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Portrait of the week

Syrian and Russian jets ‘unleash a new hell’ bombing civilians in Aleppo

Also in Portrait of the Week: Sam Allardyce resigns as England manager after newspaper ‘sting’

1 October 2016

9:00 AM

1 October 2016

9:00 AM


Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said that Britain would oppose attempts to create an EU army, as it would ‘undermine’ Nato. Forecasts for British economic growth in 2016 collated by the Treasury were revised from 1.5 to 1.8 per cent, the level expected in June, before the EU referendum. Mathias Döpfner, the chief executive of Axel Springer, said that leaving the European Union would make Britain ‘better off than continental Europe’ within five years. Scotland began importing shale gas from the United States. Fourteen candidates are to stand in the by-election at Witney on October 20 to replace David Cameron as MP, including one from the Bus-Pass Elvis Party.

At the Labour party conference in Liverpool, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said Labour would create ‘a £250 billion National Investment Bank’ to put money into things such as rail, energy and broadband, and it would ‘make sure any future government has the power to intervene in our economy’. Clive Lewis, Labour’s shadow defence secretary, received a message just as he was about to begin his speech telling him that the autocue had been changed; this was the deletion of an undertaking that he ‘would not seek to change’ the party’s policy of supporting renewal of Trident. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with their children, toured Canada.

Merlin, the operator of Alton Towers, was fined £5 million over the crash last June on its Smiler rollercoaster, which injured 16 people, including two teenage girls who had legs amputated. The decision not to prosecute Sir Cliff Richard over claims of historical sex offences was upheld in a review by the Crown Prosecution Service. Russian computer hackers revealed evidence that the cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins had used steroids to treat his asthma, but no rules had been broken. Sam Allardyce resigned as England football manager after 67 days. He had been secretly recorded by the Daily Telegraph apparently discussing a £400,000 deal and the circumvention of FA rules banning third parties from owning players’ financial rights. Jonathan Riley-Smith, the historian of the crusades, died aged 78.


Eastern Aleppo, where about 250,000 people were besieged by Syrian forces, was repeatedly bombed, and food and water ran out. An attempted cessation of hostilities agreed by the USA and Russia broke down. Britain’s representative to the UN said Russia and Syria had ‘unleashed a new hell on Aleppo’ and committed war crimes. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was jailed by the International Criminal Court for nine years for destroying ancient shrines in Timbuktu in 2012. On a visit to Turkey to meet President Erdogan, Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, praised his own ‘very well functioning Turkish washing machine’ and said Britain would support Turkey’s membership of the EU. A boat carrying between 450 and 600 migrants, kept off the coast for five days, sank eight miles off Rosetta in Egypt. About 160 people were rescued. Around 300,000 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea this year. President François Hollande of France said he would close the so-called Jungle camp for migrants near Calais by the end of the year.

There was no definite agreement who won the televised debate between Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. Mr Trump said Mrs Clinton ‘doesn’t have the stamina’; Mrs Clinton said Mr Trump ‘has a long record of engaging in racist behaviour’. Mr Trump sniffed many times. Arcan Cetin, aged 20, born in Turkey and a legal resident in America, confessed to shooting five people dead with a rifle in Macy’s department store at Burlington, Washington state. In 2015, the number of US murders rose to an estimated 15,696, according to the FBI. Arnold Palmer, the American golfer, died aged 87.

Saudi Arabia cut pay for the public sector, in which two thirds of working Saudis are employed. Shimon Peres, the Israeli statesman, died aged 93. Shares in Deutsche Bank reached a new low after Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out giving it state aid. Thousands of people in Mexico City protested against a proposal to legalise same-sex marriage. Authorities in Shenzhen, southern China, barred the sale of flats of only 64 square feet for £100,000. Millions of people watched a one-minute song called ‘Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen’ being sung in English by the Japanese fictional character Piko-Taro.           CSH

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