David Cameron, the Prime Minister, told Parliament that he had authorised the killing, on 21 August, by means of an RAF drone, of a British citizen near Raqqa in Syria, Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan, 21, an adherent of the Islamic State. Ruhul Amin, from Aberdeen, also an Islamic State activist, whose killing had not been approved in advance, died in the same attack, along with another Islamic State supporter who was with them. Mr Cameron called the strike a lawful ‘act of self-defence’. Khan was said by government sources to have been plotting an attack during the VJ Day commemorations in London on 15 August, and although that had been thwarted, he was thought still to have a ‘desire to murder’ people in Britain. A third Briton, Junaid Hussain, 21, was killed by a separate US airstrike on 24 August. Wayne Rooney beat Sir Bobby Charlton’s record by scoring 50 goals for England.
Mr Cameron announced that Britain would accept 20,000 more refugees in the next five years, from camps bordering Syria, not from among those already in Europe. An extra £100 million would be spent, taking British government aid to Syrians to more than £1 billion. The revision to policy followed the publication of photographs showing the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, one of the two little sons of a Kurdish migrant from Syria drowned with their mother when their father tried to leave Turkey for Greece in a small craft. The father, Abdullah, returned to Kobane, in Kurdish Syria, to bury them. In the year to June, 2,204 people from Syria had applied for asylum in Britain, of whom 87 per cent had had their applications granted. Ninety monoliths that once stood 15ft tall in a line beside Durrington Walls, near Stonehenge, were found buried three feet deep.
The government was defeated in the Commons by 312 to 285 on the rules surrounding the proposed referendum on membership of the European Union, which will now be announced at least four months in advance. The Northern Ireland Executive stumbled into crisis over the actions of IRA members and the implementation of welfare reform. Six men of Asian background were jailed for up to 19 years for rape and child prostitution in abusing two white schoolgirls between 2006 and 2012. The BBC proposed supplying local newspapers with copy. The Queen surpassed the 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes of Queen Victoria’s reign without fuss, opening the Borders railway (on a route closed in 1969) by travelling on a train drawn by the steam locomotive Union of South Africa.
More than 20,000 asylum-seekers arrived in Germany last weekend, after the photograph of Alan Kurdi swung public opinion in favour of the migrants making their way into Europe. Germany had signalled it would accept any Syrian as a refugee. ‘I believe we could certainly deal with something in the order of a half a million for several years,’ said Sigmar Gabriel, vice-chancellor of Germany. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, hatched a plan to distribute 160,000 refugees among member states. Some migrants from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Pakistan accompanied the Syrians travelling to Germany.
Hundreds of migrants had been held up for five days at Keleti railway terminus in Budapest when the authorities stopped trains running to Germany. Migrants also refused to stay in a refugee camp at Bicske, and the Hungarian government eventually sent coaches to speed them to Austria. Hungary had already registered 175,000 asylum-seekers this year, 50,000 of them in August. Hungary then tried to return to a policy of not admitting migrants. Some 20,000 migrants were stuck on the Greek island of Lesbos, mostly in squalid makeshift camps. Pope Francis appealed for ‘every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe’ to take in a migrant family. The Pope also promulgated simpler procedures for marriage annulments.
Turkish aircraft bombed positions in south-east Turkey held by the PKK Kurdish nationalists, who had killed several Turkish soldiers. A dust-storm over Syria interfered with fighting in its civil war. Talks between Russia and Saudi Arabia produced no deal with Opec over the world oil glut. A vast gas field was found off Egypt, said to be big enough to make the country an energy exporter. A tour of China by Bon Jovi was cancelled after the band was linked with support for the Dalai Lama. NHS patients in Kent were offered treatment at the Centre Hospitalier de Calais. CSH
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