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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

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Checks began at British airports for passengers who might have come from west Africa with Ebola fever (even though there are no direct flights from the countries most affected). People who rang 111 with suspicious symptoms were to be asked whether they’d come from a high-risk country. Police arrested three men and three women from Portsmouth, Farnborough and Greenwich as part of an anti-terrorism operation. Of five men arrested the week before, two were released. The trial began before a jury at the Old Bailey of Erol Incedal on charges of preparing for acts of terrorism; parts of it will be held in secret. Ofsted said that ‘very little action’ had been taken to address the serious concerns it had encountered at five Birmingham schools placed under special measures following complaints of an Islamist takeover in the so-called Trojan Horse scandal.

Ukip gained its first elected MP when Douglas Carswell overturned a 12,068 Conservative majority by winning the seat of Clacton at a by-election with a majority of 12,404 votes. On the same day, Labour had its majority at Heywood and Middleton reduced to 617, holding the seat with 11,633 to Ukip’s 11,016. Owen Paterson, the former environment secretary, advocated the ‘tearing up’ of the Climate Change Act; wind turbines kill eagles, he said. Poor old Brooks Newmark said he would not stand again at the next election but would go into residential psychiatric care for the next few weeks after ‘battling demons — and losing to them’ by sending photographs of himself to a young mother. Sir Jocelyn Stevens, the co-founder of the Daily Star, died, aged 82. Park Honan, the biographer of Shakespeare, died, aged 86. The London Health Commission proposed a smoking ban in open spaces such as Regent’s Park and Trafalgar Square.


The annual rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, fell from 1.5 per cent in August to 1.2 in September, the lowest since September 2009. As measured by the Retail Prices Index, it fell to 2.3 from 2.4 per cent. MPs voted in favour of recognising Palestine as a state alongside Israel by 274 votes to 12. Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, warned during a debate on devolution for Scotland and England that ‘nations can collapse by accident’ and that excluding all but English MPs from voting on English legislation could endanger the ‘stability and harmony of the British constitution’. The National Trust for Scotland complained at the human excrement deposited on top of Ben Macdui, Britain’s second highest mountain.

Abroad

The World Health Organisation said that 4,447 people had died of Ebola fever out of 8,914 cases. Fighting continued between Kurds and Islamic State forces for the town of Kobane on Syria’s border with Turkey, as the United States completed 21 air strikes near the town. While Turkish forces watched but did not intervene, Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) forces in the Turkish province of Hakkari near the Iraqi border. US defence officials said that Turkey had agreed to allow it to use the Incirlik airbase, but Turkish officials denied any such agreement. Shia militias in Iraq have kidnapped and killed scores of Sunni civilians in recent months, according to Amnesty International.

Malala Yousafzai, aged 17, the Pakistani child education activist shot in the head by Taleban gunmen in October 2012, and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, shared the Nobel Peace Prize. Shelling in eastern Ukraine was reported to have killed seven people. An interim report halfway through the synod on the family at the Vatican said: ‘Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.’ Scientists in Taiwan named a newly discovered species of hermaphrodite snail, Aegista diversifamilia, in honour of struggles to introduce same-sex marriage to their country. The German government cut its economic growth forecast for 2014 from 1.8 per cent to 1.2. Catalonia pressed ahead with a non-binding vote on independence to be held on 9 November. Five migrants from sub-Saharan Africa climbed into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Morocco.

Kim Jong-un, aged 31, the North Korean leader, walking with a stick, made his first public appearance since 3 September. Evo Morales was elected President of Bolivia for the third time. The governor of the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo sought permission to siphon the last water from the Cantareira reservoir, where drought has exposed dozens of dumped cars.       CSH


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