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Portrait of the week: Britain leaves Afghanistan, hurricane hits New Orleans and Gove goes clubbing

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Britain brought its last troops home from Afghanistan, having flown out more than 15,000 people since 14 August; but the operation failed to evacuate perhaps 1,000 eligible Afghans, some of whom had worked for the government, and 100 to 150 British nationals. Pen Farthing, who runs an animal charity in Afghanistan, returned in an aeroplane he had chartered with 94 dogs and 79 cats; ‘Meanwhile my interpreter’s family are likely to be killed,’ commented Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, who has served in Afghanistan.

In the seven days up to the beginning of the week, 765 people had died with coronavirus, bringing the total of deaths (within 28 days of testing positive) to 132,376. (In the previous week deaths had numbered 697.) In a week, numbers remaining in hospital rose from 6,475 to 6,942. In Scotland, where only 74 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds had had a first dose of the vaccine, cases detected rose, with more than 1 per cent of the people of Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire being found to have Covid in a week. Nightclubs in Northern Ireland remained closed. Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, was seen on video dancing strangely at a nightclub in Aberdeen.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, said that lorry drivers, of whom there is a shortage, would not be eligible for a skilled-worker visa or be added to the shortage occupation list to allow companies to recruit them from abroad. Of the 467 department stores in the United Kingdom open in 2016, all but 79 had shut, it was found. Of 1,183 Post Office branches that closed during the pandemic, 260 had not reopened. Plastic knives and forks would be banned under government plans, but there were no plans this week to tax disposable nappies.

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