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US ‘did not approve’ Turkey’s Syria offensive
Days after the US withdrew troops from northern Syria, Turkish forces have entered the war-torn nation in an assault on territory held by Kurdish-led forces. But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists Donald Trump did not give a “green light” for the offensive. Critics accuse the president of having “shamefully abandoned” Kurdish fighters who had been key allies in the fight against Islamic State extremists.
Calling its operation Peace Spring, Turkey insists its aim is to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor” along the border with Syria by creating a “safe zone” cleared of Kurdish militias. It considers much of the rebel force an extension of a banned group which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for three decades. Kurdish authorities have urged people to “head to the border… to resist”. Read more about their long enmity.
Turkey says its troops and Syrian rebel allies have entered the area “east of the Euphrates”. Our maps help explain what’s going on. The result is yet more chaos for civilians, with the International Rescue Committee suggesting the offensive could displace 300,000 people. Several towns and villages were hit by air strikes and artillery fire on Wednesday, forcing thousands to flee their homes.
Ban and tax our way out of obesity – top doctor
Could it be curtains for the buffet car? Banning snacks on public transport is just one way England’s departing chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, reckons the government could act to prevent childhood obesity. Others include tobacco-style plain packaging for junk food, a calorie cap for restaurant meals, adding VAT to products like cakes, and banning advertising of unhealthy food. If the measures sound extreme, so do the figures. The proportion of children deemed obese by their final year of primary school has quadrupled since 1990, with about a third of all year six pupils classed as overweight or obese. The health secretary says ministers will study the recommendations “closely”. But the railway trolley of drinks and light refreshments might be around for a while yet. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously expressed scepticism about measures such as so-called sin taxes.
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Johnson to meet Irish PM for Brexit talks
With just three weeks until the UK is due to leave the EU, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar maintains it will be “very difficult” to secure a Brexit deal before the deadline. We’ll find out later whether his “cautiously optimistic” British counterpart can change his mind when the two men meet in north-west England. Boris Johnson insists the UK will leave on 31 October with or without a deal, while Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom says the government is exploring ways of bypassing a law imposed by Parliament to force the PM to ask for a further postponement.
A “Super Saturday” session of Parliament fixed for 19 October could prove the decisive session, says BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg. Meanwhile, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is warning EU foreign ministers to avoid a “catastrophic failure in statecraft” over Brexit resulting in no-deal. And Newsbeat has been asking what happens to Britons’ rights to free healthcare in Europe if no deal is secured.
‘Night the Berlin Wall fell was the worst of my life’
By Steve Rosenberg, BBC News
It’s one of the most bizarre guided tours I’ve ever been on. I’m driving around Berlin with Egon Krenz – the last communist leader of East Germany. “This avenue used to be Stalinallee!” he tells me as we head down Karl-Marx-Allee. “They renamed it after Stalin died.
“And over there was Lenin Square. There was a big Lenin statue. But they took it down.” He looks out of the window and smiles… “I love Russia and I loved the Soviet Union,” he tells me. “I still have many connections there. The GDR was a child of the Soviet Union. The USSR stood by the GDR’s cradle. And, sadly, it also stood by its deathbed.”
Read the full article
What the papers say
The Guardian uses a striking yellow tint as the background to a special investigating claiming to reveal 20 companies that have contributed to a third of all global carbon emissions. The red tops enjoy the row between footballers’ wives Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy over alleged Instagram impropriety. Others focus on Brexit-related stories and England’s departing chief medical officer suggesting snacks should be banned on public transport in an effort to combat childhood obesity. Read the full review.
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09:30 The Office for National Statistics publishes the latest UK economic growth estimates.
10:15 Bank of England reveals the designs for the new £20 note.
On this day
1999 Thousands assemble to watch the Millennium Wheel – now known as the London Eye – being moved into position on the south bank of the River Thames in London.
Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions (Guardian)
The long arm of China and free speech (NPR)
I don’t know if I’ve ever cared about anything as much as I care about Coleen vs Rebekah (Telegraph)
Why is Boeing investing in Richard Branson’s rocket plane? (Quartz)