Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

19 September 2015

8:00 AM

19 September 2015

8:00 AM

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In the shadow cabinet chosen by the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the Exchequer went to John McDonnell, a left-winger who had run his campaign for the leadership. Although Mr Corbyn’s defeated rival Andy Burnham was given the Home Office portfolio, most appointments were from the left. Angela Eagle, the new shadow business secretary, was also named shadow first secretary of state and would perform at Prime Minister’s Questions when the Prime Minister was away. Her twin sister Maria Eagle got the defence portfolio. Even Diane Abbott was given international development. Mr Corbyn had received 59.5 per cent of 422,664 votes cast; of the 105,000 who had paid £3 to register as supporters, 88,499 voted for him. Tom Watson was elected deputy leader. Mr Corbyn agreed to kiss hands on being sworn of the Privy Council, but at a service to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain he refused to sing the national anthem. Facebook announced that it was going to introduce a ‘Dislike’ button.

Peter Robinson refused to continue as First Minister of Northern Ireland, and all but one of his Democratic Unionist party ministers resigned, chiefly over the part of the IRA in last month’s murder of Kevin McGuigan. The power-sharing executive was paralysed, but Arlene Foster, the finance minister, was left to act at Mr Robinson’s request as first minister. Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National party, said that in its manifesto for next year’s Scottish Parliament election, the party would say when it might seek a possible second referendum on independence. Brian Close, who first played cricket for England aged 18, died, aged 84. Unemployment rose by 10,000 in the second quarter.


The Assisted Dying Bill, which sought to have doctors killing the terminally ill who requested it, was rejected by MPs by 330 votes to 118. The Trade Union Bill, which demands higher thresholds in strike ballots, won a second reading by 33 votes. MPs voted for government plans to reduce working tax credit payments for low earners. Sadiq Khan won the Labour nomination to stand for Mayor of London, unexpectedly beating Tessa Jowell. The London Fire Brigade warned of the dangers of spontaneous combustion after a fresh pile of laundry burst into flames in a Hackney linen cupboard.

Abroad

Germany, having encouraged hundreds of thousands of migrants, many from Syria, to make the arduous and perilous journey from Turkey via Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and Austria, suddenly began imposing border controls, in defiance of the Schengen rules on freedom of movement between European Union countries. The German interior minister suggested that Germany could withhold aid money for Eastern European EU member states if they would not accept quotas of refugees imposed by the EU. Hungary closed to migrants the gaps in its new border fence with Serbia, outside which hundreds were stranded. New laws were passed against crossing the Hungarian border or damaging the fence. Twenty-two people, including four children, drowned and 249 were saved when a wooden boat sank between Turkey and Greece.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia promised continued military support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. In Mecca, at least 107 people were killed and 230 injured when a crane collapsed into the crowded open-air enclosure surrounding the Kaaba. Saudi authorities said the Saudi Binladin construction group, run by the late Osama bin Laden’s brother Bakr, was responsible ‘in part’. Israeli police clashed three days running with Palestinian protesters around the Al-Aqsa mosque. Egyptian soldiers shot dead eight Mexican tourists, mistaking them for Islamist militants. New York police knocked to the ground the retired professional tennis player James Blake, who happens to be black, and sat on him, having mistaken him for a suspected fraudster.

Malcolm Turnbull, once the defence counsel for the former British spy Peter Wright in the Spycatcher case in the 1980s, replaced his fellow Liberal Tony Abbott as Prime Minister of Australia, its fourth since 2013. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe read out the same speech at the opening of parliament as he had read for his state-of-the-nation address on 25 August, but no one dared interrupt him. More than 1,800 cases of dengue fever have been reported this rainy season in Delhi, the worst outbreak for five years. A £200,000 stolen diamond was removed by colonoscopy from a woman at Bangkok airport. CSH

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