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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

13 February 2016

9:00 AM

13 February 2016

9:00 AM

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that if Britain left the European Union, France could stop allowing British officials to make immigration checks on the French side of the border, and, his spokesman predicted: ‘You have potentially thousands of asylum seekers camped out in northern France who could be here almost overnight.’ Mr Cameron denounced the way prisons are being run by his administration: ‘Current levels of prison violence, drug-taking and self-harm should shame us all.’ Junior doctors went on strike again for 24 hours.

Twelve men of Pakistani heritage were jailed for up to 20 years for the rape and sexual abuse of a girl when she was aged 13 and 14, over a period of two years, in Keighley, West Yorkshire. A Metropolitan Police investigation into an allegation of rape against the late Leon Brittan was ‘necessary, proportionate and fully justified’, according to a report by James Vaughan, deputy chief constable of Dorset police. Lord Brittan died in January 2015, not having been told that the police had four months previously concluded that he had no case to answer. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, came under pressure to apologise to the Brittan family, and to Field Marshal Lord Bramall, aged 92, who had spent ten months under investigation after an allegation by a man known only as ‘Nick’.


The Court of Appeal upheld an order preventing reporting of the reason that Erol Incedal was found not guilty last March of preparing for acts of terrorism. The UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Julian Assange, who has been taking refuge from the police in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, was being ‘arbitrarily detained’ and said that he should be compensated; the British Foreign Office disagreed. Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, said it might be ‘impossible’ for Labour to agree a policy on Trident; Emily Thornberry, the shadow defence secretary, said it might be possible to use drones instead. A storm in southern England and Wales with winds of up to 96mph left 15,000 without electricity.

Abroad

Thousands of Syrian refugees from Aleppo (where rebels were surrounded by government forces and bombarded by Russian aircraft) were trapped at the Turkish border. Turkey sent food aid to 35,000 across the border, but the deputy prime minister of Turkey said another 600,000 more might flee warfare. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, visited Turkey for talks. At least 27 migrants died when their boat capsized trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos. Fourteen Polish far-right activists were arrested in Sweden by police investigating a plot to attack asylum seekers. French coastguards rescued four migrants trying to cross the Channel from Dunkirk in an inflatable dinghy. Up to 60 migrants in the Mexican city of Reynosa on the border with the United States escaped captivity when a gas explosion demolished a house where a gang was holding them hostage.

After two years of drought, Ethiopia found itself with 10 million people needing food aid. Zimbabwe appealed for $1.5 billion to deal with its own drought. Men purporting to be from the Continuity IRA said they had carried out a murder when three gunmen in police-style Swat uniforms burst into the weigh-in for a boxing match and shot dead David Byrne, who, it claimed, had been involved in the killing of Alan Ryan, a member of the Real IRA, in 2012. Three days later another man was shot dead in Dublin in apparent retaliation. An Irish general election campaign leaflet for Mary Lou McDonald, the deputy leader of Sinn Fein, was withdrawn after it was noticed that it bore a quotation prominently attributed to ‘Booby Sands’.

In the New Hampshire primaries for the presidential elections, Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a socialist, beat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by a wide margin, and Donald Trump got twice as many Republican votes than any of his rivals. Shares in Deutsche Bank slid, particularly after it gave assurances that its balance sheet was ‘rock solid’. In Taiwan, 39 people were confirmed dead and more than 100 were missing after a 17-storey block of flats in Tainan collapsed in an earthquake. In Bavaria, at least ten people were killed and scores injured when two passenger trains collided head-on. The UN Security Council condemned the launching by North Korea of a long-range rocket. A white Chicago policeman, Robert Rialmo, who last December killed a black teenager, Quintonio LeGrier, aged 19, with six shots, has sued the dead man’s family, claiming emotional distress.


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