World News

Britain, World Dignitaries Say Goodbye to 'Iron Lady'

Thousands of people lined the streets of central London on Wednesday to witness the elaborate funeral procession of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Mrs. Thatcher's flag-draped coffin was transported by horse-drawn gun carriage to St. Paul's Cathedral, where world leaders and dignitaries from 170 countries waited.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip were among the 2,300 people gathered for the somber service, which followed a traditional Anglican liturgy.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, remembered the late leader as a "wife, mother, and grandmother" during a brief tribute that focused more on her personal character than her political legacy.

More than 4,000 police were deployed in London as part of a security operation that was increased following Monday's deadly bomb attacks in Boston.

Mrs. Thatcher died from a stroke nine days ago at the age of 87. Britain's first and only female prime minister, she became one of the country's most influential modern-day leaders during her time in office from 1979 to 1990.



Dubbed the Iron Lady, Mrs. Thatcher was a stern conservative who broke the power of British unions, eliminated many government subsidies and enabled a far greater role for private enterprise.

She led Britain through its 1982 war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, strongly opposed European integration and built a close "special relationship" with U.S. President Ronald Reagan that helped spur the downfall of Soviet communism.

She leaves behind a divisive legacy in Britain. During her funeral Wednesday, some of her political opponents held a demonstration along the route of her funeral procession, turning away in protest as her coffin passed by.

She was given a funeral with full military honors - a step short of a state funeral - in accordance with the wishes of her family. The event is thought to be London's most significant political funeral since the death of ex-Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.

The chimes of London's historic Big Ben were silenced for the duration of the funeral service. Flags were placed at half staff at government buildings across the country.

Other guests at the service included British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as prime ministers from 11 other countries. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney also attended.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs