Queen Elizabeth appoints 1st woman in 650 years to top job in houses of parliament

LONDON: British Queen Elizabeth II approved Friday the appointment of Sarah Clarke as the new Black Rod in the House of Lords, a job held by 60 men since it was created in 1361, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

Clarke will formally take on the duties early next year, succeeding David Leakey, the current Black Rod who leaves the post at the end of this year.

Black Rod is the only job in the world where the holder gets paid for having a door slammed in their face.

As the Black Rod, one of Clarke’s duties will be to summon MPs from the House of Commons to the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament by the Queen. By tradition, as a way to protect its independence, the MPs slam the door in the face of the Black Rod. The ceremonial ritual is captured on the live coverage of the opening ceremony.

Clarke is currently responsible for the organisation of the annual Wimbledon tennis championships. She had previously held roles at four Olympic Games, the London Marathon and UK Sport.

As the first woman to be appointed to the role of Black Rod in its 650-year history, Clarke will be known as the Lady Usher of the Black Rod. Black Rod is appointed by the Monarch on the recommendation of a selection panel chaired by the Lord Speaker.

“Black Rod is a senior official who, as well as their famous role in summoning the House of Commons to hear the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, heads a department that includes the Yeoman Usher and the House of Lords Doorkeepers,” said a spokesman at the House of Lords.

Clarke said: “I am both deeply honoured and delighted to be invited to take up the role of Black Rod.”

“Over many years I have been fortunate to work at the heart of some of the world’s most complex events and institutions. The House of Lords is a place where the smallest detail is as important as the big picture and the depth of heritage and tradition is second to none,” said Clarke.

Lord Fowler, speaker of the House of Lords said: “As the first woman to take on the role, this is a historic moment for the House.”


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Tayangan Wonder Woman 2 diawalkan

KUALA LUMPUR: Berita gembira buat peminat Wonder Woman. Tayangan perdana sekuel filem adiwira lakonan Gal Gadot itu Wonder Woman 2 yang sepatutnya 13 Disember 2019 dijadualkan semula kepada 1 November 2019.

Perkara ini dimaklumkan Warner Bros. Pictures menerusi satu kenyataan pada Isnin.

Jika mengikut tarikh asal Wonder Woman 2 terpaksa bersaing dengan “Star Wars: Episode IX” arahan JJ Abrams yang turut menukar tarikh tayangannya dari May 2019 kepada 20 Disember 2019.

Satu-satunya filem bajet besar yang bakal menjadi saingan Wonder Woman 2 pada tarikh itu nanti adalah filem ke-25 James Bond yang dijadual ditayangkan pada 8 November 2019.

Selain Gal Gadot selaku tarikan utara Wonder Woman 2 turut mengekalkan Patty Jenkins selaku sutradara yang turut berperanan sebagai penulis skrip bersama Dave Callaham dan Geoff Johns.

Filem pertama Wonder Woman yang ditayangkan tahun ini berjaya mencatat kutipan global berjumlah AS$821 juta.

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Woman receives Malaysian citizenship after 20-year wait

KUALA LUMPUR: Several individuals’ desire to become Malaysian citizens was finally attained yesterday when they received documents establishing Malaysian citizenship status and now they can enjoy the privileges after decades of waiting.

For housewife S. Vanitha Mani, 37, nothing could describe her excitement of getting her citizenship after waiting for almost 20 years. She had applied several times for citizenship but each time her application failed due to some problem with documentation.

Vanitha Mani, accompanied by her husband, P. Arumugam, 45, was smiling broadly when she received her citizenship approval letter from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a ceremony, here, Tuesday.

“No word can describe my happiness today. Thank you for finally accepting me as a Malaysian citizen. Moreover, I am very happy to receive my citizenship approval letter personally from a leader who does not sideline other races in the country,” she told Bernama after the ceremony.

Vanitha Mani, who hails from Karaikudi in India, has been living in Malaysia since marrying her husband who is a Malaysian in 1998. The couple is blessed with seven children, aged from six to 19 years.

She said Malaysians were very fortunate because from birth, various assistance were provided by the government, especially in areas of health and education, and various loans were made available to start businesses.

“Before, when I went for treatment at the 1Malaysia Clinic, I had to pay RM15 but now as a citizen I only have to pay RM1,” said Vanitha Mani who got her permanent resident status in 2010.

A doctor who serves at a health clinic in Taiping, Perak, Dr Celine Soosai, 47, said she felt overwhelmed at eventually becoming a Malaysian citizen.

Born in Chennai, India, she was adopted by a Malaysian couple and raised in this country. Her attempts to obtain citizenship failed after her application was rejected several times since the age of 12, until she went to study in India for seven years.

“Upon my return, I was given a permanent resident card, and served at Ipoh Hospital until I moved to Taiping. Finally, my efforts bore fruit after applying for citizenship through the Mydaftar initiative and today I am a Malaysian citizen,” she said.

The Special Implementation Task Force under the Special Unit for Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community (SEDIC) implemented the Mydaftar initiative in 2011.

The Mydaftar Mega Initiative was initiated early this year, in line with the Malaysian Indian Blueprint (MIB) to fully resolve citizenship issues among the Indian community.

A total of 177 Indians comprising those who were born before independence, those whose births were not registered and those who had no identification documents, received their citizenship approval letter Tuesday.


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