Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

27 July 2013

9:00 AM

27 July 2013

9:00 AM

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The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a boy, weighing 8lb 6oz, an heir to the crown, third in line to the throne. Great public excitement was expressed by taking photographs of an official notice of the birth posted on a gilt easel inside the railings of Buckingham Palace. Bells rang and gun salutes were fired. Mel Smith, the comedian, died, aged 60. Thunderstorms cut off power and disrupted train services after a fortnight of hot weather reached temperatures of 33.5˚C in London, the highest since 2006. Many-fruited beardless moss, found in only four locations in the world, may have disappeared from two places in Cornwall.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that tax on profits from the production of shale gas would be cut from 62 per cent to 30 per cent, which he called the ‘most generous’ terms in the world. Mr Osborne encouraged mortgage providers to make use of the second stage of his Help to Buy scheme, which from January will underwrite loans of up to £600,000 to people who can raise a 5 per cent deposit to buy existing houses. He then flew to Moscow. Public borrowing for 2012-13 was found to be £2 billion less than had been estimated, amounting to £116.5 billion, or 7.4 per cent of GDP, although the national debt has risen by 42 per cent to £1.2 trillion under this government. Export activity reached a level unseen since 2007, according to the trade index compiled by the British Chambers of Commerce. The number of Premium Bond prizes of £100,000 was cut from five a month to three.


Black teenagers (34 per cent) are now more likely to apply for a university place than white ones (29 per cent), according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. Nicholas Jacobs, 44, of Hackney, was charged with the murder of PC Keith Blakelock at Broadwater Farm, Tottenham, in 1985. Pavlo Lapshyn, a 25-year-old Ukrainian student, was charged with the ‘terrorism-related’ murder of an 82-year-old Muslim man who was stabbed to death in April in Birmingham. Five prison officers were suspended after Michael Adebolajo, charged with the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, lost two teeth while being restrained. The Home Office is to pay for vans to drive through Barnet, Hounslow, Barking, Ealing, Brent and Redbridge, bearing posters urging illegal immigrants to go home. Sixty-three Roma from Romania who were camping in Park Lane, London, were interviewed by police; 20 accepted free fights to Romania and the rest were given notice to leave the country within 30 days, then set free. England won the second Ashes Test. Chris Froome won the Tour de France.

Abroad

Hundreds of prisoners, many of them senior members of al-Qa’eda, escaped from Abu Ghraib prison and Taji prison in Baghdad after suicide bombs and mortar fire breached their walls. On the same day, a suicide car bomb directed at an army convoy killed 13. Two days earlier, car bombs had killed 30 in Baghdad, and the day before that, 20 were killed at a Sunni mosque in central Iraq. Five options for American involvement in Syria were outlined, with their monetary costs, by General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff. Militiamen loyal to the Syrian government were reported to be attacking Sunnis in towns throughout the large province of Homs. Nine died in a night of clashes in Cairo between supporters and opponents of the ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Pope Francis was greeted by tens of thousands in Rio, his first foreign visit. More than 9,000 houses collapsed in the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, China, hit by two earthquakes. Anti-spam companies in other countries blocked 27 per cent of internet addresses in Belarus, a popular haven for junk email producers. Detroit, Michigan, became the largest American city to file for bankruptcy. Beyoncé’s hair became entangled in the blades of a fan onstage in Montreal, but she continued singing ‘Halo’ as security men grappled with her tresses.

In the seventh week of anti-government protests, crowds blockaded the Bulgarian parliament in Sofia. European Union foreign ministers decided to list the military wing of the Lebanese group Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. The police station at Trappes, a suburb of Paris, was attacked by 200 people annoyed by the way police had treated a 20-year-old Muslim convert who had been wearing a full veil in contravention of French law. The next night cars were set on fire. Marisol Touraine, the French health minister, announced plans to ban smoking on the beach. – CSH

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  • george

    Interesting that the caricaturist showed both ‘William’ and his bride as ‘necky’: they both have Adam’s apples. In fact, William has a particularly pointy Adam’s apple — unusually so, I’d say — such that kissing his neck (if one were so inclined, and I’m not) could be ‘cisalpine’ and ‘transalpine’, depending on which way you were oriented (and as I’ve said, I’m not that way oriented). Kate is quite necky as well: long neck, rather bulging cartilage (or whatever: I’m no anatomist, which is rather a relief, really).

    My mother had made the uncharitable remark that the baby was not the prettiest of babies, and she hoped he gained in prepossessingness. Well what did she expect, at one day old? We can’t all be beautiful from birth. The nose does look very pronounced though: Diana had a strong nose and so does Charles and so does William and by golly, that child has their noses all compounded together. He doesn’t, as far as one can tell, have Kate’s nose. Which probably means that the next child will. (And there will certainly be a next child, as Kate is clearly the adoring-mummy sort.)

    P. S. The cartoonist took extreme liberties with the child, making him look jolly — when in fact the real Prince George looked pained, not to say agonized, to be out and about on the planet. Poor chap. This is just the beginning.

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