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UK flag tributes to Saudi King Abdullah criticised

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud has died after two decades in power. He has been succeeded by his 79-year-old half-brother, Salman.

Downing Street and other Whitehall departments - along with Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace - were among prominent UK landmarks to put Union Flags at half mast.

But the move caused disquiet because of the human rights record of the country during King Abdullah's reign, with recent outrage focused on the public beheading of a woman and a sentence of 1,000 lashes meted out to the creator of an online blog.

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George HW Bush pays tribute to 'dear friend' King Abdullah

Former US president George HW Bush has said he is "deeply saddened" to learn of the death of King Abdullah, who he describes as a "dear friend and partner".

In a statement, he said: "As President, I found His Majesty always to be a wise and reliable ally, helping out nations build on a strategic relationship and enduring friendship".

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