeline for this to take place.

This is also the case in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the late monarch as one of his “favourite people in the world”.

“She was our Queen for almost half of Canada’s existence. And she had an obvious deep and abiding love and affection for Canadians.”

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA

Queen Elizabeth II spent 70 years on the throne, where she met a dozen Canadian, 15 British, and 16 Australian prime ministers.

Where is the republican movement strong?

Like Antigua and Barbuda, Queen Elizabeth II’s reign was prominent across the Caribbean; including The Bahamas, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.

Another country in which Queen Elizabeth II remained head of state—also known as a Commonwealth realm—is Jamaica, which has paved its way for a shift towards a republic.

In fact, questions around the republican movement were raised earlier this year.

In March, the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Jamaica. However, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Royal couple the country was “moving on” with its vision to become “independent”.

Queen Elizabeth II on one of her six visits to Jamaica.

Similar to other Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth II was represented by Governor-General, who is appointed on the advice of Jamaica’s Prime Minister.

The Governor-General represents the monarch and gives formal approval to any laws passed before those they come into effect.

Many Caribbean states tend to associate the British Empire’s colonial legacies with exploitation and slavery.

On his visit to Jamaica, Prince William said acts of slavery “should never have happened” and “forever stains our history”.

“While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude.”

William, Prince of Wales

In the Pacific, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea are all part of the Commonwealth realms. But the shift towards a republic is less prominent.

In recent days, these three states have proclaimed King Charles III as their new sovereign.

When was the last time a country ditched the monarchy?

Barbados is the most recent country to separate from the British Empire by removing Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state.

However, it still remains part of the Commonwealth like other former British colonies including India, Singapore, and Kenya.

In a visit last year, then-Prince Charles acknowledged the country’s history of slavery, which he described as an “appalling atrocity”.

Barbados’ Presidential Inauguration Ceremony marks the birth of a new republic.

The Caribbean island has a stained history of slavery in which captured Africans were used in plantation fields.

It was first declared part of the United Kingdom in 1625 and became part of the transatlantic slave trade.

Under the current arrangement, Barbados’ Parliament chooses a president. The then-Governor-General of Barbados Sandra Mason, became the country’s inaugural president last year.

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”

sandra mason, president of barbados

Barbados became the first country to remove the British monarch as its head of state in nearly three decades.

It follows Mauritius choosing to part ways with its colonial past in 1992.

Sierra Leone, Malawi, Guyana, Uganda and Nigeria are also part of a suite of African countries to leave the monarchy from the 1960s onwards.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

World

President Joe Biden surveys catastrophic damage left by Hurricane Ian

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Many homes and businesses lay in ruins amid debris in southwestern Florida

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill visited Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian making a direct hit to the state last week.

As many homes and businesses lay in ruins amid debris, the President promised to use the power of the federal government to help the community rebuild throughout the sunshine state.

The President comforted residents alongside Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible competitor in 2024— as well as joining GOP members of Congress for a tour of some of the hardest hit areas in southwestern Florida.

However, both men agreed to put politics aside for now, instead focusing on helping the community.

Speaking in Fort Meyers, which took the brunt of Ian, Biden said, “Today we have one job and only one job, and that’s to make sure the people in Florida get everything they need to fully, thoroughly recover.”

Hurricane Ian is considered one of the post powerful storms to ever hit the United States.

So far, officials have confirmed that at least 84 people died, including 75 in Florida.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands are still wait for power to be restored.

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World

North Korea’s five biggest missiles

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North Korea has flown a missile over Japan for the first time in five years

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris did not mince her words when she paid a visit to the demilitarised zone last week.

“In the North, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations and an unlawful weapons program that threatens peace and stability,” she said.

North Korea’s latest missile launch is the latest in a string of tests following Harris’ visit.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida following Tuesday’s long-range missile. The pair condemned the test in the “strongest terms,” as they described it as a danger to the Japanese people.

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff from the University of Melbourne believes the threat of nuclear war has increased.

“This is clearly the time of greatest danger of nuclear war since the at least the Cuban missile crisis.”

North Korea has carried out over 30 missile tests this year, as authorities brace themselves for bigger weapon, which could reach the U.S. east coast.

in response to Tuesday’s test, South Korea and the U.S. fired a string of missiles into the East Sea.

5. The Musudan

The Musudan, or the Hwasong-10 is a medium-range ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of more than 4,000km.

The missile was first tested in October 2016 and is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea and Japan.

4. The KN-08

The KN-08 is a long-range ballistic missile, which boasts an estimated range of more than 6,000km.

While North Korea had two unsuccessful tests of this weapon in 2016, it was successfully tested in 2017.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un inspects his weaponry.

3. The Pukguksong-2

The Pukguksong-2 is a medium-range ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of more than 2,000km.

This is a land-based variant of the Pukguksong-1 weapon, which is submarine-launched.

The missile was first tested in February of 2017 and is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea and Japan.

2. The Hwasong-14

The Hwasong-14 is North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile. It is also one of their most powerful missiles, with an estimated range of more than 8,000km.

The missile was first tested in July 2017 and is believed to be capable of reaching New York.

1. The Hwasong-12

The latest missile test over Japanese territory is understood to be an intermediate-range Hwasong-12.

This ballistic missile has an estimated range of more than 4,500km, and is believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific.

The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12.

North Korea’s missile tests have risen under the rule of its current leader, Kim Jong-Un. In fact, there have been more test launches this year, than in the previous decade alone.

“If anybody thought that the risk of nuclear war went away with the end of the Cold War, then these current concerns should put an end to any such complacency.”

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, the University of Melbourne

There are also a range of other weapons in the North Korean inventory, including a nuclear bomb, which is believed to be six times bigger than what the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

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Business

Rolls Royce CEO slams aviation for failing on climate targets

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Aviation needs to act on net-zero targets, that’s according to the CEO of Rolls Royce

Warren East says the sector needs to move towards bio-fuels like hydrogen and electric aircraft.

Travellers can even look forward to flying on planes that has a gas turbine that’s burning hydrogen.

Speaking at a conference in London, East says transitional technology is the answer that plane-makers are searching for.

Some companies are already looking at sustainable fuels that can offer 80 per cent off carbon emissions across their lifetime.

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