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Damn cancer!

Anyone who knew Rupert Cornwell, a brilliant journalist for Reuters, the FT and The Independent, would be very sad to learn of his early death from cancer in Washington on Friday. Rupert was a fellow trainee with Peter Norman and me on the International Financial Printer desk in Brussels in 1969/70 under the formidable thumb of Manfred Pagel whose "great hairy paw", as Rupert put it, would reach for the Siemens telephone in order to excoriate the hapless Frankfurt RES correspondent, usually for failing to use a full company name, a dreadful sin in IFP land. Rupert was about as English in attitudes as Winston Churchill in those days, his disapproval of most things foreign accompanied by a characteristic wrinkling of the nose. He and I went in his Mini to watch his beloved Arsenal play Ajax somewhere in Holland, complete with trailing Arsenal scarves at the window. The Dutch customs man only said, "Focking Arsenal". Rupert was in his element. ■