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Falkland Islands sovereignty not up for debate, UK warns after Argentina’s new president vows to ‘get them back’ | Politics News

There is “no doubt” the Falkland Islands are British, Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson has said, after Argentina’s new president vowed to “get them back”.

Javier Milei, who was elected in Argentina’s presidential election on Sunday, has said Buenos Aires had “non-negotiable” sovereignty over the Falklands, known as Islas Malvinas by Argentines.

He said his government would “make every effort” to take the islands back “through diplomatic channels”.

But the prime minister’s official spokesperson said: “The UK has no doubt about the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.”

The Falkland Islands were the subject of a bloody conflict in 1982 after Argentine forces invaded and briefly occupied the territory.

The war claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen, three islanders and 649 Argentine personnel.

Mr Sunak’s spokesperson said: “The UK government will continue to proactively defend the Falkland islanders’ right to self-determination.”

British ministers regularly cite the results of a 2013 referendum that saw close to 100% of voters on the islands, which has a population of about 3,500 people, opt to remain a UK Overseas Territory.

The No 10 official said Falklands rule was an “issue that was settled decisively some time ago”.

Read more:
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Falklands War: Remembering the friends who never made it to breakfast

Javier Milei used to carry a chainsaw at his early rallies as a symbol of his planned cuts. Pic: AP
Image:
Javier Milei. Pic: AP

New president pledges to recover islands ‘through diplomatic channels’

Mr Milei had reportedly said during a TV election debate: “What do I propose? Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands is non-negotiable. The Malvinas are Argentine.

“Now we have to see how we are going to get them back. It is clear that the war option is not a solution.

“We had a war – that we lost – and now we have to make every effort to recover the islands through diplomatic channels.”

In an interview with daily newspaper La Nacion, Mr Milei proposed the UK hand over the Falklands to his South American country in a similar way to how Hong Kong was given over to Chinese rule in 1997.

The populist politician, a self-described anarcho-capitalist who has been compared to former US president Donald Trump, conceded that the views of those living on the islands “cannot be ignored”.

‘Undeniable’ Falkland Islands are British

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said it is “non-negotiable and undeniable” the Falkland Islands are British.

He tweeted: “99.8% of islanders voted to remain British and we will always defend their right to self-determination and the UK’s sovereignty.”

Rejecting any negotiation on the future of the Falklands, Mr Shapps highlighted how Royal Navy ship HMS Forth had been sent back to “protect the islands” in the southern hemisphere. It follows a nine-month stint by HMS Medway to patrol the remote location.

It comes after Mr Sunak criticised the EU for its “regrettable choice of words” in July after it appeared to have endorsed the name Argentina prefers.

Gene mutation which increases risk of breast and ovarian cancer linked to Orkney islands | UK News

A gene mutation which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer has been linked to people with Orkney heritage.

Scientists from the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh have found that one in one hundred people with grandparents from the islands off the north-eastern coast of Scotland, have a mutation of the gene BRCA1.

It is likely the gene variant came from one of the founding members of Westray – an Orkney island which has a population of under 600 people – at least 250 years ago, according to the research.

The gene mutation was repeatedly spotted in women from Orkney who have the cancers, most of whom could also trace their family ancestry back to the small island of Westray.

As a result of the findings, planning is under way to offer free testing for the gene variant to anyone living on the Scottish islands with a Westray-born grandparent, regardless of their family history with the disease.

Professor Zosia Miedzybrodzka, director of NHS North of Scotland Genetic Service, made it clear that developing cancer is not solely down to carrying the BRCA1 variant alone.

What is a BRCA1 gene?

Genes are found in every cell in our body. They enable bodies to grow and function correctly.

BRCA1 is a tumour suppressor gene that helps to protect us from developing cancer, according to the NHS.

A variation can affect the function of the gene. This can increase the chance of developing breast, ovarian or prostate cancer, which is more likely to occur at a younger age.

A person’s genes can be examined from a blood sample. However, currently, it is usually only offered to families with a strong history of cancers.

Everyone has the BRCA genes, but not everyone has mutations in them.

“There are many complex factors, and some people with gene alterations will not get cancer,” Prof Miedzybrodzka said. “However, we know that testing and the right follow-up can save lives.”

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She recommended things like risk-reducing surgery, breast screening with MRI from the age of 30 and lifestyle advice to improve the health of women with the gene mutation.

Awareness of the faulty gene was raised when Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy a decade ago, after losing her mother to ovarian cancer and then discovering she had a BRCA1 variant.

The NHS recommends talking to your GP if cancer runs in the family, or if you are worried about your own risk. They may refer you for a genetics test, which will tell you if you have inherited one of the cancer risk genes.