Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

6 July 2013

9:00 AM

6 July 2013

9:00 AM

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Business confidence in Britain was at its highest level since 2007, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce, which said it expected gross domestic product to have grown by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter of the year.Ofgem, the energy regulator, warned that spare electricity capacity could fall to 2 per cent by 2015, increasing the risk of blackouts. The regulator urged companies to deal with theft of electricity, a third of it said to power cannabis farms. Butterflies and bees were found to have suffered badly from the cold May. Channel 4 is to broadcast the dawn call to prayer each day during Ramadan.

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, outlined £100 billion of infrastructure spending (much of it announced previously), with £100 million going towards a new prison in North Wales. Welsh people will have their organs removed, posthumously, it is planned, unless they register an objection, following a vote by the Welsh Assembly. The BBC was been criticised by the National Audit Office for paying out £25 million in severance to 150 senior BBC managers, including Roly Keating, who voluntarily paid back the £376,000 he had been paid on leaving to run the British Library. Ocado, the online supermarket, saw losses rise a little to £3.8 million over 24 weeks, despite sales rising 15 per cent and the average customer’s order totalling £114.90. Tesco was found to be selling a colouring book, Colour Me Good Arrggghhhh!!, featuring scenes from Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs.


Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said that illegal immigrants should be granted an amnesty after 12 years, but added that ‘the key thing is to kick them out before they reach first base’. Department for Education figures revealed that 1,061,010 schoolchildren speak English as a second language; the proportion in Westminster was 72 per cent. Akhtar Dogar, 32, and Anjum Dogar, 31, were sentenced at the Old Bailey to 17 years in prison on charges of rape, trafficking and organising prostitution, and five others to sentences between 12 and 20 years for their part in offences centred on Oxford against girls as young as 11, several of them in the care of social services. A fire in 100,000 tons of plastic in Smethwick that caused £6 million of damage, and took 200 firemen to extinguish, was said to have been started by a Chinese lantern landing there.

Abroad

In Egypt the army gave President Mohammed Morsi 48 hours to heed ‘the will of the people’ before it intervened. The country had seen millions of people demonstrating against the government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr Morsi appeared on television, wearing a black tie, to reject the army’s ultimatum. Rival crowds gathered. President Barack Obama, on a tour of Africa, refrained, at the wishes of the family, from visiting the deathbed of Nelson Mandela. Kevin Rudd was sworn in again as Prime Minister of Australia, three years after being ousted as leader of the Labor party by Julia Gillard, whom he in turn ousted. Pope Francis decided his first overseas visit would be to the Italian island of Lampedusa, in the coming week, to pray for migrants lost at sea trying to reach Europe.

Edward Snowden, wanted by the Americans for publishing secrets, applied for asylum to 21 countries from his temporary home at Moscow airport. The President of Bolivia’s jet was diverted to Austria after Mr Snowden was said to be on board. Some countries reacted angrily to allegations stemming from his leaks that the United States had bugged European nations’ embassies; the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said: ‘Bugging friends is unacceptable.’ An unmanned Russian Proton-M rocket broke up in flames after being launched in Kazakhstan. David Cameron told students at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan that, given the choice, he’d like to be Harry Potter.

The United Arab Emirates jailed 68 Islamists accused of trying to overthrow the government. Syrian government forces bombarded Homs. Russia and America held talks on talks on Syria. The killing of a Franciscan, Father Francois Murad, was confirmed by church sources in Ghassaniya, Syria. In Arizona 19 firemen were killed while fighting a big wildfire. Yahoo decided to close down the Altavista internet search-engine started in 1995. Michael Birch, the founder of Bebo, bought back the social network for $1million five years after selling his stake in it for $595 million. China passed a law obliging people to visit their elderly parents.    – CSH

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