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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

4 October 2014

9:00 AM

4 October 2014

9:00 AM

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The Commons, having been specially recalled, passed, by 524 votes to 43, a motion supporting ‘the use of UK air strikes to support Iraqi, including Kurdish, security forces’ efforts against Isil in Iraq’. Only after four days did RAF Tornados from Akrotiri in Cyprus find some targets in Iraq to bomb. In support of her contention that Isil’s ‘hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam’, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, in a well-received speech at the Conservative party conference, quoted the Qu’ran: ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’ (Sura 2:256). A poster intended for staff was put up by mistake in the window of a Sainsbury’s in east London, reading: ‘Let’s encourage every customer to spend an additional 50p during each shopping trip.’

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, told the Conservative party conference that spending on the NHS would be ring-fenced and increased. The sickness and death of his son had made him ‘understand very personally’ the importance of the health service. He also said: ‘We will ensure everyone can see a GP seven days a week by 2020.’ In an interview with the BBC, he said: ‘I feel about a thousand times more strongly about our United Kingdom than I do about the European Union.’ The government would freeze benefits paid to people of working age for two years from 2016, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, told the conference. Boris Johnson waved a brick during a speech advocating the building of more houses. Mark Reckless, a Conservative backbencher, joined Ukip and was, at his request, granted the post of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham, disqualifying him from sitting as an MP. Brooks Newmark, 56, resigned as minister for civil society after being tricked by the Sunday Mirror into sending a picture of himself sticking out of paisley pyjamas to someone he thought from Twitter was a Tory woman activist. A burglar who spent 17 hours up a tree near Charlton station in south London, evading police but delaying 783 trains, was jailed for 18 months.


Neil Fox, a radio disc-jockey, was arrested by police investigating historical sexual offences. The sentence given a week earlier to Dave Lee Travis for an indecent assault, of three months in prison suspended for two years, was referred to the attorney-general on the grounds that it might have been unduly lenient. The Rt Revd Kieran Conry resigned as the Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton after admitting to an affair with a woman in the diocese over the past six years. Two nuns died when an unmarked police car collided with theirs at Newry in Co. Down. Dannie Abse, the poet, died, aged 91. Karl Miller, the literary editor of The Spectator from 1958 to 1961, died, aged 83. Europe beat America to take the Ryder Cup for the third time running.

Abroad

Kurdish forces engaged Islamic State forces in heavy fighting on the border of Iraq and Syria. IS forces were reported to be close to Baghdad. Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as the new president of Afghanistan, in succession to Hamid Karzai, in the country’s first democratic transfer of power; but the rival candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, had to be given the title of chief executive to break a six-month deadlock challenging the election results. The new Afghan government signed a bilateral security agreement with the United States to provide for its troops to remain in the country beyond this year. The United States was poised to overtake Saudi Arabia in the production of oil and related liquids. EBay announced plans to launch PayPal, which is growing even more quickly, as a separate company.

Thousands of people, most of them young, gathered in the streets of central Hong Kong for days to protest at China’s vetting of candidates for elections. Spain’s constitutional court stopped Catalonia holding a referendum on independence in November after Madrid argued that the law required the whole country, not just the region, to decide. At least 36 people died when Mt Ontake, 125 miles from Tokyo, suddenly erupted.

At least 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola, the UN said, and many risked being shunned by adults. The number of migrants trying to reach Europe who had drowned in the Mediterranean had reached 3,072, according to the International Organisation for Migration. In Brazil scientists released thousands of mosquitoes infected with a bacterium called Wolbachia which suppresses the dengue fever the insects spread.       CSH


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