Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

20 October 2016

2:00 PM

20 October 2016

2:00 PM

Home

Steven Woolfe, the MEP who spent three days in hospital after an altercation at a Ukip meeting, said he was resigning from the party, which was in a ‘death spiral’. Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, told its annual conference that an independence referendum bill would be published for consultation this week. A decision on airport expansion in England was postponed again, and Downing Street said that ministers would be allowed to express their personal opinions. Olympic athletes in a parade in Manchester were joined on an open-topped bus by two young impostors wearing Team GB tracksuits and plastic medals.

The annual rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Prices Index rose to 1 per cent in September from 0.6 per cent in August, reflecting a fall in fuel prices a year earlier; by the Retail Prices Index, the rise was to 2, from 1.8 per cent. The annual increase in house prices rose to 8.4 per cent, with the average price in Kensington and Chelsea reaching £1.3 million and that in Burnley £77,000. NatWest gave notice of withdrawal of banking facilities from the Russian state-run broadcaster RT, but reviewed the decision when Russia took it badly. Ecuador cut off access to the internet for Julian Assange, who has been living in its embassy in London since 2012. Unemployment rose 10,000, to 1.66 million. Jean Alexander, who played Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street for 23 years, died aged 90. The Dean of York Minster sacked all of its 30 volunteer bellringers.


Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, apologised to Field Marshal Lord Bramall, aged 92, whose house had been searched by 20 officers at dawn over false allegations of paedophilia, and whose wife died without knowing that months earlier police had realised there was no case against him. A prisoner was stabbed to death in Pentonville. Dame Lowell Goddard, who resigned in August as head of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, denied allegations in the Times of having made racist remarks. ‘I categorically never said that “Britain has so many paedophiles because it has so many Asian men”,’ she said. ‘I never expressed shock at the number of ethnic people in Britain.’ Eight men from Rotherham — Sageer Hussain, Mohammed Whied, Ishtiaq Khaliq, Waleed Ali, Asif Ali, Masoued Malik, Basharat Hussain and Naeem Rafiq — were found guilty of the sexual abuse of three girls there between 1999 and 2003.

Abroad

Iraqi government forces and Kurdish forces, with support from US and British aircraft, moved in on Mosul to retake it from the Islamic State, which conquered it in June 2014. Up to 8,000 Islamic State fighters were thought to be in the city of 650,000 people, with many more civilians in the surrounding area in danger from the warfare. Julian King, the EU’s security commissioner, told Die Welt that Europe should be prepared for an influx of jihadists if Mosul was retaken. Russia continued to bomb Aleppo in Syria, in alliance with the Syrian government, but suspended air strikes in advance of an eight-hour pause declared as a chance for civilians to escape the city. John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, called things in Syria ‘the largest of humanitarian disasters’. In London for talks, he also called for a ceasefire in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia has been attacking Houthi rebels backed by Iran. Saudi Arabia said that its air strike on a funeral hall in Sana’a, Yemen, on 8 October, which killed 140 and wounded more than 500, was a ‘mistake’.

The American presidential election campaign proceeded at a level of recriminatory bickering, with the Republican, Donald Trump, proposing a drug test for himself and his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton. In the Democratic Republic of Congo at least 16 people died in clashes over the annual harvest of caterpillars. After awarding the Nobel prize for literature to Bob Dylan, the Swedish Academy found it hard to get in touchwith him.

Walloons in Belgium threatened to upset a trade deal between Canada and the EU. Wolfgang Sobotka, the interior minister of Austria, said the house in which Hitler was born would be demolished, but within hours said that it might not be. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn of Thailand said he would delay taking the throne in succession to King Bhumibol, who had died aged 88 after a reign of 70 years. Milk from Tasmanian devils, which thrive in dirty surroundings, was tested as a counter to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. CSH

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