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Nearly 150 people evacuated from Aleppo hospital

Credit: Twitter / @SYRedCrescent

Nearly 150 people who are disabled or in need of urgent care were evacuated from hospital in Aleppo Old City overnight, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

Eleven dead were also taken from the hospital.

Those evacuated in the joint operation between the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were said to be "trapped in the area for days" following heavy nearby clashes.

A doctor involved in the evacuation said there was "much suffering" and people have had "no access to food or basics for almost a week".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Hamburg on Thursday after the two men held talks on Wednesday.

Yesterday the Kremlin said a potential US-Russia deal to allow Syrian rebels to safely leave Aleppo was still on the agenda.

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Sports Direct profits plunge by more than a third

Profits at beleaguered retailer Sports Direct have plummeted by more than a third in the first half of the year, the company has said.

Founder Mike Ashley outside Sports Direct, which has suffered from plummeting profits Credit: PA

Figures from Mike Ashley's 450-store sportswear chain show a drop of 33.5 per cent, down to £145.3 million, following the collapse in the value of the pound.

It comes after controversy over the firm's use of zero-hour contracts and "Victorian" working practices.

In a statement, Mr Ashley blamed "strategic challenges and currency headwinds".

The last six months have been tough for our people and performance. Our UK Sports Retail business continues to be the engine of Sports Direct, but our results have been affected by the significant deterioration in exchange rates, and our assessment of our risk relating to our stock levels and European stores performance.

– Mike Ashley, Sports Direct

The company said overall revenue rose by 4.2 per cent to £1.6 billion, but warned of a challenging environment which it expects to continue into the "foreseeable future". On a pre-tax basis, profits slumped 57 per cent to £71.6m.

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